Socialist Worker

In brief

Issue No. 1"

Tim Cartoon

Tim Cartoon

Foundations threat

NEW LABOUR was facing a major rebellion in parliament over its plans to bring foundation hospitals into the NHS as Socialist Worker went to press.

MPs were set to vote over the scheme on Wednesday of this week. Every Labour MP who votes for foundation hospitals is trampling on the decision of the Labour conference in September that voted against the scheme.

Foundation hospitals will be able to poach staff from other NHS hospitals by offering a better pay package, creating a two-tier health system. The elite hospitals will increase the role of business and profit in the NHS.

James Johnson, the head of the doctors’ BMA, said, “The trusts pose a real threat to the principles of equity and fairness on which the NHS has always been based.”

Price of cost cuts

ACCIDENT INVESTIGATORS have blamed cost-cutting for a “short term” attitude towards repairs that led to the tube derailment at Hammersmith last month.

A broken rail which caused the derailment was nearly ten years old and had been deteriorating for at least two years. Investigators also revealed that the train’s on-board radio didn’t work.

Investigators said that maintenance had “not successfully addressed the root causes of the poor track condition.

“It is apparent that capital restrictions have resulted in maintenance activities focusing on short term repairs.”

Charge outrage

NEW LABOUR last week charged a translator with breaching the Official Secrets Act after she revealed Britain’s involvement in a US dirty tricks campaign.

In the build-up to the war on Iraq the US National Security Agency asked the British spy communications centre GCHQ to intercept communications at the United Nations.

The information would then be used to help win the vote for a second United Nations resolution to legitimise war on Iraq.

A leaked memo demanded a “surge” in eavesdropping on six states on the UN Security Council—Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria, Guinea and Pakistan.

The memo said that the operation aimed to collect “the whole gamut of information that could give US policy-makers an edge in obtaining results favourable to US goals”.

New Labour arrested Katerine Gun, a translator at GCHQ, after the memo was leaked to the Observer newspaper in March.

Gun said in a statement last week, “Any disclosures that may have been made were justified… because they exposed serious illegality and wrongdoing on the part of the US government—who attempted to subvert our own security services—and to prevent widescale death and casualties among ordinary Iraqi people and UK forces in the course of an illegal war.”

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Article information

Sat 22 Nov 2003, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1"
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