Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 1801

Dated: 25 May 2002

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New Labour repeats racists' lies...and it's the far right who gain

NEW LABOUR ministers are repeating the lies of the racists and the far right. They say there are too many refugees and immigrants in Britain. But the numbers applying for asylum last year amounted to a minuscule 0.12 percent of the population.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Sacrificed for firm's profits

"MY SON Michael was murdered." Those damning words came from Geraldine Mungovan, whose son Michael met his death at work. An inquest this week found that the 22 year old student had been "unlawfully killed".

Asbestos cases welcome justice

THOUSANDS OF people dying from asbestos-related diseases can now bring claims for compensation after a landmark ruling by five law lords on Thursday of last week. The judgement on three test cases is one of the most significant in the history of industrial disease.

Lying again, Milburn

HEALTH secretary Alan Milburn has been caught out fiddling the figures again. He claimed that New Labour's budget last month would mean an extra 15,000 doctors in the NHS by 2008. Yet his figures incorporate thousands of new doctors already pledged two years earlier.

Disaster of air sell off

IT'S NOT only on the railways that privatisation has been a disaster. The computer failure at the new air traffic control centre at Swanwick on Friday of last week meant that the number of flights was cut by half, and tens of thousands of passengers were stranded. This is the third failure of National Air Traffic Services (NATS) computers in three months.

Skewed for rich

THE government's Social Exclusion Unit made a damning admission over transport last week. New Labour's transport policies are helping the rich more than the poor, its report said.

They get cash

THE PARASITE prince is set to get a £5 million makeover of his new London palace paid for from public money.

Two jobs into one

ONE IN five teachers are doing second jobs to make ends meet, according to the government's Office of National Statistics. Most of these 84,000 teachers were doing private tuition jobs at weekends and in holiday time, but many were also working in bars and factories.

Protest forces a climbdown

NOTTINGHAM council's plans for privatisation were knocked back last week after workers held protests and threatened strike action. Some 500 council workers joined a lobby of the ruling Labour group on Wednesday of last week over privatisation.


POSTAL WORKERS should vote no to the pay deal cooked up by union leaders and bosses. It has just gone out to ballot. Three months ago 145,000 Royal Mail workers voted two to one for strikes over a 2 percent pay offer. The union was demanding 5 percent for this year.


DELEGATES AT this year's conference for Unison members in higher education sent a clear message to their leadership over pay. A motion of no confidence in the executive was only narrowly lost on a card vote.

Anti Nazi League

OVER 100 Anti Nazi League supporters lobbied Burnley council's meeting on Thursday of last week, which the three newly elected British National Party (BNP) councillors attended for the first time. This was the meeting where the council leader was elected and councillors were selected for committees.

Manchester airport

BOSSES AT Manchester airport have used threats of sacking to force through new contracts on security workers. Pay cuts of up to 40 percent, job cuts and increased working hours were imposed overnight. Many have left the job rather than accept the new contract.


BUS DRIVERS working for First Group in Bristol are threatening to strike over an attack by management. At a mass meeting last weekend the drivers decided to give First Group two days to retreat before beginning a ballot.

In brief

The force in the Cotswolds SOME 500 people marched through Burford in the Cotswolds last weekend in an anniversary march that made links with the current battle against nuclear weapons.


THE TSSA rail workers' conference took place with the Potters Bar crash very much in the delegates' minds. An emergency motion was carried which stated that the horrific accident was at least in part due to the contractual system of rail maintenance. It indicated the inherent lack of safety in the privatised rail industry.


THE PENSIONERS' Parliament began in Blackpool last week with the biggest ever pensioners' demonstration of around 3,000 people. The parliament ended with a rousing, angry speech from Tony Booth, Blair's son in law, who berated the government and previous ones for their injustice against pensioners.

Battle for democratic control of political fund

THE FUTURE of the political fund and the relationship between trade unions and the Labour Party were major issues at three union conferences last week. Debates at conferences of the TSSA rail union, the civil servants' PCS union and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) showed the continuing mood of anger with New Labour.

Rail crash firm given licence to sabotage truth

MOST newspapers printed claims by rail privateer Jarvis that "sabotage" was responsible for the Potters Bar crash. The Guardian ran the front page headline last weekend, "Sabotage-Rail Firm's Crash Theory".

Lecturers out for decent pay

LECTURERS HAVE voted to walk out of further education (FE) colleges across England and Wales on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. The vote was two to one for strikes in a ballot with a 44 percent turnout. The lecturers, who are members of the Natfhe union, are incensed at the 1.5 percent pay rise being offered by their employers, the Association of Colleges. It is below the level of inflation and amounts to a pay cut.


All roads lead to Florence in autumn

THE EUROPEAN Social Forum will be a massive gathering of activists from many different movements. It will be held in the Italian city of Florence from 7 to 10 November this year. The alliance between Tony Blair, Spanish leader Aznar and Italian prime minister Berlusconi aims to drive Europe further to the right.


No farewell to conflict

GEORGE W Bush said that last week's agreement between the United States and Russia to cut the number of nuclear warheads they deploy would "liquidate the legacy of the Cold War".

The media is running wild

ARE WE really plunging into a new wave of youth crime caused by out of control children running wild? The media wants us to think so. It is full of stories about "gangs of feral children bringing fear to the streets of London".


Breaking down the myths on refugees

"ASYLUM-VILLAGE invaded." "We just can't keep them out." These are just some of the scare stories over asylum seekers that have recently appeared in the British press. Below we expose the myths and argue why refugees should be welcome in Britain.

'US fundamentalism has created massive despair'

THE MAIN explanation in the media for 11 September is that it was a product of irrational fundamentalism. How would you answer this?


Tinseltown and the show trials

THE MAJESTIC is about a Hollywood screenwriter who is blacklisted as part of an anti-Communist witch-hunt. It is set during the period of McCarthyism which gripped the US at the start of the Cold War.

Star Wars out

GEORGE BUSH's plan to start a new nuclear arms race came a step closer last week. He and Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, did a deal that would allow the "Son of Star Wars" weapons system to be set up. This unity won't mean a more peaceful world.

What We Think

Chances for all or old school tie?

NEW LABOUR leaders have a clear message about how to succeed in their "enterprising Britain". It is that if you pass your exams, work hard and "fit in" with your employer you are on the way up.

How can the far right advance be halted?

THE DUTCH general election saw the latest frightening advance for the far right in Europe. The party of Pim Fortuyn came second. The Labour Party, which had led a coalition government for eight years, got its worst result since 1945. That came after the Nazi Jean-Marie Le Pen beat the leader of France's equivalent of the Labour Party, Lionel Jospin, in the first round of the presidential election there.

Other Categories

Bob Pether

COMRADES AND friends will be deeply saddened to hear that Bob Pether has died at the age of 55, from cancer. Bob was an active trade unionist, first in the Inland Revenue Staff Federation and later in Cohse. He was part of the group in the 1970s that produced Revenue Rank and File, a tabloid that terrified top union bureaucrats.

Answers absent to playing truant

I AM disgusted at the jailing of Patricia Amos over her teenage daughters playing truant, and at the way education secretary Estelle Morris gloated over the case. What does the government think this will achieve? It is like something from Victorian times.

Would socialism be a dictatorship?

THIS SERIES has argued that a new socialist society can be created and run by the working class in the interests of the working class. But many people argue that this is impossible. They point to the lack of democracy, equality and freedom in the countries which used to or still do call themselves socialist.

Foxes in charge of chicken shed

LORD GUS MacDonald, the Cabinet Office minister, has become chair of the Better Regulation Taskforce. Its job is to decide which laws big companies ignore so they can be formally scrapped.

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