Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 1951

Dated: 14 May 2005

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Blair's third term plan sticks two fingers up at voters

Tony Blair has been back in Downing Street for just a few days and already he is telling more lies.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Election reactions — ‘We are now entering a new era in politics’

Ken Coates former Labour Party MEP

There is a space for the left in Scotland

In Scotland Labour lost 500,000 votes, taking its lowest share of the vote since 1945. This suggests it is in terminal decline.

Mass campaigning can drive the Nazi BNP back into the gutter

The fascist British National Party (BNP) did not enter the general election expecting to win a parliamentary seat. But it did hope to increase its share of the vote in a number of areas, building a base for next year’s local elections.

Bank workers tell HSBC to hand over the money

Around 11,000 HSBC bank workers were expecting the result of a strike ballot over pay as Socialist Worker went to press.

Ambala Food strikes put pressure on

About 30 workers at the Ambala Food sweet factory in Stratford, east London, staged a third one-day strike against low pay on Friday of last week.

British Gas workers strike

More than 60 engineers who look after domestic gas equipment in London staged a one-day strike on Monday of last week.

Threat of ballot brings bosses to table over pensions

The threat of a strike ballot by 900 workers at Grampian Foods meat processing firm has forced bosses to back down over threats to axe their final salary pension scheme by the end of the month.

Norgren pickets out in battle over low pay

More than 300 shopfloor workers at the Norgren pneumatic components factory in Lichfield, Staffordshire, began four days of strike action on Thursday of last week.

Reports round-up

Buses stop as pay fight continues Workers at Centra Buses struck for 24 hours on Monday of this week in a dispute over pay and conditions.

London Metropolitan — taking out a contract on our college management

Following our recent resounding vote for strike action, and action short of a strike, members of the Natfhe lecturers union at London Metropolitan are set to strike on Monday to Friday of next week.

Dritan Dauti must stay

In 1999, when Dritan Dauti was 14, Serbian soldiers destroyed his village in Kosovo. He was separated from his family and, after living in a refugee camp in Macedonia, he managed to get to England where he was put in the care of his brother.

University of Westminster student demonstration

Students at the University of Westminster in London demonstrated on Wednesday of last week against the university management’s plans to change the academic timetable.

Make Poverty History events across Britain

Bradford on Avon

Safety battle could mean no curtain up in Edinburgh theatres

The King’s and Festival theatres in Edinburgh face a summer of strikes as Bectu union members have begun a ballot for strike action over compulsory redundancies. Staff also allege that management are deliberately ignoring health and safety laws.

Firefighters go for new strategy

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) conference took place in Southport this week following the election of left wing candidate Matt Wrack as general secretary.

Privatisation plan for the Royal Mail on the agenda

Tony Blair took some big hits at the election, but that has not halted his mission to be "unremittingly New Labour" in the third term.

Now Blunkett is after your pension

Tony Blair has brought back the disgraced former home secretary David Blunkett as secretary for work and pensions.

New nukes from New Labour

There are two big issues with nuclear weapons coming up during Blair’s third term. Firstly Blair has said that a decision will need to be made during this parliament on whether to replace Trident — Britain’s nuclear weapons system.

Third term briefs

Prepare for taxing times Get ready for a thumping council tax bill, unless we can force the government to back off. The value of every home in England is being reassessed to calculate new council tax rates.

The election in the news

"Apart from George Galloway’s success, candidates standing for the anti-war Respect party won an average of 6.9 percent of the vote, easily the best performance by a far left party in British electoral history."John Curtice, Professor of politics at Strathclyde university

Big business is core of Labour’s nuclear plan

There’s a big corporate faction that desperately wants to push nuclear power forwards. They want to do this because it provides two things to them.

News in brief

Join the protest for Babar Ahmad Supporters of Babar Ahmad, the south London IT worker facing extradition to the US on bogus terrorism charges, have called a demonstration to coincide with the judge’s final verdict in his trial on Tuesday of next week.

The media's two minute hate

In the gallery of public figures there’s a special place for the person who dares defy the way things are. I can remember sitting in a cafe sometime in the late 1960s. Round the table were, among others, Tariq Ali and the Marxist commentator and historian Perry Anderson.

‘Unity forged by Respect was the key’

The unity we forged between communities in Newham was crucial. Different people had to join hands and work together. I could feel the discrimination breaking down during the campaign.


Egyptian police blockade key strike

We live in a big prison. How else could you explain why state security forces prevented a solidarity delegation going to visit 400 striking weavers at the state-owned Esco company?

Mass protests push armed groups to the margins in Egypt

Bomb and gun attacks in Cairo at the end of April prompted warnings of a new Islamist offensive against tourists in Egypt. But this is unlikely to materialise. The political climate is changing fast — and not in favour of targeting tourists.

Anger across US at Bush plan to slash social security

President George Bush is facing increasing hostility at home to his proposals to kill off the US’s social security programme, which provides state retirement and disability benefits to some 44 million Americans.

May day in Venezuela

Hundreds of thousands of supporters of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s left wing president, marched through Caracas, the capital, on May Day in support of plans to introduce worker management across state run industries. Workers in Alcasa, the state aluminium company, have already started organising production themselves and electing their shop directors. "It is impossible for us to achieve our goals with capitalism, nor is it possible to find an intermediate path," Chavez told the crowds.

Ecuador — ‘It’s much easier to create an uprising if you’re united’

On 8 December, Gutierrez annulled the supreme court in Ecuador. He didn’t give any reason, or quote any law—he just abolished it because it was too independent. From that date the people started to organise themselves, holding assemblies and taking to the streets in massive numbers.

Portuguese Left Bloc

"Create conflict where necessary, communicate with all those suffering exploitation and oppression," was the message from Francesco Louca, one of eight members of the Portuguese Left Bloc (Bloco de Esquerda) elected to parliament in February.


A movement sweeps Europe

Respect's breakthrough in the general election wasn’t the only success that the radical left in Europe has enjoyed this year.


Steven Rose — explaining the mind

Why do we need another book about the brain?

Respect win is only the start

Labour is back in office. But its majority is more than halved, and it received the support of the lowest proportion of voters of any government since the introduction of universal suffrage.

Coming events

Friday 13 MayLaunch of Socialist Film Club with a showing of classic Vietnam documentary Hearts and Minds, introduced by Jonathan Neale, 7pm, University College London, Gower Street WC1 (Euston Square tube). Price £5/£3. Phone 020 7637 1848 for tickets.


The film Private shows the humiliation of the Palestinians

Saverio Costanzo's first feature film tells the story of a middle class Palestinian family whose home is taken over by the Israeli army.

Three new bands that have joined the musical resistance

Bang, Bang, Rock & RollArt Brut (Out 23 May)

Reviews round-up

Devils & Dust Bruce Springsteen

What We Think

A radical left challenge breaks out of the ghetto

Every reader of Socialist Worker should set themselves a simple task over the coming days and weeks — to ask every one of our friends, neighbours, class and workmates to join Respect.

Other Categories


Our legal challenge It took a long time for the truth to finally start to come out, but the world now knows that Tony Blair lied to take us into an illegal war on Iraq.

Respect Rally

at Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London (Euston station)

Don’t miss Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker was vital reading for Respect and anti-war activists during the general election campaign. We brought together reports from across the country that highlighted the vibrancy of the left’s challenge to New Labour.

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