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Socialist Worker

Issue: 1963

Dated: 13 Aug 2005

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Blair is trampling over our democracy

Terrorists can plant bombs, but only the government can take away our fundamental freedoms.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Blow for ministers in Zimbabwe case

There was singing and dancing outside the high court in London on Thursday of last week as the home office was forced to back down from plans to restart the deportation of Zimbabwean asylum seekers.

Sajid family return to Teesside after detention ordeal

Campaigners for the Sajid family in the South Bank area of Teesside were celebrating last week after the family was allowed to return home.

New plan will savage the NHS

Labour has announced its most vicious attack yet on the NHS in a policy document published by the department of health last week. There is a clear intention to dismantle the NHS as we presently know it.

Nurses under threat as cuts bite

NHS trusts across England are freezing staff recruitment in a bid to reduce rising deficits. As a result many newly qualified nurses are struggling to find jobs.

Rolls Royce dispute — first blood goes to Jerry Hicks

The fight to reinstate sacked Bristol Rolls Royce union convenor Jerry Hicks has received a big boost with an interim employment tribunal hearing ruling in his favour.

Shoot to kill — the police’s fatal policy

Widespread and wide ranging outrage followed the shooting dead of Jean Charles de Menezes by the police on a London underground train at Stockwell tube station on Friday 22 July.

Low paid Coventry journalists on strike ‘until further notice’

Journalists at Coventry Newspapers have been on indefinite strike since Tuesday of last week. The NUJ union members have pledged to stay out for as long as it takes to win their battle over low pay.

NUJ union returns to the Sun

Two decades after Rupert Murdoch though he had smashed the unions at the Sun, the journalists’ union is back at the title. The NUJ has a chapel of over 50 members and is growing.

Merseyside unites in the wake of Anthony Walker’s murder

People from across Merseyside gathered to convey their sympathy and support to the family of Anthony Walker, who was murdered by racist thugs on Friday 29 July, at two public events held in Liverpool last week.

Action in supermarkets

Challenging anti-union practices at Asda and Wal-Mart A major dispute at Asda’s distribution centre in Washington, north east England, has highlighted anti-union practices that echo those of the supermarket chain’s US owner, Wal-Mart.

Reports round-up

Defiance over Blair’s demo ban About 150 people assembled in Parliament Square at midday on Sunday in defiance of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, which makes it illegal to protest within 1 kilometre of parliament.

Postal workers make a date to join the fight against privatisation

The future of the Post Office as a viable public service will be decided in the next few months.

Post round-up

Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton has announced another "share in success" bonus scheme.

Lothian bus workers strikes stall after change of gear

T&G union leaders called off a planned indefinite strike by Lothian Region bus drivers that was due to begin this week.

Campaigning for peace in Worthing

About 40 people attended a two hour vigil in Worthing, Sussex, for peace and against racism on Friday of last week, writes Lee Billingham. The protest was organised by Worthing Against War, people from other local groups including Worthing Islamic Society and Worthing Against Racism as well as individuals new to anti-war activity. The vigil attracted toots and waves of support from hundreds of passing motorists in the rush hour traffic.

Call for witnesses at Scottish G8 protests

At the recent G8 protests in Scotland there were some 450 people detained by the police. These are different from arrests, as the police in Scotland have the powers to "detain" for a set length of time.

Firefighters protest for fire safety

Firefighters across Suffolk held their third short strike on Monday of this week, and were due out again on Thursday, when a national demonstration was to take place in their support.

Eurostar contractors

Security guards working for Chubb at Eurostar depots at North Pole (west London), Waterloo and Ashford International have voted unanimously for action to win union recognition.

We must raise our voices against these repressive new terror laws

Blair's proposals will not protect Britain from terror. Not one of the proposals would have stopped the events of 7 July. They do not addresss the problems.

Terror laws are attacks on our most basic rights

The first so called terror laws New Labour introduced in 2000 were so draconian I am surprised that these new proposals go even further away from Britain’s basic laws and traditions.

Ken Loach: terror policies lead to a downward spiral

Acclaimed film director Ken Loach spoke to Socialist Worker about the latest anti-terror proposals:

Stop and search isn’t courteous

"Have you been stopped before?" "Yes, twice in the last two weeks," I answer. The policeman at Euston tube station seems quite excited.

Carnival sees silence for Jean Charles de Menezes

Tens of thousands of people held a minute’s silence to remember Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian man shot by police, at Burgess Park in south London last week.

Who says?

"We’ve all got to be as British as Carry On films and scotch eggs and falling over on the beach while trying to change into your swimming trunks with a towel on. We should all feel the same mysterious pang at the sight of the queen. We do indeed need to inculcate this Britishness, especially into young Muslims."Tory MP Boris Johnson, helpfully clarifying the debate about what constitutes British values

You can’t fight terror by junking our rights

This government has brought in 700 new offences since 1997 — but it hasn’t helped stop terrorism. Now it has unveiled draconian proposals that will further undermine civil liberties.

Legal briefing: what to do if the police decide to search you

You can be stopped and searched mainly for two reasons:

Laws used to silence protests

There have been two disturbing cases in recent years of counter-terrorism powers being used to clamp down on peaceful and legitimate protests.

Solidarity walkout for sacked Heathrow Gate Gourmet workers

In a magnificent show of solidarity, thousands of workers at Heathrow airport in London have walked out unofficially in support of sacked colleagues at caterers Gate Gourmet. At the moment check-in staff, baggage handlers and bus drivers are on strike at Terminals 1 and 4. Some 20 incoming flights have been re-routed away from Heathrow and outgoing flights halted.

Gate Gourmet retreat in US after action threatened

The threat of strikes has forced Gate Gourmet to back off in the US.

Defiance at Heathrow as strike forces talks

"T&G union, zindabad! BA staff, zindabad!"


South African workers in key battles for justice

OUR MEMBERS have come out 100 percent countrywide in support of the battle. All the main mine companies—AngloGold, Gold Fields, Harmony, South Deep—are stopped.

Echoes of apartheid repression in South African municipal workers strike

Around 180,000 municipal (council) workers are also on indefinite strike.

Iraq: peaceful protesters shot down, but still deeper problems for the US

The US-led occupation of Iraq lurched further into the quagmire last week as the coalition body count crossed the 2,000 mark.

How the G8 helped bring famine to Niger

The current food crisis in Niger is the clearest indictment of the "deal for Africa" agreed by the G8 last month. The deal continues to push the very neo-liberal reforms that are responsible for the unfolding disaster.

Warmer tropical oceans fuel the risk of drought in Africa

A paper in Science magazine in November 2003 showed that rainfall in the Niger region is driven by temperatures in the nearby south Atlantic and Indian oceans.


Robin Cook, Iraq and New Labour

The sudden death of Robin Cook is a major blow to the Labour Party as it was traditionally conceived, as a party of progressive social reform.


Saudi Arabia — a house built on sand

The House of Saud’s long career in the service of imperialism began in 1913, when King Abd al Aziz, the ruler of the Najd area of the Arabian peninsula, came seeking a British subsidy for his kingdom. His first request was unsuccessful, despite winning the backing of the British government’s India office.

Topple the mighty: London's statues

A new book by Leon Kuhn and Colin Gill uncovers the hidden history of London’s many statues and landmarks — shedding light on the brutality of the British political elite at home and abroad.

Statue 2: Frederick, Duke of York (1763–1827)

Frederick — the "grand old Duke of York" immortalised in the nursery rhyme, was the son of George III and the brother of George IV. Frederick combined gluttony with a disastrous military career.

Statue 1: Queen Victoria (1819–1901)

When Victoria came to the throne in 1837 it was like a breath of fresh air to the middle class compared with her extravagent, arrogant and stupid uncles, two of whom had preceded her as kings.

Statue 3: George IV (1762–1830)

When George III was declared mad in 1811 his eldest son became prince regent. The future George IV celebrated by inviting 2,000 guests to a banquet that cost a quarter of a million pounds — at least £20 million in today’s money.

Statue 4: Field Marshal Earl Haig (1861–1928)

Haig was the spitting image of the upper class officers portrayed in the film Oh What a Lovely War — decades behind advances in military technology, useless at strategy and preferring, in the words of AJP Taylor, "an unsuccessful offensive under his own command to a successful one under someone else’s".

Statue 5: Sir Robert Peel (1788–1850)

Peel was made chief secretary for Ireland at the age of 24. His main "achievement" was founding the Royal Irish Constabulary, an English-run body protecting landlords from desperate peasants and preventing nationalist rebellion. Peasants became the main targets of the "peelers", as the new police came to be known.

Smashing statues through the ages

Our book Topple the Mighty involves two parts of a whole. The first part goes through some of London’s statues, using them as a "coat hanger" to talk about what these people really did and who they were.


Edinburgh festival: from stinging satire to immaculate images

Pick up the brochure for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and it’s hard to know where to begin. But there are a few companies and venues whose track records make them a fairly safe bet for theatregoers who are in search of powerful drama.

The Last Mitterrand — a gripping tale of a president in decline

The Last MitterrandDirected by Robert Guédiguian

Family days out

The Eden Project St Austell, Cornwall£12/£5Phone 01726 811911

What We Think

Turn Blair’s dreams into a nightmare

How many times must Tony Blair have daydreamed about how much easier life would be if Iraq and the anti-war movement went away? The draconian policies he announced last week are measures to cow and silence his critics. Britain already has a raft of policies to deal with terrorist offences.

Other Categories

Pierre Broué, 1929–2005

The Marxist historian Pierre Broué will never achieve the status of posthumous fashionability now awarded to CLR James, nor will he ever be widely as feted as Eric Hobsbawm among literati and opinion former circles.


From El Salvador to Iraq Recent leaks in Britain and the US promising troop reductions in Iraq should not be taken as a weakening of Anglo-American commitment to winning a protracted war.

Meetings, events and film showings

Meetings And Events

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