Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 1984

Dated: 21 Jan 2006

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Scrap the education white paper

Far more is at stake for the future of education than the fate of the hapless Ruth Kelly. New Labour’s White Paper on schools signals a thoroughgoing assault on the principle of comprehensive education.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Behind Tony Blair’s anti-social agenda

Beccy Palmer is a youth worker in Brent, north west London, coordinator of the Voice Of Young People group who recently won a human rights award for their documentary highlighting the real effects of Asbos and a founder member of the Asbo Concern organisation

7 chances for a pensions fight

A massive battle over pensions could be on its way. In a remarkable week, the opening shots were fired in seven major disputes, all of which could see strike action.

Royal Mail ratchets up the tension in the post office

Royal Mail's cost-cutting is creating the conditions for a possible national dispute.

Education round-up

Todmorden High School Eighteen members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) at Todmorden High School, West Yorkshire, were due to strike on Thursday of this week over pay restructuring.

Eileen Short: sacked for offending New Labour’s regime

The New Labour council in Tower Hamlets is so scared of debate that standing up to its proposals can lose you your job.

Harwich Express

A driver at Harwich Express who was temporarily unfit to drive has returned to work on full pay following action by his workmates.

Reports round-up

Asylum campaign wins victory Asylum rights campaigners in Sheffield are celebrating after Afghan asylum seeker Mohammad Arrian was granted indefinite leave to remain, and has now been reunited with his family.

Wrong people on trial after US plot to bomb Al Jazeera

The attempt to cover up George’s Bush’s plan to bomb the Arabic television channel Al Jazeera means that two men will face trial next week for allegedly breaking the Official Secrets Act.

Nazi BNP leader Griffin humiliated in Leeds again

Over 600 people from across the north of England rallied in Leeds on Monday of this week as Nick Griffin, leader of the fascist BNP, and his sidekick Mark Collett went on trial on charges of incitement to racial hatred.

News in brief

Doctors protest at health plan The government's drive to use private sector funding for hospital building has been called into question this week.

Who says?

"My father, growing up in Glasgow in a poor community, didn’t have as much money as we have. But people behaved more respectfully to one another."Tony Blair, launching his "respect" agenda last week

Now US kills children in Pakistan

An act of cold-blooded murder. Not one Western leader would dispute that if it were 18 innocent people in London or New York who were blown apart in the early hours of last Friday.

Richard Dawkins: damning the religious

Michael Rosen argues that Richard Dawkins’ new TV series, The Root Of All Evil, misunderstands the historical role of religion and those who practise it

Unite all the battles against tube bosses

London Underground bosses have been forced to come up with a new offer to resolve the dispute over staffing and safety which has led to two 24-hour strikes by station staff in the RMT union.

Virgin Cross Country railworkers

Some 370 members of the RMT union on Virgin’s Cross Country line struck last weekend, the third time they have held a one-day strike in a dispute over Sunday working.

Huddersfield NHS revolt

About 1,500 people marched through Huddersfield town centre on Saturday of last week in a protest against hospital cuts. It was larger than the first protest before Christmas.

Blair flees protest over Iraq

Up to 100 demonstrators from Nottingham Student Peace Group and Nottingham Stop the War forced Tony Blair to sneak into Labour’s national policy forum meeting through the back door last Saturday.

Second round at Terminal 5

Construction workers at Heathrow airport’s Terminal 5 site were set to strike from Friday of this week to Tuesday of next week in an ongoing dispute over bonus pay.

Five years since the last pay rise at Nylatex

Members of the T&G union struck at the Nylatex textile factory in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, last week.

Morrisons depots

Some 2,500 jobs are to be slashed at three Morrisons depots in the wake of the supermarket giant’s merger with Safeway.

Civil service workers

Highways agency Highways agency staff this week began a campaign of industrial action over pay.

Dockers defeat EU directive

Following European wide strikes and a thousands strong demonstration that confronted the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week, MEPs have voted to reject the proposed Ports Services Directive by 532 to 120.

90,000 civil service DWP workers fight neo-liberal offensive

Over 90,000 members of the PCS civil service workers’ union in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are set to strike on Thursday and Friday of next week in the first stage of a battle to defend jobs and services.

Join the lobby on 8 February to win direct investment in council housing

Wednesday 8 February is the next stage of the campaign for decent housing. Delegates from around Britain are gearing up for the Defend Council Housing (DCH) lobby of parliament on that day.


The Left Bloc's Louça is standing for a different Portugal

MP Francisco Louça is the Left Bloc candidate for Portuguese president. The campaign has gone very well. As the campaign has gone on it has become clearer that it is necessary to present an candidate who stands for an alternative to the main parties.

Dock workers’ struggle across Europe

Around 6,000 dockers attempted to storm the European parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Monday. Police used water cannons and tear gas to try keep thousands of workers from across Europe away from the EU politicians.

Indian car workers say, "Back down or we’ll blow up the plant!"

Organised labour in India have shown that they have the power to resist multinational capital. A militant strike by workers at the Toyota-Kirloskar Motors factory in Bangalore, southern India has bosses on the back foot.

International round-up

Protest over torture in Greece Support was growing this week across the Greek labour movement for a demonstration this Saturday over the torture of Pakistani immigrants by the intelligence agency last summer.

Mali is the next stop for the World Social Forum

Thousands of people were travelling to Bamako in Mali, west Africa, this week for the World Social Forum (WSF).


Iran shows the limits of US power

It is, of course, utterly hypocritical for George Bush and Tony Blair, both commanding vast nuclear arsenals, to denounce Iran for deciding to restart its uranium enrichment programme. I heard one US neo-con, Frank Gaffney, ranting and raving on the radio the other day about how uniquely evil the Islamic regime in Iran is.


Taking us back to a place of fear

The promising new BBC series Life on Mars uses the device of a policeman transported 30 years back in time following a road accident to explore the ways in which society has changed since the early 1970s.

Analysing Zionism

The state of Israel was founded in 1948 when Zionist militias — with the connivance of British authorities — embarked on a brutal ethnic cleansing programme that drove over 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, an event known as the Naqba, or catastrophe.

Strike for freedom

December saw a one-day mass strike and demonstrations in Ireland in support of seafarers’ wages. Irish workers produced the latest in a growing series of mass strikes across the world.


Mozart: musical beauty in an age of revolution

To mark the anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Salzburg, Austria, on 28 January 1756 we will once again be regaled with tales of the boy genius who was practically composing masterpieces in his crib.

What We Think

Why City bosses cheered Ken Livingstone

London mayor Ken Livingstone chose a dinner at the Mansion House in the City of London last week to launch an attack on the rail union, the RMT. An audience of financiers gave him an ovation when he told them he "had not the slightest intention" of conceding to the union in the staffing dispute on London Underground as this would be "rewarding bad behaviour".

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