Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2039

Dated: 24 Feb 2007




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Tony Blair – bloody liar

Tony Blair has washed his hands of the disaster which is Iraq. Speaking last Sunday, Blair refused to apologise for the war, announcing instead, "Of course I am devastated by the numbers of people who have died in Iraq, but it’s not British and American troops that are killing them".


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Crucial day to help stop New Labour’s NHS cuts

Tony Blair claimed this week that the NHS is within sight of abolishing traditional waiting lists for operations. Many patients are now receiving treatment within the government’s 18 week treatment target, he said.

The growing crisis in midwifery is hurting pregnant women

Mothers’ and babies’ lives are being put at risk by staffing shortages in the NHS. Every day there are reports of women in labour receiving inadequate care as harassed midwives run from one birth to another.

Manchester health dispute goes on

Talks between management and the Unison union at Manchester’s mental health and social care trust over a proposed package of cuts were to continue this week.

Workers vote for tube strike

Members of the RMT rail workers’ union on the London Underground have voted by over three to one to strike over pay.

Newham council threatens sackings

The New Labour council in Newham, east London, took another step in its campaign of union busting last week when taxis carrying threatening letters arrived at the homes of refuse workers.

London Underground cleaners ballot for strike

Hundreds of cleaners working on London Underground are balloting for strike action over job cuts.

Battle at BBC over cuts

Thousands of members of the NUJ journalists' union are set to strike at the BBC on Monday over compulsory redundancies. Members of the Bectu union working for BBC News in London were also set to strike.

Keep up the pressure on Simclar

Around 600 Simclar workers and supporters marched through Irvine, Ayrshire on Saturday to keep up the pressure on the company.

Parking attendants in Enfield fight for union recognition

Seventy mostly African migrant workers in the GMB union are in a bitter dispute over union recognition in Enfield, north London.

Reports round-up

Conductors set to walkout Some 550 senior conductors in the RMT rail workers’ union on Central Trains are set to strike this Saturday over the imposition of centralised rostering.

Talks reopen over Fujitsu dispute

The Amicus union has laid out its plans for the next few weeks of campaigning in the ongoing dispute at Fujitsu over union recognition, redundancy, redeployment and pay.

Keep campaigning for Roger Kline and UCU Left

There are just two weeks left until the ballot closes for the UCU national executive and general secretary positions. It is vital that lecturers use every opportunity to talk to their colleagues about the importance of voting for Roger Kline and the other UCU Left candidates.

No London CWU cash for Labour?

No London CWU cash for Labour?

PCS reveals action diary

The national executive of the PCS civil service workers’ union agreed a proposed calendar of events last week to take forward the fight over job cuts and pay.

Care workers strike in Southampton

Some 240 care workers in the Unison and T&G unions at Southampton council struck for 24 hours on Wednesday of last week. The strike involved home care workers, care assistants, cooks and laundry assistants.

Local government round-up

Tower Hamlets Labour-led Tower Hamlets council in east London wants to cut home care and charge for it.

Unicef report: suffer the children

New Labour’s campaign for the hearts and minds of young people in Britain was dealt a heavy blow last week with the publication of a United Nations report on child poverty.

Lambeth tenants’ meeting

Some 150 people attended a tenants’ meeting in Lambeth in south London on Saturday of last week to organise against the local Almo.

Almo plans in disarray

One of the main planks of the government’s housing policy is the use of Arms legnth management organisations (Almos). This policy is now in crisis.

Tower Hamlets tenants win injunction against housing sell off

Tenants on the Parkside estate in Tower Hamlets, east London, have won an injunction preventing the Labour council completing the sell-off of more than 2,000 council homes to a subsidiary of the housing association Circle Anglia.

UAF conference calls for unity against BNP

Some 600 delegates gathered at Unite Against Fascism’s annual conference in central London last Saturday to launch this year’s campaign against the British National Party (BNP).

Blair’s blood money should be spent on NHS

Becca Kirkpatrick, a Unison union shop steward at the National Blood Centre in Birmingham, will be joining the anti-war demonstration in London this Saturday.

British troop reductions announced - tell Blair to get all the troops out now

Tony Blair’s announcement that some British troops will be withdrawn from Iraq is a significant turning point, one of the most significant in terms of British policy since the 2003 invasion.

US soldier says he won’t fight for Bush

The feeling against the Iraq war is growing even within the US army.

Gun crime: stop blaming victims

The tragic murder of three teenagers in south London over the last fortnight has unleashed a wave of "soul searching" by the media and politicians alike.

Gangs and capitalism

‘The situation that we face today isn’t really new. Today we have school exclusions, but in the 1970s we were fighting "special education" – a means of giving black kids an inferior schooling in separate schools.

Inequality and poverty are the real causes of violence

The government has been keen to assure the public that the recent spate of murders in London are about the behaviour of "particular" people in "particular" areas.

A new law to hand over Iraqi oil to the multinationals

The Iraqi parliament is on verge of passing new legislation to restructure the country’s oil industry – effectively handing it over to foreign multinational control, according to a draft copy of the law leaked last weekend.

Court martial: there is ‘no case to answer’ over Baha Musa’s death

Hotel receptionist Baha Musa was arrested by British soldiers, along with eight other Iraqis in September 2003.

Craig Murray elected as rector of University of Dundee

Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and critic of the "war on terror", was elected last week as the rector of the University of Dundee.

Islam Channel cuts Yvonne Ridley

Mystery surrounds the decision of the Islam Channel to axe its popular political and current affairs TV show, The Agenda, fronted by well known journalist and anti-war activist Yvonne Ridley.

Regional Organising For Fighting Unions meetings

The highly successful Organising for Fighting Unions conference held late last year is being followed up a series of rallies to take its message to cities around the country.

100,000 on London anti-war march demand all troops out of Iraq and no Trident replacement

A huge demonstration filled the streets of central London today, calling for all occupying troops to be withdrawn from Iraq, no replacement of Britain’s nuclear weapons system and no attack on Iran.

Pictures of 24 February Troops Out demo in London (1)

Pictures of 24 February Troops Out demo in London (2)

Pictures of 4,000 strong Glasgow Troops Out demo on 24 February


International

Growing resistance in Zimbabwe shakes Mugabe’s government

Zimbabwe in southern Africa slides deeper into crisis every day – but there are also signs of renewed resistance.

Iraq poverty survey

A third of the population of occupied Iraq now live in poverty -many more than prior to the US-led invasion.

Revolt in Vicenza, Italy at new US base

More than 120,000 people crammed into the streets of Vicenza in the north of Italy on Saturday of last week to oppose a new US military base at the Dal Molin airfield.


Comment

Nasty Nick Cohen’s attack fails to hit his targets

Socialists welcome criticism. Our arguments always need sharpening, and a good debate is an excellent way to do this. Unfortunately, the journalist Nick Cohen’s new book, What’s Left?, isn’t much help in this (or any other) respect.

Tony Benn: ‘Why we must all demonstrate on 24 February’

‘People say, "What’s the point of demonstrations?" I got some letters four years ago after the big demonstration then and people said, "we had the demonstration, there were two million people there, but the war went ahead."

George Galloway: ‘The Iraq war has scarred the world’

‘Not only have 655,000 Iraqis died, there are also hundreds of thousands of maimed Iraqis, hundreds of thousands of homeless Iraqis, millions of Iraqis with no electricity and no water.

Britain and the US – a special nuclear relationship

A decade ago Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the US’s leading strategic thinkers, published a book called The Grand Chessboard.


Features

Edward Said and Orientalism

Every anti-war activist is familiar with the frustration of hearing the media and pro-war politicians talk about fighting for "democracy" in Iraq while they whip up hysteria over the alleged threat posed by "Muslim extremists" to "our values".

Iraq: sectarianism stoked by empire

It is the policies of the occupation that are tearing apart Iraqi society apart, not divisions between Shia and Sunni Muslims, writes Anne Alexander


Reviews

Tinariwen interview: Soul rebels of the North African desert

You have dedicated Aman Iman to "Peace, tolerance and development in the Sahara and the world of the oppressed." These are powerful sentiments and I can guess where they’ve come from, but why did you choose this particular dedication?

Tinariwen - Aman Iman

There is a saying that it only takes one drop of water to make the glass overflow. Let’s hope that proves to be the case with Aman Iman (Water is Life), the third album from Tinariwen, the fabulous exponents of an intoxicating brand of desert blues.

9th Company | Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

9th CompanyDirected by Fyodor BondarchukFilm out now Set during the Soviet Union’s ill-fated Afghanistan war in the 1980s, Fyodor Bondarchuk’s film 9th Company is Russia’s equivalent to the Deer Hunter, Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now films.


What We Think

Labour’s betrayal of millions of tenants

New Labour’s advisers have condemned Britain’s five million council tenants for supposedly living in ghettoes and being cut off from the economic success story of Britain.


Other Categories

Leon Kuhn: Scrap Trident

Tim: drugs bill

Letters

More reasons to march Contract opportunities: Dog handlers wanted. Not an unusual advert until you realise the job could be in Iraq, the recruiter is Blackwater USA, a military outsourcer whose home page describes them as "nine separate business units to offer the most comprehensive professional security, peacekeeping, and stability operations company in the world."

Meetings, events and demonstrations

Meetings And Events



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