Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2116

Dated: 30 Aug 2008

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Why can't energy firms pick up the bill?

"British economy grinds to a halt" cried the headlines last weekend. Charles Bean, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, said the current economic downturn could "drag on for some considerable time" – especially since there always seemed to be "another grenade" waiting to explode in the financial markets.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Western leaders panic at their plight in Afghanistan

The occupation of Afghanistan has entered a new and deeper crisis. A rising number of sophisticated attacks on foreign troops, combined with a growing rebellion in Pakistan and Russia's crushing of Nato ally Georgia, have raised the prospect that the occupation is heading for defeat.

US deal does not mark the end of Iraq's occupation

The US has been forced to water down its plans for an open-ended occupation of Iraq in the face of growing opposition.

Support grows for Stop the War protest in Manchester

There has been a sudden burst of interest in the Saturday 20 September anti-war demonstration at the Labour Party conference in Manchester.

The troops aren't leaving Iraq

Five and a half years after violating international law and invading Iraq, George Bush's regime shows no sign of handing Iraq back to anything resembling an independent, sovereign government.

Notting Hill Carnival crackdown targets young black men

London's Notting Hill Carnival is rightly hailed as a celebration of multi-ethnic Britain.

British state is complicit in Guantanamo torture

Evidence at the High Court last week has revealed that once again the British government has being lying over the use of torture, and has been illegally kidnapping people as part of the "war on terror".

Sacked nurse Karen Reissmann takes employer to tribunal

Supporters of Karen Reissmann, the Manchester nurse who was sacked after speaking out against cuts and privatisation in the NHS, are planning to show their continued backing for her as she takes her former employers to tribunal.

NHS policies deny vital treatment to cancer patients

Some 26 leading cancer consultants have written to the government demanding properly funded cancer treatment. One section of the letter states, "We have seen distraught patients remortgaging their houses, giving up pensions and selling cars to buy drugs."

Northern Rock keeps costing

The debacle of the "nationalisation" of the failed Northern Rock bank earlier this year looks likely to cost more than £1 billion of public money according to consultants at Goldman Sachs, which advised the government on the Northern Rock rescue plan.

Support South Korean activists

Socialist Worker recently reported on the demonstrations in South Korea against US beef imports. The huge protests have continued, showing great militancy and enthusiasm.

Debt boost to pawn shops

More and more people are being forced to turn to pawn brokers in an attempt to pay their household bills.

Strikes hit London bus garages as Sovereign deal rejected

This week marks a turning point in the London bus workers' pay campaign. About 2,500 bus workers at First Centrewest and First Capital are set to launch the first strike action of the campaign on Friday of this week. They are planning more strikes on 12 and 13 September.

Eurostar cleaners go on strike for living wage

The entrance to St Pancras International station in central London was a riot of colourful union flags, chanting and dancing from 6am on Bank Holiday Monday.

Tube cleaners' fight for pay justice continues

The threat of coordinated action on the London Underground between Tube Lines workers and cleaners saw management make a new offer in both disputes.

Anger and disappointment as Tube Lines strike called off

There was anger and deep disappointment among London Underground workers last week when the RMT union called off a strike by 1,000 maintenance workers at the Tube Lines consortium after a new offer from management.

Reports round-up

Ladbrokes workers walk out Some 200 workers at Ladbrokes telebetting call centre in Aintree on Merseyside struck last Saturday. The Usdaw union members rejected a 3 percent pay offer.

155,000 Scottish strikers show unity in action

Last week saw the latest challenge to Gordon Brown's curbs on wages as over 150,000 council workers in Scotland struck against a below-inflation three-year deal.

Argos workers accept revised pay offer

Workers at Argos have accepted a revised pay offer after taking a number of days of strike action.

Ballot over Boris's cuts at the London Development Agency

Union members at the London Development Agency (LDA) are to be balloted in coming weeks over management's latest pay offer of 2.5 percent.

Looking out for decent pay at the Coastguard Agency

Some 700 members of the PCS civil service workers' union at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) struck for 48 hours over the bank holiday weekend as part of their long running fight for decent pay.

Postal workers to protest at Labour Party conference

The CWU union has finalised plans for a demonstration of postal workers at this year's Labour Party conference in Manchester.

Hundreds join picket lines as London bus workers strike

Thousands of bus workers in west and east London are striking today over pay – making a huge impact on services at one of the biggest companies in the city.


Barack Obama's campaign moves further to the right

The Democratic Party National Convention (DNC), which took place this week in Denver, Colorado, will have been watched by millions. It will have confirmed Barack Obama as the party's presidential candidate.

The stakes in Venezuela get ever higher for Chavez

One of the striking things about life in Venezuela is the level of passionate political debate. Squares on Sunday mornings fill with people talking about current issues and the way forward for society.


Bluster aside, the Olympic games won't deliver

The closing of the Olympic Games in Beijing and the record haul of gold medals by "Team GB" became the perfect excuse for an outpouring of British patriotism last week.

George Bush is the real loser in the latest Caucasus war

Now that the dust is beginning to settle, what are the long term consequences of the war between Russia and Georgia?


Imperialism, nationalism and national liberation struggles

The recent war in the Caucasus between Russia and Georgia has highlighted once again the complex question of national rights. National antagonisms and nationalism are often put forward as explanations for war. Nationality and nations are portrayed as age-old.

Attacks on Roma echo a warning from history

Attacks on Roma echo a warning from history

The experience of Gypsies and Travellers in Britain

Gypsies and Travellers in Britain are socially excluded, powerless and often quite dispersed. The lack of resources and services available to them has a drastic impact on their lives. Educational achievement among Gypsies and Travellers is the lowest of any ethnic group in Britain.

Unity is needed to defend workers' living standards

Tim Besley, a member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, claimed last week that inflation will fall next year if workers keep their wages down.

Jess Hurd's pictures of Roma Gypsies in Italy

The Chagos Islanders and their fight to return home

The Chagos Archipelago is a collection of over 60 tropical islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The islands are a British overseas territory, known collectively as the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). To get there, you can either sail 500 kilometres south from the Maldives, 1,600 kilometres east from the Seychelles, or join the US navy and get posted to their military base, situated on Diego Garcia, the largest island in the chain.


Vaughan Williams: music that expressed the horrors of war

When Ralph Vaughan Williams was born in 1872, England was known as the "land without music".

Somers Town is a sweet and funny anti-racist tale

Shane Meadows' latest award-winning film is a sweet and funny story of how two teenagers, both outsiders, befriend each other.

Shoot On Sight: a striking portrayal of racism today

After seeing Shoot on Sight on Saturday morning, this striking film played on my mind for the entire bank holiday weekend.

What We Think

Erasing our memories of the Battle of Orgreave

In May 1984 the police rioted in South Yorkshire. In what became known as the Battle of Orgreave, thousands of police baton-charged striking miners, who were picketing the local coking plant.

Primary schools are the new academies target

At the start of the new school year, the government is intending to push its neoliberal agenda further into education. This week Lord Adonis, architect of the academy programme, declared that "failing" primary schools should become academies.

Pakistan spirals into ever deeper instability

With US and Nato casualties rising in Afghanistan, Pakistan is coming under yet more pressure to crack down on insurgents around the country's 1,500 mile border with Afghanistan.

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Who says?

"Increases in food and energy bills will intensify the squeeze on real take-home pay which, for many households, is unlikely to grow this year."Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England on current economic prospects

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