Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2151

Dated: 16 May 2009

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Commons criminals

"I want to apologise on behalf of politicians of all parties for what has happened in the events of the past few days," Gordon Brown said this week. "We must show that we have the highest standards for our profession."

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Campaign puts Nazi BNP on back foot

Activists determined to stop the fascist British National Party (BNP) grabbing seats in the European elections on 4 June launched a flurry of mass leafleting, cavalcades, protests, gigs and meetings over the last week.

Float rallies the anti-fascist fight in Bristol

Around 150 people took part in a broad-based day of action against the BNP in Bristol last weekend. Councillor Bill Payne launched the events as a cavalcade of cars, lorries and bicycles moved off to tour east and central Bristol.

Council homes cash is vital

A new report from the Council Housing group of MPs demands the government release more cash and support investment in existing local authority properties.

Leeds bin workers refuse pay cuts

GMB, Unison and Unite trade unions in Leeds say industrial action could be looming over the latest row over refuse workers’ pay.

Left victory in PCS elections

The PCS civil service workers’ union national executive elections saw members of the left and centre-left Democracy Alliance group overwhelmingly re-elected.

Tube workers ballot for strike

Around 10,000 members of the RMT transport union began their reballot for strike action on Thursday of this week. The ballot is over jobs, pay and management’s breaches of disciplinary and attendance agreements.

Lewisham Bridge primary school demonstraton

Around 100 people joined a march and rally on Saturday last week to demand the re-opening of Lewisham Bridge primary school.

Tamworth strike against academy plan

Teachers at five schools in Tamworth, Staffordshire, have voted to take strike action against a planned academy.

Lecturers march through Liverpool

Around 200 students and lecturers marched through Liverpool city centre last Saturday against planned cuts at universities in the city.

Lecturers campaign for national strike

Lecturers in universities across Britain are taking part in a critical ballot that centres on defending education and fighting job cuts.

Strikes in the post

Over 250 postal workers in Scotland struck last weekend over changes to working practices.

Protests at Olympic site point to jobs row

Several hundred construction workers from sites all over Britain protested at the Olympic site in east London last week.

Fight to save jobs at Delphi

The thousands of workers around the globe employed by the US car parts giant Delphi Corp must hold their breath a little longer.

Work to rule continues at the Daily Record and Sunday Mail

After more than a month of action, the NUJ work to rule continues at the Daily Record and Sunday Mail in Glasgow.

Industrial action ends at Yorkshire Post

Industrial action against 18 redundancies proposed by management at the Yorkshire Post and the Yorkshire Evening Post came to a close on Wednesday of last week as the ballot for action expired.

Stead McAlpin protest at Liverpool John Lewis store

Around 20 workers from the Stead McAlpin factory in Cummersdale, near Carlisle, protested at the John Lewis store in Liverpool city centre last Saturday as part of their jobs fight.

Immigration raid against activist cleaner

Cleaner Alberto Durango was reported to immigration by his bosses after building a union at his workplace and campaigning for the London living wage.

Eurostar workers fingerprinted to clean a train

Eurostar cleaners at St Pancras International station in London have voted overwhelmingly to boycott the fingerprinting machines their bosses have installed to replace clocking on and off machines.

Rob Williams sacking upheld at Linamar

Bosses at the Linamar (former Visteon) plant in Swansea have upheld the sacking of Unite union convenor Rob Williams.

Visteon workers determined to get what they have fought for

Ford-Visteon workers won a tremendous victory in their struggle for justice last week – but their fight is by no means over.

Britain embraces murder in Sri Lanka

The British government has been very keen to give the impression that it cares about the appalling plight of Sri Lanka’s Tamils. Following demonstrations outside parliament by thousands of Tamils, foreign secretary David Miliband went to the capital Colombo and called for a ceasefire. Gordon Brown created a new post for Des Browne as "special envoy" to Sri Lanka.

Labour widens poverty gap

The Gulf between rich and poor is wider after more than a decade of New Labour government than at any point under Margaret Thatcher.

A step forward for civil liberties over stop and search

Police have had their power to stop and search people without reasonable suspicion suspended. Section 44 of the Terrorism Act gave police the power to search people without an expressed suspicion.

Delays and disruption

The cases of the protesters arrested on the demonstration against George Bush’s visit to London in June last year are slowly moving through the courts.

Police continue to target protesters

The police are continuing to hound people involved in the demonstrations against Israel’s murderous war on Gaza in January this year.

Protest to demand the truth and justice

The family of Ian Tomlinson, who died during the G20 protests after being pushed to the ground by riot police, is seeking more answers about his death.

Tamils in London continue their protests against Sri Lanka’s war

More than 1,000 Tamil protesters occupied the streets outside parliament in central London last Monday.

Fighting back can beat the bosses

Millions of workers feel fear and anger as bosses use the recession to slash jobs. This will drive thousands of people to join the Unite union’s national demonstration for jobs in Birmingham this Saturday.

Prisme: ‘We kept protesting because our cause was worth fighting for’

Workers at the Prisme packaging company in Dundee occupied against the planned closure of the firm. After more than seven weeks in the building, they saved their company.

'We're closing in' graphic

Ministers cash in on schemes

Many Labour ministers are using the second home expenses scam.

MPs’ sleazy housing scams cost us millions

MPs have been lavishing millions of pounds of our money on everything from chandeliers to cat food.

How many Tories does it take to change a lightbulb?

In the past aristocrats used to have serfs to clean their moats. For at least one Tory, it seems that nothing has changed.

Mandelson to push ahead post sell-off

Business secretary Lord Mandelson said the media coverage of the expenses scandal created "the perception of wrongdoing" about his claims for his constituency home – lodged after he said he would be standing down as an MP.

How MPs use second homes

The additional-cost allowance (ACA) is supposed to reimburse MPs for the cost of renting, mortgage interest payments or staying in a hotel.


Mubarak blocks resistance Cairo conference

Egyptian authorities have cancelled the Cairo Conference, organisers have confirmed.

Pakistan descends further into chaos

Pakistan’s military offensive on rebels in the Swat Valley marks a dangerous turn for a region reeling from the US occupation of Afghanistan.

Disillusionment grows in India as crisis hurts poor

India’s parliamentary elections ended this week with the counting of the hundreds of millions of votes set to begin this Saturday.


Martin Wolf is hunting for our services

For the vast majority of people the idea that we need a new Margaret Thatcher is insane. After all, in the early 1980s she presided over the destruction of swathes of manufacturing industry. The scars still hurt in former coal, steel and other industrial towns and villages.

This is not true democracy

The stench of corruption surrounds the House of Commons. "Clear them all out," is the popular sentiment.


Is manufacturing industry finished in Britain?

Every day seems to bring yet another announcement of job cuts. This is seen as having a terrible effect on the strength of the working class in Britain.

Graphs of manufacturing industry

The percentage of workers in manufacturing has been in long term decline (1). There has however been a huge increase in productivity – the amount of wealth produced per worker (2). While the share of manufacturing goods exported has declined their actual value has gone up (3 & 4)

Education in struggle

Further and higher education is on the frontline of the government’s assault on the public sector. This is an issue that affects every working class person, not just education workers and students.

Anger over Strathclyde cutbacks

Students and staff at Strathclyde University in Glasgow are standing together against the new principal’s plans to sell off parts of the university and sack workers.

Battle lines are drawn at London Met college

Lecturers in the UCU union at London Metropolitan University became the latest group to take action to defend education when they struck on Thursday of last week.

Education facts

£180m – the ‘efficiency savings’ universities will have to make by 2011.500,000 – number of students waiting for outcome of university applications30,000 – number of people unable to go to university this year because of a lack of places1.3m – number of young people not in education, employment or training in Britain today (almost one in five)£260m – Government has pledged to help young people acquire skills and training

Human evolution and the African Eve

The origin of the human species is still a subject of fierce political debate. The question of whether modern day humans evolved together or are in fact separate races has social as well as historical significance.



This film is a portrayal of the series of interviews TV presenter David Frost held with former US president Richard Nixon.

Easy Star’s Lonely Heart’s Dub Band

The soul-shaking sound of a good dub beat has returned in the form of the Easy Star All Star’s latest offering.

Journal for Plague Lovers - The Manic Street Preachers

The Manic Street Preachers have returned with their ninth album.

China Miéville interview: a tale of two cities

‘The setting of the two cities is one I’d been thinking about for years. I was thinking about a romance or a short story, but then I thought it would work as a crime novel. I’ve always been interested in crime fiction but it isn’t necessarily my home territory.

What We Think

Off his Woodhead over schools and genes

Chris Woodhead, the former head of the Ofsted schools inspectorate, says middle class children have better genes than those from working class homes.

Gurkhas debate insults all immigrants

Many socialists will be surprised to see the Daily Express campaigning for a group of immigrants to be welcomed to Britain.

BBC has no licence to peddle the BNP’s Nazi lies

The fascist British National Party (BNP) has attempted over the past few years to rebrand itself as a "respectable" party of the mainstream.

Other Categories

Leon Kuhn: Down the drain

Tim: 'I went into politics…'


Spreading the victory of Visteon workers The victorious occupations at Waterford Glass, Prisme and Visteon, have made real what seemed like a fantasy a few months ago. As the jobs massacre continues, the challenge is to spread what they have achieved.

Expenses quotes

‘All the claims were within the House of Commons rules’The standard response of all MPs

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