Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2305

Dated: 02 Jun 2012


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Destitute and hungry in Jubilee Britain: 'The big society is a big lie'

Up to 70 people a day use a soup kitchen in a car park behind a chain store in Walthamstow, east London.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Postgraduates organise to fight for working rights

Around 50 postgraduate students gathered for the "What is the Future for Young Academics" conference in London last Saturday. It was backed by the London region of the UCU union.

Strike ballot for Salford lecturers

Lecturers at the University of Salford are balloting for strikes to stop redundancies.

Teachers threaten joint strikes

The two biggest teaching unions in Britain could launch a united campaign of industrial action against cuts and attacks on education later this year.

Parents occupy boss's shop as academy strikes spread

Parents and children occupied one of Lord Harris’s Carpetright shops last Saturday in protest at his plans to take over schools in Haringey, north London. Around 30 people joined the protest, forcing the shop to close.

School news round-up

Teachers at Kimberley School in Nottinghamshire walked out on Tuesday of this week over plans to turn their school into an academy.

Meetings held to mark return of Climate Caravan for jobs

Enthusiastic meetings of 50 people in London and Manchester wrapped up the Caravan for a Million Climate Jobs tour last Friday.

Lloyds head of fraud charged

Former head of fraud and security at Lloyds has been charged with stealing almost £2.5million from the bank.

Marching against college cuts in Hackney

Students and lecturers marched in Hackney, east London, last Saturday against planned cuts at the borough’s only college.

East Enders say: Stop the Olympic missiles!

Campaigners are organising to resist plans by the military to lock-down east London over the Olympic period.

Doctors' ballot: 'It's important to stand up and be counted'

Doctors in the British Medical Association (BMA) have called industrial action on 21 June against the Tories’ pensions attack.

Andy Coulson charged with perjury over Sheridan trial

David Cameron’s former spin doctor Andy Coulson was charged with perjury last night (Wednesday) over evidence he gave on oath while working for the Tories.

London students demonstrate in solidarity with Quebec protests

As huge student protests continued to rage in Quebec, over 100 people demonstrated in solidarity outside Canadian government buildings in London last night (Wednesday).

Mean bosses royally squeeze workers for jubilee

The government says it wants us to celebrate the queen’s diamond jubilee. It even announced an extra public holiday to maximise the chance "the nation" uniting to hold jubilee parties.

In pictures: Birmingham Pride

Photos from an angry Birmingham Pride yesterday (Saturday) by Geoff Dexter

Defiant PCS conference votes for more united pensions strikes

Delegates to the annual conference of the PCS civil service workers’ union voted today (Wednesday) for more strikes over pensions if other unions strike with them.

Climate caravan completes national tour for jobs

The Caravan for Climate Jobs completed its tour of Britain today (Friday) after nearly two weeks of spreading the word about its campaign for one million climate jobs.

UK Uncut street party targets Nick Clegg

Anti-cuts protesters brought their message home to Nick Clegg today (Saturday)—by holding a "street party" outside his posh house.

Revolutionary Socialists' statement on Egypt's presidential elections

The Revolutionary Socialists Movement confirms its opposition on principle to the candidate of the Military Council, the dissolved National Democratic Party and the forces of the counter-revolution, Ahmad Shafiq.

Was it finance that caused the crisis?

Across the world, ordinary people are raging at the bankers. And it’s no wonder.

PCS conference: We need 'generalised offensive' to stop cuts

PCS conference: We need 'generalised offensive' to stop cuts

PCS conference: What would a merger mean?

Delegates passed a motion committing the union to "explore with Unite how the relationship between the two unions can be developed further".

DVLA workers striking back

Around 1,200 PCS members working in the DVLA’s local office network were set to strike on Friday of this week for two hours from 3pm.

Sparks make a stand to back suspended union rep

Electricians from across Britain travelled to protest at Ratcliffe on Soar Power in Nottinghamshire on Tuesday of last week.

1,000 construction workers in unofficial walkout

More than 1,000 construction workers staged an unofficial strike at the Sellafield nuclear site on Friday of last week in a row over jobs.

Baggage handlers in spirited strike at Stansted

Around 20 workers joined the picket line at Stansted airport last Saturday and they were in good spirits.

Transport round-up

Over 20,000 bus workers at 21 London operators are balloting for industrial action over Olympic bonus payments.

Yunus Bakhsh wins permission to seek judicial review

Victimised health worker Yunus Bakhsh has won a landmark court case that could have implications for many activists sacked for their trade union activities.

Cleaners' campaign wins a living wage

Cleaners working in the medical school at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south London, have won the London Living Wage.

Firefighters gear up to strike over cuts

FBU union members in Essex are balloting for strikes against cuts and imposed changes.

GM wheat sparks an angry protest

Around 200 people protested against genetically modified (GM) food in Hertfordshire last Sunday.

Wardens to ballot over working week

Traffic wardens in York could strike over plans to change their working week.

Bin workers vote to call off their action

A planned strike by refuse workers the GMB union in west Wiltshire was called off last week after workers narrowly accepted a new offer from management.

Housing activists take on Lord Freud

Tenants and housing campaigners protested against Tory welfare reform minister Lord Freud on Wednesday of last week.

Steve Hedley: We need a strategy to defeat the cuts

Voting is underway for the RMT union’s election for a new deputy general secretary. Steve Hedley, currently the union’s London organiser, told Socialist Worker why he is standing.

Talha Ahsan extradition threat: 'It's reprehensible to detain someone without trial for so long'

Talha Ahsan was arrested in 2006, so he could be extradited to the US to face terrorism related charges.

Security firm Serco left asylum seeker dying of heart attack

A detained asylum seeker died after being denied medical attention following a heart attack, an inquest has heard.

Racist boot boys driven off streets of Edinburgh and Redditch

Activists from the racist Scottish Defence League (SDL) thought they would have a day of triumph last Saturday in Edinburgh.

Patronising Sun jobs fair offers army recruitment

More than 92,000 jobs were "up for grabs" at the Sun’s "Sunemployment" roadshow—or so the newspaper claimed.

A4e accused in fraud scandal

A4e, the workfare company, stands accused of being involved in a vast fraud scandal.

Are execs at watchdog monitoring MPs' expenses milking expenses?

Executives at the watchdog monitoring MPs’ expenses, Ipsa, may be milking the system themselves.

Network Rail health and safety breaches led to death

A court fined Network Rail £150,000 for health and safety breaches that led to the death of one worker and the serious injury of another.

Job cuts help rich avoid tax

There are some £35 billion in uncollected taxes, a public accounts committee found.

College staff strike back over cuts in Chesterfield

Striking lecturers at Chesterfield College won enormous support when they walked out this week against cuts.

Sussex teachers strike

Teachers at Sussex Downs College in Eastbourne struck on Thursday of last week against redundancies.

PCS conference shows escalating action can beat the Tories' pensions assault

Civil service workers support more strikes over pensions if other unions strike with them.


International

Eyewitness Spain: Bank crisis fuels the rage against a rotten system

Spain’s rulers are in a panic as economic indicators point to a Greek-style collapse of the economy.

Revolution continues beyond the poll in Egypt

When Egypt’s parliamentary elections produced a majority for the Muslim Brotherhood last year, many journalists and academics declared that the revolution was over.

Greek media workers debate all-out strike during election period

Media workers in Greece shut down newspapers and TV news stations when they walked out on strike on Monday of this week.

Half a million march to defy Quebec's Bill 78 anti-protest laws

Up to half a million people took to the streets of Montreal last week to defy Quebec’s draconian new anti-protest laws.

Massacre in Houla marks point of no return for Syria's regime

The terrible massacre of civilians in the village of Houla near the restive city of Homs marks a watershed for the Syrian revolution.

Western military intervention would destroy Syria's revolution

Western powers have pounced on the massacre in Houla to once again talk up the idea of foreign intervention in the revolution. As socialists, we remain firm in our opposition to any such intervention.


Comment

Greece's real battle comes after election

It’s a cliche but it’s nevertheless true that the eyes of the world are on Greece. I get feverish updates of the latest opinion poll from revolutionary Marxists and bourgeois economists alike.


Features

The royal tradition invented

Every royal anniversary or wedding is met with an outpouring of drivel about the ancient rituals of the monarchy and its ceremonies.

Queen Elizabeth pretends royals are a normal family

The current queen’s image has been a strange mix of pomp and domesticity throughout her reign.

The 'British values' of racism

British values are invariably touted as a magic potion to bind Britain back into one nation.

The Untouchables - corruption in the Met police

Eight years ago Laurie Flynn and Michael Gillard wrote The Untouchables. It exposed the police corruption at the heart of Scotland Yard—and the criminal links between cops, News International and politicians.

'The political pollution of the Met is extraordinary'

The hackgate scandal has often focused on the hacking of celebrities’ mobile phones and emails. But the reason that it has caused such a stir among the political class is because it exposes the corruption that runs through the British establishment.

A history of collusion, corruption and whitewash

The corridors of power at Scotland Yard swirl with unlimited self-regard. Scandal leads to closing ranks and the odd scapegoat being charged, a larger number of officers retiring or transferring and an inquiry that produces a whitewash.


Reviews

Punk Britannia's two-pronged insurgency against the system

The current onslaught of jubilee propaganda has gone hand in hand with nostalgia for Britain during the Silver Jubilee celebrations of 1977.

Carlos Fuentes: layered and complex writer of the left

Carlos Fuentes gave a typically blunt interview to the BBC in December.

Film: Free Men

This French film is set in 1942 in Nazi-occupied Paris. It follows the fortunes of Younes (Tahar Rahim), a young Algerian man who finds himself drawn into the French Resistance.

Music: The Last Bird to Sing

Ewan McLennan’s new album draws primarily on Irish and Scottish folk music. His concern for political justice is evident throughout.

Top 5 books

Struck Out by David RentonWhen the Clyde Ran Red by Maggie CraigPublic Services on the Brink, edited by Jenny MansonLondon Recruits: The Secret War Against Apartheid, edited by Ken KeableIn Praise of Love by Alain Badiou


What We Think

A cabinet of sleaze right up to the top

Sleaze and scandal stalk this government. David Cameron is under pressure and is desperate to avoid being caught in the mire. But it’s getting harder for him to do so.

No place for sexism

A survey of 3,400 women working in Britain has found that half of them experienced sexual harassment at work—including offensive sexist remarks and being made the butt of chauvinist jokes.


Other Categories

Tim on the eurozone

Tim's view

Sixty years on the scrounge—stuff the jubilee

Letters

We stand against attacks on young, poor people in Derry Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) has terrorised the youth of Derry and the North West of Ireland for around three years.

Who says?

‘Phone hacking was evidently going on whilst I was in office’Tony Blair at the Leveson inquiry this week

Kate joins the queen for a nice lunch with their dictator pals

Kate Middleton, the duchess of Cambridge and wife of prince William, is supposed to be the new, modern face of the monarchy.

It's a royal cash-in!

Firms have rushed to cash in on the jubilee. You might have heard of "Ma’amite".

Diamonds are the queen's best friend

Diamond giant De Beers has produced a crown for the jubilee—studded with 974 diamonds.

Tory Barlow and his royal jubilee travel tales

We’re told the jubilee is a "non-political" time of national celebration. But Gary Barlow, who has written the official jubilee single, is a raving Tory.

Royalist cafe: stand for the anthem or no tea for you

The owner of a royalty‑themed tearoom threw out three people when they refused to stand for the national anthem.

More markets won't solve the crisis in childcare

Childcare services are a necessity for millions of parents in Britain. Without childcare they could not go to work.

Childcare: Dutch and Danish offer different models

How does childcare in Britain compare to that in the rest of Europe? The Tories claim to be following the example of the Netherlands, which uses a network of "host agencies" to run its childcare system.



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