Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker

Issue: 2392

Dated: 25 Feb 2014

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Benefit cheek: Richest MP Richard Benyon gets thousands in benefits

There are many reasons to hate Tory Richard Benyon. Not only is he Britain’s richest MP worth £110 million, and not only did he slash flood defences when he was environment secretary.

International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other


Bristol Radical Film Festival 2014

The festival returns for its fourth year with a packed programme of classic and contemporary political film. Highlights include an evening with Iranian filmmaker Mania Akbari and a Q&A with the director of The Happy Lands. There’s also rare film from the Spanish Civil War, live scores to silent Soviet classics, video-activist workshops and much more.

Education question time in Brixton

Activists in south London have organised an “Education Question Time” to discuss how to defend education.

Campaigners’ in Southwark lobby to stop council cuts

Benefit campaigners, trade unionists and others were set to lobby Southwark council in south London against cuts on Wednesday of this week.

Think outside the box in pay dispute

More than 2,000 Unite union members at around 50 box manufacturing sites are being balloted for strikes over pay. The Confederation of Paper Industries offered a 2013 pay rise of 2.9 percent. It represents big, profitable corrugated packaging firms including SAICA Pack UK Smurfit Kappa and DS Smith. The ballot closes on 11 March.

Workers to strike for a reel pay rise

Twelve assembly line workers struck for better pay at the Daiwa Sports fishing rod factory in Lanarkshire on Monday and Tuesday of this week. The workers—all women—are members of the Unite union. They are currently paid just £6.72 an hour, and rejected a below-inflation raise of 1.5 percent.

No to police water cannon

Anti-water cannon campaigners met in London on Monday of this week to voice their objection to police using water cannons. The meeting, organised by Defend the Right to Protest, was addressed by lawyer Matt Foot as well as protesters from Northern Ireland.

Movement Against Xenophobia conference calling for an end to attacks on migrants' rights

Movement Against Xenophobia is set to host a conference to resist the Tory attacks on migrants. Speakers include Jeremy Corbyn MP. Day tickets £10 (£20 solidarity price, £2 for low waged/unwaged). Saturday 15 March, 10am, SOAS Vernon Square Campus, Penton Rise, London WC1X 9EW.

Campaigners meet to demand justice

Some 60 people attended a Peace, Justice and Equality public meeting in Manchester on Friday of last week hosted by Black People Rising Against the Cuts (Barac).

Benefits campaigners call lobby at parliament

The court of Appeal ruled last week against disabled campaigners who said the bedroom tax and benefit cap discriminate against them.

Unison sets local government pay ultimatum

Unison has given local government bosses until 1 April to respond to unions’ pay claim or they will begin a national branch consultation.

Step up post-16 action to win over pay insults

Further and higher education workers were set to meet to discuss an ongoing pay dispute on Saturday of this week.

Ballot for Tube cleaners

Cleaners on London Underground are to ballot for strikes because their employer, outsourcing giant ISS, is introducing fingerprint technology to book on for work.

Virgin West Coast cleaners call off strike

Cleaners on Virgin West Coast’s Pendolino fleet called off a planned 24-hour strike after a settlement was reached reinstating a victimised union member.

Maintenance drivers plan 48-hour walkout

RMT Northern Rail maintenance driver members in Traincare depots plan to strike for 48 hours over a re-grading exercise.

Supporters gather outside Mark Harding court hearing

Supporters of Mark Harding, an RMT union member arrested on a picket line during the recent Tube strike, gather outside his court hearing on Tuesday of this week

Women's Assembly says: we want a fightback

Over 200 women gathered in London last Saturday for the Women’s Assembly against Austerity.

Care workers call nine days of strikes

Care workers in Glasgow are preparing for a series of 72-hour strikes.

Anti-fracking protest called in central Manchester against IGas

Anti-fracking campaigners have called a protest in central Manchester against drilling by IGas on Barton Moss, Eccles on Sunday of next week.

Politicians vie to back up oil barons in Scottish independence row

MPs’ rows over Scottish independence focus on helping the bosses, writes Raymie Kiernan

Strikers at Edinburgh College beat attacks on conditions

When you take on the bullies, they turn out to be cowards. That’s the lesson from a successful strike at Edinburgh College.

Former blacklisted worker attempts citizen's arrest on Cullum McAlpine

Former blacklisted worker Dave Smith (centre) attempts a citizen’s arrest on Cullum McAlpine at Sir Robert McAlpine’s offices in central London on Friday of last week.

Anti-fascists gear up to kick Nazi Nick Griffin out of his North West seat in May

Wigan Griffin Must Go was launched last week with MP and Labour Shadow Health secretary Andy Burnham

Victory for disabled campaigners as Atos looks for way to escape ‘fit for work’ tests contract

Hated firm Atos healthcare has said it wants to stop testing whether disabled benefit claimants are “fit for work”.

Cancer treatment delays soar at NHS trusts as cuts hit

The number of NHS foundation trusts that have breached urgent cancer referral targets has more than quadrupled in a year, a recent study has revealed.

Tories fail to bury report on soaring food bank use

The government tried to bury its own report into soaring food bank use last week, after holding it up for more than seven months.

News in brief

Doreen Lawrence says some sections of the police are still racist, 11 million homes lie empty across Europe, women in prison are being pushed into sex and more and more children are on adult mental health wards

Tony Blair 'advised' Rebekah Brooks before arrest

Tony Blair offered to act as an “unofficial adviser” to Rebekah Brooks at the height of the phone hacking scandal, the Old Bailey heard last week.

Migrants’ rights under attack as Tories plan to block benefits

The Tories are continuing to bash migrants with nasty new measures restricting access to benefits. But people are getting organised to say no to scapegoating, says Ken Olende

Nicky Jacobs is innocent campaign launched in Tottenham

Over 100 people packed into the launch of the Nicky Jacobs is Innocent campaign in Tottenham, north London, on Sunday of last week.

Homes soaked due to flooding but vital jobs continue to be cut

Even with homes still underwater in Somerset and large parts of the Thames Valley, Environment Agency (EA) bosses are pushing ahead with job cuts.

The inspiring fight of socialist seafarer Chris Braithwaite

Chris Braithwaite was a remarkable and inspiring black socialist, trade unionist and anti-colonialist. He was active in the British working class movement between the wars but sadly little remembered today.

Demonstrate against the arrest of Moazzam Begg

A national demonstration has been called in Birmingham for Saturday to protest at the arrest of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg on suspicion of terrorism.

Doncaster care workers strike against brutal attacks on pay by Care UK

Over 100 striking care workers joined a noisy rally in the centre of Doncaster today, Saturday. The Unison union members are in the middle of a seven-day strike.


Old rulers in Venezuela see a chance for revenge

The last two weeks in Venezuela have seen the right wing opposition mobilise street demonstrations

After Thailand's election crisis continues amid violence

If Democrat Party protesters, business leaders, military commanders, top civil servants, judges, NGOs, and senior academics have their way, Thai democracy will be finished. But the royalist “Yellow Shirt” conservatives in Thailand are a minority, albeit a powerful one.

Egypt's military-backed government resigns amid strikes

The prime minister and cabinet of Egypt’s military-backed government suddenly resigned on Monday of this week. 

International round-up

Briefs on Syria, Australia and France

Bahrain - courage and resistance in the face of repression

Bahraini activists Rula al-Saffar and Jalila al-Salman spoke to Judith Orr about resistance to the al-Khalifa regime

As Ukraine’s president flees, who has won?

After the government falls and rebels claim victory, Simon Basketter looks at the situation in Ukraine


Ukraine is tangled in an imperial game

What kind of geopolitical game is going on in Ukraine? All kinds of rumours are circulating.

Putin raises the stakes in imperialist Crimea crisis

Russia’s seizure of military control over Crimea has brought Ukraine to the brink of war.  This crisis represents the coming together of three distinct conflicts.


Learning we are powerful - how do workers become revolutionary?

More and more people are angry with the cruel, inefficient capitalist system, writes Dave Sewell. But when will they gain the confidence to take it on and end its exploitation?

As migrant cleaners at Soas prepare to strike they say, "we know change is possible"

Migrant workers at a central London university are getting ready to strike for the right to sick pay, holidays and pensions. They told Raymie Kiernan how long hours and tough conditions haven’t stopped them fighting back


Oh What A Lovely War: A musical that could teach Gove a lesson

The revival of musical Oh What A Lovely War was made controversial by the school minister’s attack. Mary Brodbin went to see what the fuss is about

Richard Hamilton exhibtion: Pop Art pioneer had a political project

This retrospective brings together five decades of the late Richard Hamilton’s work. The sheer variety is almost disorientating.

The Miners’ Hymns: Lyrical portrait of mining communities

Artist Bill Morrison and composer Johann Johannsson have created a lyrical portrait of the mining communities of north east England. The Miners’ Hymns draws upon the region’s tradition of brass bands. It features local players alongside orchestral musicians and rare archive footage of miners at work.

Paper Bells: Haunting first single from Trojan Horse

The haunting first single from Manchester band Trojan Horse is a psychedelic call for class consciousness.

What We Think

Right wing smears won’t stop child abuse

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman says she is the victim of a “politically-motivated smear campaign” by the Daily Mail. She is right.

When enemies rise up

There have been protests, street barricades and battles with the police in Ukraine, Venezuela and Thailand.

Other Categories


Give McDonald's workers a break, unions can back Labour or their members, spare a thought for the Environment Agency, comrade is 100 not out, time to act on climate change

Things they say

‘More like the Socialist Workers Party on a demo’

It's the rich landlords who are really cashing in on benefits

The hard right Ukip regularly claims that benefit claimants are a problem. But it seems they aren’t such a problem if there’s a money to be made.

Insurance—a racket that helps rich firms get richer

Many flood victims have found that insurance firms won’t pay up—while companies plot new ways to sell more worthless policies, reports Socialist Worker

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