Socialist Worker

Britain


Afterglow of France 1995

06 November 1999
THERE'S NOTHING like a beef war to remind you just how stupid the British media and British politicians are. The idiotic jingoistic ranting at the French this past fortnight really has taken the biscuit. In fact, France is the most interesting country in Europe today. A huge wave of social struggles is sweeping French society. The farmers' protests are merely the tip of the iceberg. Barely a day seems to go by without some group or other demonstrating in Paris. High school students have taken to the streets in their hundreds of thousands twice over the past six months.

Sprayed on by the MOD

06 November 1999
THE BRITISH government secretly sprayed huge areas of the country with deadly chemical spray in the 1950s, it has been revealed. The Ministry of Defence's chemical and biological warfare establishment at Porton Down conducted the secret experiments. It sprayed chemical spray and bacteria over Wiltshire, Hampshire, Berkshire, Dorset, Somerset and Surrey. Scientists claimed they wanted to find how vulnerable Britain was to a biological attack from the Soviet Union.

Crap from British beef supporters

30 October 1999
MUCH OF the press has flown into a French bashing frenzy. The pretext is the refusal of the French government to accept assurances that British beef is safe and free from the BSE "mad cow" disease. The foreigner bashing tabloids have seized on the revelations that some French farmers have illegally been using sewage based animal feed for their cows and pigs.

Challenge to New Labour

30 October 1999
THE BIGGEST region of Britain's biggest union, UNISON, has thrown its weight behind the socialist challenger to the union's current leadership. One of the delegates at the UNISON Greater London Regional Council spoke about why they decided overwhelmingly to back Roger Bannister's challenge to take over from general secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe after he steps down. She said, "The meeting showed a real mood against the union's leaders. "A statement opposing the union leaders' attacks on the recent lobby of the Labour Party was overwhelmingly passed. When Bannister spoke, he was applauded. Around 25 people got together at the end to organise around his campaign."

Profits before rights

30 October 1999
THE NEW Labour government ordered the police to crack down on protests against Chinese president Jiang Zemin's tour of Britain, according to a source in Blair's cabinet. People who had suffered years of imprisonment in China's jails or were demanding human rights were blocked and manhandled by the Metropolitan Police.

Divided between wealthy and poor

30 October 1999
WEEKS AFTER Tony Blair proclaimed at Labour's conference that the class struggle is over, a damning new report shows that class division has never been greater in Britain. The survey was based on four million households across Britain. It shows that after two years of Labour in office inequality is growing. For a few there is immense wealth and opulence. For the majority there is insecurity and either very real poverty or the threat of poverty.

Britain's Slave Trade: who won freedom?

30 October 1999
Channel 4's "Black History" month has restored my faith in the ability of television to take important historical subjects and present them in an unpatronising and accessible way. The centrepiece has been the four part series Britain's Slave Trade. It took as its inspiration Eric Williams's 1964 study Capitalism and Slavery, but updated it and brought it alive.

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