Socialist Worker


Taking on the Lib Dems

25 September 2004
THE ALL-OUT strike by Swansea IT workers in the Unison union is now in its sixth week. They are protesting against the Liberal Democrat dominated council’s outsourcing plans.

Simon Hughes' latest hustings wobble

10 June 2004
SIMON HUGHES, the Liberal Democrat candidate for London mayor, made a surprise announcement at the Muslim Council for Britain hustings last week. "I want to bring the troops home immediately," he said. "That's the first time I've heard that," shot back Lindsey German, Respect's mayoral candidate.

For the dogs of war, a muzzle would be welcome

10 June 2004
A SERIES of hysterical articles attacking Respect appeared in the liberal press last week. These come from journalists who pose as left wing humanitarians. Yet they strongly support Bush's war on terror and hate the anti-war movement.

They want to steal the anti-war vote, and are heading to the right

10 June 2004
THE LIBERAL Democrats are trying to grab the anti-war vote. But they dropped opposition to the war once the bombs starting raining down on Baghdad. Mark Oaten, the Liberals' home affairs spokesperson, said on Radio 4 last Thursday, "We took the view that when the military action happened, when the vote was taken in the Commons, that the worst thing we could do would be to undermine our troops. When the troops went into action we took the moral judgement to support them as best we can. On the fundamental issue of troops it would have been wrong to call for the troops to withdraw. It is still wrong."

Showing no warmth towards main parties

27 May 2004
THE ANNUAL Pensioners' Parliament took place in Blackpool last week. At the opening rally about 2,500 people heard speeches from representatives of the Labour, Tory, Liberal Democrat and Green parties. It was noticeable that the speeches were received with virtual silence or even derision.


22 May 2004
THE LIBERAL Democrat MP and mayoral hopeful Simon Hughes never misses an opportunity to have a go at the Tory candidate Steve Norris's links with big companies. Hughes linked Norris to the Potters Bar train crash in a London mayoral election leaflet. Norris is chairman of Jarvis, the company that recently accepted joint legal responsibility.

Liberal Democrats' great con trick

15 May 2004
ONE WEEK before the start of the Iraq war Charles Kennedy gave a remarkable speech to the Liberal Democrats' conference. He told delegates, \"The threat of war now looms over us all. Increasingly it seems we shall see conflict very soon, perhaps next week and probably without a second UN resolution authorising the use of force. When war comes, I want to make it absolutely clear that the Liberal Democrats will be backing our troops. We supported the deployment to the Gulf in support of UN Resolution 1441. If they are now asked to risk their lives for their country and for all of us, they will have our unqualified support. They are in the Gulf region to deal with a dangerous and bruta

Is there any place for parties in the movement?

08 May 2004
Man y people in the anti-war and anti-capitalist movements agree with us on general principles. They agree that socialists must oppose all forms of oppression. They agree that any movement against capitalism must involve the initiative, energy and imagination of millions of organised workers. They agree we must unite the widest forces against the fascist BNP. They utterly oppose the Tory party and don't trust the Liberal Democrats. Mostly, they know the Labour Party offers no way forward.

Civil liberties

10 April 2004
AROUND 100 people attended a meeting in Birmingham organised by the Guantanamo Human Rights Commission on Wednesday of last week. Speakers included Azmat Begg, father of Moazzam Begg who is currently being detained at Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay, Natalia Garcia, a human rights lawyer representing those being held in Woodhill and Belmarsh prisons under current anti-terrorism legislation, John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat leader of Birmingham City Council and Corin Redgrave of the Guantanamo Human Rights Commission.

Masses resist the right's assault on democracy

27 March 2004
OVER A million people took to the streets of South Korea last Saturday. More than 200,000 people gathered in Seoul for a candlelight rally to protest against the impeachment of President Roh Moo-hyun by the three opposition conservative parties-the Grand National Party, Millennium Democratic Party, and United Liberal Democrats.

Council Workers; Liverpool and Coventry

28 February 2004
HILDCARE SOCIAL workers in Liverpool were set to start a three-day strike on Friday in a dispute over lack of staff and workloads. Around 145 workers, members of the Unison union in Liberal Democrat run Liverpool City Council, will be out on Friday. They will also be out next Monday and Tuesday.


06 December 2003
A LIBERAL Democrat controlled council in West Yorkshire voted last week to award a contract to build four new special schools to Jarvis.

Lib Dems left pretenders

27 September 2003
MANY PEOPLE who voted for the winning Liberal Democrat in the Brent by-election last week were motivated by good reasons. Brent saw traditional Labour voters turn away from Blair in disgust at his government's record on the war, privatisation and public services. Many voted Lib Dem believing this was, on the day, the way to give Blair a bloody nose.


05 July 2003
OVER 400 people attended a union mass meeting in Liverpool on Monday of this week. The workers, members of the Unison union, are employed by the Liberal Democrat run council in Liverpool.

A vital challenge for unions and activists

01 February 2003
THE ELECTION last week of a fifth Nazi British National Party (BNP) councillor in Britain needs an urgent response. Adrian Marsden got 679 votes to become BNP councillor in the Mixenden ward in Halifax, West Yorkshire. He beat the Liberal Democrat candidate by just 28 votes and Labour by 38 votes.

The warning from Downham

16 November 2002
THE NAZI British National Party got 519 votes in the Downham ward by-election in Lewisham, south east London, on Thursday of last week. This alarming number of votes gave the BNP third place with 20 percent of the total vote in the ward. The Liberal Democrats won the council seat with 998 votes. Labour came second with 769. The BNP is cashing in on the atmosphere created by home secretary David Blunkett.

Beating back Nazi menace

31 August 2002
HOW BIG a threat are the Nazis in Europe today? Many liberal establishment commentators dismiss groups like the British National Party as nasty but marginal thugs who have no chance of ever getting near power. This position has become much harder to sustain, especially since Nazi Jean-Marie Le Pen beat prime minister Lionel Jospin into third place in the first round of the French presidential elections on 21 April.

In brief

03 August 2002
Lords a-leaping onto the board ONE THIRD of members of the House of Lords are company directors. Some 217 lords have 618 directorships between them. Nearly half of Tory lords are directors, almost 40 percent of Labour lords are directors, and 20 percent of Liberal Democrat lords sit on the boards of firms. The real figure is even higher. Some lords failed to register all their business interests.

Lib Dems for privatisation

09 March 2002
The Liberal Democrats are turning to the right. A policy review pushed by leader Charles Kennedy is set to recommend more use of PFI schemes and private firms to run schools and hospitals. It says PFI is helpful for bringing "more private sector management know-how into public service provision".

Torture thoughts

17 November 2001
Sections of the US media are trying to create a climate where the FBI and CIA can get away with torturing anyone they accuse of terrorism. Jonathan Alter, a columnist on Newsweek magazine, wrote earlier this month, "In this autumn of anger even a liberal can find his thoughts turning to torture." He added that he was not necessarily advocating the use of "cattleprods or rubber hoses"-only "something to jumpstart the stalled investigation of the greatest crime in American history".

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