The media

Rendezvous in Northern Ireland?

Martin McGuinness shaking the Queen's hand offended socialists because of our contempt for the institution of monarchy but his motive at least was progressive, and also republican in the sense defined by the founder of modern Irish republicanism Wolfe Tone — “to replace the name Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter with the common name Irishman”.

In a hugely symbolic moment on 27 June, during a royal visit to Northern Ireland to mark her jubilee, the former commander of the IRA shook hands with the Queen.

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Tories seek mandate to increase cuts, inequality, poverty

Author: 

Martin Thomas

“Mrs May”, writes the Tory-leaning columnist of the Financial Times, Janan Ganesh, “could not survive an election campaign saying so little so often if people paid attention”. Since so many don’t, “the repetition of slogans in lieu of answers carries no cost”. Fraser Nelson, another Tory, comments in the Spectator: “She seems to think that, if you refuse to give the press anything, the public won’t care. Worse, she seems to be right – for now, at least”. May’s purpose, so Nelson writes, is not to “seek a mandate”, but to evade one.

The Daily Mail front page headline on 19 April summed up how Theresa May sees the election serving her Brexit drive: “Crush the saboteurs”. That is, strengthen her position against all who ask questions, raise criticisms, demand information.

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Labour council losses expected

Author: 

Keith Road

Labour are 18 points behind the Tories according to the Guardian/ICM survey produced on the eve of Corbyn’s launch of Labour’s campaign for the May Council and mayoral elections. Labour could lose as many as 125 councillors across England, Scotland and Wales. Particularly damaging in Scotland where Glasgow Council is likely to fall to the SNP.

Corbyn is right to highlight the vast cuts being made by the Government and to welcome those councils that have sought to improve pay and training for care workers. However this completely fails to recognise the significance that these cuts are being implemented by Labour councils who are now engaged in some serious industrial battles with their own workers.

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Re-elect Len McCluskey!

Author: 

Ann Field

Ballot papers for Unite the Union’s General Secretary and national Executive Council elections have been sent out to the union’s 1.4 million members. Voting runs to 19 April, and the result will be out on 28 April.

West Midlands Unite full-timer Gerard Coyne is the right-wing challenger to Len McCluskey, the incumbent General Secretary seeking re-election for a third time. Ian Allinson is also standing as the candidate of rank-and-file democracy.

Unite members should vote for Len McCluskey in the General Secretary election. But that is no more than the first stage of the campaign needed.

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What’s happening on 11 March?

Author: 

Simon Nelson and Keith Road

The Momentum Grassroots conference on Saturday 11 March (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Conway Hall, London, WC1R 4RL) presents an important opportunity to shape and coordinate the work of local groups after the 10 January coup in the organisation. We hope for a large turnout, with delegates representing groups from around the country.

Momentum still has a huge pool of resources and a membership of over 20,000. To walk away and squander the biggest opportunity the left has had in a generation to transform the Labour Party is wrong and should be resisted.

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Alt-right threat opposed at Berkeley

Author: 

Simon Nelson

Milo Yiannopoulos is an editor at Breitbart, a news site of the so-called alt-right. He is a self-described “super villain”, a viciously right-wing internet troll who publicly attacks women, black people, Muslims, immigrants. Unsurprisingly he is a great supporter of Donald Trump. So bad is he, he is permanently banned from Twitter.

The alt-right have gone into online overdrive, attacking their opponents for being unable to handle opposing views, calling “liberals” illiberal etc. But in the age of social media, this is not so much a free speech restriction as a question of access to certain platforms.

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The millionaire regulator

IMPRESS — “a community interest company” — has been given official state backing to operate as a press regulator. But as IMPRESS has been majority-funded through charities set up by former Formula 1 tycoon Max Mosley, how “independent” is it likely to be?

After the Leveson Enquiry into the conduct and ethics of the UK press, the question of how to manage press regulation has been fought over by rival groups of newspaper owners and lobby groups like Hacked Off! The widely discredited Press Complaints Commission has to be replaced, but what with?

IMPRESS — “a community interest company” — has been given official state backing to operate as a press regulator. But as IMPRESS has been majority-funded through charities set up by former Formula 1 tycoon Max Mosley, how “independent” is it likely to be?

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Calais: Open the border!

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Editorial

None of us will know exactly what the terror feels like as our Syrian village is overrun by Daesh (“Islamic State”). Or exactly how disgusting the Mercedes-driving, people-smuggling parasites are that took all our money and pushed us out into the Aegean in a half-submerged dinghy.

The last parts of the Calais Jungle are being destroyed by the French state. The site is being bulldozed and the migrants dispersed. The French and British authorities are dealing with the migrant crisis by trying to hide its miserable human content. They found the Jungle to be too inconvenient, too much of a media and PR disaster, and have tried to scatter the problem, not solve the issue in a humane and decent way.

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The Sun sinks again

Author: 

Padraig Muir

The sentencing on 21 October, of star News UK reporter Mahzer Mahmood, otherwise known as "the fake sheikh", to 15 months' jail, has led to renewed demands for more official regulation of the press.

We should be wary of any legal changes that criminalise stings per se. On the other hand, we should welcome anything that hammers another nail into the vile anti-working class institution that is News UK and its most toxic manifestation, the Sun.

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The Times, AWL and Momentum: more shoddy journalism

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

On 21 October Times senior political correspondent Lucy Fisher and chief political correspondent Michael Savage published an article about the AWL entitled “Hard-left Corbynites dismissed as softies”, glued together with out of context quotations, snippets from Facebook, gossip, inversion of reality and anonymous sources.

The Times has published an article saying the AWL dismisses “hard-left Corbynites... as softies”, glued together with out of context quotations, snippets from Facebook, gossip, inversion of reality and anonymous sources.

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