Solidarity 042, 3 December 2003

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, what the hell does it spell to you?

Submitted by Anon on 8 December, 2003 - 5:41

First the good news: the left is getting together in large numbers early next year. There will be a "Left Unity Convention", probably on 25 January, and a "Convention of the Trade Union Left", definitely on 7 February.

Now the bad news: the way these events are being set up.
A private conclave at George Galloway's house in London on Sunday 30 November apparently set the 25 January date; chose a name - "RESPECT Unity Coalition" - for a grouping to contest the June 2004 euro-elections with Galloway as figurehead and lead candidate; and drafted a political platform.

Real Celeb: Ethical Dreads

Submitted by Anon on 8 December, 2003 - 5:38

Mark Sandell honours Benjamin Zephaniah

Christmas is coming so it is appropriate that Her Majesty the Queen will be dishing out feudal baubles in the honors list. Of course most of these gongs go to the ageing segment of the British ruling class for services to... the rich and powerful.

Some gongs are kept aside for populist gestures towards the great unwashed. A handful go to sporting heroes (D Beckham) and other celebrities - "thank you kindly ma'am" - a few to do gooders from ordinary backgrounds - "it's such an honour".

FBU ranks must organise

Submitted by Anon on 8 December, 2003 - 5:35

FBU ranks must organise
By Nick Holden

Fire Brigades Union members have voted to accept the staging of the second phase of their pay rise, with a three to one majority.

The ballot had a 56% turn-out, low by the FBU's standards, and was a major reversal since twelve months ago, when there was a nine to one majority for strike action to win a £30,000 salary for all fire fighters.

Master and Commander

Submitted by on 8 December, 2003 - 12:00

Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels, said Christopher Hitchens, are set where two worlds meet. The first is the large and political world of "the long struggle between imperial and Georgian Britain and Jacobin and Bonapartist France". This "astonishing global tumult" stretched across the late 18th and early 19th centuries and might be thought of as the real First World War.