Solidarity 048, 18 March 2004

Support Scotland's nursery nurses!

Nursery nurses in Scotland are continuing their indefinite strike action after the Scottish Parliament rejected calls for a national pay settlement. Around 300 of the 5,000 nurses on strike demonstrated for improved pay outside the Scottish Parliament as MSPs debated the issue on 11 March.

What next in pay battle?

The Department of Work and Pensions PCS reps' meeting on 6 March discussed the action against the pay freeze. The exec's only proposal was to continue with action short of strike action, and to have a three-day strike after Easter. No strategy to win the dispute was outlined, and no further plans were mentioned. The GEC appears to believe that escalation of the dispute is simply a matter of taking people out on strike for more days than last time.

Student unions need new leadership

By Alan Clarke and Sally Murdock

Although nothing was confirmed when Solidarity went to press, it looks likely that the Third Reading of the Higher Education Bill will take place on 31 March - the last day before the parliamentary Easter break, and also the third day of this year's Conference of the National Union of Students. The Higher Education Bill introduces "top-up fees" for university education in place of the current flat-rate fee.

Smile

by Brian Wilson

"If there is one person I have to select as as a living genius of pop music, I would choose Brian Wilson." George Martin, Beatles producer
"I lost my way, heh, heh, heh." Brian Wilson

With sell-out concerts at the Royal Festival Hall and major coverage in the serious press, Brian Wilson, aged 61, is back. He is back playing music he wrote when he was just 24.

Last year we were re-introduced to Pet Sounds, consistently voted best album of all time by music journalists. This year Wilson has compiled the most famous unfinished album in rock history, Smile, abandoned 37 years ago.

Dunkirk

BBC2

If there is a national myth about the Second World War which still holds sway in the public imagination, it is that of the "miracle of Dunkirk", the "little ships" which rescued retreating British troops from the Normandy coast in June 1940, when France fell to the Nazis. BBC2's dramatic recreation of these events gained more than five million viewers, almost matching the viewing figures for Footballers' Wives on ITV!