Solidarity 073, 12 May 2005

Why did the LibDems get the anti-war vote?

Submitted by Janine on 14 May, 2005 - 10:37

Pete Radcliff, an AWL member, stood in Nottingham East under the banner of Socialist Unity. He got 373 votes, or 1.2% of the poll, about a third of his score in 2001. He writes about the lessons of the campaign

The result was disappointing, but there were many useful things about this socialist election campaign other than the final tally of votes: we put across a working-class socialist message; we held together at least a portion of the socialist vote from 2001, as a base which we can build on in the future.

Cynics through and through

Submitted by Janine on 14 May, 2005 - 10:35

By Bruce Robinson

In Manchester Withington, the Liberal Democrats overturned an 11,524 Labour majority with a 20% swing to win the seat by 667 votes.

Early in the campaign, I was called by a Lib Dem phone canvasser. When asked why I wasn’t going to vote for them, I said “It’s because you’re a bunch of cynical opportunists.” (Not the whole reason, but a good enough starting point!) The Lib Dem campaign bore this out.

World workers' news round-up

Submitted by Janine on 14 May, 2005 - 9:58


Last month a judged ordered that a public notice of ownership be posted at the ceramics Zanon factory in Argentina.

The notice would have allowed a venture capitalist or the previous owner to buy Zanon Ceramics for pennies.

More than 470 jobs and the workers’ administration of Zanon could have been in danger, as a new owner could have immediately requested their eviction of the factory. However as no “interested parties” registered, the judge had to close the registry and it cannot be re-opened.

Against the odds in Pakistan

Submitted by Janine on 14 May, 2005 - 9:39

Trade unionists in Pakistan face a daily struggle to organise. The unions have often been hijacked by reactionary political parties. Farooq Sulehria of the Labour Party Pakistan tells the story.

In Pakistan people often take on two jobs or have some small business after work to survive. All our governments, whether khaki or civilian, have had the same IMF-World Bank dictated neo-liberal agendas: privatisation, downsizing, and an end to subsidies. It may have been different had there been a workers’ party built by trade unions. But

Can we make poverty history?

Submitted by Janine on 14 May, 2005 - 8:55

The basic statement of the Make Poverty History campaign, and a response by No Sweat


Today, the gap between the world’s rich and poor is wider than ever. Global injustices such as poverty, AIDS, malnutrition, conflict and illiteracy remain rife.

Despite the promises of world leaders, at our present sluggish rate of progress the world will fail dismally to reach internationally agreed targets to halve global poverty by 2015.

The trouble with Northern Ireland

Submitted by Janine on 14 May, 2005 - 11:42 Author: Sean Matgamna

Why is Northern Ireland so intractable? Sean Matgamna looks to the intricacies of Irish history and the peculiarities of the Six County entity for an explanation.

There are two distinct peoples in Ireland, who see and define themselves differently and antagonistically, the Catholic “Irish-Irish” Nationalists and the Protestant “British-Irish” Unionists.

The trouble with Northern Ireland: part 2

Submitted by Janine on 14 May, 2005 - 11:36

Read part 1 here.


The entity designed for majority-Protestant self-rule was to have a new political mechanism transplanted into it.

A statelet designed to let Protestants rule was to be reformed in such a way as to abolish majority rule, and in its place put institutional power-sharing — guaranteed by law — between Catholic and Protestant parties.

Writing on the wall

Submitted by Janine on 14 May, 2005 - 9:24
  • Tescopoly
  • Health inequality
  • Childhood obesity


The announcement by Tesco boss Terry Leahy that his company made £65 million profit per second last year was greeted with joy by the capitalist community. Declan Curry of the London Stock Exchange was only surprised at how muted the announcement was. “We should not be ashamed of profit,” he said. Tesco says it will “create” 25,000 jobs next year.

Platform: Nuclear Politics

Submitted by Janine on 13 May, 2005 - 11:17

While George Bush hypocritically rails against nuclear proliferation in Iran, the US and Europe are colluding in extending nuclear energy in the countries affected by the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. This survey — we have edited it slightly for reasons of space — was published recently on the Schnews website.

Being Skint

Submitted by Janine on 13 May, 2005 - 11:14

Duncan Morrison reviews “Skint”, BBC1, Mondays, 10.35pm

The documentary series Skint has reminded me how valuable good documentaries can be. Using a not quite fly on the wall style, the makers ask questions to their subjects as they go through their lives. They follow a number of people and families in the Birmingham area as they struggle to make ends meet. These are Britain’s poor.