Solidarity 073, 12 May 2005

Cynics through and through

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.

Against the odds in Pakistan

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

Writing on the wall

  • 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.

Being Skint

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.