Solidarity 3/167, 18 February 2010
The UK jobless total now stands at 2.46 million unemployed, or a rate of 7.8% — including 923,000 16-24-year-olds. More job cuts are on the way.
A new initiative, the Socialist Campaign to Stop the Tories and Fascists, attempts to resolve the dilemma facing socialists in the May election: what should we want the outcome to be?
“There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.”
So too with labour movements: there are turning points, crises, decisive moments whose outcomes shape the future. The victory of the Thatcher Tories in 1979 was one such turning point. But it was the turning point it proved to be only because of the response of the labour movement and its leaders to the assaults that followed.
Ali Dizaei, the disgraced Metropolitan Police commander recently found guilty of perverting the course of justice, was dogged throughout his career by allegations of corruption and misconduct and was finally prosecuted for perverting the course of justice for framing a business associate for assaulting him.
A small victory was earned for filesharers last month when the creator of Oink website was acquitted at Teesside Crown Court. Filesharing, where individuals can share information online, has angered the music and film industries by ignoring copyright laws, and thus denying big corporations millions of pounds of income.
Albert Booth, former “Old Labour” Cabinet Minister, lifelong socialist and trade unionist, and my much-loved uncle, has died aged 81.
“Short stories are by nature daring little instruments and almost always represent commensurate daring in their makers”, writes Richard Ford in his introduction to the second Granta Book of the American Short Story. Of course, any collection of American fiction, and particularly one dedicated to the short story, that overlooks J D Salinger’s contribution can only be considered, as Holden Caulfield might put it, “phoney” in the extreme.
Over recent years New Labour’s permanent revolution of “restructuring” inside the NHS has laid the groundwork for the privatisation of healthcare. These changes have been put in place without any public scrutiny. Now, using the political cover of the economic crisis, NHS bosses and politicians are planning enormous cuts and this will speed up plans for privatised healthcare.
It is now common to meet working-class people who say they are sympathetic to, or will vote for, the UK Independence Party. Clearly what they stand for has a resonance, including a resonance with former Labour supporters, alienated by New Labour's record in government. Anti-fascist activists need to arm themselves against this unpleasant far-right party.