Solidarity 070, 31 March 2005

Would you vote for this man?

Performance data:
• Spoke in 0 debates in the last year — 646th out of 659 MPs.
• Asked 0 written questions in the last year — 545th out of 659 MPs.
• This MP never rebels against their party — 630th out of 649 MPs.

Which MP does this verdict, from, describe? Some Blairite hack, no doubt? In fact it is the self-proclaimed arch-rebel, George Galloway.

Workers' news round-up

News from working-class movements around the world.


Around 75,000 people marched in Brussels on 19 March calling for a stronger social Europe, with more and better jobs, and protesting against the neo-liberal Bolkestein directive.

The Bolkestein or Services directive would mean that companies could effectively choose which European country’s laws to follow and whose enforcement regime to abide by.

Large delegations came from France and Germany, and smaller delegations from other European Union countries.

Workers' conference in Baghdad

The Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions of Iraq (FWCUI) — a union federation in which the Worker-communist Party of Iraq is influential — is calling a workers’ conference in Baghdad on 2 April. In Britain, No Sweat has helped organise fundraising events to support this conference.

Deadlock in Baghdad

Two months after the 30 January elections in Iraq, there is still no new government, despite repeated announcements by the Shia and Kurdish alliances which came out top in those elections that they are about to finalise an agreement.

The elected assembly has met briefly, on 16 March and 29 March, but made no decisions.

Bookshop sues trade unionist

Message from the French union CGT Maxi-Livres and the Stop Précarité network concerning Latifa Abed, a courageous trade unionist being sued for defamation by her employer. Please give Latifa moral support by sending a message to one of the links below.

Fight for health and safety worldwide!

In 2003 there were 235 deaths and nearly 160,000 non-fatal injuries from accidents in UK workplaces. Deaths from asbestos are likely to reach 150,000 over the next 30 years. Yet it is more than 200 years since the first protective legislation on health and safety — the 1802 “Health and Morals of Apprentices Act” — was passed. How far has the protection of health and safety at work improved? How effective is protective legislation?

Travellers: Tories play a race card

Earlier this month Michael Howard unveiled some spectacularly crude propaganda against travellers, alleging that Roma and other travelling people are given preferential treatment over the settled community when it comes to planning permission. This is because of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, incorporated into

A socialist challenge in Nottingham East

In 2001 Pete Radcliff stood for the now defunct Socialist Alliance in Nottingham East. He polled over one thousand in the constituency (one of the best SA results in the country).

This time round Pete will be standing in the name of the Socialist Green Unity Coalition.

This is a coalition of five left groups. The key idea of the campaign is to to give a voice to the mass of working class people who have been betrayed by New Labour by highlighting issues such as pensions, education, asylum, health, crime, trade unions, environment and war.

An alternative manifesto

The Labour Representation Comittee has launched an alternative Labour manifesto, counterposing policies widely supported by the trade unions to those pushed by Blair and Brown.

PCS must get back on track

The general secretary of the civil service union PCS was a rank and file militant and is considerably to the left of most general secretaries. The union’s national executive is dominated by Left Unity — an alliance of socialist groups and left-wing independents. PCS was key to putting together the public sector-wide action over pensions.

On the face of it there is not a more left wing-led union in Britain or one less likely to call off a strike, especially one ostensibly over pay and jobs as well as pensions.

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