Solidarity 096, 13 July 2006

Tax the rich!

Published on: Wed, 19/07/2006 - 11:19

According to a report in the Guardian of 11 July, profiteers will grab maybe £10 billion this year in VAT fraud in Britain.

That’s £200 for every child, woman, and man in the country — or one-ninth of the total Health Service budget.

And it’s small beer. In the 1980s, the Tories gave the rich £20 billion a year (more in today's money) in tax cuts.

The Blair-Brown government continues those tax cuts. And recent research reported by Prem Sikka of Essex University and Mark Hampton of Kent University estimates that the tax avoidance industry rakes in fully £100 billion a year for the rich.

“The wind that shakes the barley”

Published on: Wed, 19/07/2006 - 10:25

Sean Matgamna

Among the stories of the Anglo-Irish War of Independence (1919-21) and the Irish Civil War (1922-3) which I grew up listening to my mother tell was the story of the shooting of the last three of 77 Republican prisoners of war killed by the Free State government, in the last days of the civil war, in our town, Ennis. One of the three was her cousin.

She would tell us of the sound of the early morning volleys of the firing squads ringing out from the military barracks on the edge of the small town, and the single shots in the head from the officer commanding the firing squad, the “coup de grace

Mayor Livingstone, anti-semitism, and the "anti-Zionist" left

Published on: Tue, 18/07/2006 - 10:19

Accompanying this story: Labour Herald caricature of Begin. Click here for the text of the Newsline editorial of 9 April 1983 and Ken Livingstone's accompanying comment.. Click here for image of that Newsline editorial.

A drunken Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, leaving a party, accused an Evening Standard journalist of being the equivalent of a Nazi concentration camp guard.
On being told that the man was Jewish and therefore took especially strong exception to what he said, he refused to withdraw the remark or to apologise for it. He stuck to that attitude even after he’d sobered up.


No water? Say: "We won’t pay!"

Published on: Sun, 16/07/2006 - 11:48

BY Gerry Bates

Dick Turpin, the highwayman, rules — OK! Or is it The Joker from the Batman comics, the playful larceny-obsessed lunatic who delights in having his armed gang inflict his fantasy-addled, power-mad pranks on those he robs?

Has London turned into Gotham City? Or has London mysteriously turned into some town in an old B-movie Western, where the robbers have made themselves masters — backed by armed stooge sheriff and a robber-serving town council — to prey on the hard-pressed honest citizens?

In any case, “Stand And Deliver”, the legendary cry of the armed robber, pointing a

Stop the assault on Gaza!

Published on: Sun, 16/07/2006 - 11:46

Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people in the territories it occupied four decades ago has long been an international obscenity.

Once more a senseless small-scale Palestinian guerrilla action against Israel — this time not an attack on innocent Israeli civilians, but on Israeli soldiers — has triggered enormously disproportionate Israeli action against Palestinians; the deliberate destruction from the air of bridges and other parts of the infrastructure on which any hope of a Palestinian return to anything like normal everyday life depends.

Whatever about the past — and Solidarity is

Save the NHS!

Published on: Sun, 16/07/2006 - 11:44

By Nick Holden

When the government placed an advert in the Official Journal of the European Union offering contracts for private companies to run and manage Primary Care Trusts throughout England, they didn’t expect that there would such a speedy outcry.

But the response from health campaigners and trade unions was so fast and so implacably hostile that the adverts were almost instantly withdrawn and hasty denials were issued.

Is it that easy to change government policy on the health service? Perhaps if Unison had been this vociferous against PFI, the last 10 years of attacks and

The campaign we need

Published on: Sun, 16/07/2006 - 11:43

The leadership of the health membership in Unison (the Health service group executive — SGE) will next meet on 19-20 July. Unison activists and branches need to pressurise them to get on with carrying out the policies agreed at Unison health conference back in April. Let us remind them that it is their responsibility to:

1. Mobilise the union to defend the NHS

For once we need to see the huge potential muscle of this union flexed. So far they have failed with even the basics of a campaign. The first steps needed are obvious – publicising the local campaigns and initiatives which Unison

Incapacity benefit cut - Defend the welfare state!

Published on: Sun, 16/07/2006 - 11:42

By Ruben Lomas

Foundation Hospitals, handing over schools to businesses, giving employers control of curricula in Further Education — no corner of the public sector or welfare state is safe from the Blairite project of subordinating every aspect of public life to the needs and drives of the market.

Now the government plans a fresh assault against incapacity benefits, something they have gone after twice before — in 1999 and in early 2005. Then, the government proposed the reduction of incapacity benefit to just £56 a week. This time, they plan to scrap it altogether. Even those who are among

Six things you can do

Published on: Sun, 16/07/2006 - 11:40

1. Join Keep Our NHS Public. There may be a local group near you, but if not, why not find out if there are other members locally and talk with them about starting a local group? Contact the campaign at

2. Build the health unions. If you are a healthworker, you need to be in a union. But more than that, you need to be active. We can’t fight the health cuts unless we are organised in our workplaces — organised to find out and spread information, and organised enough to resist cuts and closures when they are announced.

3. Organise a local protest. If there are cuts in

Iraqi oil workers plan strike against sectarian war

Published on: Sun, 16/07/2006 - 11:34

By Martin Thomas

According to the Iraq Freedom Congress, a grouping initiated by the Worker-communist Party of Iraq, oil workers in southern Iraq are planning a strike which “aims to bring security and build a free and democratic society in Iraq”.

The IFC reports: “The oil workers will strike for the following demands:

• Abolition of all contracts including privatisation imposed on the workers of Iraq, particularly oil workers;

• An end to the killing of workers committed by the armed militias in Iraqi cities.

• Redistribution of the ration food without taking away any item listed in the

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