Solidarity 379, 7th October 2015

Tories smear migrants

Home Secretary Theresa May's comment at the Tory Party conference on 6 October 2015 should become as notorious as Margaret Thatcher's outburst against immigrants in 1979. "When immigration is too high", said May, "when the pace of change is too fast, it’s impossible to build a cohesive society. It’s difficult for schools and hospitals and core infrastructure like housing and transport to cope". She echoed Thatcher in 1978: "People are really rather afraid that this country might be rather swamped by people with a different culture". The facts brand May's words as divisive scaremongering....

Junior doctors: Let's save the NHS!

The campaign by junior doctors against the imposition of a new contract which would see them working 90 hour weeks, with pay cut and the safety of patients endangered, is gathering support amongst medical staff and members of the public. Attacks on health workers have been free-flowing at Tory Party conference, with David Cameron using the occasion to visit hospitals and GPs surgeries in the area and reaffirm his committment to launching a ″seven-day NHS″. Ratcheting up the attacks on NHS workers, claiming they don′t already deliver a seven-day service, shows that the Tories are beginning to...

Industrial news in brief

Strikers at the National Gallery, London, returned to work on Monday 5 October after 111 days on strike. They have secured a deal which protects members’ terms and conditions and sees their sacked PCS rep reinstated. The deal, which was made on Friday 2 October, does not stop the privatisation of gallery services but is a big climb down by gallery management in most areas, and the gallery has agreed to review the private contract after one year Sacked PCS rep Candy Udwin will be reinstated. Staff will be paid the living wage, which will also be uprated on basic pay in future years. Guarantees...

Sir Paul Kenny's Brexit idiocy

If the bankruptcy of the trade union bureaucracy were in any further need of demonstration, then the antics of soon-to-depart GMB general secretary Sir Paul Kenny over the European Union (EU) referendum adds a new chapter. First, Kenny orchestrated a motion to the TUC Congress, which would have pledged the trade union movement to campaign for Brexit if David Cameron extracted some concessions from other European powers on the working time directive, agency workers and other workers’ rights. The key phrase was: “Congress gives notice that it will campaign for a ‘no’ vote in the referendum if...

An open letter to a “rejoiner”

Dear comrade, You’re one of the sizeable minority of “rejoiners” among the 180,000 or so people who have joined the Labour Party since the general election, in the leadership contest or since Jeremy Corbyn won leader. I’m writing to urge you to make your rejoining not just a tepid “see how it goes” affair, but a full restart of the political energy and ardour of your previous activism. Even if the young people entering politics with the Corbyn surge have been on demonstrations and other one-off actions before, there has been effectively no Labour youth movement, and no other leftish youth...

Scrap Trident replacement!

The government — continuing decisions made by the previous Blair-Brown New Labour government — is already spending hundreds of millions of pounds on a British nuclear weapons system to replace Trident. The final decision on the system, and the start of construction of submarines to carry the new weapons, is due by late 2016. The first submarine would then be scheduled to enter service in 2028. The total cost of this programme is understated by the government. It would be huge, £100 billion or more. The same money would build 200 big new hospitals, or employ 150,000 additional nurses...

TUSC disorientated over Corbyn

When the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) met on Saturday 26 September, the hot topic for discussion was how socialists should respond to the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party. But, according to reports on websites of two of TUSC's affiliates, the Socialist Party and the Socialist Workers Party (but not in any detail on TUSC’s own), TUSC will, just do what it usually does. It welcomes Corbyn’s victory, but it will stand in the May 2016 local elections on a very limited socialist platform, for what are likely to be, especially in the new situation, very poor...

Subtler plans of the Labour right

Luke Akehurst, secretary of the right-wing Labour First faction, hopes to bring down Labour's new Corbyn-McDonnell leadership by pressure of public opinion. Akehurst disavows those on the Labour right who want a coup against Corbyn. Writing on Labour List (22 September), he relies on this: "Some of [Corbyn's] grassroots supporters will go through the same painful process of awakening and political education that led to many Bennite activists becoming successively Kinnockite then Blairite in the 1980s and 1990s. Their idealism didn’t survive repeated interaction with electoral defeat and...

The enemy is capital

In the 1970s, Hoxton, just north and west of Brick Lane, site of the now-notorious Cereal Killer Cafe mobbed by a publicity-seeking anarchist group on 26 September, was a stronghold of the fascist National Front. The national headquarters of the NF, a scarier outfit than the BNP of recent years, was on Great Eastern Street, halfway between the two areas. Hoxton's population was ageing, white, of the least organised sections of the working class or of the "lumpenproletariat" (chronically unemployed), and embittered. Brick Lane's population was overwhelmingly Bengali, also poor, and sufficiently...

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