Solidarity 398, 23 March 2016

Schools: stop the Tory plans!


Patrick Murphy

George Osborne announced in his Budget on 16 March that all schools are to become “academies” (autonomous businesses directly funded by central government) by 2020. There will be no choice, no consultation and no alternative available for children, parents or local communities. It is the first time a major policy from one of the big government departments has been launched by the Chancellor rather than the minister responsible.

Industrial news in brief


Sacha Ismail, Peggy Carter, Ollie Moore, Luke Hardy, Graham Korn and Charlotte Zalens

On 21 March cleaning and catering workers employed by multinational corporation Aramark at the South London and Maudsley NHS mental health trust, which has sites across South London, struck for a £10 an hour minimum wage, full sick pay and proper unsocial hours payments.

The economic problem is not overspend


Martin Thomas

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s speech about “fiscal responsibility” on 11 March was probably intended to buy him space to attack Osborne’s 16 March Budget cuts. However, all the anxious promises that a future Labour government will balance current spending with current revenues — although Osborne still doesn’t do that after six years as chancellor — only feed the superstition that the economic problems since 2008 are due to the Blair and Brown Labour governments “overspending”. They aren’t.

Push Labour on the NHS!


Sacha Ismail

On Friday 11 March, the campaign for the Labour Party to take a strong stand on the NHS suffered a serious though expected defeat. Nevertheless, its momentum is growing.

On the 11th, hardly any Labour MPs showed up to support the NHS Bill submitted by Green MP Caroline Lucas — guaranteeing it would not be heard and missing a major opportunity to embarrass and pressurise the Tories on the health service. Given that this was a Bill signed by the Labour leader and Shadow Chancellor, that is a seriously bad result.

A hundred years since Ireland's Easter Rising


Matt Rawlins

By 1916 the history of Ireland had been inextricably linked with that of Britain for seven hundred years, and the connection had not been a happy one.

The English (and later, British) imperialists took several centuries to conquer Ireland, in the process committing many atrocities and persecuting the Gaelic Irish. After the religious Reformation, conflict between Catholics and Protestants came to be central in Irish life. There were many uprisings, most significantly that of the United Irishmen in 1798, inspired by the French Revolution.

Academisation plans can be defeated


Patrick Murphy

The Tories’ plans for forced academisation of all schools were announced only a week after the third reading of the Education and Adoption Bill which widens the group of schools who can be forced to become academies by adding a new category called ″coasting″.

“The data. They get between me and the child I’m teaching.”


Patrick Yarker

I teach on an MA course designed for practitioners. I’d asked a group to talk about a time when they were made to question what they were doing in school or why they were doing it. Such a task can generate emotionally-charged responses. On this occasion, what I heard seemed to express frustration with a defining feature of contemporary teaching: a rattling of the bars. “I hate the data. Absolutely hate the data.” The vehemence of the comment brought me up short.

Schools face 8% funding cuts


Elizabeth Butterworth

On 17 March, the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan released a White Paper entitled “Educational Excellence Everywhere”, containing the government’s plans for state schools in England. As predicted, government is seeking to set about changing the way funding is allocated. The current funding formula has led to large disparities in the amount of funding per pupil different schools in the country get.

Tory fall-out shows we can beat cuts



On 18 March Iain Duncan Smith resigned as Work and Pensions minister — in protest, so he claimed, at a planned £4.4 billion cut to disability benefits.

Abstaining on “Snooper’s Charter” undermines Labour’s credibility


Sam C

On 14 March, the Labour Party whipped MPs to abstain on the Investigatory Powers Bill, the “Snooper’s Charter”, that would give the government unprecedented powers to invade the privacy of ordinary citizens without warrant, regardless or not if they are accused of committing any crimes.

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