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Monthly Archives: December 2006

Public sector union UNISON yesterday slammed Blair’s ‘reform agenda’ as being to blame for NHS deficits, and the British Medical Association (BMA) called on health secretary Hewitt to back off from insisting the NHS must be £250m in surplus by April 2008. Commenting on the Department of Health’s ‘Operating Framework’...
HEALTH Secretary Hewitt, who not so long ago said that there would be no limits to privatisation in the NHS, yesterday revealed that she was demanding that the NHS trusts make a £250 million ‘profit’ for the financial year 2007-2008. She has already stated that the NHS would...
LEBANESE Christian politician General Michel Awn addressed a mass anti-government rally of over 200,000 people in Beirut on Sunday 10 December. He warned the government of Prime Minister Fu’ad al-Siniora that if it did not heed the opposition’s call for a national unity government, the opposition would announce an interim...
THE government has ruled that millions of pounds of compensation will be paid to British troops wounded in Iraq after May 2003, when the war was declared over by President Bush. The grounds for the ruling are that the troops were victims of crime and not warfare. That this novel ruling...
HEZBOLLAH leader Hasan Nasrallah said last Thursday that anti-government protesters would ‘never surrender’ and would continue their street demonstrations until they achieved their goal, which he said was the formation of a national unity government free from ‘foreign tutelage’. Nasrallah said: ‘O brothers and sisters, it is...

NHS Referrals Scandal

The British Medical Association (BMA) yesterday expressed its concerns over Primary Care Trusts diverting patient referrals to private treatment centres from NHS hospitals, while they are instructing the NHS hospitals that waiting times for routine operations be kept to the maximum allowed,...
FOLLOWING an increase in the number of employment tribunals – after an attempt was made two years ago to make it deliberately harder for workers to take their employer before a tribunal – the government has launched a ‘root and branch’ review of how ‘workplace grievances are resolved’. This year...
Five Iraqis were arrested yesterday after a massive pre-dawn assault on the city of Basra by a force of more than 1,000 UK and Danish troops. At 0300 GMT a column of dozens of armoured Land Rovers and 48 Warrior tanks supported by jet fighters approached the northern outskirts of...

Strikebreakers Repelled!

Striking drivers and warehouse workers at the Iceland distribution depot in Enfield told of brutal attempts yesterday to break their strike by contractor DHL Exel. The Transport and General Workers Union said gangs of security guards had been brought in. TGWU Convenor Dave Brace told News Line what happened: ‘The...
Military disaster stares Bush and Blair in the face in Iraq, where the toppling of the puppet regime in the Green Zone will result in the spread of revolution throughout the Middle East. In Afghanistan the US/UK forces are also losing, with their CIA agent president Karzai incapable of venturing...
WITH 400 billion dollars already spent on digging US imperialism into a very deep hole in Iraq, the Baker committee of elder statesmen or ‘has beens’ – as referred to by the veteran Baker – has estimated that the total cost of the quagmire could run to even $1...
workers and middle class people are on the march throughout Britain to defend the National Health Service. The Blair/Brown government’s ‘reconfiguring’ of over one hundred of Britain’s 200 NHS district general hospitals, closing their A&E and maternity units, is being fought by health workers and local communities all over the...
The GMB trade union yesterday condemned as ‘dubious’ a leaked NHS report recommendation that patients with life-threatening complaints be kept out of hospital and treated at home. The draft report by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement suggests that some patients with life-threatening conditions should be cared for...
BROWN’S proud boast yesterday in his pre-budget speech was that ‘In no other decade has Britain’s personal wealth – up 60 per cent – grown so fast.’ In fact he is talking about the wealth of the bourgeoisie, the bankers and the city brokers. In the last decade the gap...
In his tenth Pre Budget Report yesterday Chancellor Brown spoke about the threat to British capitalism from India and China. He said: ‘Once responsible for just one eighth of the world’s growth, China and India will soon capture almost half. ‘And increasingly they are competing not just on low...
A revolutionary wave is sweeping the planet, driven by the world economic and political crisis of capitalism and the undefeated nature of the working class. The world’s stock exchanges and money markets are precariously balancing atop a mountain of unrepayable debt and fictitious values, embodied in worthless stocks, shares, government...
A new report, The last post, released on Monday, provides new evidence of the vital social and economic role of urban sub post offices.  The report, commissioned by Manchester City Council after 20 post offices were closed in the Manchester metropolitan area last year, says that they play a particularly valuable...
NHS DEFENCE campaigners were outraged yesterday at the comments by the Blairite Institute for Public Policy Research that their campaigns to defend District General Hospitals could lead to more than 1,000 unnecessary deaths each year. Chris Goninan, Vice-Chairman of the Mayor’s Parlour Campaign Team, formed to save West Cornwall Hospital...
Shocked health unions yesterday warned against prime minister Blair’s plans to close a large number of District General Hospitals’ Accident & Emergency departments and replace them with a few ‘Regional Specialist Centres’. UNISON Head of Health, Karen Jennings, said: ‘We are extremely concerned that these policies may be...
LABOUR’S re-spun campaign to close local Accident and Emergency Departments, and entire District General Hospitals, in favour of Regional Centres of Excellence got under way yesterday. No longer is it an issue of the ‘cost’ of the NHS and closing ‘failing hospitals’, since this has led to Ministers being booed...

Firefighter Heroes

East Sussex Chief Fire Officer Des Pritchard yesterday paid a moving tribute to the two fire crew who died, and the nine firefighters, one police officer and two members of the public who were injured in Sunday’s fireworks depot fire and explosion near Lewes. Pritchard told a mid-morning press conference:...
DRAFT CORPORATE-killing legislation to be debated in parliament today would have made no practical difference to the four major railway disasters since 1997 had it already been in place, a study for RMT by Britain’s biggest trade-union law firm reveals today. The ‘corporate manslaughter’ label is the only achievement the...
MORE than 50 members of the RMT rail union demonstrated outside the headquarters of Network Rail at Euston yesterday morning, before picketing the Association of Train Operating Companies in central London against ‘abysmal’ pay for train cleaners. Demanding ‘fair pay, dignity and respect’ for cleaners on the railways, the union...
THE Blair-Brown government intends to spend hundreds of billions of pounds on building a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines to deliver the replacement of the Trident nuclear missile, carrying a nuclear warhead, to targets up to 5,000 miles from the firing point. Reformist politicians point out that all of the...
Demonstrators remained camped near central Beirut’s Martyrs’ Square and on streets leading to the government’s headquarters on Saturday following Friday’s million-strong opposition protest, led by the Hezbollah national resistance movement. Protesters have not been deterred by the US condemnation of Friday’s massive show of force in the Lebanese capital aimed at...
The uprising at Harmondsworth detention centre near Heathrow has badly shaken the crisis-ridden, reactionary Blair government. It began last Tuesday night and continued into Wednesday, after detainees were stopped from watching a news bulletin about the scathing report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers, who condemned the centre,...
A senior consultant at Maidstone Hospital in Kent last Saturday publicly announced that he has resigned his managerial post because of plans to close the hospital’s A&E department. Joined by fellow consultants, Tony Hulse, a paediatrician for 18 years at Maidstone Hospital, told a 2,500-strong rally: ‘I obviously couldn’t stand...
over one million Lebanese crowded the streets around the office of Lebanese Prime Minister Fu’ad Siniora in central Beirut yesterday, calling for his resignation. In response to Hezbollah’s call for peaceful demonstrations, they brandished Lebanese flags and white banners that read: ‘We want a clean government.’ Lebanese Army troops and...
THE dollar has continued to collapse against the other major capitalist currencies leaving the pound at its highest price against the dollar since Britain was forced out of the ERM on Black Wednesday 1992. The US housing market is in decline and the crisis of the major US industries, the...
THE COST of student accommodation is spiralling out of control, the National Union of Students (NUS) said yesterday, warning that private landlords were ‘setting the bar’ for rent levels. An NUS study shows a 37 per cent average increase in university accommodation in the last five years, and a 23...
GATE GOURMET, owned by venture capitalists Texas Pacific, is at it again in its class war against workers and trade unions. In August 2005 it provocatively locked out and sacked by megaphone 800 workers at Gate Gourmet, Heathrow, in order to bring in its ‘survival plan’. It now faces...
A POLITICALLY ‘sick’ Prime Minister Blair was yesterday delivered another major blow, this time at the hands of the US State Department, when a leading Department advisor declared that Bush had taken Blair for a ride, and that this is what the so-called special relationship between the US...
The University and College Union (UCU) said on Wednesday that for widening participation to really succeed, potential students must have access to the courses they want to study and not be stopped, or put off, studying by huge debts. Commenting on the launch of a widening participation review from the...
Irish union SIPTU general president Jack O’Connor has expressed concern overplans by Gate Gourmet, Dublin, to carry out profiling of individual workers to ascertain who will be most likely to resist changes. O’Connor described a leaked Gate Gourmet document outlining this practice as ‘sinister, provocative and reprehensible’. Meanwhile, Brian Murnane, the...
Babar Ahmad and Haroon Aswat, yesterday lost their High Court battle to avoid extradition to the United States. The US has alleged that Tooting computer operator Babar Ahmad ran websites inciting murder, urging holy war and raising money for the Taleban. Babar Ahmad’s family issued the following statement in response...
THE GMB are calling for recognition as the independent union voice for the 2,500 mainly Asian migrant workforce producing ready meals for all the UK’s supermarkets in three plants in Park Royal north west London. The plants supply Tesco, Sainsbury, Waitrose and others. The plants, trading as Katsouris...