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Monthly Archives: May 2008

POSTCOMM, the postal regulator has called for the part privatisation of the Royal Mail, supposedly to safeguard the quality of the UK’s mail delivery service. In fact, any decline in ‘quality’ is a consequence of the 2006 government imposed breaking up of the postal monopoly, when 19 private...
LAST Wednesday the government announced an independent inquiry into the death of Iraqi civilian Baha Mousa. Mousa, a hotel worker with a young family, was beaten and killed by British occupation troops in September 2003. Secretary of State for Defence, Des Browne announced in Parliament that there will be an...
The CWU postal workers union yesterday slammed a call from government appointed regulator Postcomm to privatise Royal Mail. CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: ‘This is another bad decision by Postcomm following their many bad decisions which have led to the problems in the industry. ‘Postcomm are again overstepping their remit...
US President George W Bush has arrived in the Middle East and has vowed to bolster up the Lebanese army and to tackle Hezbollah, the movement that bars the way to the US domination of the Lebanon. What has angered the US president is that the moves of the Lebanese...
HUSAYN al-Khalil, the political aide to Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah on 12 May held a Beirut press conference where he insisted that the Lebanese army is sole authority for Lebanon’s security. Al-Khalil began by recounting the political and security developments that occurred in Lebanon in the aftermath of the...
Prime minister Brown signalled more attacks on workers, the sick, unemployed and disabled people in his speech to MPs yesterday, outlining the government’s draft legislative programme. Brown told the House of Commons that his first concern is to ‘steer our economy safely through the global downturn, the credit crunch and...
Liberty Director Shami Chakrabarti and Public Interest Lawyers solicitor Phil Shiner yesterday welcomed an announcement by the Secretary of State for Defence of an independent inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 into the circumstances surrounding the death of Baha Mousa. The inquiry will also examine the torture and ill treatment...
the Brown government’s health insurance and ‘age-tax’ plans announced on Monday were condemned as privatisation and ‘a punishment for growing old’ yesterday. ‘Health insurance means back to private medicine. It’s unacceptable,’ said Dave Wiltshire, Secretary of the All Trades Unions Alliance (ATUA). He added: ‘If it takes a general strike to...
MEMBERS of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have been joined by over 50 angry pensioners and other local residents in a demonstration against the closure of Borough Post Office near central London. Monday’s demonstration was the latest protest in a rapidly growing campaign to halt the wave of post...
ON Tuesday evening President Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan president, was due to address the prestigious Oxford Union in front of an invited audience. He had virtually sneaked into the country because he is waging a bloody war against the Tamil people of Sri Lanka, a war which has no...
ONCE again PM Gordon Brown and the Labour Party have revealed that while they rushed to handing over £150 billion to the bankers, they intend to end the provision of hospital care for the sick and free medical care and free accommodation for the sick and elderly. ...
The Gaza Strip’s sole power plant shut down due to a lack of fuel on Saturday, Kan’an ’Ubaid, the deputy chair of the Palestinian power and natural resources service said. ’Ubaid said during a press conference in Gaza City that 30-35% of homes in the Strip, and fully half of...
Speaking yesterday to charities, NHS workers, trade unions and local government leaders, prime minister Brown announced the publication of a consultation document on ‘options for reforming our current system of care and support’. In a speech delivered at the King’s Fund charity in central London, Brown said he understood...
‘Free, free Palestine!’ shouted up to 15,000 marchers, as they made their way through central London yesterday to a rally in Trafalgar Square to mark the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba – catastrophe. The march, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, set off behind the lead banner which read:...
THE class basis of the Blairite ‘Third Way’ politics is now being clearly revealed for all to see. It is a one hundred per cent bourgeois, ruling class tendency, which puts the rights of the competing bourgeois individual opportunists to jobs and positions, and to make lots of money...
LEADING people at the centre of the three Blair governments have published their memoirs for big cash payments, knowing full well that their ‘revelations’ will be used by the Tory party to try to return to government and smash the Labour Party. In his memoirs, ex-deputy premier Prescott...
Eight out of ten doctors believe healthcare services for older people are not good enough, according to a British Medical Association (BMA) survey out today. And only one in ten believes enough money is being spent on care of the elderly in the NHS. Around 500 GPs, consultants and staff...
THERE is an obvious contradiction in the fact that while the US and the UK are considering fighting their way into Burma to ‘bring aid’ to the victims of Cyclone Nargis, the same states, and the same ruling classes are quite happily standing by and watching 1.5 million...
THE government yesterday sought to head off an eruption of demonstrations and occupations against the closure of wards, A&Es, and maternity, children’s and geriatric NHS units this summer. It published health minister Lord Darzi’s ‘five pledges’ that ‘change will always be to the benefit of patients’; that ‘Change...
Tenants and leaseholders on the Grahame Park housing estate in Colindale, north-west London, are angry over ‘regeneration’ proposals which leave many facing eviction. ‘Choices for Grahame Park’ is part of the Genesis Housing Group which is working with the council to double the amount of houses on the estate over...
On the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) last Thursday, agriculture minister Dr Mohammed Al-Agha strongly criticised international institutions for not exerting enough efforts to end the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip. Agha sent an appeal to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and...
May Day greetings from Gulzar Ahmad Chaudhry General Secretary of the Pakistan Trade Unions ‘NO chimney and funnel of any factory or mill was smoldering as workers were on strike throughout the country. The country was the United States where in its one city, Chicago, 400,000 workers were striking....
HOME SECRETARY Smith yesterday revealed Labour’s master plan, at a ‘We’re Not Having It’ outrage conference, held to try to claw back its lost popularity with the middle class, by launching a state directed, round the clock, harassment of working class youth and their parents. The plan is to...
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith yesterday announced a new state crackdown on working class youth and their parents. She said announcing ‘Operation Leopard’: ‘It’s exactly the sort of intensive policing that can bring persistent offenders to their senses – involving daily police visits to their homes, repeated warnings for the hard...
The British Medical Association (BMA) yesterday announced a national ‘Support your Surgery’ campaign to defend and promote NHS GP services in England. The BMA warned: ‘The number of private firms winning contracts for GP practices is growing and, at the same time, Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) have been instructed by...
Two million UK workers are ‘trapped in a continual round of low-paid and insecure work where mistreatment is the norm’ according to the findings of the TUC’s Commission on Vulnerable Employment, published yesterday. The Commission, set up by the TUC and involving employers and independent experts as well as trade...
BERTIE Ahern quit as the Irish Republic’s Taioseach and Fianna Fail leader on May 6th. Political Journalist JOHN COULTER analyses how he will be remembered by Northern nationalists and unionists. BERTIE-A-WHO? That will never be said by northern unionists and republicans as the two sides will have a range...
YESTERDAY the TUC revealed in its ‘Commission on Vulnerable Employment’ report what everybody already knows. This is that low pay and slave labour often for as little as £1 an hour, in jobs where there are no annual holidays, and no limit to the working day, where the...
OIL reached a new record price above 120 dollars a barrel on Tuesday, with New York’s main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for June delivery, at an all-time high of 120.23 dollars. A supply crisis in Nigeria and geopolitical tensions over Iran and its influence in oil-rich...
AN United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesman, said yesterday that the UN organisation is stopping food supplies to the Gaza Strip because of fuel shortages. The spokesman added that UNRWA had used up its fuel reserves; consequently, it is being forced to stop the distribution of food...
THE Sadr City region of Baghdad is facing a humanitarian catastrophe with tens of thousands of residents cut off from clean water, food and essential supplies, the United Nations children’s aid agency Unicef warned yesterday. For the past seven weeks US and Iraqi puppet government forces have been bombarding the...
YESTERDAY THE BBC repeated throughout the day film of a police and immigration officials raid on a chicken factory in Derbyshire, to which the BBC was invited along to film, for government propaganda purposes. The BBC describes the raid as follows: ‘About 60 officers, backed up by the police, walked...
Border and Immigration Agency mass raids to round up alleged illegal immigrants were yesterday condemned as a publicity-seeking ‘cynical approach by government’ by GMB national officer Sharon Holder. News Line asked her to comment on a recent raid in Derbyshire, where a force of 60 Border and Immigration Agency officers,...
ON this day of international labour solidarity we call on our fellow trade unionists and all those worldwide who have stood against war and occupation to increase support for our struggle for freedom from occupation – both the military and economic. We call upon the governments, corporations and institutions...
UNRWA, the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees, yesterday evening suspended its operations in the Gaza Strip citing a shortage of fuel. The suspension means that 650,000 refugees will go without essential services, including food aid. Israel has refused to allow fuel for automobiles into Gaza since Palestinian fighters attacked the...
OVER two thousand Sri Lankan Army (SLA) soldiers were killed and four thousand wounded in the battles of 2007, TamilNet reported yesterday. The information was given by commander of the SLA, Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka. He addressed a conference at Army Headquarters last week, where he also claimed that over five...
LABOUR suffered a net loss of 331 seats in local elections in England and Wales on 1 May. It also lost out to Tory right winger Boris Johnson in the ballot for London Mayor and to the Tories in the London Assembly elections. The basic fact about these elections is...
More than 90 per cent of final year midwifery students are struggling to find a job, a new survey published today by the Royal College of Midwives reveals. The survey also shows that 58 per cent of midwifery students were concerned about getting a job. The survey comes as the midwifery...
‘Capitalism has had its day, it’s historically bankrupt. Now’s the time to bring it down and go forward to socialism.’ Workers Revolutionary Party General Secretary Frank Sweeney was speaking to a successful 150-strong May Day rally at the Africa Centre in Covent Garden at the end of Thursday’s May Day...
UK agencies yesterday called on members of the Mid-East Quartet meeting in London (the US, EU, Russia and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon) to put the ‘highest diplomatic pressure’ on Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza and allow in adequate supplies to stop an impending humanitarian crisis. The agencies, including...
BROWN’S ‘bad night for Labour’ was the direct result of a self-inflicted wound – Brown’s Thatcherite policies – that cost Labour up to 300 council seats, with its share of the vote falling to 24%. The Tories got 44 per cent of what was a miniscule 35 per...
HUMANITARIAN agencies in Sri Lanka have told the UN agency IRIN that they are preparing for the fallout as increasing food prices and shortages put vulnerable populations at risk of malnutrition and leave many families no longer able to afford essentials such as medical care...
VACANCY freezes and fears of redundancy and downgrading are continuing to plague the NHS as it heads for a £1.8bn surplus, a Royal College of Nursing (RCN) survey of specialist and experienced nurses has found. The survey of almost 330 of the UK’s specialist and experienced nurses found a third...
IRAQI deputies to the puppet parliament, who are Iraqi nationalists and who support Moqtada al-Sadr have denounced the US puppet government of Premier Maliki, describing it as ‘depraved’. The fact that the US puppet Maliki recently personally led a US sponsored military assault on Basra to try to...
Four thousand workers and youth marched for socialism through central London on May Day yesterday. Led by the May Day Organising Committee banner there were trade union delegations and banners from SE Region TUC, striking TGWU Shelter workers, RMT Finsbury Park and RMT Leeds City, GMB, Newham NUT, NUJ Book...