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News & Analysis

Is the People’s Charter a step towards workers’ political representation?


From the Socialist - Paper of the Socialist Party in England and Wales

The first convention of the People's Charter took place on Saturday 21 November. Speakers included Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT, and John McDonnell MP. The Charter has the support of eight national trade unions and of the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

Hannah Sell

The Socialist Party supports the demands outlined in the People's Charter. The Charter's demands include restructuring the tax system so big business pays more and the working class less; stopping house repossessions; increasing the minimum wage; bringing the privatised utilities back into public ownership - demands that all socialists should support and which are popular with the vast majority of working class people.

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Debt, Hardship and Stress

As thousands of students return to university and college and many others arrive for the first time, most have something in common, another year of debt to look forward to.

Leah Ganley, Dundee University

The SNP government might claim to "have restored the principal of free education" in Scotland by crapping the Graduate Endownment, but this falls far short of their 2007 election promise.

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Billion for bankers – Pay freeze for workers


“Bonuses are back.” That’s the new slogan running round the City of London and the bankers’ boardrooms today.

Philip Stott and Brian Smith

As unemployment races towards 3 million and working people face an avalanche of demands for pay cuts and job losses top bankers are greedily swallowing billions in bonuses.
“Getting a nine by three” – that’s £9 million for three years work – is the benchmark for these parasites.

Take the near death RBS, kept alive through a £20 billion bail-out from public money and now 70% owned by the government.

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Diageo press ahead with jobs slaughter


Workers action needed to save jobs at Johnnie Walker 

Diageo, the global drinks multinational, is to press ahead with its planned jobs slaughter in the West of Scotland. A total of 900 jobs are due to be lost at Johnnie Walker’s bottling plant in Kilmarnock and the distillery at Port Dundas in Glasgow. Diageo bosses rejected the Scottish governments “alternative business plan” that had proposed a new bottling plant in Kilmarnock but with hundreds of fewer jobs. Despite making profits last year of over £2 billion the Diageo bosses rejected the offer of government money and said: "We examined the alternative proposals thoroughly. They don't deliver a business model that would be good for either Diageo or Scotland.

The trade unions at Johnnie Walker’s had gone along with the Scottish governments proposals despite the fact it would have led to hundreds of their members losing their jobs. This strategy has utterly failed and the only way forward now is for the workers at Kilmarnock and Glasgow to organise decisive and urgent action to defend their livelihoods and the future of their communities.

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Lockerbie: cynical actions of capitalist governments exposed


The release from Greenock prison of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing which killed 270 people, has provoked a storm of political protest. US president Barak Obama called the decision a “mistake”, the Director of the FBI Robert Mueller accused the SNP’s Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill of giving “comfort to terrorists”, and some Republican senators in the US have called for an economic boycott of Scotland in protest.

Given the horrors that the families of those killed have suffered there has been understandable, widespread anger and opposition to the release of Megrahi, especially among the US families of those who died.   

The recent debate in the Scottish parliament saw leaders of all the main opposition parties attack the minority SNP government and MacAskill for allowing the terminally ill Megrahi to leave Scotland on compassionate grounds for Libya after spending eight years in prison. A vote of the Scottish parliament on the issue is likely next week. Megrahi was welcomed back to Libya by the Libyan leader, Colonel Gadaffi. In Libya Megrahi is widely seen as having been a victim of a miscarriage of justice. Gordon Brown has so far refused to make any comment on the decision to release Megrahi 

Philip Stott

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A Rotten System!

World and British economic crisis continues

Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today, Issue 130, July/August 2009 (monthly journal of the Socialist Party – CWI England and Wales)  

Politics in Britain has been dragged through the gutter with MPs caught ripping off thousands of pounds woth in expenses. As working-class people face job and wage cuts, the whole rotten system has been exposed. As a result, New Labour was hammered in euro and local elections, while the far-right British National Party (BNP) made gains. With a general election due within a year, now more than ever, a new workers’ party is needed.

What are the processes underlying the political situation in Britain today?

“A Brown government could be overwhelmed by an avalanche of the stoked-up discontent of the working class, manifested through trade union struggle… A Brown government could also face a crisis of legitimacy… If he delays too long, he could suffer the fate of the other ‘mid-term’ replacement prime ministers, like Callaghan in 1979…The far-right can make significant gains, particularly with the rise in unemployment clearly taking place and the deterioration of social conditions, especially if a left fighting alternative is not provided”. (The Coronation of Gordon Brown, Socialism Today No.110, June 2007)

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We Need a New Workers’ Party

One ‘leading critic’ of Gordon Brown summed up 12 years of New Labour rule when he declared; “It is one thing to lose to the Tories, but actually to do so badly that we are letting in the fascists is quite another”.

Ian Leech, Unison shop steward Glasgow

The MP’s expenses scandal – outright thievery to most people - has thrown the political establishment into a crisis. But a crisis for politicians who fought so hard to supplement their £65,000 a year salary with £300 a month in food allowances, moat cleaning, home and garden repairs and public money to buy houses while they cash in on the profits is unrecognisable to most people living through the biggest recession in modern times.

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New Labour Melt-Down

Labour Meltdown

Fighting socialist leadership needed

Peter Taaffe, General Secretary, Socialist Party (CWI, England and Wales)

The outcome of the county council elections, followed by the ‘meltdown’ in the euro elections, represents a devastating defeat for New Labour and the Gordon Brown dominated government. They were beaten into third place nationally by the UK Independence Party (Ukip – ‘the BNP in blazer-jackets’). The Scottish National Party, for the first time in a UK-wide election, outscored New Labour in Scotland. They were beaten into second place by the Tories in the formerly Labour bastion of Wales for the first time since 1918. They were relegated to fifth place in the South-East and South West of England by the Greens, and came sixth in Cornwall, behind the Cornish nationalists! The scale of New Labour’s collapse is indicated by its share of the popular vote of almost 16%, the lowest since 1910 when it scored 7.6%!

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