Solidarity 563, 16 September 2020

Virus: indict the Tories

In Britain as in other countries in Europe, detected SARS-Cov-2 infections have been rising slowly since early July, and now faster since points in August. In France, the rise has been much faster. In Spain, it has already fed into a rise in Covid-19 deaths, though so far only to a rate about 5% of the April peak. From mid-April through to early July, infection levels fell fairly steadily across Europe. The fall was not reversed, halted, or even visibly slowed by limited lockdown-easing measures across those months, notably the reopening of schools in many countries. The obvious explanation...

Labour avoids politics

To dispel any illusion that Labour Party members are seen as more than foot soldiers and a source of funding by the people that run it, see the agenda for 2020 Connected, the online event on 19-22 September replacing the postponed National Conference and Women’s Conference. The agenda gives the appearance of a political party at pains to avoid politics. The “National” days have 24 training sessions and only 9 policy panels. The policy panels are only one hour long, and will likely consist of “the great and good” talking to us, not with us. The “Women’s” Connected day has tried for more...

Schools: build health and safety committees

At the end of our first week back from school summer holidays a colleague of mine rang the parents of a Year 8 boy in her tutor group. The boy had done very well in school, and was clearly delighted to be back with his friends. So my colleague talked to the boy’s dad and told him how well the boy had been doing in class. The boy’s dad burst into tears. Presumably a mix of relief, intense long-term worry, and happiness, all coming to the surface at once. The kids really need to be back in class. That the Tories are saying it does not make it any less true. And the parents need to see their...

Universities return: fight for control!

The 2020-21 academic year is getting underway. Higher Education (HE) institutions that closed down and sent most of their students away in March, scrambling to move all teaching online, are preparing to welcome over two million people, mostly young, once more. Universities and colleges like many workplaces are allowed – expected – to reopen so long as they are “Covid-secure”. All insist that they are now that – for students, staff, and the surrounding community. They cannot afford to do otherwise! HE institutions are now basically businesses who must compete and make money to survive. They...

Forward to Comrade Johnson's Five Year Plan!

Let’s be clear: when it comes to Brexit, the Morning Star and its masters, the Communist Party of Britain, essentially support Boris Johnson and wish him well. They even (as we shall see) harbour hopes that he may introduce some sort of planned economy (no, seriously! See below). This has been obvious for a long while: over a year ago (29 Aug 2019), the paper blamed anti-Brexit MPs for Johnson’s illegal prorogation of parliament: “It comes in circumstances that have been created by anti-Brexit MPs and the House of Commons. They have had three years to agree a way to honour the people’s vote to...

Brexit, the Tories, Labour: what sort of “State Aid”?

In the propaganda the government is putting out about their conflict with the EU over a Brexit Trade deal the Tories are making much of “State Aid” being a point of contention. The EU’s State Aid rules are often a crux of Lexiter arguments for Brexit. They argue that State Aid rules will be used to stifle attempts to nationalise industries or intervene actively in the economy. Another Europe Is Possible and socialist remainers like John McDonnell argued that the existing State Aid rules need to be reformed or scrapped as part of the “reform” programme of “Reform and remain”. But as of now is...

Activists need better tools than Facebook

When tens of thousands of people in Belarus decided to protest in the streets, they first of all needed a way to communicate with each other. With internet being widely available, they chose to use the Telegram messaging app. Telegram is not nearly as well known in Britain, where Skype (owned by Microsoft), Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger (both owned by Facebook) are more popular. But it should be – especially by those of us on the Left. Telegram was set up in Russia in 2013 by Pavel and Nikolai Durov, tech millionaires who originally created the social network Vkontakte, which...

GMB: investigate the charges!

The GMB union and the wider labour movement must act on the findings of the investigation by Karon Monaghan QC, which found that the GMB is institutionally sexist. The union began an independent investigation in May into sexual harassment in the GMB, after announcing it had received an anonymous letter accusing General Secretary Tim Roache of “sexist and aggressive” behaviour towards women. The report found women are under-represented throughout the GMB’s ranks, and that bullying, misogyny, cronyism and sexual harassment are endemic within the GMB. The report tells of a senior official who has...

A letter to Andy Newman about gas

Comrade Andy Newman, Like you, I have many criticism’s of Extinction Rebellion’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (see here). But in your LabourList polemic against the Bill, writing as technical director of the “Gas Users Organisation” (GUO) and as a GMB and Labour Party activist, you come down squarely on the wrong side of the crucial issues. You warn of “another culture war divide” over the twin needs of tackling climate change and “protecting well-paid, skilled jobs, and protecting the interests of families and households”. Your answer? Not radical socialist environmentalist policies...

Conspiracy theorists out again on 19 September

Saturday 19 September is due to see another anti-mask, anti-lockdown, anti-vaccination demonstration in Trafalgar Square. MC’d by currently suspended nurse Kate Shemirani, a host of conspiracy theorists and “medics” of dubious qualifications and views will take the stage to denounce “enforced vaccination”, to call Covid-19 a hoax, or to blame it on 5G. They will be joined Jon Wedger, “police whistleblower” into “elite paedophile rings”. The “medics” include an osteopath, a holistic and homeopathic dentist, a lecturer in mental-health nursing, a “nutrition and wellness doctor”, and more than...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.