National News

A parallel economic universe

UNION leaders representing millions of public sector workers last Monday poured scorn on the Con-Dem Coalition’s boasts that its policies will lead to “only” a third of a million public sector job cuts, rather than the half million previously estimated.

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Students rock the Con-Dem coalition

STUDENTS staged another day of protests last Tuesday against the proposed trebling of tuition fees and cuts to other education services with events throughout the country. They described it as Day X2, after Day X the previous Wednesday.

And the pressure they are exerting is having an effect on their main target, the liberal Democrat leadership; Vince Cable has now declared he might abstain in the House of Commons vote on tuition fees.

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First NHS hospital privatised

HINCHINGBROOKE Hospital in Cambridgeshire last week became the first NHS hospital to be handed over in its entirety to be run by a private company. The East of England Strategic Health Authority voted for Circle, an employee-owned company, to become the preferred partner to run the hospital.

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EDL rallies spark violence

AROUND 1,000 supporters of the English Defence League deterred shoppers from venturing into the centre of Preston last Saturday as they swamped the city centre to stage an anti-Islamic protest on the Flag Market.

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20 years of fighting for Health & Safety


by Robert Laurie

Tony O’Brien Construction Safety Campaign: Over Twenty Years Fighting for Workplace Health and Safety London: Construction Safety Campaign, 2010 pp. 211. £10.00 plus £2.00 pp from the Construction Safety Campaign, PO Box 23844, London SE15 3EA.

AS THE title implies this book is a history of the work of the Construction Safety Campaign, an organisation established in London by rank and file building workers in 1988 with the motto: “Safety before Profits”. The 1980s saw a rapid rise in construction related deaths during the boom that saw the derelict London docks transformed into the bankers’ paradise of Canary Wharf.

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International News

Workers shut down Portugal

by Ekaterina Santos


PORTUGAL was paralysed last week when people up and down the country took action to express their indignation at the austerity measures which have led an already long-suffering population into extreme hardship, and in many cases, hunger.

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Cancún: the moment has come to fulfil the promises

Radio Havana Cuba

THE KYOTO Protocol runs out in 2012 and it will be a disgrace if the international community has not imposed the agreed cuts in greenhouse gas emissions before then; the same gas emissions that are causing global warming.

Cancún now presents one of the few possibilities to put this agreement into effect.

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US duplicity laid bare

Radio Havana Cuba

WIKILEAKS has just published 250,000 messages sent between the US government and its ambassadors throughout the world.

These messages reveal the true nature of Washington-style, American diplomacy, which doesn’t beat around the bush to break the most elementary social rules, legal systems and international conventions.

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Stalin and Operation Barbarossa

by Bob Treasure

WE ARE IN a second “Cold War”. The global financial crisis has meant that capitalism is on shaky ground. The important thing for the powers-that-be is that there is no alternative. Thus those same powers are busy at work trying to bury socialism once and for all. Scapegoat-ism and fascism are re-emergent in Europe and the US, and many states are seeking to outlaw any political party that references “communism” or “revolution” as part of its platform. State intervention, public service and welfare are portrayed as old hat, and history is being rewritten to suit reactionary needs.

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