National News

Back to the days of Downton Abbey

Frances O’Grady last Sunday opened the TUC’s annual conference I Liverpool with a warning that Britain is “becoming like Downton Abbey”.

She said that there was “no sign of the economic recovery in most people’s lives” and that “class prejudice” was becoming “respectable”.

The Tories said the party would not take “lectures from a cluster of union bosses on six-figure pay deals”.

She said: “Are we going to settle for a nastier and poorer Britain — a Downton Abbey-style society, in which the living standards of the vast majority are sacrificed to protect the high living of the well-to-do?

“We are piling yet more riches onto a privileged few. Economic growth is back but there’s no sign of it in most workers’ pay packets. In fact, the gap has got worse. Top chief executives now earn 175 times the wages of the average worker.

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Unions celebrate 100th anniversary of Burston

THOUSANDS of trade unionists and other progressives came together last Sunday to mark 100 years since the start of the longest strike in history at the “free school” in the Norfolk village of Burston.

The strike began after the local authority tried to sack Thomas and Kitty Higdon, the teachers at the village school for the crime of helping and advising low paid local farm labourers to fight for their economic rights and to form a trade union.

But local people refused to accept the sacking and instead of sending their children to the official school they sent them to the unofficial “free school” opened by the Higdons in a local barn. The locals helped to fix the barn to make it suitable and in 1917 a new school, financed by donations, was built in 1917 and The Burston Strike School continued until shortly after Tom’s death in 1939. The strike has been celebrated by trade unions every year since. Members of the New Communist Party’s East Anglia district attended as usual and there was a lot of interest shown around the NCP stall. All copies of the New Worker were sold out and three people were interested in joining the party. Volunteers agreed to carry the banner on the march.

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Lib Dems pledge cheap travel for young to be paid for by pensioners

LIBERAL Democrat leader Nick Clegg last week made an election pledge to young people for cheap bus travel in which Young people aged 16-21 would get a 66 per cent discount on bus travel in England.

The scheme would be paid for by cutting the winter fuel allowance and free TV licences for better-off pensioners, the party’s “pre-manifesto” proposes.

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When Nato came to Newport

by Ray Davies

NATO’S long march to the Summit in Newport Wales has been long, tortuous and never ending. It has left a trail of blood, death and disaster. You would need a cenotaph 10 metres high to list the names of the innocent civilians, women and children who have been killed and maimed by Nato in Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya.

Whilst public services are being run down throughout Britain, trillions are being spent every year on Nato’s war machine.

When Nato came to Newport they imagined an easy ride. “We will put Newport on the map”, said Cameron. Nato generals presented the mayors of Newport with its blood soaked flag. “Welcome to Wales”, said the Welsh government leader.

But they had an unexpected welcome from the people. Every day for two weeks, we hammered home our message of peace.

We took over their official podiums, and marched in our thousands. Côr Cochion sang themselves hoarse with anti-war songs; the chanting “No more wars” and “Free Palestine” filled the streets.

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Peoples march for NHS makes London

THOUSANDS of NHS campaigners came to Trafalgar Square last Saturday to greet the People’s March for the NHS to greet as it arrived after three weeks of marching from Jarrow, in the steps of the famous march for jobs of 1936.

On their way they brought their message through 23 towns where they gathered more marchers. Some came just for a few miles; some came to complete the 300- mile course.

The march was inspired by the Jarrow Marchers and has been led by a group of 24 Darlington mothers. Privatisation and cuts, they say, now pose the biggest threat to the NHS in its 66-year history.

Margaret Ridley was born in 1948 — the same year as the NHS. At the age of 18, she went to medical school in Leeds, qualified as a doctor in her early twenties and became a consultant psychiatrist in 1985 — a job for life which she kept until she retired six years ago.

Yesterday, Dr Ridley, from Cambridgeshire, was in London — along with thousands of others — to deliver a warning. “We want to tell the people of Britain, this Government is privatising and fragmenting the NHS. If we don’t get a new government next May, we will have no NHS left.” Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham was among supporting speakers in Trafalgar Square.

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Unite calls for end to hardship

LEN McCLUSKEY, general secretary of the giant union Unite, last Tuesday responded to the speech made at the TUC conference by Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England.

Len McCluskey said: “Mark Carney’s speech to the TUC was a missed opportunity to give hope to millions of working people and those struggling to find work, particularly young people.

“Mark Carney’s speech highlighted the failure of ministers to tackle the economic challenges. If the governor of the Bank of England was a head teacher, he would be calling in the parents of the Government to raise concerns about their offspring’s poor classwork over the last four years.

“In the past, Mark Carney has called for ‘inclusive capitalism’, but the tone of today’s speech was that working people will have to work longer, and, in many cases, for lower rates of pay.

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Scottish News

From our Scottish Political Correspondent

LAST Saturday two opinion polls were published on voting intentions in the Referendum. One hit the headlines, the other passed almost unnoticed. For the first time a proper poll showed a lead for the Yes camp: Yes on 47, No with 45, which if you split the eight per cent of don’t knows makes it 51 to 49.

The other gave the No camp maintaining a diminished lead of 48 to 44 per cent with another eight per cent undecided. At any rate the No camp’s vote is greatly reduced, a fact that caused great excitement in the London-based media, even the Sun altered its regular page three pictorial feature to report the news.

Curiously at the time of writing the latest poll put both camps at 39 per cent with a huge 23 per cent undivided leading to lurid headlines that it was 50-50.

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Epileptic man hanged himself after benefits cut

TREVOR Drakard, a lifelong epileptic, committed suicide according to the verdict of a coroner’s court in Sunderland. He had been devastated after he was deemed fit to work and has his benefits cut.

The 50-year-old, who never married and had few friends, took his own life at his home in Sunderland.

The inquest into his death heard that Drakard had been diagnosed with epilepsy from the age of six and was receiving Incapacity Benefit.

Coroner’s officer Neville Dixon told a hearing in Sunderland: “In the past few months he had been deemed fit to work and his benefits were stopped.

“He had been in the process of appealing with the Citizens Advice Bureau. He had been feeling very down in recent weeks, due to the stress of losing his benefits.”

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Public support for RMT protests

PROTESTS on Monday as part of the on-going RMT campaign against cuts to rail jobs and services, bound up in the Government’s proposals for the future of the Northern and Trans-Pennine Express franchises, have met with massive public support on the day that Northern axes a whole range of off-peak fares, with some prices more than doubling.

RMT launched a new postcard campaign as part of the morning’s protests, pointing out to passengers that the shock fare increases are a taste of what’s to come under the new Northern and Trans-Pennine Express franchises.

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RMT welcomes Merseyrail U-turn

PLANS TO axe peakhour train services across Merseyside have been ditched after they were exposed by RMT, the region’s biggest rail union.

Merseyrail signalled a retreat from the cuts at talks yesterday after the union revealed proposals to slash nine rush-hour trains a day under a plan to “standardise” weekday and Saturday timetables.

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Kick BAM out of Dundee

THE GMB union last Sunday called on the SNP-led Dundee City Council to block blacklisting company BAM as preferred bidder for the V&A Museum Of Design contract for failing to compensate blacklisted workers.

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A day to remember

by New Worker correspondent

MILLIONS of Koreans celebrated the 66th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea this week with parades, rallies and celebrations throughout the north of the divided peninsula. Down in the occupied south many others defied the puppet regime to hold their own events to mark 9th September 1948 when the DPRK was established under the leadership of Kim Il Sung and the Workers’ Party of Korea.

And last weekend British communists and supporters of the Korean revolution met for a joint meeting and social at the New Communist Party’s Centre in London to commemorate this important date in the calendar of the world communist movement.

NCP leader Andy Brooks welcomed everyone to the meeting called by the Friends of Korea committee and the Korean Friendship Association to hear openings from Lesley Larkum of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (ML), Yu Kwang Song from the DPRK embassy in London and KFA activists on the 9th September and the Juché Idea.

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A garden party for the paper

by New Worker correspondent

WHETHER the sun shines on the righteous or not it certainly came out for the Metropolitan NCP Cell and Supporters’ Group annual garden party in south London last Saturday. A table loaded with good food made by one of our local Charlton comrades.

An afternoon of discussion and friendly banter and plenty of soft drinks, beer and cider to wash it down with made the day for all the comrades.

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New China study centre opens in Oxford

by Mu Xuequan

PRINCE William, Duke of Cambridge, unveiled a new China Centre in the University of Oxford on Monday.

Covering an area nearly 5,500 square metres, the new Dickson Poon University of Oxford China Centre in St Hugh’s College cost about £21 million. One of the major donors is Dickson Poon, a philanthropist from Hong Kong, who contributed £10 million.

“We are very happy that the Duke is opening the building, because it symbolises how important this building is, both in terms of the University of Oxford and also for the links of UK and China,” said Rana Mitter, the centre director, who is a well-known professor of modern China history and politics.

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International News

Palestinians insist on timetable to end occupation


A senior Palestinian official says that a new Palestinian plan for future peace with Israel is based on the gradual ending of the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories within a timetable of three years

. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee, called for drawing the borders of the Palestinian territories immediately in accordance with the new plan to end “ the longest ever occupation in history.”

Last week, a high-profile Palestinian delegation met US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington and handed him a letter related to ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories that were seized in 1967.

“We demanded the United States’ commitments to the borders of the occupied Palestinian territories and ending the occupation within a specific timetable,” Ashrawi said. “So far, the US hasn ‘t responded to the Palestinian demand, although it said it opposes unilateral steps.”

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British interference in Hong Kong legally groundless


Interference in Hong Kong’s constitutional development by British politicians is hypocritical and legally groundless, according to a well-known professor of Hong Kong law.

Prof Zhang Dinghuai, deputy head of Hong Kong and Macao Basic Law Research Centre of University of Shenzhen points out that Hong Kong had no democracy in more than 150 years of British rule with governors appointed by the British government throughout this period.

Since returning to China, Hong Kong has had the right to choose chief executives, and in 2017 Hong Kong residents will have the opportunity to hold a vote for chief executive.

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Tebbit’s ‘Cricket Test’ comes home to roost

by Adrian Chan-Wyles

THE BOURGEOIS system has always divided to conquer — from the division of labour, to the constitution of “class”, all is separated into mutually excluding categories that are designed to favour the interests of the middle and upper classes, and play down and ignore the interests of the working class. The working class is then subdivided into ever more increasing (and artificial) categories that are forced to pointlessly compete for ever dwindling resources. This status quo is fuelled through the auspices of a “false consciousness”, which sees the victims of the bourgeois system unwittingly internalising the psychology of oppression, and fighting amongst themselves as a consequence.

The oppressed toilers of the world are programmed to blame one another for the deprivations they suffer a priori at the hands of the oppressors, and never turn their attention toward the real problem and cause of all their torment — namely the international bourgeoisie. This is why it is in the best interests of the bourgeoisie to ensure that the working class remains its own worst enemy, and continues to be riddled with internecine conflicts that do nothing for its historical progression and development into the stage of advanced socialism.

In short, the bourgeois psychological and historical conditioning that has been inflicted upon the working class serves to dominate through separation, so that the working class is prevented from truly uniting under such conditions, and is unable to break this cycle of abuse through the development of true self-knowledge and insight.

Bourgeois nations compete for resources as a major bulwark of capitalist market forces. The powerful, but thoroughly redundant mythology of “race” and “racism” is part and parcel of this competition, which divides the international working class into mutually excluding racial categories. Although the notion of “race” has been scientifically discredited, nevertheless, even in the 21st century it is often the first recourse for the oppressor over the oppressed.

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Just ideas or disaster will triumph

by Fidel Castro Ruz

GLOBAL society has known no peace in recent years, particularly since the European Economic Community, under the absolute, inflexible direction of the United States, decided that the time had come to settle accounts with what remained of two great nations which, inspired by the ideas of Marx, had achieved the great feat of ending the imperialist colonial order imposed on the world by Europe and the United States.

In former Russia a revolution erupted that moved the world. It was expected that the first great socialist revolution would take place in the most industrialised countries of Europe, such as England, France, Germany or the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This revolution, however, took place in Russia, whose territory extended into Asia, from northern Europe to southern Alaska — which had been Czarist territory, sold for a few dollars to the country that would later be the most interested in attacking and destroying the revolution and the country where it occurred.

The greatest accomplishment of the new state was the creation of a union capable of bringing together its resources and sharing its technology with a large number of weak, less developed nations, unwilling victims of colonial exploitation. Would a true society of nations be convenient or not, in the current world, one in which respect is shown for rights, beliefs, culture, technologies and resources in accessible places around the world, which so many human beings would like to visit and know?

And wouldn’t the world be much more just today — when in fractions of a second anyone can communicate with the other side of the planet — if people saw in others a friend or brother, and not an enemy disposed to kill, with weapons which human knowledge has been capable of creating?

Believing that human beings could be capable of having such objectives, I think that absolutely no one has the right to destroy cities, murder children, pulverize homes, sow terror, hunger and death anywhere. In what corner of the world can such acts be justified? If it is remembered that, when the last global conflict’s killing ended, the world placed its hopes in the creation of the United Nations, it is because a large part of humanity imagined it with such a perspective, although its objectives were not fully defined. A colossal fraud is what is seen today, as problems emerge that suggest the possible eruption of a war, with the use of weapons which could mean the end of human existence.

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