Lead story

A nasty budget from the nasty party

by Daphne Liddle

THERE’S an election coming and you can tell by the tinsel adorning Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Budget Statement on Wednesday. But like the tinsel in so many shop windows it is only there to create an illusion — and in this case it is trying to disguise a mountain of excrement underneath.

Osborne has noticed the country is concerned about the NHS, so he has promised an extra £3.1 billion — but this is to be spent over a “multi- year” period — could be five years or 25 and with plenty of new budget statement in between to “modify” it.

Even if it does happen within a reasonable time, most of that money will end up in private hands through PFI and the continuing privatisation of various NHS services.

There’s a change to the stamp duty on house sales so that it increases according to the value of the property being exchanged. It will give some help to people buying and selling houses.

But the masses of young first-time buyers who could have benefited are now history. The vast majority of people in this country, young or old, have no hope at all of even being able to afford the deposit on their own let alone being able to buy.

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Irish peace process - “Returning to Unionist dominance can only lead to trouble”

by Theo Russell

A BROAD panel of parties warned at a public meeting in Westminster last week that if the stagnation in the Irish peace process is not overcome: “There is a danger of the tide turning against the process.”

The meeting, organised by Sinn Féin and chaired by Michelle Guildernew MP, included speakers from the Labour Party, Alliance Party and the Irish community in Britain. The panel reflected the coalition of parties that backed proposals last year from US Special Envoy for Northern Ireland Richard Haass to resolve issues undermining the peace process.

Liberal-Democrat peer and former Alliance Party leader John Alderdice described the situation in the North of Ireland as “frustrating and depressing,” warning: “If we continue down the road of returning to Unionist dominance, it can only lead to trouble.” He said: “Politicians in London are not paying attention, and not realising the dangers.”

Former Labour MP Alf Dubs also warned of “growing signs that all is not well with the peace process,” and said: “If it collapses, the result will be joint British and Irish rule, not rule from London.”

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No they can’t!

A GRAND jury in Missouri decides not to proceed with charges against a white police officer who shot an unarmed black youth. That night a key witness is shot and killed. His body is found, with lighter fluid all over it, not far from where Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown. Peaceful protests turn to rage and explode into violence that was seen all round the world.

The shocking events in Ferguson have spotlighted the injustice, racism and police brutality that lies at the heart of American capitalist society. No one, apart from the most craven apologists of imperialism, should be surprised at this.

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