Lead story

A new kinder politics

by Daphne Liddle

JEREMY Corbyn last Tuesday, in his keynote speech at Labour’s annual conference in Brighton, set out his plans to transform the structure of the Labour Party and the way it operates to make it more open and accessible to rank and file constituency members and union affiliates.

He failed to get the debate he wanted on the future of the Trident nuclear weapons system — showing that there are some deep divisions among his newly-chosen shadow cabinet members and among major union leaders, who opposed even debating the issue.

And he conceded an open vote on Britain becoming involved in bombing Syria, despite his own personal strong views against this —showing he has yet to convince some of the right-wing Blairite MPs on the matter.

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A new kinder politics

Redcar steel plant to close with 1,700 job cuts

MANAGEMENT at the giant SSI Redcar steel plant last week announced they were mothballing the factory with the loss of 1,700 jobs — just three years after SSI had reopened it after the previous owners, Tata Steel, had mothballed it.

The Thai-based company blamed a global lack of demand for steel and falling prices that caused losses the company could not sustain.

Cornelius Louwrens, SSI’s UK chief operating officer, said: “I think this is devastating. There’s no words you can use which would be overstating it.”

He added: “This is an extremely sad day for all of us at SSI UK, and in particular our employees and their families. Together with our parent company and the various other stakeholders, they have worked so hard in their endeavours to try and make this business successful. Market conditions this year have been extremely challenging and unfortunately this has led to the decision we are announcing today.”

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Redcar steel plant to close with 1,700 job cuts

Editorial

Taking Labour to the left

JEREMY Corbyn’s first speech as Labour leader was a triumph that not even the right-wing media could deny. But the process of the conference revealed the enormity of the task he faces to rescue the party from the grip of the right-wing Blairites inside the structure of the party and in the Parliamentary Labour Party — and inside some of the union leaderships.

It started with a decision of conference not to debate the issue of scrapping Trident and revealed an uncomfortable number of top Labour people who support the renewal of the Trident submarine based nuclear weapons system.

These included his deputy leader Tom Watson and union leaders Len McCluskey and Paul Kenny who opposed having a debate on Trident. This will have come as a shock and surprise to many who thought these people were part of the left-wing — and on other issues they do take left positions.

Corbyn himself, although he had pushed hard for a debate on Trident, did not seem too deterred. Clearly this is a very big issue and one that will provoke the interest of major forces in Washington who will be pulling all the hidden levers they can to prevent this country ever having a government opposed to Trident renewal.

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Taking Labour to the left