National News

MPs fail to stop disabled benefit cuts

DEBBIE Abrahams, Labour MP and a former public health consultant, last week warned that the cuts to benefits paid to the disabled, announced by George Osborne in his July Budget and now being debated in the House of Commons, will lead to “more tragedies”.

Osborne is planning to scrap the “work-related activity group” (WRAG). These are the claimants who have been found unfit to work by the notorious Work Capability Assessment (WCA) but who are expected to attend some sort of work related activity.

They have to be seriously ill or disabled to be in this group in the first place. But the Government has now realised that being in such a group, even for years, has not worked miracle cures and made these people “fit for work”. Lost limbs do not grow back, the blind do not suddenly see again.

Quite the opposite: most of these claimants’ conditions are deteriorating — through age and from harassment and stress from the Department of Work and Pensions to keep on proving they are still unfit to work.

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Steelworkers face the dole

THE TUC warned last Monday that one in six (5,200) steelworkers in Britain now face the prospect of losing their jobs. Responding to the news that steel firm Caparo are to make 1,800 redundancies, on top the 1,200 being made at TATA and 2,220 at SSI, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “One in six UK steelworkers face losing their jobs.

“At this rate there won’t be a British steel industry in a year’s time. Ministers cannot afford to stand on the sidelines and watch this crisis unfold. They must step in now with a rescue package.

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FCO cleaners disciplined for writing to Foreign Secretary

FOURTEEN cleaners employed by a private contractor at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have been disciplined for writing to Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary about their low pay.

The contractor, Interserve, wrote to the cleaners calling on them to attend an interview that could lead to suspension or punishment, after they signed a joint letter to Hammond suggesting a meeting to discuss the living wage.

Three are now also facing redundancy and believe they have been targeted because of their campaigning on pay, although the FCO and Interserve insist that this is unrelated.

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Blair’s leaked message to Bush

TONY BLAIR made a deal with George Bush over military action in Iraq in 2002, a year before the war, according to leaked emails.

Blair said he would support the US if military action was needed in Iraq, the then-US Secretary of State claimed in a memo written a year before the war began.

The dossier, written on 28th March 2002 by former US Secretary of State Colin Powell to President George W Bush, said: “On Iraq, Blair will be with us should military operations be necessary.

“He is convinced on two points: the threat is real; and success against Saddam will yield more regional success.”

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Police apology to journalists

SUSSEX Police last week apologised to NUJ photojournalists after the police stopped and searched a group of journalists on Sunday 21st April 2013.

The NUJ condemned police action taken when the journalists were travelling to work in Brighton to cover a far right demonstration.

The incident involved the police stopping the journalists’ vehicle. Nine NUJ members and other journalists showed their press cards and informed the police officers they were not part of the protest.

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GMB Scotland fights home care privatisation

THE GENERAL union GMB Scotland last week called on NHS Highland to halt the outsourcing of 1,200 hours of home care provision to the private sector.

This care is currently delivered by GMB Scotland members employed by NHS Highlands. The plan is for the first 330 hours per week to be outsourced by October 2015 and for the outsourcing to be completed by end March 2016.

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Tractor workers reject pay offer

THE MANAGEMENT at New Holland Tractor Ltd in Basildon, Essex has been urged to get around the negotiating table, after the workforce overwhelmingly rejected an improved pay offer.

The 460-strong hourly paid production workforce — members of Unite — will start a 36-hour strike starting at 11.45 on Thursday 22nd October until midnight on Friday.

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Scottish Political News

by our Scottish political correspondent

THE EDWARDIAN Tory Prime Minister Arthur Balfour once insisted that he would no more take orders from his party conference than he would from his valet. Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP leadership share the same lofty distrust of their membership judging by the proceedings of the Scottish National Party’s annual conference, or to be more precise, rally held at Aberdeen last weekend.

Apparently there were no less than 3,000 nationalist delegates representing 115,000 members, but given the SNP’s creative way with numbers it would be unwise to take these figures more precisely than Wordsworth’s wanderings among 10,000 daffodils. Some delegates found it difficult to comprehend the concept of a conference “fringe meeting”.

North and south of the border it is a common myth that the SNP is a left-wing organisation simply because its leaders did not go to Eton, and offer to accommodate refugees in their houses. We are still waiting for that photo-shoot of a Syrian refugee outside the Sturgeon mansion.

The huge increase in SNP membership only means that long-standing nationalist voters have joined the party. Nationalists are nationalists, they generally blame the English, not capitalism for Scotland’s problems. Class consciousness is not widespread amongst them.

In her keynote speech Sturgeon typically faced both ways on the Neverendum question. She obviously wants a rerun, and needs to keep her tartan-clad devotees in line with just such a promise, but she is not as stupid as her more vocal supporters and knows fine what the outcome would be in the foreseeable future.

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Wales and the world in solidarity with Palestine

by Wendy Lewis and New Worker correspondent

IT IS HARD to maintain optimism about a lasting peace in the Middle East, as Netanyahu’s government cranks up the rhetoric; 30 Palestinians and eight Israelis have been killed in recent weeks in escalating violence.

Israeli soldiers have opened fire on Palestinian protesters and raided refugee camps, while armed settlers and racist vigilantes have rampaged through Palestinian areas shouting: “Death to Arabs” in response to knife attacks.

Thousands of soldiers patrol Jerusalem and Palestinians have been banned from the Old City. Palestine Solidarity Cymru called a vigil in Cardiff to demand an end to the violence last Saturday when similar pro-Palestinian demonstrations were happening all round the world.

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Mist, rain and fiery haze



by Daphne Liddle

Directed by Justin Kurzel; starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine, Sean Harris, Jack Reynor, Elizabeth Debicki and David Thewlis. 113 minutes.

THIS IS a very powerful film which definitely benefits from being seen on the big screen. It is shot in chiaroscuro through the ever changing rain and mist against a backdrop of the glorious Scottish landscape, in which characters emerge from the mist, say their piece, do their deeds and then merge back into the mist.

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International News

Why Russia’s policy in Syria is better

by Timothy Bancroft- Hinchey

THE RECENT diplomatic history of the West has been intrinsically linked with the use of terrorists to topple governments, sowing havoc and committing war crimes while Nato either looked on or else actively involved itself in strafing Government forces while their terrorist minions did the rest. Russia’s anti- terrorist operation in Syria is more measured, goes hand in hand with international law and is producing results. What has the West achieved?

Let us ask the question what did the West’s policy in Afghanistan achieve? Did they defeat the Taliban? Did they destroy the opium production? The answer to these questions is no. In 2015, 14 years after the western invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban is chalking up firsts in terms of occupying territory and the opium production is higher now than it was in 2001.

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Time ripe to rev China-Britain ties to higher gear

by Tian Dongdong

CHINESE President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Britain on the threshold of the second decade of China-Britain comprehensive strategic partnership has ushered in a “golden time” for bilateral relations, offering the two countries an opportunity to rev their ties into higher gear.

The China-Britain ties, after 65 years of remarkable development since the British recognition of the People’s Republic of China in 1950, is mature for a new type of relations featuring pragmatism, inclusiveness, openness and win-win results.

In the global sphere China and Britain have maintained close cooperation from fighting the Ebola epidemic in West Africa to solving the Iran nuclear issue and consolidating the basis for their further in-depth and comprehensive cooperation.

On the economic front, while global growth has slowed down, China-Britain investment and business cooperation has kept growing. Britain has become the EU’s second largest investor in China as well as China’s second largest trading partner and investment destination in the EU. China has been Britain’s second largest non-EU trading partner.

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Ukraine’s Holodomor hoax

The anatomy of a lie invented by West’s propaganda machine

by Ekaterina Blinova

SINCE the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia western media have made every effort to downplay the achievements of the Soviets, creating a picture of complete horror and despair which had allegedly engulfed the USSR.

The bold historical experiment kicked off by communists and based on the concept of a “fair distribution of national wealth,” egalitarianism and internationalism, made the blood of western plutocrats run cold.

Historians note that Soviet Communism was the absolute antithesis of capitalism. If the new system proved effective it would have changed the world forever. Needless to say it did not comply with the plans of the western financial and political elite.

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Democratic Korea in the struggle for freedom and independence

by Alex Meads

THE DEMOCRATIC People’s Republic of Korea, under the leadership of the Workers’ Party of Korea, has always considered foreign relations an important policy area for the promotion of anti-imperialism and the cultivation of friendly relations between nations. The WPK has worked tirelessly to achieve cordial relations between all socialist countries since the inception of the DPRK. The WPK believes that independence, peace, and solidarity are the basic ideals of the foreign policy of the DPRK.

The party believes that the state should establish diplomatic as well as political, economic and cultural relations with all friendly countries, on principles of complete equality, independence, mutual respect, non-interference in each other’s affairs, and mutual benefit. The DPRK has long expressed solidarity with those nations who are fighting shoulder to shoulder with the DPRK against US Imperialism.

With Cuba

One such example is relations between the DPRK and Cuba. The relationship between these two socialist countries is based on the spirit of proletarian internationalism. Cuba established diplomatic relations with the DPRK on the 2nd of August 1960.

There is a deep relationship between the Cuban and Korean revolutions and a friendship between the leaders of the two revolutions as significantly Ché Guevara and Fidel Castro have both visited the DPRK. Cuba was deeply inspired by the example of the Korean revolution and its armed struggle. In 1968 the World Cultural Congress in Havana adopted the document: The anti-Japanese armed struggle of the Korean People organised and waged under the personal guidance of comrade Kim Il Sung

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