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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


National News

Thomas the very old tank engine

by New Worker correspondent

THE National Railway Museum in York presently has a problem with its exhibition space. There is a gaping hole in the engine hall because the Pacer trains built between 1980 and 1987 are still in use on some routes.

The Pacers are Heath-Robinson contraptions constructed by welding a bus body to a chassis. They were introduced as a temporary solution to a rolling stock crisis back in the early 1980s but many are still in use on the Northern Rail network. Not only are the Pacers noisy and uncomfortable, but they flagrantly contravene recent disability access laws.

The RMT transport union is calling for the government to bring Northern Rail into public ownership, and has now warned that protecting public money will mean dealing with the system of leasing trains from rolling stock companies who lease trains to train-operating companies like Arriva Rail North and make more money the longer their existing trains are used.

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Taxing times

by New Worker correspondent SOME OF Britain’s most popular workers are campaigning against what even their bosses’ think is an unsatisfactory pay regime.

At Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) the new interim Permanent Secretary Jim Harra admitted when being grilled by MPs that his department’s pay is in crisis.

The largest civil service union PCS is calling for fully-funded, above-inflation pay rises across the department in opposition to management demands that staff sacrifice terms and conditions in return for pay increases.

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Skool troubles

by New Worker correspondent

ONE OF Tony Blair’s educational legacies, Academy Trusts were supposed to transform education in England by freeing schools from allegedly conservative local government bureaucracies and dreadful teaching unions. Commercial or allegedly not-for-profit trusts have not had a good record in running the former local authority schools they took over, often against the overwhelming wishes of the parents.

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Johnson accused of slashing standards to get US deal

by Svetlana Ekimenko

AS BRITAIN prepares for a December general election and a possible Brexit in the New Year, a leaked document reportedly indicates that the UK could deviate away from European Union (EU) employee and environmental rights after exit day.

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To the Polls

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

ALTHOUGH it is very difficult to tell, the Scottish Parliament returned to work on Monday after a two-week break and not just because the final decision about the General Election took place on Tuesday.

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True to Form

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Over in the Tory Party the knives were out for the once-saintly former leader Ruth Davidson. She came under attack for her plans to supplement her Parliamentary income by taking a £50,000 per year job with a public relations company that would occupy 25 days of her time whilst still remaining a member of the Scottish parliament (MSP). Labour said her Edinburgh constituents “deserve an MSP that will represent them, not private corporations”.

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Outsourcing Woes

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Anyone reading this over the breakfast table should skip the next item until their meal is fully digested

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Twittering On

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

The SNP are very keen on social media. It makes them look progressive and keeps them looking cool in the eyes of the yoof. That, at least, is the theory. After a Freedom of Information (FoI) request it appears that they have no fewer than 120 official twitter accounts. But the yoof do not seem very interested. One account has a magnificent three followers whilst many others had followers numbering in the low hundreds. Labour MSP James Kelly said: “The SNP Government should spend less time tweeting and more time listening to communities and sorting out the mess they have made of public services,” concluding that “time and time again, the SNP are shown to be all about spin and not substance.”

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A man of the Clyde

REVIEW

by New Worker correspondent

Jimmy Reid: A Clyde-Built Man by WWJ Knox and Alan McKinlay. Published by Liverpool University Press (2019). Hardback: 272pp; ISBN-10: 178962083X; ISBN-13: 978-1789620832. Paperback: 256pp; ISBN-10: 1789620848; ISBN-13: 978-1789620849.

LAST FRIDAY saw the launch of a new biography, authorised by his family, of Jimmy Reid: A Clyde-Built Man by WWJ Knox and Alan McKinlay, and published by Liverpool University Press for £24.95 for the paperback edition. Held at the Glasgow HQ of Unite the Union, it began with a ‘light lunch’ of steak pie with roast potatoes followed by chocolate pudding. The vegetarian option was macaroni and cheese, a very 1970s meal to commemorate the life of the leader of the 1971—72 Upper Clyde Shipbuilders (UCS) work-in.

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‘Chinese Bookshelf’ launched in London

by Mingmei

‘CHINESE Bookshelf’, a project which aims to provide local readers an access to Chinese books and culture, was launched in London last week.

Located inside Foyles Bookstore on Charing Cross Road, near the British Museum and Chinatown, the Chinese Bookshelf introduces more than 100 kinds of books such as literature, folk-tale, economic publications and political works.

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International News

What’s behind the Chilean explosion!

by Lena Valverde Jordi

LEGEND has it that during the huge march from Paris to the Versailles Palace on October 5th—6th 1789, right in the middle of the French Revolution, the wife of Louis XV, Marie Antoinette, asked what were the people demanding. Told that the crowds were protesting over the shortage of bread, its mounting price and increasing hunger and malnutrition, the Queen, who would literally soon lose her head, said “let them eat brioche”.

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Yellow Vests keep up the fight

by Ed Newman

THE anti-government Yellow Vest movement marched across France for the 50th consecutive protest last weekend. The long-running protest appears to be justified by the continued and extreme unpopularity of President Emmanuel Macron, who has reached the halfway point in his five-year term.

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Lebanese Premier resigns after protests

by Li Xia

LEBANESE Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation on Tuesday amidst nationwide anti-government protests. “I tried to find a solution to our crises in the past period and to listen to people’s needs and protect the country from security and economic dangers but I have reached a dead end,” Hariri said in his address to the Lebanese people. “We need a positive shock to solve this crisis.”

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Cuban and Russian summit in Moscow

by Jorge Ruiz Miyares

THE Presidents of Cuba and Russia, Miguel Diaz-Canel and Vladimir Putin, met this Tuesday at the Kremlin, as part of the Cuban leader’s working visit to the Russian Federation.

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No longer of any use: Washington liquidates al-Baghdadi

by Ruaa al-Jazaeri

AFTER USING him for many years as a terrorist tool in Syria and Iraq, US President Donald Trump on Sunday announced the liquidation of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the ISIS terrorist organisation and an asset of US intelligence. Al-Baghdadi was no further use to the Americans and the secrets of his relationship with Washington have been buried with him.

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Features

The Donbas: Hope for the best and do our best to prepare

Resistance to the fascist takeover of Ukraine in February 2014 led to the establishment of two people’s Republics in the eastern part of the country. Despite the 2015 Minsk Agreements that recognised a semi-autonomous status for the Donbas Republics of Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR), the American puppet regime in Kiev has turned its back on a peaceful settlement and the conflict continues. The Ghost Battalion played a key role in the defence of the Donbas Republics under the command of the legendary Alexey Mozgovoy, who was killed by a fascist gang in 2015. But the Ghosts still keep up the fight under the command of Alexey Markov, who spoke to Jane Letova last month.

Jane Letova: What is the current state of affairs in the republics? What changes have you seen over the last few years?

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