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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


National News

Newspaper battles

by New Worker correspondent

JOURNALISTS at Bullivant Media Limited, a local newspaper publisher in the Midlands which publishes several titles covering Coventry, Evesham, Rugby, Stratford, Solihull and Worcester, held a second two-day strike on Tuesday and Wednesday after talks broke down last Friday.

This was the first strike undertaken by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) under lockdown conditions.

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Working from home

by New Worker correspondent

DUE TO the pandemic, Working From Home (WFH) increased greatly. Saving time and money on commuting has been popular with many workers. Many however, have not woken up to the drawbacks it causes.

Across the North Sea the largest Dutch trade union federation, FNV, intends to include payments for working at home as part of its next round of pay and conditions talks. The Dutch government’s coronavirus regulations presently require people to work from home if they possibly can.

Deputy chairwoman Kitty Jong said: “Now working from home is set to continue, and employers and workers have realised it can be done well, we are faced with a new situation which needs new regulations, both now and post coronavirus.” There is a need for rules covering payments, equipment, the balance between work and private life, and the right to work at home and in the office, she said.

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Two Annual Traditions:

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

I – High Finance

LAST Wednesday the Scottish National Party (SNP) Government issued its annual Government Expenditure & Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures, carefully timing their release for when the New Worker was going to press. They were first introduced in 1992 by John Major. At the time of the 2014 referendum they were hailed as “the authoritative publication on Scotland’s public finances” because they gave a good picture, but in recent years SNP politicians have denounced their own figures as fake because they are no longer so impressive.

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Two Annual Traditions:

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

II – The Queen’s Speech

This annual ritual over the meaning of these figures was followed on Tuesday afternoon by another annual ritual. This was the Scottish Parliament’s Queen’s Speech in which ‘Queen’ Nicola set out her programme for the remainder of the session until the next election.

She proclaimed an exhausting schedule of work by announcing that Holyrood will have to deal with as many as four new bills. These include a new Domestic Abuse Bill, which will establish emergency protection orders to safeguard those at immediate risk. Another is the annual Budget Bill, which it must do anyway, one on medical and dentistry education at St Andrew’s University, and finally it intends to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law. This Sturgeon claimed is important, but it looks like a cut and paste exercise.

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Boris offers roadmap to ‘normality’ as schools reopen

by Svetlana Ekimenko

AS MILLIONS of pupils in England and Wales return to the classroom this week, education secretary Gavin Williamson has insisted in an open letter that schools are safe, warning that parents who hesitate to send their children back to classes risk putting a “huge dent in their future life chances”.

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Not so royal Windsor

by Carole Barclay

ROYAL WINDSOR on the outskirts of London conjures up sedate images of the castle on the Thames, Eton college, a popular racecourse and Legoland. But behind the veneer of bourgeois respectability lies a much more turbulent past.

Just down the road is Runnymede, where bad King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215. Charles Stuart was held in Windsor castle during the Civil War before his trial and execution in London in January 1649, and Queen Victoria narrowly escaped death in 1882 when a “madman” took a shot at her outside the royal railway station.

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Making the grade…

TV REVIEW

by Ben Soton

Semi-Detached: BBC2, Thursdays at 9.30pm, also available on BBC iPlayer. Writers: David Crow and Oliver Maltman. Director: Ben Palmer. Stars: Lee Mack, Neil Fitzmaurice, Ellie White, Samantha Spiro, Patrick Baladi, Clive Russell, Sarah Hoare, Geoffrey McGivern and others. MANY British people live in semi-detached homes, or in the place referred to as suburbia, away from the inner-cities or sink estates but still not the countryside. Pete Seeger mocked this way of life with his folk rendition of Little Boxes in 1963. Manfred Mann did the same a few years later with his Semi Detached Suburban Mr James. Because suburbia covers such a wide and all-encompassing area it is so-easily ridiculed; but by ridiculing so much it becomes inoffensive.

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International News

India facing the abyss

by B Prasant

EVERYWHERE you go in the rural districts of north India, you find billboards springing up with garish colours and misspelt letterings – touches of haste clearly on show. They read “Come Back to Kerala. Come Back to Andhra Pradesh. Come back to Maharashtra” and so on. Come back to where you chose to migrate from when the coronavirus started eating up jobs. Come back to the new normal of old jobs rising up from the moribund. Abandon home, return and embrace financial security once again.

The response is disturbingly widespread. Buses are refurbished, fuelled and lined up – ready to go. People line up at the bus depot, bundles of pitiful belongings of varying sizes and shapes left on the wet grounds beside vehicles to save their places.

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Bannon’s arrest exposes fraud at the top

by Deirdre Griswold

STEPHEN K Bannon may be in big trouble. Or maybe not. Pals of the very rich rarely pay for their crimes. It is generally the poor who are held in jail – which can be a death sentence in this COVID-19 pandemic.

And who is Bannon? A key player in ultra-right Breitbart media who became the mastermind of Trump’s 2016 election campaign, which got the real-estate magnate into the presidency. After leaving his post as Trump’s “Chief Strategist”, Bannon has been connecting neo-fascist European parties with neo-Nazi groups in the USA.

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Russia recognises legitimacy of Belarus election

Sputnik

RUSSIA recognises the legitimacy of the 9th August presidential election in Belarus, President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday in an interview with the Rossiya 1 television channel.

“The Belarusian authorities have invited the OSCE ODIHR [Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights] to take part in monitoring the elections. Why did it not come? This immediately makes us think that, in fact, a position on the results of these elections had already been formulated. Therefore, someone may doubt the results, but I have every reason to doubt that those who doubt [the election results] were completely honest,” Putin said.

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Workers and communists in Belarus unite behind Lukashenko

Workers World (US)

by Otis Grotewohl

AS THE corporate-owned press continues its biased coverage of the neoliberal gatherings in Belarus disputing the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, the Communist Party of Belarus (CPB) has helped organise rallies in Minsk to celebrate his election victory.

Since its foundation in 1996, the Belarusian communists have supported Lukashenko and attributed his re-election to the “natural consequence of the economic growth of the republic since he came to power in 1994”.

Members of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus – an affiliate of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) – have also attended CPB-sponsored rallies. In a letter dated 25th August, the WFTU stated its position: “The World Federation of Trade Unions, representing 105 million workers in 132 countries, expresses its solidarity with the workers and people of Belarus, who are in the middle of an intra-imperialist conflict since the 9th August election, when President Alexander Lukashenko received more than 80 percent of the votes but the opposition complained about fraud.

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China must resolutely counter Indian provocations

Global Times (edited)

CHINA’S Western Theatre Command says that Indian troops once again illegally crossed the Line of Actual Control near the south bank of the Pangong Lake and Reqin mountain pass on Monday, a blatant provocative move that seriously infringed on China’s territorial sovereignty, and undermined the peace and stability along the China–India border area. Earlier in the day, India, which initially accused China of carrying out movements”, said it had pre-empted Chinese military activity.

The word “pre-empt” shows that the Indian troops initiated the stand-off this time.

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Features

Real rights and ‘human rights’

by Rob Gowland

AS YOU HAVE no doubt noticed, US leaders are fond of proclaiming their devotion to ‘human rights’. They have to say ‘human rights’ because if they called them ‘democratic rights’ – as they should – it would raise too many awkward questions. Questions like, if the USA is such a democracy, how come you got elected President even though more people voted for your opponent ?

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When Soviet science was supreme

by Ilya Tsukanov

THE European Organisation for Nuclear Research completed the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, in 2008. Buried underground near a town outside Moscow, however, are the remnants of a little known but no less ambitious project that would have rivalled the LHC’s immense scale.

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