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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


National News

Bus battles

by New Worker correspondent

BUS DRIVERS have won one battle against the introduction of a ‘remote sign on scheme’ in London. ‘Remote signing-on’ means that drivers do not begin work at a depot but meet their bus at an outside location. As a result, there would be no checks to ensure the driver is fit and well to drive a bus, nor would there be toilet facilities, rest and canteen provision, to say nothing of waiting for their bus to arrive in all weathers.

Hackney Community Transport (HCT) has withdrawn proposals to introduce ‘remote sign on’ at its garage in Walthamstow, in the north east of the capital. In the north and west however, the much bigger operator Metroline is trying to impose the system. A ballot is in progress that could see strikes take place.

Unite regional officer John Murphy welcomed Unite regional officer John Murphy welcomed the Hackney decision, saying: “HCT’s decision to withdraw proposals for remote sign on are very welcome” and adding that: “Metroline has become increasingly isolated in its mania to introduce remote sign on. It is hoped that it now takes a leaf out of HCT’s book and drops these ill-thought out proposals altogether.”

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Danger money

by New Worker correspondent

ANOTHER DISPUTE is brewing in Hackney, this time as part of a national campaign to secure a decent wage increase for local government workers.

After the rejection by Unite members of the 2.75 per cent wage offer for local government workers in England and Wales, local pay battles are now taking place. These individual battles are seen as pathfinders in the hope that local victories will persuade other local authorities to fall into line. This is the first skirmish, of what is called a “pathfinder” strategy.

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Small but welcome victory

by New Worker correspondent

FOLLOWING last week’s report on these pages, turkey producer Bernard Matthews has, at least temporarily, suspended the doubling of fares on company-subsidised buses to its rural sites in Norfolk and Suffolk. This decision was due to the company fearing that an increase in car-sharing was helping to spread the virus. An increase in sick leave would never do.

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Dangers of the Amazon jungle

by New Worker correspondent

THE GMB general union has denounced Amazon, the online retail giant, for presiding over an “appalling safety record” that was revealed by the California-based Centre for Investigative Reporting (CIR), who have established that serious injuries are 50 per cent higher for fulfilment centres that have robots than those without. Amazon have also been exposed as being more interested in concealing the extent of the injuries than in doing anything to reduce their frequency.

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Police negligence: A tragic death

by Chris Summers

THE Metropolitan Police has “offered its sympathies” to the family of a homeless Greek national who died of hypothermia outside a London police station after being kicked out in the middle of a winter’s night. The force also apologised to the family of Pericles Malagardis, who died in March 2016, aged 63, for the manner in which he was dealt with.

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A Glorious Parliamentary Career

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

ON THE morning of Thursday 1st October few people outside the boundaries of her parliamentary constituency of Rutherglen & Hamilton West knew the name Margaret Ferrier. By the evening she was well known in Hamilton East and much further afield and had finally acquired her 15 minutes of fame.

This was because Ms Ferrier had been caught out travelling by train from London to Glasgow after receiving a positive test for COVID-19. Earlier, whilst showing mild COVID-19 symptoms she had a test but went about her normal routine and headed down to London to make a speech at Westminster. On receipt of her positive result she cheerfully boarded a homeward train and marched into history.

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The backstabbers gazette

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Despite the temporary distractions of the Ferrier affair, the Salmond affair is continuing and is becoming something of the Murrell affair, in tribute to the SNP Chief Executive and First Husband of Scotland.

The refusal of the SNP Government to hand over relevant documents to a Parliamentary Committee (chaired by an SNP MSP) as it promised is angering not just the opposition parties, as might be expected, but also an increasing number of SNP members, and not just the usual suspects of sacked ministers or the tin-foil hat brigade.

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Labour’s Election Preparations Revealed

by our Scottish political affairs correspondent

Scottish Labour is busy preparing for the Holyrood elections. One thing it has neglected to do so far is soundproof their offices. And unfortunately for them the Guido Fawkes web-site, run by the right-wing blogger Paul Staines, has revealed that one of its informers was recently able to eavesdrop from a “room next door” on a strategy meeting of senior Labour officials in Glasgow.

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Tax hikes for top earners Labour’s ‘priority

AS THE coronavirus pandemic starts spreading again in the UK, the opposition Labour Party has been reluctant to propose radical alternatives to government policy, indicating a marked change in strategy from years before.

Although Sir Keir Starmer has been seen to shift away significantly from the hard-left-wing stance which so characterised his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader has vowed to keep to his campaign pledge to raise taxes on Britain’s top earners.

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British activists call for solidarity

by Ed Newman

BRITISH solidarity activists with Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela have denounced the growing hostility of the US government against these three Latin American countries in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the beginning of the virtual meeting, a Labour member of the House of Lords, Christine Blower, called for the redoubling of support for these “three sister nations, victims of a common enemy”, as they were called by the counsellor of the Cuban Embassy in London, Julio Pujol.

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Do they mean us?

TV REVIEW

by Ben Soton

Us. Based on the book by David Nicholls. Four-part television comedy series, shown from 20th September at 9pm on BBC1; currently available on BBC iPlayer. Director: Geoffrey Sax. Producers: Roanna Benn, Greg Brenman and Tom Hollander. Starring: Tom Hollander and Saskia Reeves.

FOR SOME TIME, I have pointed out that the BBC tends to create dramas about people whose lives are totally detached from the rest of the population. The latest Sunday night drama, Us, is no exception. Based on a book written by David Nicholls, the drama centres around the Petersens, a well-off London couple facing divorce and their teenage son. Douglas (played by Tom Hollander) is a scientist, and his wife Connie (played by Saskia Reeves) is an artist; their son Albie (played by Tom Taylor) is about to start university.

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International News

Armenian communists’ ceasefire call

Communist Party of Armenia

ON SUNDAY 27th September, the Azerbaijani armed forces resumed their attack on targets inside Artsakh (the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave) and reignited a dangerous conflict that could quickly escalate and further endanger the peace and stability in the already volatile region.

The Communist Party of Armenia strongly and unequivocally condemns the assault by the Azerbaijani military forces and their Turkish backers, as well as the vile rhetoric of their political leaders, which has been consciously directed against the civilians of Artsakh and Armenia. The aggressors have targeted not only Armenian defensive positions, but also civilian populations and infrastructure. Thus, there are reports of extensive casualties, both civilian and military, resulting from this unrestrained aggression.

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End blockade against Cuba

THE NAME of Cuba has been heard persistently in the 75th Session of the United Nations. Many heads of State and Government have expressed their rejection of the USA’s criminal blockade against Cuba. Likewise, they recognised that this aggressive and obsolete policy they deplore has intensified, even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The debate reaffirmed the world’s condemnation of a unilateral measure that hinders the development of the island, as expressed by Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on his Twitter account.

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A lesson soon to be learned

by Hu Xijin

THE MORE trouble Taiwan creates, the sooner the mainland will teach them a lesson.

The Kuomintang (KMT) group in Taiwan’s ‘Legislative Yuan’ has proposed two bills, asking the island’s authorities to resume diplomatic ties with the USA and to request US assistance in resisting the Communist Party of China (CPC). The move is widely believed to be an attempt to checkmate the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and put the DPP in a difficult position.

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COVID-19: The long and rocky road to immunity

by Prabir Purkayastha

AS the pandemic marches through the world, several countries seemed to have given up the fight against COVID-19 and are now waiting for a vaccine to stop the pandemic. With cases exceeding 32 million, and more than a million dead, the world economy has taken a bigger hit than at any other time in the last century.

Countries like the USA and India are now showing the highest numbers in terms of total and new cases. They are not even talking about how to stop the pandemic and are only focussing on re-opening – or as India calls it, ‘unlockdown’.

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Features

From ‘Putin the Poisoner’ to ‘The Incredulous Case of Mr N’

by Roger Harris

THE New York Times (NYT) released sequel six in the best-selling ‘Putin-the-Poisoner’ series on 22nd September. The incredibly gifted junior G-men and -women in the Times Tower have sleuthed yet another episode of boundless evil-doing by the arch-villain Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

“The editorial board,” we are informed, “is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values.” They spin the tale of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny poisoned with “a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union”. Navalny is a right-wing anti-immigrant blogger and YouTube celebrity. This is the man called “Russia’s Trump” by Jacobin magazine.

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A fighting campaign: Gloria La Riva brings socialist option to US Presidential race

by Morgan Artyukhina

Sputnik recently sat down with Gloria La Riva, a California labour activist running for US president on a third-party ticket who says her socialist campaign offers a real alternative to Donald Trump and Joe Biden, who are united in upholding American capitalism. In 2016, she received 74,000 votes – the most any socialist has received since 1976.

MA:-This is Morgan Artyukhina, I’m here today with Gloria La Riva.

GLR: Hi, my name is Gloria La Riva and I’m running for President of the United States as a socialist for the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) in 15 states, but one of them as a candidate for the Peace and Freedom Party of California and in Vermont for the Liberty Union Party. And it’s been an incredibly vital campaign, with the members, activists and supporters of the PSL all over the country.

[Read the complete story in the print edition]