The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 28th November 2003
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NOT A GOOD TIME TO BE YOUNG
by Daphne Liddle
THIS YEAR’S Queen’s Speech was depressingly
predictable, with the more contentious issues signalled well in advance.
Students and asylum seekers, especially child asylum seekers, are the main
As expected, a Bill will be introduced to enable universities to charge top-up
fees of up to £3,000 a year. This has been demanded by the prestigious
research universities to cover the costs of the scientific equipment they
But no university that is strapped for funds is going to pass up the
chance to ask for more. The £3,000 maximum will be the norm.
The “good news” is that the tuition fees will not have to be paid up front.
Instead, students will now graduate with enormous debts that will take half
a lifetime to pay off.
There will be further attacks on the rights of asylum seekers coming
to Britain. A new Bill will allow only one tier of appeal against wrong decisions
on asylum status. Those ruled not eligible for asylum will be offered an
instant flight home. If they do not take it they will be denied all benefit
rights and their children will be taken into care.
The Government will set up trust funds of £250 for all children
born after September 2002 — £500 for poor children – which will
be salted away for them to receive when they are 18. Allowing for inflation
over those 18 years, it will probably be enough to cover a birthday round
Other child protection measures will see the creation of detailed records
on every child, to be available to police, social workers and so on.
Tied in with other preparation in the run-up to the introduction of identity
cards in four years’ time, it is another example of creeping fascism.
Proposed constitutional reforms include scrapping the position of Lord
Chancellor and introducing a Supreme Court. The remaining hereditary members
of the House of Lords will go and there will be an “independent” appointments
commission to restock it with those considered worthy.
There will be some draconian new laws empowering police at times of
“civil contingencies” – major emergencies and terrorist attacks – to hold
people forcibly in containment areas.
The 1999 Employment Relations Act will be updated, with more protection
against unfair dismissal – though there is likely to be a lot of back-door
wheeling and dealing between the Government, the unions and the employers’
organisations over the details before this Bill is published.
There will be a Bill to “modernise” the fire service “to improve responses
to changing demands” – effectively to cut it severely.
The Government will also set up a pension protection fund to protect
workers whose companies and/or pension schemes go bankrupt.
The Queen’s speech confirmed that there will be a referendum on the
euro, if Gordon Brown’s five economic tests for membership are ever met
There will be Civil Partnership Bill which will give legal status to
relationships between people of the same sex, giving them the same pension
and inheritance rights as married couples, if they sign an official document
together in front of witnesses at a registry office.
The legislation on foundation hospitals just scraped through last week to
be part of what is now the last parliamentary year – with a Commons majority
of only 17.
Public sector union Unison said that NHS workers and patients had been
“bushwhacked” on this.
As soon as the measure was passed, Health Secretary John Reid reneged
on a former pledge and announced an extra 32 hospitals to go forward for
foundation status in the first raft, without waiting for a review of the
progress of those previously committed.
Karen Jennings, Unison head of health, said: “It is an outrage that
having secured a very narrow victory in last week’s vote in the Commons by
promising a review of the first wave of foundation hospitals, we get this
announcement of a further 32 today.
“MPs were rightly sceptical about foundation hospitals but they were led
to believe that an independent body would assess the impact of the first
wave of foundation trusts, before the second wave could proceed. Today’s
announcement is a deeply cynical move by John Reid, which will ultimately
be very damaging to the NHS, to patients and to staff.
“Given the level of opposition, the fact that foundation hospitals
are untried and untested, It is obvious that we need to see the results of
the independent review before any more foundation hospitals are announced.
We need to know how foundation hospitals will work, how they will impact
on surrounding hospitals and what affect they will have on patient care.”
The package contained one or two progressive measures but was generally predictable
New Tory leader Michael Howard tore it to shreds, comparing it to Labour
manifesto pledges, especially on student tuition fees. He made a witty and
energetic speech that had both sides of the House laughing.
But his words were also a very sobering reminder of the horrors that
would be in store if his party were ever to be re-elected. Labour must win
the next general election but to ensure that the deeply unpopular Blair must
GEORGIAN PRESIDENT Eduard Shevardnadze has packed
his bags and fled. The onetime Soviet Foreign Minister and chief aide of
the traitor Mikhail Gorbachov ran out of luck last weekend, fleeing amidst
the jeers and taunts of “thief” and “traitor” from the masses protesting
against the fraudulent elections in the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
The ousting of Eduard Shevardnadze brought a wry smile to communists who
long despised this worthless turncoat who helped destroy the Soviet Union
he claimed to defend.
Shevardnadze joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1948 and rapidly
wormed his way up through the Georgian party to get a seat on the Central
Committee in 1976. Though he posed as a communist he rapidly gravitated to
Gorbachov’s faction. In 1985 he was placed on the Politburo and given the
post of Foreign Minister to do Gorbachov’s dirty work on the international
Gorbachov called it “new thinking” and claimed it was the modern development
of Marxism-Leninism while working underhand to destroy socialism and the
communist party in the Soviet Union.
Shevardnadze fronted the dumping of the Soviet Union’s allies abroad and
the export of counter-revolution to the USSR’s European allies and other
socialist countries. And when the Soviet Union collapsed he returned to Georgia
to reinvent himself as a tin-pot dictator who would do the bidding of American
imperialism in the Caucasus.
The man hailed in the West as a “humanist” and “democrat” showed his true
face during his 12 years as president of Georgia. While his cronies enriched
themselves on the spoils of the sell-off of public enterprises, the country
plunged into poverty and mass unemployment.
Georgians, who once enjoyed the highest standard of living in the old Soviet
Union, soon became the poorest people of the former USSR. The corruption
at the top was matched by a soaring crime wave that has led to a gun culture
amongst the people. Though most of Shevardnadze’s circle came from his cronies
in the old Georgian communist party they all embraced anti-communism and
petty nationalism which in turn divided the people amongst themselves, leading
to further ethnic divisions and the virtual breakaway of provinces now dominated
by local warlords.
Last month’s rigged elections were the last straw. Georgia’s opposition leaders,
largely drawn from former Shevardnadze supporters who didn’t get their cut,
saw that they could cash in on the mounting anger of the masses against the
regime and moved against him. Promising clean government and free elections
they swept Shevardnadze from power. But that’s all. Though they have so far
failed to reach a common platform for a grand coalition none of them want
to change Georgia’s direction towards Nato membership and entry into the
The ousting of Shevardnadze was good news for the Georgian people who are
glad to see the back of him. But only fundamental socialist changes can resolve
the problems of the working people of Georgia. The masses have flexed their
muscles to get rid of a tyrant but they will have to develop a revolutionary
strategy if the events are not to repeat themselves in the future.
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