Solidarity 020, 13 December 2002

firefighters solidarity

Published on: Tue, 24/12/2002 - 00:02


A Campaign for Justice in the Media is being organised by London Central Branch of the National Union of Journalists, c/o NUJ, 308 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP.
Their position is: "Full support to the firefighters! Reject the lies of the press barons! We demand that the newspapers and media allow the FBU equal space to put its side of the case and answer any attack made against it." More details by writing to the above or email

Contact: or 0208 682 4224

To find the contact for your Constituency group contact Jim on

The contestants bite back

Published on: Tue, 24/12/2002 - 00:02

Gerry Byrne reviews The Great Reality TV Swindle, Channel Four, 2 December

It had to happen. It's like when you're a child and you have this boy-mouse and a girl-mouse. Oh dear. Big Brother mates with Survivor, with some additional genetic material from Enron and the Cook Report…
Take a bunch of young hopeful TV-presenter wannabes, blag a classy audition suite, a private island in the Thames on the basis of free advertising, take on some eager camera crew who'll work for the kudos, tell your hopefuls to divest themselves of all ties - flats, lovers, commitments - for a year, ask them to turn

BT: stop divisive productivity scheme

Published on: Mon, 23/12/2002 - 22:19

By Maria Exall

The "Self Motivated Teams" proposals for productivity bonus scheme for 17,000 BT Customer Service Engineers will be recommended by the Telecoms Executive of the CWU to branches at a Special Conference in January. After this there will be a ballot of members affected.

Many Engineering Branches are in principle against productivity pay and have campaigned vigorously against this package. SMT will be the first time that any significant individually-based productivity scheme has operated for BT Engineers.

The SMT scheme will have implications for future pay negotiations. However,

Frontline poetry: 1st September 1939

Published on: Sun, 22/12/2002 - 16:03

The title of WH Auden's not greatly political, but effective poem is the date Hitler invaded Poland. Two days later the whole of Europe was at war. This poem - we print five of the stanzas here - was much quoted in the wake of September 11th. English born, Auden became an American citizen in 1946. Auden was Communist Party sympathiser and some of his political language often seems Stalinoid. Auden's description of the shocking unreality of war remains very powerful.

1st September 1939

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low

Not welcome?

Published on: Sun, 22/12/2002 - 09:21

In the last issue of Solidarity (3/19) we reported on how Solidarity supporter, Faz Velmi, was verbally attacked by George Galloway MP, at a meeting organised by the University College London's Stop the War Group. Faz, an invited speaker, along with Galloway, argued that the Kurds, and Israeli Jews, also had the right to self-determination and was accused of 'Zionism'. Lindsey German told the meeting that people "like Faz" who advocated a two states programme for Israel/Palestine were not welcome in the Stop the War Coalition. Does that mean German doesn't want the PLO and most of the Israeli

Firefighters: Where now for the dispute?

Published on: Sun, 22/12/2002 - 07:15

Solidarity is key
Jill Mountford asked three firefighters what they think of the ACAS talks and what they think should be the next step for the dispute
Billy Carruthers, Euston FBU

The union's been busy putting out press releases and strike bulletins within the organisation thanking members for all their consistent support and for going on the march last Saturday.

We want to keep the organisation together. Strikes in the future have not been ruled out, far from it!

If the ACAS talks prove to be a waste of time, and I think they will, then we have to be ready to take action at the end of

Could 'Cheriegate' become Labour's 'Profumo affair'?

Published on: Sat, 21/12/2002 - 23:13

By Annie O'Keefe

Do bears shit in Canadian woods?
Do lawyers lie, deceive, dissemble, mislead?
Is it their basic trade, something they do just to keep in practice?
Is the top layer of New Labour a cartel of lawyers and spin liars?
Is Cherie Blair a lawyer?
The question is: is Cherie Blair lying now about her connection with low-life conman Peter Foster?

It is difficult not to feel some satisfaction at the sight of the press baying at the heels of the Blairs. The same press that Prime Minister Tony Blair recently set to denouncing, libelling and hate-mongering against the firefighters, and in

The public sector fightback: New NHS pay deal

Published on: Sat, 21/12/2002 - 22:51

More for some, the same for most
By Kate Ahrens

The new pay deal offered to NHS staff at the end of last month has been used to bolster the government's argument in the firefighters' pay dispute that only through modernisation can better pay be achieved in the public sector.

However, the deal, which has been under negotiation for almost four years, has very little to do with modernisation of working practices or cuts in staffing numbers.

It was envisaged, in the first place, as an attempt to standardise the myriad sets of pay and conditions agreements that NHS staff work under. For the NHS

The firefighters can win!

Published on: Sat, 21/12/2002 - 12:32

Twenty thousand people marched through London on a bitterly cold day on Saturday 7 December to show their support for the firefighters. Many were firefighters. Banners and contingents were there from all areas of the labour movement.

The sea of waving yellow and red flags at the rally in Hyde Park suggested flickering flames that symbolised both the day to day work of the firefighter and the reigniting of real trade unionism in Britain.

The firefighters campaign for a decent wage is the most spectacular example of that reignition.
Andy Gilchrist, who has been hounded and demonised by the mad

Scottish Socialist Party: Just what is sectarianism?

Published on: Sat, 21/12/2002 - 01:33

Debate: Peter Burton responds to Matthew Caygill on the SSP and Socialist Worker Platform.
There is a lack of specifity and clarity about what sectarianism actually means in Mathew Caygill's reply to my article on the Militant and SWP platforms (reply Solidarity 18, article Solidarity 16).

Caygill objects to a "myriad of different platforms wih their own agendas". It's a problem, but also an advance on the previous situation where a myriad of different groups were rigidly separate in their organisational structures and rarely co-operated. The mechanism of platforms has created greater left

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