Solidarity 070, 31 March 2005

Would you vote for this man?

Published on: Tue, 20/03/2007 - 22:16

Performance data:
• Spoke in 0 debates in the last year — 646th out of 659 MPs.
• Asked 0 written questions in the last year — 545th out of 659 MPs.
• This MP never rebels against their party — 630th out of 649 MPs.

Which MP does this verdict, from, describe? Some Blairite hack, no doubt? In fact it is the self-proclaimed arch-rebel, George Galloway.

In the 1997–2001 parliament Galloway rebelled against Blair in just five votes out of 665, 0.8%. (For comparison: Jeremy Corbyn rebelled 77 times, and John McDonnell 72.)

Galloway has only attended 19 parliamentary votes

Workers' news round-up

Published on: Fri, 01/04/2005 - 18:21

News from working-class movements around the world.


Around 75,000 people marched in Brussels on 19 March calling for a stronger social Europe, with more and better jobs, and protesting against the neo-liberal Bolkestein directive.

The Bolkestein or Services directive would mean that companies could effectively choose which European country’s laws to follow and whose enforcement regime to abide by.

Large delegations came from France and Germany, and smaller delegations from other European Union countries.

The demonstration was called by the European TUC (ETUC) trade union federation.

Workers' conference in Baghdad

Published on: Fri, 01/04/2005 - 18:20

The Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions of Iraq (FWCUI) — a union federation in which the Worker-communist Party of Iraq is influential — is calling a workers’ conference in Baghdad on 2 April. In Britain, No Sweat has helped organise fundraising events to support this conference.

At the same time, however, FWCUI and WCPI leaders have launched an initiative called the Iraqi Freedom Congress (IFC), supposed to unite “all free-minded individuals, progressive organisations, and institutions worldwide” which share the aim of “establishing a free, secular, and non-ethnic government in Iraq”.

Deadlock in Baghdad

Published on: Fri, 01/04/2005 - 18:18

Two months after the 30 January elections in Iraq, there is still no new government, despite repeated announcements by the Shia and Kurdish alliances which came out top in those elections that they are about to finalise an agreement.

The elected assembly has met briefly, on 16 March and 29 March, but made no decisions.

The Shia alliance has reportedly agreed to the Kurds’ demands to stick with the US-drafted interim constitution (“Transitional Administrative Law”), and both groups have agreed to Jalal Talabani of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan being president and Ibrahim al-Jaafari of the

Bookshop sues trade unionist

Published on: Fri, 01/04/2005 - 18:17

Message from the French union CGT Maxi-Livres and the Stop Précarité network concerning Latifa Abed, a courageous trade unionist being sued for defamation by her employer. Please give Latifa moral support by sending a message to one of the links below.

Latifa Abed, an employee of Maxi-Livres at the Gare de Lyon [station] in Paris, a CGT union delegate and member of the Stop Précarité network, is due to appear before the
Correctional Tribunal of Paris on Tuesday 29 March to answer the charge of “complicity” with Jean-Paul Cluzel, the chair of Radio France, for words described by her employer

Fight for health and safety worldwide!

Published on: Fri, 01/04/2005 - 18:15

In 2003 there were 235 deaths and nearly 160,000 non-fatal injuries from accidents in UK workplaces. Deaths from asbestos are likely to reach 150,000 over the next 30 years. Yet it is more than 200 years since the first protective legislation on health and safety — the 1802 “Health and Morals of Apprentices Act” — was passed. How far has the protection of health and safety at work improved? How effective is protective legislation?

The exhibition “Hazard! Health in the workplace over 200 years” at Manchester’s People’s History Museum until 10 July traces the history of health and safety at

Travellers: Tories play a race card

Published on: Fri, 01/04/2005 - 18:12

Earlier this month Michael Howard unveiled some spectacularly crude propaganda against travellers, alleging that Roma and other travelling people are given preferential treatment over the settled community when it comes to planning permission. This is because of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, incorporated into

British law by the Human Rights Act 1998, which guarantees the right to home life.
If Howard’s claim were true we might say, so what? Maybe travellers should be granted some slack so that they can make a home for themselves. However, it isn’t true. Article 8

A socialist challenge in Nottingham East

Published on: Fri, 01/04/2005 - 18:10

In 2001 Pete Radcliff stood for the now defunct Socialist Alliance in Nottingham East. He polled over one thousand in the constituency (one of the best SA results in the country).

This time round Pete will be standing in the name of the Socialist Green Unity Coalition.

This is a coalition of five left groups. The key idea of the campaign is to to give a voice to the mass of working class people who have been betrayed by New Labour by highlighting issues such as pensions, education, asylum, health, crime, trade unions, environment and war.

The coalition wants to see working class political

An alternative manifesto

Published on: Fri, 01/04/2005 - 18:09

The Labour Representation Comittee has launched an alternative Labour manifesto, counterposing policies widely supported by the trade unions to those pushed by Blair and Brown.

The manifesto was launched at a rally in London on 21 March. Speakers including (above, right to left) Katy Clark, Labour PPC for North Ayshire and Arran (speaking); Paul Mackney, general secretary of NATFHE; Gerry Docherty, general secretary of TSSA; Jeremy Dear of NUS; and John McDonnell MP. Jeremy Corbyn MP and Billy Hayes of the CWU also spoke. The LRC is also supported by RMT and the FBU.

PCS must get back on track

Published on: Fri, 01/04/2005 - 18:07

The general secretary of the civil service union PCS was a rank and file militant and is considerably to the left of most general secretaries. The union’s national executive is dominated by Left Unity — an alliance of socialist groups and left-wing independents. PCS was key to putting together the public sector-wide action over pensions.

On the face of it there is not a more left wing-led union in Britain or one less likely to call off a strike, especially one ostensibly over pay and jobs as well as pensions.

Yet call off the strike they did, with only one National Executive Committee (NEC)

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