Solidarity 096, 13 July 2006

Tax the rich!

According to a report in the Guardian of 11 July, profiteers will grab maybe £10 billion this year in VAT fraud in Britain.

That’s £200 for every child, woman, and man in the country — or one-ninth of the total Health Service budget.

And it’s small beer. In the 1980s, the Tories gave the rich £20 billion a year (more in today's money) in tax cuts.

“The wind that shakes the barley”


Sean Matgamna

Among the stories of the Anglo-Irish War of Independence (1919-21) and the Irish Civil War (1922-3) which I grew up listening to my mother tell was the story of the shooting of the last three of 77 Republican prisoners of war killed by the Free State government, in the last days of the civil war, in our town, Ennis. One of the three was her cousin.

No water? Say: "We won’t pay!"

BY Gerry Bates

Dick Turpin, the highwayman, rules — OK! Or is it The Joker from the Batman comics, the playful larceny-obsessed lunatic who delights in having his armed gang inflict his fantasy-addled, power-mad pranks on those he robs?

Has London turned into Gotham City? Or has London mysteriously turned into some town in an old B-movie Western, where the robbers have made themselves masters — backed by armed stooge sheriff and a robber-serving town council — to prey on the hard-pressed honest citizens?

Stop the assault on Gaza!

Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people in the territories it occupied four decades ago has long been an international obscenity.

Once more a senseless small-scale Palestinian guerrilla action against Israel — this time not an attack on innocent Israeli civilians, but on Israeli soldiers — has triggered enormously disproportionate Israeli action against Palestinians; the deliberate destruction from the air of bridges and other parts of the infrastructure on which any hope of a Palestinian return to anything like normal everyday life depends.

Save the NHS!

By Nick Holden

When the government placed an advert in the Official Journal of the European Union offering contracts for private companies to run and manage Primary Care Trusts throughout England, they didn’t expect that there would such a speedy outcry.

But the response from health campaigners and trade unions was so fast and so implacably hostile that the adverts were almost instantly withdrawn and hasty denials were issued.

The campaign we need

The leadership of the health membership in Unison (the Health service group executive — SGE) will next meet on 19-20 July. Unison activists and branches need to pressurise them to get on with carrying out the policies agreed at Unison health conference back in April. Let us remind them that it is their responsibility to:

1. Mobilise the union to defend the NHS

Incapacity benefit cut - Defend the welfare state!

By Ruben Lomas

Foundation Hospitals, handing over schools to businesses, giving employers control of curricula in Further Education — no corner of the public sector or welfare state is safe from the Blairite project of subordinating every aspect of public life to the needs and drives of the market.

Six things you can do

1. Join Keep Our NHS Public. There may be a local group near you, but if not, why not find out if there are other members locally and talk with them about starting a local group? Contact the campaign at

Iraqi oil workers plan strike against sectarian war

By Martin Thomas

According to the Iraq Freedom Congress, a grouping initiated by the Worker-communist Party of Iraq, oil workers in southern Iraq are planning a strike which “aims to bring security and build a free and democratic society in Iraq”.

The IFC reports: “The oil workers will strike for the following demands:

• Abolition of all contracts including privatisation imposed on the workers of Iraq, particularly oil workers;

• An end to the killing of workers committed by the armed militias in Iraqi cities.

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