Solidarity 489, 12 December 2018

Tories out, Brexit out!

Author

Editorial

Solidarity goes to press soon after Tory prime minister Theresa May decided to delay the parliamentary vote on her EU withdrawal deal, maybe until January, and to seek “reassurances” from the EU to sweeten the deal. The deal would have been heavily defeated if put to the House of Commons as scheduled on 11 December.

Industrial news in brief

Author

Ann Field and Ollie Moore

Station staff on London Underground’s Bakerloo Line South Group, which includes Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross, Lambeth North, and Elephant and Castle, have voted by 88% for strikes against short-staffing. Tube union RMT has announced strikes for 26 December and 14 January.

The anxieties of Brexit Britain

Author

Matt Kinsella

Jonathan Coe’s latest volume Middle England has been widely described as the best “state of the nation” novel of the last decade, and deservedly so. Whilst Ali Smith’s Autumn was an impressionistic take on the immediate aftermath of the referendum – the first post-Brexit novel – Coe’s book manages to balance the coverage of political events in the run up to June 2016 with an intimate look at how it all unfolds in the lives of characters last seen in Coe’s two Rotters’ Club novels, as well as introducing many new ones.

Revolution + 100

2019 is the centenary of the year in which British workers had probably their greatest opportunity to make a revolution.

Inspired by the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, British workers struck more than ever before, servicemen and police mutinied, and Labour took big strides electorally. But communists in Britain had still not formed a united party, Labour’s representation in Parliament was unfairly small and politically rubbish, and the trade unions were still dominated by bureaucrats.

Rooting out the conspiracy theories

Author

Omar Raii

I used to think that conspiracy theorists were just silly. I must have made countless jokes about people who think the moon landings were faked, that Prince Philip ordered Diana’s death or that, despite NASA’s protestations, the Earth is in fact flat. But it’s become clear for some time now that conspiracy theories have reached a whole new level of influence.

The most important years in human history

Author

Todd Hamer

“Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks. ” (Chapter 10 Capital, Marx)

Debra Roberts, one of the authors of the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has said that: “the next few years are the most important in our history” (by “our” she is referring to all humanity).

Dishonouring Harry Leslie Smith’s memory

Author

Jim Denham

Readers will probably remember Harry Leslie Smith, who died in the early hours of 28 November aged 95: his moving speech to the 2014 Labour conference made a lasting impression on all who heard it.

Universal Credit: a positive alternative

Author

Will Sefton

Luke Hardy (Solidarity 488) accuses me of trying to separate out the introduction of Universal Credit (UC) from the cuts to benefit that the Tories have introduced since the coalition government of 2010. In 2015 the government announced £12 billion of welfare cuts, but only a quarter of these were directly related to Universal Credit, and specifically to the in-work allowance, the total amount you could earn before the amount of benefit paid is reduced. The remaining £9 billion exist whether or not UC is scrapped.

Unite members protest for free movement

Dozens of activists in the Unite union — from a wide range of its industrial sectors — have protested against general secretary Len McCluskey’s reported comments against immigration.

According to the Guardian (5 December), McCluskey warned Labour leaders against their hesitant moves towards favouring a new public vote which could stop Brexit. He “spoke about tackling people’s concerns about immigration and the exploitation of immigrant labour. He said there would be a sense of betrayal among the members if we went for a second referendum”.

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