Solidarity 393, 10 February 2016

Don't cut our schools!

Published on: Wed, 10/02/2016 - 14:22

Kate Harris, Alice Swarstarner and Gemma Short

Schools across England are facing huge funding cuts over the next few years, under a “fairer” new funding formula, taking effect from 2017-18.

Nationally, schools will see about 8% cuts. In a few rare cases, particularly in schools in the shires, schools may have increased budgets. But schools in London will be hit with 13% cuts and some boroughs will face cuts of more than 20%.

The current system is unfair and schools are under-funded. In Lincolnshire, for example, the proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals has doubled but the amount of money schools receive has stayed

Where next for Unison left?

Published on: Wed, 10/02/2016 - 14:11

Simon Nelson

In the wake of the attacks of the Trade Union Bill and coming off the back of a General Secretary election mired in corruption and with a turnout of less than 10%, the largest public sector union, Unison, is not geared up for a fight.

The incumbent General Secretary, Dave Prentis’s victory in December should highlight the level of stagnation that exists, and the failure of a serious challenge to the entrenched bureaucracy outside of election time.

In the midst of an ongoing and now delayed investigation by the Electoral Reform Society and Unison itself, via Prentis supporter and Deputy

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 10/02/2016 - 13:56

Peggy Carter, Ollie Moore and Simon Nelson

Library workers in Lambeth struck on Monday 8 February in an ongoing fight to stop the closure or privatisation of many of the borough′s libraries.

Library workers in Greenwich and Bromley also struck on Monday 8 February The strike in Lambeth was well supported across all ten of the borough′s libraries, with all libraries shut and large picket lines. Activists from other local trade unions came down to show solidarity on the picket lines.

In the evening Lambeth council cabinet met to discuss and vote on the proposals for a third time (the final full-council decision is expected to be in

Momentum's national meeting

Published on: Wed, 10/02/2016 - 13:42

Ed Whitby, North East and Cumbria delegate (pc)

Just the fact of Momentum holding its first democratic national representative meeting (on 6 February) was a success.

The procedure could certainly have been improved — there was not enough time for local groups to prepare properly for the regional meetings, indeed some regions didn’t meet at all. For both the regional meetings and the national meeting, many documents were either not presented until the day or circulated at very short notice. Nevertheless in many groups and regions there was a lively process of electing delegates and discussing issues.

A summary of what was decided by the

Cartoonish bloodletting

Published on: Wed, 10/02/2016 - 13:34

Sacha Ismail

I am not a fan of cinematic bloodbaths, but I went to see The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino’s latest film and a bloodbath if ever there was one, because its plot and characters are tied up with the bloodiest conflict in American history – the Civil War.

Tarantino’s last film, Django Unchained, was about a freed slave taking revenge on slave-owners in the Deep South just before the war. This one is set in the newly settled West some years afterwards. Is Tarantino, who defended the extreme violence of Django Unchained on the reasonable basis that the reality of slavery was worse, and

What happens to a dream deferred?

Published on: Wed, 10/02/2016 - 13:08

Jean Lane

A Raisin in the Sun was written in 1959 by Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965), the first black woman to have a play performed on Broadway and the inspiration behind Nina Simone’s ‘Young Gifted and Black’.

The play is set in an overcrowded Chicago slum apartment just before the emergence of the civil rights movement. The Youngers, a working class family comprising of grandmother Nena (Mama), her son Walter with his wife Ruth and child Travis, and Walter’s sister, Beneatha, are about to come into an insurance pay-out of $10,000, after the death of Nina’s husband. The potential opportunities that

A sad but inspiring celebration of Charlie Hebdo

Published on: Wed, 10/02/2016 - 12:55

Tom Harris

Daniel and Emanuel Leconte have made a moving although imperfect film about the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, focussing on the massacre by Islamist gunmen at their headquarters last year and the immediate aftermath.

The first thing to say is that, for a British viewer acquainted with the socialist or liberal left, one of the main emotions the film evokes is shame. If someone was in the grim position of having to rely on the British left for their information about the world, they would have been told that Charlie Hebdo was a racist, immigrant-goading rag, a French Der Stürmer that

How Labour councils can beat the Tories' cuts

Published on: Wed, 10/02/2016 - 12:48

Sacha Ismail

What are you advocating?

Firstly, that Labour councils and the Labour Party more generally campaign explicitly and actively for the restoration of the funding which local authorities have lost since 2010 and are going to lose in the years ahead. At the moment, the demand is not even being made.

Secondly, that instead of insisting that their decisions about spending and cuts are not up for discussion, councils and councillors encourage a process of discussion in the party and the labour movement more generally, helping to create a Great Labour Movement Debate about the way forward. Minimally

NHS cash squeeze: tax the rich!

Published on: Wed, 10/02/2016 - 12:39

Kelly Rogers

The NHS is demonstrably very strapped for cash, as a long list of the biggest hospital Trusts in the country are revealing the largest overspends in the history of the NHS.

The trust with the largest overspend, Barts Health NHS Trust, based in East London, is on course to have a run up a deficit of at least £134.9 million (10% of its budget) by the end of the NHS’ financial year on 31 March. Its overspend is 69% bigger than that in 2014-5, which totalled £79.6 million.

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, had earmarked £1.8 billion of extra funding for next year, but it looks like this

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