Solidarity 438, 17 May 2017

No prosecutions for electoral fraud

Published on: Wed, 17/05/2017 - 11:56

Simon Nelson

Nominations to stand as an MP in the general election have now closed. About 30 mostly Tory MPs could breathe a sigh of relief as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) confirmed that “no criminal charges have been authorised” over alleged cases of electoral fraud.

This follows investigations by 14 police forces into the use of the “Battlebus2015” in marginal seats.
The CPS accept that there is evidence that returns on electoral spending were inaccurate but these
cannot prove “to the criminal standard that any candidate or agent was dishonest.”

The cost of the bus, travel, accommodation and

NHS cyber attack could have been thwarted

Published on: Wed, 17/05/2017 - 11:17

Claudia Raven

This week a cyber attack affected hospitals across the NHS. My hospital, which is largely paperless, told staff to turn off Windows XP computers as a precaution. Across the country, care was delayed, some minor operations were cancelled, patient data was rendered unavailable and appointments postponed.

The NHS has been at risk of this kind of cyber attack for two years. Many NHS computers still run on Windows XP, which stopped receiving security updates in September 2013. The government paid £5.5 million to Microsoft to extend support for public sector systems, buying the time needed to

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 17/05/2017 - 11:12

Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

Staff at Manchester Metropolitan University will strike against job cuts on 24 and 25 May, against a backdrop of hundreds of jobs at risk across the sector. Manchester University is planning to cut 171 jobs; up to 150 are at risk at Aberystwyth; 139 at the University of Wales Trinity St David; Sunderland, Durham and Plymouth are all looking for voluntary redundancies.

Publicly, universities have been blaming Brexit’s impact on international student recruitment and research funding. But Manchester Met has £400m reserves, while Manchester Uni is planning to hire an extra 100 junior researchers

HE Bill passed, keep fighting

Published on: Wed, 17/05/2017 - 10:59

Parliament rushed through the Higher Education and Research Bill — the legislative vehicle for their ruinous agenda of fee-raising, university-privatising reforms — through to Royal Assent on 27 April in advance of the snap General Election.

Over the past eighteen months, we’ve fought a major battle against the reforms. We have argued the case against the misleadingly named Teaching “Excellence” Framework (TEF), presented our alternative vision of a free education system governed by democracy not the chaos of the market, and through protest and direct action – most notably the boycott of the

Bob Crow: an unapologetic socialist

Published on: Wed, 17/05/2017 - 10:54

Janine Booth

Janine Booth reviews Bob Crow: socialist, leader, fighter — A political biography, by Gregor Gall (Manchester University Press)

As the first book about Bob Crow published since his untimely death three years ago, Gregor Gall’s political biography of Crow provides us with an opportunity to review his life and his time in the railworkers’ union NUR and its successor RMT, to highlight the key reasons for his effectiveness and impact, and to examine the limits of those.

The book promises to assess Crow from a critical Marxist perspective, in particular looking at his personality, politics and

US socialism and organising against Trump

Published on: Wed, 17/05/2017 - 10:46

Jason Schulman is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, co-editor of New Politics, and author of Neoliberal Labour Governments and the Union Response. He spoke to Solidarity about the challenges facing the US left under Donald Trump.

Donald Trump’s populist rhetoric, his frequent invocation of “forgotten Americans,” was never anything more than bombast. He’s assembled the most oligarchical cabinet in American history. It’s true that the American ruling class overwhelmingly preferred a Clinton victory, but the Trump victory hasn’t led to a great clash of interests within that class

Labour manifesto: clawing back from the rich

Published on: Wed, 17/05/2017 - 10:16

Martin Thomas

The output (value-added) of the UK economy these days is around £1900 billion a year. Of that, about £360 billion is goods and services bought by central and local government, about £320 billion is capital investment, and about £1,130 billion is stuff bought by households. The sub-totals do not add up to the overall total because of other categories, and the figures are rough, based on the last available official figures, for 2014.

The UK government produces many useful statistics on the distribution of household income, but not for the percentage of household income taken by the rich, the

Mobilise the members!

Published on: Wed, 17/05/2017 - 09:22

Labour has almost 500,000 members. If just half of these members were mobilised and turned into activists, they could transform the party and make a huge impact at the election.

Despite some impressive mobilisations by Labour — bringing members into marginal seats across the country for instance — many members are completely unengaged with their local party. In a snap election, there will always be a strain on resources. Mobilising new members, many of whom have not yet been integrated into any activity, is a challenge. But it is one Labour must do everything to take up.

Reports show that in

Keep fighting for free movement!

Published on: Wed, 17/05/2017 - 09:13

Interviewed by ITV on 15 May, Jeremy Corbyn said that Brexit means the free movement of citizens between the UK and the EU is going to end, even if Labour wins the election. In January Corbyn had said much the same, only later to retract, saying that he was not proposing new restrictions on the rights of people to move to the UK. At that time he hinted that free movement would be part of a negotiation to keep the UK in the single market. No such clarification now.

Although Labour’s shadow Brexit Secretary Kier Starmer has given a commitment that Labour would “unilaterally guarantee” the

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