François Hollande moves to silence left dissenters in French Socialist Party

by Jon Lansman

hollande-et-parti-socialisteAfter their drubbing in the polls, François Hollande has acted swiftly to ensure his chosen candidate, Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, was installed as party leader.  Cambadélis’s task is to ensure that any opposition to the party’s rightwards shift is silenced, notably that of the Socialist Party (PS) left faction, Maintenant la gauche, which opposes deficit reduction, and argues for the replacement the EU ‘Merkozy’ treaty with an EU programme of growth and re-industrialisation, an EU minimum wage and fiscal harmonisation, wealth redistribution and the elimination of tax evasion. Who better to smash the left than a former Troskyist and 1968 student activist like Jean-Christophe Cambadélis. Continue reading →

Hungry Britain or benefit scroungers – your tabloid choice

by Newsdesk

TabloidsThe Mirror and the Express this morning illustrate the shameful divide in media attitudes to inequality in Britain. The Mirror asks why the sixth richest country in the world with more millionaires than ever has handed out a million food parcels this year.

Widespread hunger is not news for the Express. It expresses its outrage over the latest “get pregnant for benefits” allegation.

It’s going to be a very nasty year running up to the general election!

NHS Wales – a Cameron apology is called for

by Tony Beddow

nhs walesThe Welsh NHS has for weeks been attacked in the Commons by Cameron and Hunt being described as failing and a shambles. Now, on a weekend when the independent Nuffield Trust reported that NHS Wales compares well with the other UK health systems, Cameron compounded the crime by telling the Tory Conference that the Welsh border separated life and death. Both should apologise to the House for misleading it and correct the record. Cameron should apologise to Wales for the “line of death” slur. Continue reading →

Sexism in the UK

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

mkhoqt (2)There are a few of quick notes about the UN’s Rashida Manjoo’s claim that the UK is endemically sexist and that is is worse here than “other places”.

Firstly, it’s a bit of a shock, if I’m honest. I’ve written a fair few things about gender and sexism, and of course I’m aware of and appreciate the work feminist comrades have done tackling ‘everyday’ sexism. That said, while much still needs to be done I didn’t for one moment think that the UK’s sexism problem was worse than other developed nations. Okay, leaving out Nordic countries, is the UK worse than Italy, France, and the USA? If it is then things are grimmer than I thought. Continue reading →

What lies behind Blairite calls for “an avowedly pro-business agenda”?

by Jon Lansman

MilburnAlan Milburn was once a Trotskyist, who co-ran a small left-wing bookshop in Newcastle, Days of Hope (aka Haze of Dope). Now he is better known as the New Labour politician and former Secretary of State for Health whom David Cameron appointed as his “social mobility Tsar”. He is also one of those Blairite  heavyweights who are occasionally wheeled out to deliver the line that those Blairites left within the shadow cabinet feel unable to deliver. Yesterday in the Financial Times, he called on Labour “to embrace an avowedly pro-business agenda and match it with a more overtly pro-business tone”. Continue reading →

Royal Mail fire sale costs taxpayer £1.4 billion

by Grahame Morris

https://www.flickr.com/photos/deargdoom57/5416635941/ CC BY 2.0 by deargdoom57The Royal Mail served the nation for over 500 years; however a Government fire sale not only privatised this prize asset but also short changed the public. Last week, the National Audit Office (NAO) delivered a damning report showing that the Government’s rush to privatise the Royal Mail cost the taxpayer £1.4 billion. Continue reading →

The view from inside the head of Vladimir Putin

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

Putin mirrorYou run an authoritarian regime in a vast country beset with economic problems, corruption, and ethnically-based insurgencies.

The nation on your doorstep – which formerly used to be an integral part of the multinational state ran from your capital for 70 years – has been intriguing with your long-term opponents in the international arena. Former client states and allies are now under the umbrella of their transnational military alliance and supra-national political project. There is ample evidence they were materially supporting opposition social movements in said neighbouring state. Continue reading →

Trade unions fear for the future of the Co-op

by Jon Lansman

coopLord Myners impassioned defence of his review of the Co-operative Group in the Observer following his resignation from its board last week will have found favour with many Co-operators. Today, a trade union representing Co-op employees have today leapt into the debate in defence of their members interests, and in support of Myners.

Adrian Jones, a Unite national officer representing 1200 Unite members in a letter to Co-op board members, expressed the fear that “the board level power struggle is putting their livelihoods at risk“. He went on to back Lord Myners call for a comprehensive review of governance in the group. Continue reading →

Health and care integration: right in principle but a challenge to deliver

by Dave Watson

9172900_sHealth and care integration is right in principle but it will take more than moving the managerial deck chairs around to deliver quality care.

I took a day away from the Scottish TUC congress in Dundee to make a day trip to Brighton to speak in panel discussion on health and care integration at the UNISON UK health conference. I was giving the Scottish perspective on what is a similar challenge across the UK. Continue reading →

Gideon’s promise of a Goldilocks recovery is pure fantasy

by Michael Meacher

George Osborne naked, credit to the Daily Mirror, http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/parliament/2010/10/osborne-stripped-naked.htmlGeorge Osborne preened himself – yet again – at the IMF conference 2 days ago that the Western economies are now set for a prosperous future, even as central banks steadily withdraw the lifeline that kept them afloat after the 2008 crash. Apparently normality is returning after the unfortunate blip five to six years ago. That blip that required more than $3 trillions of funds to be pumped into the US economy, and £375 billion of quantitative easing into the UK economy to prevent a catastrophic credit crunch.

The idea that such enormous sources of demand can be gradually but increasingly withheld is pure complacent folly. And so is the notion that interest rates can be pushed up again to a ‘healthy’ two to three per cent, without any disturbance to markets. Continue reading →

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