Category Archives: UK

UK; Student activists condemn police spying on protest groups

Socialist Students, one of the organisations at the heart of the 2010 student movement against tuition fees, has strongly condemned recent revelations about police surveillance of political campaigns and student activists. Students from the group, who are involved in organising against cuts, fees and privatisation on campuses, have said it ‘makes a mockery’ of the democratic right to protest in Britain.  This comes a day following a student demonstration against the closure of the University of London Union, which saw a large and heavy handed police presence prevent students from entering their own campus and, following which, the president of the students’ union has been arrested.

Edmund Schluessel, Socialist Students member and NUS National Executive Councillor said:

“The videos released give categorical evidence that the police targeted groups on a political basis, including those involved in peaceful protest. This follows several revelations of police surveillance of activists, which included systematic infiltration of groups like Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE) during the 1990s.The huge student movement of 2010 broke the consensus and in many ways humiliated the police. These are outrageous attacks on basic democratic freedoms and the right to protest. These surveillance techniques, coupled with heavy handed and often violent policing, are designed to limit the effectiveness of protests and intimidate demonstrators. Protest is increasingly becoming a criminalised act. Alongside this, anti-trade union laws are making strike action increasingly difficult to organise legally. Clearly, there is a deep seated fear at the heart of the establishment about the potential momentum that campaigns like these could gain. As brutal austerity intensifies and Cameron declares its permanency, it is vital that we defend the right to protest.”

Socialist Students is campaigning defend the right to protest. They plan to link up with other groups, such as YRE, to build the fight for democratic rights.

Significant drop in road accidents under Green transport policies

From the Green Party of England & Wales

Green Party of England and WalesAccidents on Brighton & Hove’s roads have fallen by a substantial 12.5% since the Greens took office, according to a major survey by the Department for Transport. At the same time, accidents across the South East fell by just 1% and in England as a whole by only 5%. And this is despite the fact that Brighton & Hove’s population is rising rapidly, with more people than ever before using the city’s streets.

At a time when the Greens’ flagship road policies are coming under fire from motorists’ and taxi drivers’ campaigns such as Unchain the Motorist, the survey provides substantial government evidence that Green transport policies are working: there are now one in eight fewer accidents than before the Green administration launched its transport initiative and a much higher drop in accidents than seen nationally or across the region.

Lead member for transport, Councillor Ian Davey, who has championed the Greens’ initiatives since day one, said: “This survey proves in black and white what we have been saying since we took office: we are introducing policies that make the roads of Brighton & Hove healthier and safer.

“Opposition councillors and pro-motorist campaigners want us to roll back time and return to the transport policies of the last administration. But do they also want more accidents on our roads each year? Because that’s what a roll-back would mean.

“Our streets are now safer. Sometimes people claim that Greens are anti-car. We are not anti-car but we are for safer streets for everyone. And that’s what this survey demonstrates we are achieving”

The survey result comes four months after it was revealed that the city’s roadside air quality had also improved markedly over two years.

UK tories cutting social security

We pay into the tax system when we are working and when times are tough we have a small part of that tax held for when we need it, social security.

From the Socialist Party (UK)

Tories make the poor pay say Socialists as benefits cap is introduced

Paula Mitchell, Socialist Party London regional secretary said: “This is yet another demonstration of the Tories obsessional hatred of working class and poor people. Instead of getting people into work by creating jobs they are forcing some of the poorest people in society into destitution. Up to 40,000 households will now face the prospect of not being able to pay the rent or buy food.

The government claims that this is in the name of “changing a culture” and putting an end to “days of blank cheques”. It’s a shame that they have never applied these principle to the bankers who caused the economic crisis in the first place who have had plenty of blank cheques written for them in the form of huge bail outs.

Unfortunately the Labour Party is too busy attacking trade unionists to put up any real opposition. They accept the same logic as the Tories of kowtowing to big business.

This is why Bob Crow made the call for a new party at the weekend. In the elections next year, hundreds of trade unionists, socialists and ordinary working people, fed up with Labour’s inability to stand up for us, will be standing candidates in the elections under the banner of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

In order to end worklessness and poverty a government would have to unroll a programme of public works in order to create real jobs. The money is there – if big companies aren’t prepared to invest, they should be nationalised under democratic control.

We call for the trade union movement to work alongside unemployed activists and anti-cuts campaigners to build a mass movement against austerity. A 24 hour general strike should be the next step in the campaign against the ConDemolition of our rights and living standards.”

Daily Headline – 12/05/13

Conservative Lord Young: exploit cheap labour

Lord YoungThe prime minister’s adviser on enterprise Lord Young has told the cabinet that the economic downturn is an excellent time for new businesses to boost profits and grow because labour is cheap.

Instead of trying to improve conditions for workers the ruling coalition is focusing on the positive side to recession, cheap labour and as we all know, cheap labour is good for business and good for profits.

If ever there was a clear sign of the governments callous attitude towards the working class and their lust for profits over people here it is.
Only business owners should be voting for the coalition, anyone else is voting against their own interests.

Conservative = Scum

Daily Headline – 05/05/13

7 US troops killed in Afghanistan

Flag draped coffinsYesterday saw 7 US troops killed in Afghanistan which follows 3 British troops killed 5 days ago. Two US soldiers were killed by an Afghan soldier and the rest appear to have been killed by land-mines/roadside bombs.

There seems like no end to the Afghan war despite the casualty list on the ‘allied’ side in 2013 set to be the lowest since 2004. It’s not always easy to to know the impact of such deaths on the general public of the US and UK but their respective electorate must be getting fed up of seeing ‘their boys’ returning in flag-laden coffins.

Spot on casualty figures are hard (impossible) to get especially if you try to take into account the civilian casualties of war.

Costs of War put the current civilian casualty list at somewhere below 20,000 (that’s from start to now, 2001-2013). However the Guardian reckon up to 20,000 could have been killed just in the first 4 months!

According to iCasualties so far there have been 2215 US military fatalities, 444 UK military fatalities and 640 other military fatalities.

As the war continues, so do the fatalities.

Daily Headline – 03/05/13

UK local elections 2013 – Results

The results are in and things went pretty much as expected.

The story is one of UKIP success, with Labour also picking up from the losses of the coalition partners the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Top 3 winners (most gains):

1) Labour
2) UKIP
3) Independents

Top 3 losers (most losses):

1) Conservatives
2) Liberal Democrats
3) British National Party (BNP)

So the good news, the coalition made fairly big losses (though the Lib dems didn’t lose as much as many were expecting), the Greens made some gains overall and the BNP lost all their councillors.

The bad news is of course that UKIP made a lot of gains and look like cementing themselves at the 3rd party of UK politics, even if they are 4th they are truly in the mix now! Also the smaller left parties had absolutely no impact at all.

Final results:

Party Councils Change Councillors Change
Conservative 18 -10 1116 -335
Labour 3 2 538 291
Liberal Democrat 0 0 352 -124
Independent 0 0 165 24
UKIP 0 0 147 139
Green Party 0 0 22 5
Residents Association 0 0 12 2
Mebyon Kernow 0 0 4 1
Liberal 0 0 3 1
Independent Community and Health Concern 0 0 2 0
No Overall Control 13 8 N/A N/A