Monthly Archives: May 2009

Israel takes water from Palestinians

That Israel holds the key to water for both itself and Palestinian territories has been known about long since, but now an official report says so. What Palestinians end up with is saline and increasingly polluted. The supply to Palestine is below humanitarian levels.
What ever happens it seems that members of the European Union are intent on continuing to progress Israel’s links with the European Union. Avigdor Liebermann, a far-right member of the Israeli parliament, has been wined and dined in European countries, including a reception by Brown in the UK.
This all fits with the European Unions priorities of developing free-market capitalism at any price. The one or two dissenting countries are labelled “a problem”. This is just another reason for dismantling this elitist club which operates for the benefits of multinational corporations while introducing policies that are harmful to the world outside.

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Get Britain out of the European Union and back into the World

This is the full text of Arthur Scargill’s speech at the launch of the Socialist Labour Party‘s European Election campaign at Hay-on-Wye 23/5/2009.
On 4th June the people of Britain have a chance to vote in one of the most important elections since the Second World War.
The Socialist Labour Party is committed to Britain’s complete withdrawal from the European Union which has been responsible for the destruction of our steel, coal, shipbuilding, engineering and motor car industries.
The European Union’s “free market” policy means the unrestricted movement of capital and labour, which has had dire consequences for people and jobs in Britain and throughout Europe.
Britain is now controlled by bureaucrats in Brussels whose policies have led to the privatization of our rail, electricity, gas and water, and now threaten to sell off our postal service.
The European Union, with its commitment to the “free market” has savagely attacked our National Health Service, education system and welfare provision, including care for the elderly.
The EU’s pursuit of globalization has caused economic chaos in Britain, resulting in two-and-a-half million being declared officially unemployed – The real figure is, in fact, over seven million.
The Socialist Labour Party deplores the Labour Government, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats who handed out £50 billion to the banks and financial institutions which – together with the European Union – are responsible for the economic, social and political crisis that is currently faced by millions of people.
What the Government should have done was to put those bankers into brass handcuffs and lock them away for creating this situation in which millions of people have lost millions of pounds.
It’s a disgrace that this hand-out came only months after the Government refused to give just £100 million to help save Rover, the British car manufacturer, and save thousands of jobs.
The Socialist Labour Party would have given that £50 billion to help the people who risk losing their homes pay their mortgage payments.
We would have given that money to people who are trapped by owing money, so that they could repay their debts and at the same time help stimulate a stagnating economy.
Our Party would take back into public and social ownership all the industries and services sold off by the Tory and Labour governments and would give help to our beleaguered fishing and farming industries.
We would help our farmers produce everything that we need plus additional food that could be sold on the world market – in exchange for those foods we do not produce here.

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SLP European Election Campaign launch

Arthur Scargill SLP European Elections Campaign Launch 2009
Arthur Scargill delivers a vigorous start to the SLP Euro election campaign
The Socialist Labour Party European Election Campaign was launched when Arthur Scargill spoke at the Hay Festival yesterday (23/5/2009). This was in the setting of Hay Castle thanks to Richard Booth “King of Hay” who invites the SLP to use castle and grounds during the festival annually. The speech was delayed when both speaker and BBC Wales were delayed when a road accident blocked traffic in the area. The launch followed the SLP’ Party Political Broadcast last week which triggered an unprecedented volume of response from interested viewers.
Scargill delivered a characteristically vigorous argument about the European Union’s harmful effect on working people in every one of its member states. Multinational countries were helped to exploit labour by being allowed to move their operations between states to get the cheapest possible work force while leaving behind devastated communities. There was no obligation on anyone to support those left with unemployment, rising crime and consequent patterns of anti-social behaviour. He wouldn’t pay “a brass farthing” to bankers and financial institutions responsible for the economic crisis and use that money, together with spending on Trident and handouts to private firms, to fund decent pensions to those who had spent their lives working for society. He named a figure of £24,000 a year. “Why can’t pensioners receive a realistic amount when Members of Parliament are paid far more for a shorter term of service?” he wanted to know.
Socialist Labour Party European Elections 2009
West Midlands and Welsh SLP candidates for the Euro elections l to r John Tyrrell, Liz Screen, Shangara Singh Bhatoe, Surinder Pal Virdee and Satbir Singh (Sheera) Johal
A speaker from the Campaign for Public Ownership made the point that dissatisfaction with the consequences of the private ownership begun in 1979 was at “an all time high” among the public, yet all three of the main political parties were out of touch. In Britain we had the highest rail costs and in contrast to other countries prices increased at weekends when people wanted to visit family and loved ones.
The launch was rounded off with inspirational Socialist poetry and music from Wales.

Pauline Campbell one year on.

It is one year since Pauline was found dead on the grave of her beloved daughter who had died in the”care” of Styal Prison. Pauline never got over it but in the remaining years of her life she put everything in to showing how vulnerable people were at huge risk. She was arrested on numerous occasions usually because she would stop prison vans bringing women into jail and instruct the driver to take them to “a place of safety”.
There are still many families who are still seeking justice, an explanation even, of how their loved ones ended up dead while in custody. As with Pauline many never get over that trauma. The campaign against deaths in custody has now had a belated response from the Prime Minister but still awaits news of what will be done to prevent the continuaqtion of the appalling state of affairs.

What’s the Telegraph’s Game?

Just checked the Guardian and Independents‘ lead stories and yes for about the 10th day they’ve taken it straight from the Telegraph. Once again there mixed emotions of mirth and anger as we continue the entertainment.
But just stop for a minute and ask, as a contributer to Any Answers did, what’s the Telegraph’s purpose in trashing the electoral chances of all three major parties in the run up the European elections. All three are paid up to the continuation of capitalism in spite of the economic crisis, and yes as the Telegraph has made abundantly clear the culture of greed which inspired first Thatcherism and then Blair is thriving in the Houses of Parliament.
So who do the Telegraph believe could be the main beneficiary of it’s concerted campaign of sensational exposes? Well I’m pretty sure it isn’t one of the socialist contenders, the SLP or No2EU. Could it be the Greens? That’s not convincing either. UKIP? That’s more likely as a nationalist group but there’s one more party in contention which makes the mass hysteria more than a little worrying. As for the timing the Telegraph has had this information for some time I understand so it is no accident that it has chosen to go to print in the run up to the European Elections.
What followed the world recession of 1929? Mass unemployment and nationalism on an unprecedented scale. Some of the things on Hitler’s agenda are now there for the taking in the European Union. Worried? You ought to be. Haven’t you noticed right wing figures like Israel’s Avigdor Liebermann knocking on the door and neing let in by Gordon Brown included.

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European Elections. Socialist Labour Party in the West Midlands

Six candidates are standing in the West Midlands: John Tyrrell (myself); Satbir Singh Johal (known as Sheera); Rajinder Claire; Bhagwant Singh; Surinder Pal Virdee and Shangara Singh Bhatoe.
Voting in the European elections is by party so the order of the candidates on the paper is of importance. Allocation of seats is by proportional representation rather than the “first past the post” that we’re used to.
Briefly I was a councillor on Birmingham City Council for 9 years and held office including Cabinet Member for Transportation, Chair of Best Value Scrutiny and a Contract Services Committee. I fought against the privatisation of public services and took part is a cross-European group to look at progress in sustainability. I have recently been involved in mental health projects including one across the West Midlands. I am a member of the NUT.
Satbir Singh Johal has been active with the Indian Workers’ Association in Birmingham and is a member of the Shaheed Udham Singh Community Centre. He has been a candidate for the SLP regularly.
Rajinder Clair is a lawyer who is active in the West Midlands Unite Against Fascism (WMUAF) (as are all of us).
Bhagwant Singh is a community activist, a member of the Asian Rationalist Society, Britain and a leading member of WMUAF. He worked for Rover before being made redundant.
Surinder Pal Virdee is a convenor for his union Unite and took part in the organisation of the March for Jobs held in Birmingham in May 2009.
Shangara Singh Bhatoe worked for the Handsworth Law Centre and has stood for SLP on several occasions.

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Euro Hustings

The first European hustings in Birmingham was held at the Council House last night attended by very few so the fact none of the six Socialist Labour Party candidates were not invited to the platform didn’t count for much. The three main parties were there of course together with the Green Party, UKIP and no2EU. The most unappealing were the Tories, New Labour and the Lib-Dems. Liz Lynne opined that she hope that the expenses question would not enter the debate. You bet she would, the fact is all three parties could only offer more of the same.
The meeting was jointly organised by the Jubilee Debt Campaign and Friends of the Earth. Certainly the Green Party and UKIP made some telling points, the Green Candidate openly admitting that she agree with Dave Nellist, the one socialist speaker. The UKIP candidate spoke of the effects that EU fishing policy was having on some African countries as I have discussed before on this site. UKIP, Dave Nellist and the SLP are all for withdrawal from Europe (as of course are the non visible BNP). Long ago I campaigned against “Fortress Europe” in advance of the 1992 Treaty which opened internal borders (apart from Britain and Ireland, that is) and closed them externally. As a result hundreds of thousands have died trying to flee starvation and persecution. Stop the Debt says it wishes to cancel the debts of impoverished states outside of the EU but it isn’t clear whether they still think that the existing order characterised by greed and self-help can reform itself. The view I expressed was that the solution was akin to the fox in the chicken house which is what happened after 1929 and is what is now taking place.
An article in this morning’s Independent is headed “We’re at a turning point. The future must be fairer”

Oh dear, Polly

Polly Toynbee is pretty desperate. Aren’t we all? We’ve been here before: Gordon’s got to go but who is to take over? Today, according to Polly, it has to be the charming, modest Alan Johnson, an orphan boy made good.
As Polly says it’s not possible to see who a good leader is until too late. She used to champion Blair – until it was too late. I remember speaking to here at a conference in London when major, major changes were announced to shake up the NHS. No more “Berlin walls” between the NHS and local authority Social Services. I made some mild criticism of what was going on which was met with a dismissive derisory response.
Polly’s late sister, Jo, and her partner Bill were members of the Labour Party then in Birmingham. In roads into the functioning of branches and limits on what members could do were already advanced. Jo was one of the leaders of the fight back. Polly talks about members of the party taking a stance. Well how can they? Many who had integrity and had put in years of toil and struggle for a belief in Labour values are now long gone, and those left – often products of efforts of paid officials – are the jumping beans who at the command “jump” merely say “how high”. Tory sleaze, New Labour sleaze, extreme greed, there it is before us.
It is shocking how Brown has presided over this. He was one of the architects of New Labour, but we came to think there were some differences with Blair. Not with Johnson though. A trades unionist who opposed clause 4. How far Brown is a prisoner of the right I’m unsure. When Mandelson came back into the frame he had already had the blessing of the Rev Blair and when he announced that he “was joined at the hip with Gordo” I thought “yes, with a knife held to his back”. TB is very and ever present having even got to the White House first as Obama’s honoured guest.
As ever the socialist parties contesting in forthcoming elections are portrayed as “extremist”, while what they want to see is a fairer society where those like Madoff and the like are well under control. All the existing parties have supported the extreme greed which is part and parcel of capitalism and they all advocate putting the fox into the hen house as a remedy. It didn’t work after 1929 and it won’t now. It will just recycle to old order.

Cuba and US presidents

In his reflections Fidel Castro continues to talk about important aspects of history which throw a rather different perspective to that we are attuned to through western media. As far as he is concerned Carter was the most responsive in the years of blockade of Cuba. It also reveals Cuba’s attitude to ensuring its neighbours had a fair deal, in fishing agreements for example, although it might mean additional hardship for Cuba itself.
Cuba these days has won respect throughout Latin America as in the numerous countries across the globe which have benefited from the expertise of Cuba in areas such as health and education.


The SLP has announced that they will be standing a full slate of candidates in the forthcoming European elections being held on 4th June 2009. All nine regions in England plus the Scotland and Wales regions will be contested.
The EU is a capitalist club that makes it easier for the multinational companies to exploit workers throughout its member states. Factories are uprooted from one country to another in pursuit of the cheapest labour, without any social responsibility being accepted towards the devastated communities they are leaving behind.
Moreover, EU directives on privatisation are destroying Britain’s health, education and postal services and now there is no part of the economy safe from the hands of the privateers.
The Socialist Labour Party is totally committed to complete withdrawal from the European Union. However, the SLP recognises that the EU is but one instrument of capitalist rule; therefore what is ultimately needed is a genuine socialist alternative to the vast array of problems that workers and their families are facing today.
The SLP is the only party that is offering such an alternative.
Opposing the European Union is part of the Socialist Labour Party’s internationalist outlook. We want Britain to come out of Europe and into the world, developing and expanding trading links with the rest of the world.
Only by coming out of the EU can we begin to put things right economically and socially.
Vote us in to get us out!
For further information on SLP policies please visit the website
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