Britain

UK by-election deepens divisions in ruling class over Brexit

By Robert Stevens, 3 December 2016

The deepening economic crisis post-Brexit, fuelled by the political uncertainty resulting from Trump’s victory in the US, is reshaping political loyalties in ways that cross party lines.

UK: Veolia sacks binmen for helping elderly man

By Paul Mitchell, 3 December 2016

Veolia’s vindictive actions will come as no surprise to millions of workers.

UK Independence Party selects new leader as post-Brexit crisis deepens

By Julie Hyland, 2 December 2016

New leader Paul Nuttall’s promotion of anti-immigrant and law-and-order rhetoric is a right-wing populist veneer for the defence of British capital against the working class.

UK: Corbyn protects Tony Blair from a demand that he account for his Iraq war lies

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, 1 December 2016

Corbyn has capitulated to the warmongers in the Parliamentary Labour Party at every juncture.

Dire situation in UK social care for the elderly

By Dennis Moore, 1 December 2016

Local authorities agreed to help just under half of the 6.6 million people who approached them for help.

British government steps up attacks on state pensions

By Danny Richardson and Robert Stevens, 29 November 2016

The implications for pensioners of the recommendations of the Work and Pensions Select Committee are disastrous.

Huge growth in “precarious employment” in the UK

By Thomas Scripps, 28 November 2016

The total number of workers in self-employment, temporary work and zero-hours contracts has increased by nearly 2 million over the past decade.

“Buried alive by the National Coal Board”

The Aberfan disaster in Wales 50 years on

By Margot Miller, 28 November 2016

A total of 116 children perished in the avalanche of coal waste—almost half of those at Pantglas Junior School—along with 28 adults, including five teachers.

Tony Blair heads new pro-European Union movement

By Chris Marsden, 26 November 2016

Support for a second referendum on the UK’s European Union membership has only minority support in Parliament but cuts across existing party divisions.

Fascist Thomas Mair convicted of murdering Labour MP Jo Cox

By Robert Stevens, 25 November 2016

Cox was killed just one week prior to the referendum vote on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

UK government Autumn Statement: Economic crisis accelerates after Brexit vote

By Robert Stevens, 24 November 2016

Workers whose living standards have already been devastated face more years of brutal austerity.

Queen to be given £370 million to refurbish Buckingham Palace

By Richard Tyler, 24 November 2016

News of the proposed payment led to an online petition demanding that “the Crown and its estates should be made to fund its own renovations.”

UK: Chilcot Iraq War inquiry cover-up confirmed

By Robert Stevens, 23 November 2016

That the Chilcot inquiry was wholly a creature of the government and had no real independence is confirmed in declassified documents.

Over 120,000 British children will be homeless this winter

By Alice Summers, 23 November 2016

Nearly 4 million children live in poverty in Britain.

UK: Labour’s Corbyn competes with Prime Minister May for alliance with big business

By Chris Marsden, 22 November 2016

Corbyn is presenting Labour as the best means to secure the interests of big business in a post-Brexit Britain, as against a divided Tory government.

British parliament passes “Snoopers’ Charter,” expanding spying powers

By Trevor Johnson, 22 November 2016

The new laws are an unprecedented attack on democratic rights, giving the state the power to gather information on millions, and to process, profile and store the results.

UK students and lecturers protest education cuts

By a reporting team, 21 November 2016

Young people brought their own homemade banners such as “No fees, no cuts, no debt”, “Drop Fees, Not Bombs” and “Education, not Deportation.”

Guardian columnist Will Hutton rants against the Brexit “mob”

By Paul Mitchell, 21 November 2016

Hutton’s defence of a political and economic system that is committed to austerity only legitimises UKIP’s demagogic posturing as the voice of the “people” against “the elites.”

Report by Julie Hyland to the Third National Congress of the Socialist Equality Party (UK)

By Julie Hyland, 21 November 2016

SEP Assistant National Secretary Julie Hyland moved the second resolution to the SEP (UK) Third National Congress, “Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party: The strategic lessons.”

Trial of fascist accused of murdering UK Labour MP Jo Cox begins

By Richard Tyler, 19 November 2016

Cox was shot and stabbed multiple times in broad daylight on the way to her MPs surgery.

Uber UK verdict highlights super-exploitation through “self-employment”

By Thomas Scripps, 19 November 2016

Since its founding seven years ago, Uber has extended its reach to 66 countries and 507 cities worldwide, with over 1 million drivers.

Report to the Third National Congress of the Socialist Equality Party (UK)

By Chris Marsden, 18 November 2016

We are publishing here the opening report to the Socialist Equality Party (UK) Third National Congress, given October 28, 2012, by SEP National Chairman Chris Marsden.

UK government accelerates privatisation of National Health Service

By Ajanta Silva, 17 November 2016

Since the Health and Social Care Act was introduced in 2013, private firms have won National Health Service clinical contracts worth £5.5 billion.

UK: May government pins its hopes on Trump presidency

By Robert Stevens, 16 November 2016

Placing its fortunes in the hands of a reviled and unstable figure such as Trump is a measure of the May government’s political desperation.

Trump’s victory, Brexit and Paul Mason’s call for a new “progressive alliance”

By Chris Marsden, 16 November 2016

Mason and others within Britain’s pseudo-left and liberal commentariat seek to dress up a strategic reorientation of imperialist policy in a progressive cloak.

Socialist Equality Party (UK) 2016 Congress resolutions

For a new socialist movement against militarism, austerity and war

By Socialist Equality Party (UK), 14 November 2016

Presented here is an edited version of the first resolution adopted by the Socialist Equality Party (UK) Third National Congress, held October 28-31 in Sheffield.

UK: Working-class families in record levels of debt

By Joe Mount, 12 November 2016

Economic stagnation and government austerity measures are eviscerating incomes and pushing thousands more into unemployment.

British Medical Association officially winds up junior doctors dispute

By Robert Stevens, 12 November 2016

Everything was done by the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee to limit the doctors’ struggle and isolate their strike, even as it had widespread popular support.

Seven die and many injured after tram derailment in London

By Robert Stevens, 11 November 2016

More than 100 emergency workers attended the scene and worked for six hours to free injured commuters.

Auto maker Nissan given “support and assurances” by UK government

By Jean Shaoul, 10 November 2016

Post-Brexit, the major corporations are lobbying Downing Street, demanding promises and policies to ensure their continued and increased profitability.

Bedford riot highlights appalling conditions in UK prisons

By John Newham and Robert Stevens, 9 November 2016

Conditions in prisons in England and Wales have deteriorated rapidly as a result of spending cuts, while inmate numbers—including those held awaiting trial—have surged.

Divisions mount in UK military over US presidential race

By Robert Stevens, 8 November 2016

Among Britain’s ruling elite there is grave concern for the future of Europe over the outcome of an election being contested by the two most unpopular candidates in US history.

UK: Corbyn threatens to block Brexit and trigger general election

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, 7 November 2016

In portraying the European Single Market as progressive, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is siding with finance capital and big business interests against the working class.

Speculation mounts over snap general election as UK Brexit crisis intensifies

By Robert Stevens, 5 November 2016

The High Court ruling that only parliament may trigger Britain’s exit from the EU has spurred collaboration between pro-remain forces committed to overturning the referendum vote to leave.

High Court verdict on EU Brexit plunges UK deeper into crisis

By Julie Hyland, 4 November 2016

The High Court ruled that Parliament alone has the right to trigger Britain’s exit from the European Union.

UK: South Yorkshire cleaning workers continue strike

By Barry Mason, 4 November 2016

The three cleaning workers’ strike is being isolated by the trade unions.

Chair of UK Iraq War Inquiry: Tony Blair went “beyond the facts” to justify invasion

By Paul Mitchell, 3 November 2016

The British parliament, led by the Labour government, voted for an illegal war because it agreed with Blair that supporting the US was a strategic imperative.

Defence Minister Fallon declares UK ready for war with Russia

By Robert Stevens, 3 November 2016

Fallon told Parliament’s Defence Committee that Britain’s armed forces were central to the ongoing NATO encirclement of Russia.

Britain’s pseudo-left and the party of war

By Robert Stevens, 2 November 2016

The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader one year ago has not changed Labour’s pro-war agenda one iota.

UK: Dorset NHS management pushes health cuts amid growing opposition

By Ajanta Silva, 1 November 2016

Dorset’s NHS management aims to downsize two major A&E departments, children units, maternity units and more than a half a dozen community hospitals delivering inpatient care.

UK: Man who appeared on reality TV show “Benefits Street” dies in poverty

By Alice Summers, 31 October 2016

Lee Nutley is just one of countless people who have been driven to food banks, substance abuse and, in the worst cases, ultimately to their deaths after sanctions to their benefit claims.

Report finds that more than 40 percent of British housing is substandard

By Barry Mason, 27 October 2016

In London, nearly three quarters of residents classified their homes as failing to meet the Living Home Standard established by the housing charity Shelter.

UK: Durham teaching assistants vote to strike

By Tania Kent, 26 October 2016

The cuts to education budgets mean thousands of teaching assistants losing their jobs or facing a major reduction in their hours.

Scottish National Party pushes for second independence referendum

By Steve James, 25 October 2016

For Sturgeon and the SNP leadership, the threat of a new independence poll is a tool to extract concessions from London—primarily over the terms of Brexit.

Nick Hedges’s photographs reveal what Britain’s slums were like in the 1960s and 1970s

By Margot Miller, 25 October 2016

In Hedges’s words: “Adequate housing is the basis of a civilised urban society. … The photographs should allow us to celebrate progress, yet all they can do is haunt us with a sense of failure.”

Legal challenge to Brexit threatens constitutional crisis in UK

By Robert Stevens, 24 October 2016

Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she will activate Article 50 by the end of next March.

UK: NHS official suggests GP surgeries “be allowed to fail and wither”

By Ajanta Silva, 22 October 2016

In September, 2,000 patients were left without a doctor after a surgery was closed in Nottingham following an “inadequate” regulatory rating.

Former British special forces soldier investigated for possible war crimes committed in Iraq

By Simon Whelan, 21 October 2016

The executions of wounded soldiers as described in Colin Maclachlan’s book, even if excused as “mercy killings,” are illegal under international law.

British press witch-hunt refugee children from Calais

By Robert Stevens, 20 October 2016

A xenophobic campaign by British politicians and media is being waged against children arriving in the UK from the Calais migrant camp.

UK education funding cuts bring schools to breaking point

By Tom Pearce, 19 October 2016

An Institute for Fiscal Studies report notes that school spending per pupil is likely to fall by around 8 percent in real terms by 2020.

Washington moves to silence WikiLeaks

By Bill Van Auken, 19 October 2016

The US political establishment is prepared to use whatever measures are required to prevent a further exposure of the real social and political interests underlying the grotesque 2016 presidential contest.

National strike needed in Britain to defend striking Southern GTR conductors

By Michael Barnes, 18 October 2016

Conductors should reject the RMT’s proposal to accept new contracts.

UK: Self-employed face poverty wages and financial insecurity

By Thomas Scripps, 17 October 2016

Self-employed individuals work two hours a week longer than employees, with more than one in 10 working 60 hours a week or more.

Western foreign ministers to meet in London to discuss Syria intervention

By Robert Stevens, 15 October 2016

The efforts by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to assemble a “coalition of the willing” behind military action in Syria is being led by the Labour Party.

UK: Bernard Matthews pensioners fleeced by liquidators

By Jean Shaoul, 14 October 2016

Liquidators Rutland Partners have already pocketed £34 million, with another £5 million to come.

Military units established in UK state schools

By Liz Smith, 13 October 2016

The UK is the only European Union country to permit 16-year-olds to join the armed forces and start military training.

The Bellingcat research collective: War propaganda masquerading as “citizen journalism”

By Steve James, 13 October 2016

Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins is employed by the Atlantic Council, a leading US geopolitical strategy think tank.

UK: Southern GTR railworkers strike

By Michael Barnes, 12 October 2016

Rail workers’ determined resistance has been sabotaged at every stage.

New data on poverty in the UK reveals mass pauperisation

By Barry Mason, 11 October 2016

The lowering of living standards for the vast majority of the population will continue as the Tories, following the 1997-2010 Labour government, protect the super rich.

UK: Dalzell steelworks reopened by commodities trader Liberty House Group

By Stephen Alexander, 10 October 2016

The plant has been reopened with just 120 staff, little over half of its former workforce.

British pound plummets over “hard Brexit” fears

By Nick Beams, 8 October 2016

The currency’s sudden fall on Friday was a warning that capital inflows needed to finance the British current account deficit could dry up.

Coventry University in UK attacks teaching staff wages, terms and conditions

By Simon Whelan, 7 October 2016

Coventry University is leading the moves towards marketisation and privatisation of higher education.

UK: May dresses up policies of austerity and militarism in the language of fairness and opportunities

By Robert Stevens, 6 October 2016

The Conservative Party spent its four-day conference outlining a raft of policies that collectively make Prime Minister Theresa May’s government the most right-wing in British history.

UK Labour Party attacks Greater Manchester firefighters

By Margot Miller, 5 October 2016

Firefighters are opposing new shift patterns that will cut service during the night.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson maps out post-Brexit agenda

By Robert Stevens, 4 October 2016

Johnson gave a disgusting panegyric to militarism and empire, bragging that Britain “has directed the invasion or conquest of 178 countries” over two centuries.

UK Prime Minister announces timetable for UK exit from European Union

By Robert Stevens, 3 October 2016

According to plans put forward by Theresa May, Britain will be out of the European Union by March 2019—a year ahead of a scheduled 2020 General Election.

The pseudo-left’s role in the defeat of the British junior doctors’ struggle

By Robert Stevens, 3 October 2016

The Socialist Workers Party sowed illusions in the trade unions and the Labour Party at every juncture in the junior doctors' struggle.

Corbyn’s capitulation to the right wing and the lessons of the UK Labour leadership contest

By Chris Marsden, 29 September 2016

Corbyn’s defence of the Labour Party’s grip on the working class and his continued opposition to any struggle against the right wing is a vindication of the political stand taken by the Socialist Equality Party.

British Medical Association sells out struggle of UK junior doctors

By Robert Stevens, 29 September 2016

The isolation and defeat of the doctors' struggle is the result of the collective efforts of the entire labour and trade union bureaucracy.

UK Labour Party conference: Corbyn again prostrate before right wing

By Chris Marsden, 28 September 2016

British Labour leader Corbyn wants to preserve the unity of the Labour Party because he represents only a left-talking faction of the apparatus.

UK Labour right views Corbyn’s compromises as chance to resume offensive

By Chris Marsden, 26 September 2016

Far from accepting Corbyn’s increased majority in the Labour leadership contest, the media and the party are discussing how leadership can be restored to the right wing.

Notes on the London housing crisis

Number of London homeless sleeping on the streets tops 8,000 nightly

By Allison Smith, 26 September 2016

More than 8,000 people "sleep rough" in London each night, and for these vulnerable citizens the average life expectancy is just 47 years.

Lessons of Labour’s leadership contest

By the Socialist Equality Party (UK), 24 September 2016

The following statement is being distributed at the Labour Party Special Conference and the Momentum-backed The World Transformed event this weekend.

Greater Manchester, England: Labour-controlled authority threatens all firefighters’ jobs

By Linda Slattery, 24 September 2016

Firefighters the length and breadth of the UK are facing similar attacks on jobs and conditions, jeopardising their own safety and that of the public.

Retiring British general urges preparations for war with Russia

By Steve James, 19 September 2016

Retiring General Sir Richard Barrons is unusually frank in laying out the nature of the military conflicts he says Britain must prepare for.

Many UK museums face closure due to funding cuts

By Barry Mason, 16 September 2016

Museums are being forced to absorb a one-third cut in public funding and the pressure of falling visitor numbers due to the economic crisis.

UK: North Manchester National Health Service Trust struggling to cope

By Dennis Moore, 13 September 2016

A recent health care quality report raised serious concerns over the lack of adequate staffing in a number of different departments.

UK government pledge to expand grammar schools signals escalation of selective education

By Robert Stevens, 13 September 2016

The attack on comprehensive education has been proceeding apace, with the majority of secondary schools now academies and free schools.

UK political crisis deepens over Brexit

By Robert Stevens, 10 September 2016

Representatives of the ruling elite who favour EU membership are loudly voicing their concerns that the May government is bereft of any strategy following the Brexit vote.

Mounting evidence of British “boots on the ground” in Syria

By Jean Shaoul, 8 September 2016

The secret deployment of the SAS is of a piece with the government’s campaign of lies, deceit and disinformation throughout the five-year-long civil war.

British Medical Association calls off junior doctors strikes

By Robert Stevens, 8 September 2016

The junior doctors have been isolated by both the trade unions and by the Labour Party, with a key role played by party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

UK Conservative divisions over Brexit go public once again

By Robert Stevens, 7 September 2016

May’s mantra that “Brexit means Brexit” can no longer conceal the air of crisis and paralysis surrounding the government.

UK: Review of Investigatory Powers Bill gives all-clear to mass surveillance

By Trevor Johnson, 7 September 2016

Anderson’s report is a cover for the real aim of the Investigatory Powers Bill—to increase the power of the state to monitor the population for potential threats to ruling class interests.

Corbyn offers olive branch to right wing as purge of British Labour Party escalates

By Robert Stevens, 6 September 2016

By September 24, when Labour’s leader is elected, it is highly likely that well over 200,000 people will have been barred from voting for Jeremy Corbyn.

US and Japan attack plans for post-Brexit Britain

By Julie Hyland, 5 September 2016

President Obama made plain Washington’s opposition to the UK leaving the EU, while Tokyo warned that Japanese corporations would leave the UK if it went ahead with the move.

UK doctors struggle escalates with announcement of 20 days of strikes

By Robert Stevens, 3 September 2016

The scale of the industrial action to be taken by junior doctors working in the National Health Service is without precedent in modern times.

UK: Further National Health Service hospital closures and cuts to be imposed

By Liz Smith, 3 September 2016

A recent House of Commons Select Committee report found the National Health Service to be in a state of near collapse and hinted that in the future patients might have to pay for services.

UK: Corbyn, Brexit and the so-called progressive alliance

By Julie Hyland, 31 August 2016

There are increasing efforts to link up the Labour Party, the Greens and the various nationalist blocs in Wales and Scotland on the basis of a pro-EU program.

Divisions grow over British withdrawal from the European Union

By Robert Stevens, 30 August 2016

Prime Minister Theresa May has reportedly ruled out a parliamentary vote on “Brexit” before formally triggering withdrawal from the European Union.

UK household debt, excluding mortgages, tops a third of a trillion pounds

By Liz Smith, 30 August 2016

In 2015, there were an estimated 13.2 million “debtor households” in the UK, containing 31 million people.

Notes on London's housing crisis

London landlords renting out dangerous "floating shacks"

By Allison Smith, 29 August 2016

The high cost of living in London is driving a record number of people to turn to renting riverboats.

Britain: Labour’s National Executive extends purge of party membership

By Robert Stevens, 27 August 2016

Ronnie Draper, the general secretary of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers union and a Labour Party member for 40 years, has been suspended from membership.

Chakrabarti report refutes claims of rampant anti-Semitism in British Labour Party

By Jean Shaoul, 26 August 2016

Far from calming tensions, the findings have added to the already “toxic atmosphere” inside the Labour Party.

Pseudo-left line up behind efforts to fashion Labour as Britain’s “Syriza”

By Julie Hyland, 25 August 2016

The Socialist Party and Socialist Workers Party played a lead role in covering for Syriza in Greece and are now seeking to encourage illusions in the supposedly socialist character of the Corbyn campaign.

Britain: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn outlines policies for “wealth creation”

By Robert Stevens and Julie Hyland, 24 August 2016

Corbyn routinely proclaims that he is for a “new politics,” but this amounts to only a handful of limited measures that do nothing to challenge the stranglehold of the super-rich over society.

UK junior doctors defiance of government contract curtailed by BMA

By Tony Robson, 24 August 2016

The Conservative government intends to enforce a revised contract—which has already caused five nationwide strikes and was overwhelmingly rejected in July—on junior doctors.

Britain: Labour’s anti-Corbyn plotters plan rival parliamentary grouping

By Julie Hyland, 23 August 2016

The Labour Co-op plan is being put forward as a way that the party right wing can avoid moving straight to a breakaway grouping, where they might struggle to muster any support.

UK: Strike action at historic low, and unions work to keep it that way

By Simon Whelan, 23 August 2016

The virtual disappearance of strikes during a period when workers’ jobs, wages, and conditions have been under unparalleled attack is a damning indictment of the trade unions.

UK Labour leader Corbyn silent on right-wing coup attempt at Sheffield rally

By Robert Stevens, 22 August 2016

Repeated calls for party unity were made by all the speakers at the Sheffield rally, passing over the efforts of Labour’s right-wing to oust leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Workers and youth speak on Corbyn and the British Labour Party

By our reporters, 22 August 2016

The <em>World Socialist Web Site</em> interviewed several of those participating in a Sheffield rally called in support of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.