Britain

UK Royal Mail workers oppose union citing coronavirus to justify strike vote sellout

By Thomas Scripps, 21 March 2020

Workers have used social media to condemn the union’s refusal to call strikes after a second national ballot recorded a huge mandate for action.

Growing demands for Assange’s release as first coronavirus case confirmed in British prisons

By Oscar Grenfell, 21 March 2020

The British authorities are willfully placing Assange’s life at risk, even though he has been convicted of no crime.

UK: Johnson government uses coronavirus crisis to seize dictatorial powers

By Robert Stevens, 20 March 2020

Britain’s ruling elite is using the enormous danger to public health posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to implement a raft of anti-democratic measures they have long planned to impose.

Retired UK welfare advice worker Terry Craven: “If they are going to build a herd immunity, they already know it’s going to kill thousands of people”

By our reporters, 20 March 2020

Retired welfare advice worker Terry Craven contacted the WSWS to express his concerns about the lack of provision for people in the UK on social security benefits showing symptoms of Covid-19.

Union calls off UK Royal Mail strike citing national interest during coronavirus pandemic

By Thomas Scripps, 19 March 2020

The CWU has used the coronavirus crisis not only as a cover for a sellout it had already intended, but as an opportunity to prove its unswerving allegiance to Royal Mail and the British state.

London’s Imperial College predicts millions to die from coronavirus pandemic in UK and US

By Bryan Dyne, 18 March 2020

In addition to the mass casualty figures, the study’s authors estimated that the pandemic will continue through August.

UK: Johnson grants £350 billion COVID-19 handout to business and nothing for the working class

By Thomas Scripps, 18 March 2020

The unlimited support for business stands in grotesque contrast to the contempt and neglect toward working people forced to bear the brunt of the crisis.

Pan Am 103 Lockerbie bombing: Fresh appeal launched to clear Megrahi

By Steve James, 18 March 2020

From the outset, it was apparent there was some level of foreknowledge or complicity on behalf of the US and British intelligence services in the 1988 bombing that killed 259 crew and passengers along with 11 residents of Lockerbie, Scotland.

UK: NHS anticipates year-long coronavirus crisis and 8 million hospitalised

By Thomas Scripps, 17 March 2020

The UK, along with much of the rest of the world, faces a prolonged social emergency which will affect the lives of millions.

UK doctors speak out on coronavirus pandemic

By our reporters, 17 March 2020

Reporters for the World Socialist Web Site spoke to two medical doctors on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting Britain’s National Health Service and their concerns for the future.

UK Johnson government denounced for COVID-19 “herd immunity” policy

By Robert Stevens, 16 March 2020

For all its belated and half-hearted denials, the government’s actions prove that it is intent on not lifting a finger to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

UK government uses coronavirus pandemic to ready military in “public order” role

By Thomas Scripps, 16 March 2020

Whatever role the military might have in providing logistical support to the health care services, its involvement in law enforcement is a grave warning to the working class.

London postal workers take strike action over coronavirus concerns

By our reporter, 14 March 2020

Workers have accused Royal Mail management of inaction over concerns that they are being exposed unnecessarily to the virus.

Grenfell fire inquiry reveals more criminality by firms involved in refurbishment

By Charles Hixson, 14 March 2020

If those personally involved in events that led to the fire cannot ultimately be prosecuted, then neither can the corporations they represented.

“I certainly think that the whole future of higher education is in peril”

Striking university lecturers and students in Bournemouth, UK speak out

By our reporters, 14 March 2020

The WSWS spoke to striking university staff and students in Bournemouth, who were striking with co-workers around the UK at the end of their 14-day national strike.

Coronavirus threatens to overwhelm UK National Health Service

By Thomas Scripps, 13 March 2020

As of Thursday morning, just 29,764 people had been tested nationally in the UK for coronavirus.

International Bar Association condemns British attacks on Assange’s legal rights

By Oscar Grenfell, 12 March 2020

Michael Kirby, the co-chair of the IBA’s Human Rights Institute, branded Assange’s treatment as “shocking and excessive” and likened it to the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib.

Lecturers and students rally during last week of UK national strike

By our reporters, 12 March 2020

Rallies were held in several university towns and cities around the UK Wednesday.

Life expectancy growth stagnates in England for first time in 120 years

By Margot Miller, 12 March 2020

Life expectancy decreased in the most deprived 10 percent of neighbourhoods—the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and the East of England.

Julian Assange’s mother, doctors warn he is at heightened risk due to coronavirus

By Oscar Grenfell, 11 March 2020

In comments to the WSWS, Dr Stephen Frost warned that “the UK government is effectively playing Russian roulette with Julian Assange’s life” and demanded that he be released from Belmarsh Prison immediately.

University and College Union prepares sellout of UK universities national strike

By Thomas Scripps, 11 March 2020

Higher education workers are striking against attacks on pay and pensions that are the direct result of the UCU’s previous betrayal less than two year ago.

Councils to increase tax across UK as services are slashed

By Dennis Moore, 9 March 2020

At present more than 160 councils receive no revenue support grant from Whitehall and the government is shifting responsibility for the funding of local services from government to local council taxpayers.

Years of austerity and welfare cuts lead to record number of foodbanks in the UK

By Margot Miller, 7 March 2020

A Trussell Trust study shows that where the draconian Universal Credit welfare system had been in place for a year, the uptake of food parcels increased by 30 percent and by 48 percent after two years.

Europe’s largest regional airline, Flybe, collapses citing coronavirus impact as final straw

By Robert Stevens, 6 March 2020

The company’s final flights were either grounded minutes before take-off or diverted to the nearest airport in mid-air so that planes could be impounded.

As anger mounts over Assange’s persecution, former foreign minister Carr calls for moral appeals to Australian government

By Richard Phillips, 6 March 2020

Veteran Labor leader Bob Carr is attempting to divert the growing movement for the release of Assange into dead-end appeals to the Australian parliament.

UK university strike confronts wholesale marketisation of higher education

By Thomas Scripps, 6 March 2020

The UK’s higher education sector is being moved into the orbit of global finance and subjected to its demands.

UK coronavirus plan underscores gutting of health and social care

By Robert Stevens, 5 March 2020

The ruling elite in Britain, as internationally, are responding based on defending the interests of the tiny layer of financial parasites, who dominate society at the expense of the working class.

Australian parliamentary parties endorse British show trial of Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 March 2020

As Assange faced a legal travesty, government ministers declared their faith in British “due process,” while the Labor Party maintained its silence.

UK television presenter Caroline Flack’s suicide and the “bread and circuses” culture

By Paul Bond, 5 March 2020

The widespread public revulsion over Flack’s mistreatment and death is symptomatic of a broader culture and a generally healthy response, but it points to a wide and complex cultural crisis that will not be addressed simply by media regulation.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Anatomy of a cover-up—Part 3

By Alice Summers, 5 March 2020

The 900-page report largely ignores or minimises the criminality of cost-cutting companies and a complicit Conservative Party-run local authority.

Struggles break out in Inverness, Bristol ahead of UK Royal Mail national strike ballot

By E.P. Milligan, 4 March 2020

The targeting of disabled employees is bound up with the “Amazonification” of Royal Mail, a process by which the company hopes to compete with global corporate giants.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Anatomy of a cover-up—Part 2

By Alice Summers, 4 March 2020

The 900-page report largely ignores or minimises the criminality of cost-cutting companies and a complicit Conservative Party-run local authority.

UK university workers face a political struggle against Johnson government

By Robert Stevens, 3 March 2020

The strike is the largest ever in higher education, with staff taking action at 74 universities.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Anatomy of a cover-up—Part 1

By Alice Summers, 3 March 2020

The 900-page report largely ignores or minimises the criminality of cost-cutting companies and a complicit Conservative Party-run local authority.

Grenfell Inquiry witnesses granted immunity from prosecution resulting from oral evidence

By Charles Hixson and Robert Stevens, 2 March 2020

All reassurances from the Attorney General and Inquiry about not granting corporations immunity are a red herring. The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 “does not provide a power to arrest any individual.”

Jeremy Corbyn’s criminal silence during Julian Assange’s extradition hearing

By Chris Marsden, 2 March 2020

Corbyn said nothing when he could have raised Assange’s fate in Parliament every single day, informing millions of the fundamental violation of his democratic rights.

Britain and European Union on collision course in Brexit talks

By Peter Schwarz, 29 February 2020

The EU and the British government presented sharply divergent documents outlining their goals for upcoming talks on their future relationship.

Swathes of UK underwater as record storms expose government indifference

By Robert Stevens and Barry Mason, 29 February 2020

The government repeats that it is spending £4 billion on flood defences over the next four years—a pittance—but has yet to announce where and when the money will be allocated.

Judge rules Assange cannot sit with lawyers during extradition hearing

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 28 February 2020

The first week of the extradition hearing in USA v Julian Assange ended yesterday at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court with Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejecting a submission from Assange’s lawyers that he be allowed to sit with them in court.

Strikers at UK universities speak on their working conditions, pay and pensions

“If you just marketise education, it is not a public service anymore; it is just a commodity”

By our reporters, 28 February 2020

World Socialist Web Site  reporting teams spoke to strikers on picket lines at universities in the UK during the first and second weeks of their ongoing 14-day strike.

Interviews from SEP (UK) public rally

“The working class needs to demand that Assange is released, not that the ruling class do it on their behalf”

By our reporters, 28 February 2020

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to some of those attending the public rally held by the Socialist Equality Party (UK) in defence of Julian Assange on Sunday in London.

Julian Assange’s father demands immediate bail for imprisoned son

By our reporters, 28 February 2020

John Shipton outlined his son’s decade-long history of arbitrary detention in the UK.

Julian Assange condemns court for preventing him from speaking to lawyers

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 27 February 2020

WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange issued a defiant protest in court yesterday, opposing the flagrant abuse of his legal rights in extradition proceedings brought against him by the United States government.

British Tory government’s general practitioner contracts intensify assault on healthcare

By Ben Trent, 27 February 2020

Over a 12 month period, 55 million patients had to wait longer than a fortnight to see a GP.

“The fight for Assange’s freedom requires the political mobilisation of the working class”

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 February 2020

This speech was delivered by Oscar Grenfell, a leading member of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) to a public rally in defence of Julian Assange, held in London on Sunday.

Persecuted journalist Assange handcuffed, stripped naked on first day of extradition trial

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 26 February 2020

As proceedings were due to begin, a court official told WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson that he was barred from the public gallery.

The show trial of Julian Assange begins

By James Cogan, 25 February 2020

The first day of the British court hearing yesterday to determine if WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange will be extradited to the United States left no doubt that what is taking place is a legal travesty that threatens both Assange’s life and fundamental democratic rights.

Assange extradition trial opens in London

By Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 25 February 2020

Amid growing popular outrage over the railroading of Assange to a US prison, lawyers for the Department of Justice sought to reframe the charges against him.

“Victories are not won through political cowardice, but in struggle”

By Chris Marsden, 25 February 2020

This speech was delivered by Socialist Equality Party National Secretary Chris Marsden to a public rally held in London on Sunday.

Hundreds protest outside Woolwich Crown Court to demand Assange’s freedom

By our reporters, 25 February 2020

Protesters were not allowed anywhere near the building, kept behind barricades and an imposing steel fence by security and police.

Socialist Equality Party (UK) holds London rally in defence of Assange and Manning

By our reporter, 24 February 2020

The meeting was attended by more than 130 workers, youth and students who came from all over the UK.

Don’t Extradite Assange campaign calls on Boris Johnson to intervene

By Robert Stevens, 24 February 2020

The struggle to free Julian Assange requires an implacable struggle by the working class against the Johnson and Trump governments now conspiring to silence him forever.

Sabisky eugenics scandal exposes fascist core of UK Tories

By Thomas Scripps, 22 February 2020

Sabisky’s resignation is meaningless and all the questions now being raised in the media about “vetting processes” are irrelevant.

UK: Grenfell fire inquiry finalises moves to grant corporations immunity from prosecution

By Charles Hixson, 22 February 2020

Giannino Gottardi, who lost his son in the blaze, stated, “These companies put profit ahead of everything. They want to save the name of the company and don’t care about anything else.”

New conflict of interest evidence against UK judge in charge of Assange extradition process

By Kevin Reed, 22 February 2020

Fresh evidence has emerged that the chief magistrate overseeing the extradition trial of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has received financial benefits from organizations connected to the UK Foreign Office.

“This is the Dreyfus case of our age”

UK Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell visits Julian Assange in Belmarsh Prison

By Oscar Grenfell, 21 February 2020

McDonnell described the Assange case as “one of the most important and significant political trials of this generation,” but made clear that his party will do nothing to mobilise the immense popular support that exists for the WikiLeaks publisher.

UK Johnson government rolls out restrictive “points-based” immigration system

By Richard Tyler, 21 February 2020

Those in the trade union bureaucracy who advocated for Brexit, including various Stalinists in the Rail, Maritime and Transport union and “Blue Labour” ideologues such as Paul Embery, together with their accomplices such as the Socialist Party, are politically responsible for this outcome.

Lawyers file new motion demanding release of Chelsea Manning

By Kevin Reed, 20 February 2020

Lawyers for Manning, the courageous whistleblower who has been in prison for eleven months for refusing to testify before a secret grand jury in the case of Julian Assange, have filed a new motion in federal court demanding her release.

Labor Party leads Australian attack on British government over Huawei

By Mike Head, 20 February 2020

The line-up behind the US confrontation with China sheds further light on the persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Tens of thousands of UK university staff begin 14 days of strikes

By Simon Whelan and Robert Stevens, 20 February 2020

A series of rolling actions over the next three weeks will culminate in a week-long strike beginning March 9.

Growing support for Julian Assange on eve of extradition hearings

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 February 2020

The fight for Assange’s freedom requires the mobilisation of the working class, not moral appeals to capitalist politicians.

Assange defence team: “The empire calls it espionage. We call it journalism”

By Thomas Scripps, 19 February 2020

A packed press conference was addressed by WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson, lawyer Jennifer Robinson and Australian MPs Andrew Wilkie and George Christensen.

Australian MPs visit Julian Assange at Belmarsh Prison

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 February 2020

Andrew Wilkie and George Christensen said they agreed with UN official Nils Melzer’s assessment that Assange is the victim of psychological torture.

Claire Mercer speaks on the campaign to abolish UK smart motorways—Part 1

By Robert Stevens, 19 February 2020

Claire Mercer is leading a fight to end the use of “smart motorways” after her husband, Jason, was tragically killed on a smart motorway near Sheffield, on June 7, 2019.

“What we think changes how we act.”

Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill dead at 64

By Erik Schreiber, 19 February 2020

Gill consciously broke with musical convention to develop his own style of guitar playing and to create a distinctive sound for his band. Similarly, he sought to understand the origins of social and political conditions, rather than accepting them as given.

Labour Party leadership candidates profess Zionism at Jewish Labour Movement hustings

By Robert Stevens, 18 February 2020

After Corbyn’s four years in office, the Blairites are on the verge of winning back the leadership amid the threat of mass expulsions of Corbyn supporters.

Student climate change protests across the UK

“Governments are putting profits before people”

By our reporters, 17 February 2020

Manchester protester: “When it comes to politics and elections, you vote for one side and you vote for the other side but there’s the same puppet master pulling the strings.”

Sajid Javid removed as UK chancellor as Johnson readies offensive against working class

By Robert Stevens, 15 February 2020

Javid’s ignominious exit confirms the essential agenda of the Johnson government is one of escalating the class-war offensive against workers.

John Pilger’s The Dirty War on the National Health Service screening on Australia’s SBS this Sunday

By our reporters, 15 February 2020

The WSWS urges all our readers to watch this powerful documentary on SBS television, at 8.30 p.m. Sunday night, February 16.

UK government spearheads anti-migrant crackdown with deportation of Jamaican nationals

By Thomas Scripps, 14 February 2020

Under Britain’s deeply reactionary UK Borders Act 2007, any offence can serve as a pretext for deportation.

BBC Panorama exposes rising death toll on UK’s “smart motorways”

By Paul Bond, 14 February 2020

Smart motorways were introduced in a cost-cutting measure, as a means of easing congestion without expanding the existing road network—by turning the hard shoulder of conventional motorways into a live traffic lane.

After 10 months’ silence, UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn warns against extradition of Julian Assange

By Oscar Grenfell and Chris Marsden, 13 February 2020

For the past year, Corbyn has led the suppression of any discussion over Assange’s imprisonment in Britain and the country’s participation in the US-led attempt to destroy him.

UK postal union calls national strike ballot after collapse of phoney talks

By Laura Tiernan, 13 February 2020

The CWU is seeking to dissipate anger among the workforce and stem opposition over the union’s refusal to honour last year’s strike mandate.

UK steel unions smooth way for job losses and givebacks ahead of British Steel buyout

By Barry Mason, 13 February 2020

The Community, Unite and GMB unions at British Steel are operating as the corporation’s partners in pushing though job cuts, speed-ups and rationalisation.

Ten million workers in Britain toil in “low-quality” jobs

By Margot Miller, 12 February 2020

The Health Foundation report confirms what most workers have long suspected—poor conditions at work make you ill.

Woman who killed UK teenager Harry Dunn was a CIA spy

By Thomas Scripps, 11 February 2020

The Dunn family’s legal spokesman, Radd Seiger, explained it is “high time that the nation can see with full transparency whether or not the government prioritised protecting the identity of the Sacoolas family over the welfare and rights of Harry’s family.”

“I fear for the future of democracy in Britain”

Protesters speak out at demonstration against Tory government deportation plans

By our reporters, 11 February 2020

WSWS reporters spoke with those attending Monday night’s demonstration outside Downing Street in London demanding an immediate halt to all deportation flights.

UK government carries out deportation of around 20 Jamaican nationals

By Robert Stevens, 11 February 2020

The men on board were among 700 immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers being held at two immigration detention removal centres near Heathrow Airport—Colnbrook and Harmondsworth.

UK: Vigil remembers Errol Graham, pays tribute to family’s fight for justice

By our reporters, 10 February 2020

At the vigil, friends, family and local community members held placards bearing Errol’s photograph and condemning the Department for Work and Pensions welfare sanctions that have claimed hundreds of lives.

UK: Johnson uses Trump’s playbook in attack on media

By Robert Stevens, 8 February 2020

The events on Monday were more reminiscent of a tin pot dictatorship than that of an elected government.

UK: Tory health secretary signals ditching Accident and Emergency targets as crisis in NHS worsens

By Ajanta Silva, 7 February 2020

Research by the Patient Association found that 5,500 NHS patients died over the past three years due to spending so long on a trolley in overcrowded hospital A&E units.

Interview with international model Andreja Pejic: “I think standing behind Assange and Manning is where we should all be”

By Sue Phillips and Will Marshall, 7 February 2020

The WSWS spoke with Andreja Pejic about the campaign to free Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning and broader political issues.

Emergency legislation for terror law offenders in UK sets anti-democratic precedent

By Thomas Scripps, 6 February 2020

Whatever measures are used initially against terrorists will be deployed more widely against workers and youth who defy the class war offensive of the ruling elite.

Don’t Extradite Assange meeting in London: The political issues

By Laura Tiernan and Chris Marsden, 6 February 2020

The aim of the Don’t Extradite Assange group is to rehabilitate the Labour Party and the trade unions, its “left” representatives in particular, and to corral the movement in defence of Assange under their control.

UN rapporteur Nils Melzer exposes British government attempts to obstruct his defence of Assange

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 February 2020

That the British government is simultaneously stonewalling Melzer’s inquiries, and apparently conducting a behind-the-scenes campaign against him, underscores the flagrant illegality of the entire US-led vendetta against Assange.

UK: Errol Graham starved to death after withdrawal of benefit payments

By Laura Tiernan, 5 February 2020

Errol weighed just 30kg, or 66 pounds, when his body was found by bailiffs after they broke down his front door to evict him for rent arrears.

Boris Johnson’s government uses London terror attack to call for indefinite detention

By Thomas Scripps, 4 February 2020

For all the cries of “apologist!” in the corporate media, the roots of terrorist groups in the predatory intrigues of the major powers are widely known.

Johnson’s real Brexit agenda is trade war, militarism and class war

By Robert Stevens, 3 February 2020

UK prime minister Johnson is on a collision course with Europe that threatens to end in outright trade war and economic dislocation.

Michael Apted’s 63 Up: The ninth film in the remarkable series

By Kevin Martinez, 3 February 2020

The British documentary “Up” series has followed the lives of a group of Britons from age seven up to the present, when they are now all 63. The latest film provides insights into not only their lives, but the nature of the postwar period.

Firms responsible for covering Grenfell in flammable cladding demand immunity from prosecution

By Charles Hixson and Robert Stevens, 1 February 2020

Evidence revealed as the second phase of the inquiry began demonstrates that the 72 people who were killed in the Grenfell fire inferno were victims of the heinous crime of social murder.

Jaguar Land Rover announces 500 job cuts at Halewood in northwest England

By Margot Miller, 1 February 2020

The response of Unite to JLR’s announcement was to pledge to ensure redundancies are implemented smoothly.

Britain leaves the European Union: Against nationalism, For the United Socialist States of Europe!

Statement by the Socialist Equality Party (UK), 31 January 2020

Workers and young people in the UK must orient themselves not to British nationalism or the EU, but to the growing global upsurge of working class struggle.

Thousands of companies in Britain flout national minimum wage laws

By Joe Mount, 30 January 2020

In 2018, more than 11,000 companies underpaid their workers, while one-in-four workers over the age of 25 on the minimum wage were underpaid in 2019.

“This ain’t a nice place to be: This ain’t Belmarsh, it’s Hellmarsh”

ITV documentary reveals conditions in prison holding WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange

By Paul Bond, 30 January 2020

Despite going unmentioned, Assange’s deteriorating health and the concerns of independent medical professionals about his effective solitary confinement in the health care unit hung silently over the programme.

Edward Snowden warns that Assange and Greenwald prosecutions mark new stage in assault on press freedom

By Oscar Grenfell, 30 January 2020

The NSA whistleblower wrote: “The most essential journalism of every era is precisely that which a government attempts to silence. These prosecutions demonstrate that they are ready to stop the presses—if they can.”

How Canada’s corporate media smeared WikiLeaks publisher and journalist Julian Assange

By Roger Jordan, 30 January 2020

Canada’s leading media outlets have vilified Assange, while bemoaning the impact of WikiLeaks’ exposures on the global interests of American and Canadian imperialism.

Trump ramps up tensions with UK after Huawei 5G decision

By Thomas Scripps, 29 January 2020

The fudge decision is a desperate attempt to placate the Trump administration and avoid a collision over basic issues of economy and security.

US refuses to extradite spy’s wife to UK over death of Harry Dunn

By Barry Mason, 29 January 2020

The UK government have gone into full damage-limitation mode over the explosive conflict, but US Secretary of State Pompeo will not be fooled by such theatrics and will dismiss any appeals regarding Sacoolas, knowing they are made purely for the record.

Royal Family deal over Harry and Meghan only exacerbates crisis of rule

By Robert Stevens, 28 January 2020

For all the talk about the response of an “astute” Queen, what is taking place is a desperate rescue operation that is doomed to failure.

Socialist Equality Party Public Meeting in London:

Free Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning! No US extradition!

28 January 2020

The SEP (UK) urges all readers of the World Socialist Web Site to attend our public meeting in London on Sunday February 23, in defence of imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning.