The Jubilee has come and gone. India and Pakistan stood on the brink of nuclear war. Suicide bombers were striking in Israel and Belfast was aflame with sectarian conflict. But on the streets of London and other British cities, millions of people cheerfully participated in street parties in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Yet this year's festivities totally lacked the grassroots "spontaneity" of the Silver Jubilee, 25 years ago. The enthusiasm for the monarchy that has been whipped up by the media in recent weeks is at best superficial. The mood is quite different to 1977 and even more distant from that of 1952.
We are appealing for messages of support and financial backing for 24 airport security staff in Belfast who have been sacked for striking against low pay and poor conditions. The sacked workers were prominent union activists, including two key shop stewards. The response of some of the higher-up officials in the T&GWU union has been woefully inadequate. Gordon McNeil, one of the sacked shop stewards, spoke to Socialist Appeal.
What a decisive answer to all the cynics who had written off the labour movement in Britain. In scenes reminiscent of the late 1970s, scenes we were told would never be repeated in Blair's New Britain, more than a million local authority workers took strike action yesterday, the first national public sector stoppage in 20 years. The action by members of UNISON, the T&GWU and the GMB was described in the London Evening Standard as "the biggest strike in Britain since the 1926 General Strike".
This article deals with the scandalous so-called "Private Finance Initiative" in Britain. This process allows private companies to be involved in the building and running of what were formerly public services, such as hospitals, railways, and even schools. Mick Brooks shows quite clearly that the only people to benefit from PFI have been the fat cat capitalists who run the private firms.