Britain

Following on Blair's attack on the trade unions, in which he accused them of being "wreckers" for daring to oppose his privatisation plans, the British journal Socialist Appealhas published this special supplement entitled The Wreckers' Bulletin.

Ten years ago this April, the Socialist Appeal was launched as the journal of the Marxists in the British Labour movement. We are on the eve of celebrating the hundredth edition of the Appeal, and ten years of tireless work in defending the ideas and principles of Marxism on a world scale.

Dawn Stuart is a left trade union activist working for Belfast City Council. She is currently standing for the General Executive Council of the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) on a programme of union democracy. This is especially important since the bureaucratic removal of Mick O'Reilly and Eugene McGlone from their positions in the Irish region. The following is her election statement:

Well it was a landslide. It was an unprecedented result. No, I don't mean a Labour landslide or that it was unprecedented that Labour won a complete second term for the first time. No, I mean that for the first time since every person of 21 years and over was allowed to vote (and it was 1928 before women got the vote), the No Vote party polled more than the party with the largest number of votes.

Tony Blair, Jack Straw, William Hague and Ann Widdecombe have all expressed their disgust and outrage at the malicious vandalism melted out to the statue of Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square.

In the aftermath of September 11, governments around the world have been attempting to rush through legislation which undermines democratic rights, in the name of fighting terrorism. In the UK, Blair is trying to introduce a new law which will allow among other things indefinite imprisonment without trial of foreign nationals.

The demonstration against the war called by the CND on Saturday 13 October in London was much bigger than expected. According to the police there were about 20,000 demonstrators on the march, but this is a gross underestimation. The organisers claimed around 50,000 participated. When the head of the demonstration had reached Trafalgar Square (about three miles away) the tail of the march had not yet left Hyde Park.

The decision to place Railtrack plc, the privatised rail company responsible for the upkeep of the system's infrastructure, into administration last weekend would normally have been the main item on the national news. However The beginning of the US/UK bombing raids of Afghanistan conveniently put paid to that. The decision amounts to a recognition that privatisation has failed (something all but the New Labour government had already realised a long time ago) but still falls shot of renationalisation a taboo word for Tony Blair and his government.

The Editorial of next month's Socialist Appeal deals with the economic effects of the current crisis and the build up to a war against Afghanistan. It also explains how the right wing leaders of the labour movement are using the pretext of the "war against terrorism" to prevent any criticism of their policies regarding privatisation with the curtailing of the TUC and Labour Party Conferences. This is also the pretext for the introduction of ID cards and other measures against civil liberties.

The events in Oldham have hit the national headlines. Similar explosions of racial conflict have taken place in other towns in Britain. This has brought the BNP and the danger from far-right groups back into the spotlight. Bryan Beckingham, Secretary of Oldham National Union of Teachers, and Alan Creear in Oldham describe the background to these developments.

There have been a lot of disasters on the railways in Britain. But the real disaster has been rail privatisation itself. There was a lot of rhetoric from the Tories about the 'dynamism and efficiency' private capitalism would bring, but experience has shown that the only people to benefit from rail privatisation have been the profiteers, not the general public that has to use the railways. So what is the alternative?