Britain

The resignation of Clive Lewis from the Labour front bench has dealt yet another blow to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, as Brexit continues to torment the Labour Party. But while last summer’s “Chicken Coup” may have seen a greater number of resignations, the public resignation of one of Corbyn’s most well known supporters in order to vote against the whip may prove even more damaging.

“Vote Leave - Take Control” was always a deeply cynical slogan, designed to exploit the alienation and powerlessness of the working class in the EU referendum. It is only now, however, as the brave new world of Brexit starts its lengthy unfolding, that its irony is being exposed.

On 9th January, Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister of the Stormont Assembly in Belfast, resigned in protest against the ongoing Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scandal. As the Assembly was unable to elect a new Deputy, new elections have been triggered, as required under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, which are now scheduled for 2nd March.

Sam Ashton takes a look at the history of housing in Britain and the mass struggles that have risen up time and time again in the fight for the basic right to a decent, affordable home. Today, the question of housing is a key issue, with the glaring contradiction of homelessness alongside empty mansions plain for all to see.

After months of vexed speculation over the possible terms of Britain’s departure from the EU, Prime Minister May mounted the podium on Tuesday to announce her grand Brexit plan to the world. In a 45-minute speech, May set out her vision for a “stronger, fairer, more united and more outward looking” Britain; a “global Britain” which will “re-discover its role as a great trading nation”.

And so the Bonaparte of Momentum was born. At a stroke, Momentum’s democratic structures have been abolished; the tireless work of thousands of Corbyn supporters over the past year-and-a-half thrown out the window. Overnight, grassroots activists have been shunted to the side in what can only be described as a coup.

The focus of the class struggle in Britain is undoubtedly now centred on the battle inside the Labour Party between the Corbyn movement, on the one side, and the Blairites - backed by the entire Establishment - on the other. Any analysis regarding the tasks of the trade unions at this time must begin from this fact.

Within the next three months, the Brexit negotiations with the European Union will officially start. The plan is to leave within two years, nothing more, nothing less.“Brexit means Brexit” according to Theresa May. We are told that there will be either “soft” Brexit, where Britain has access to the Single Market or “hard” Brexit, where we don’t. However there is a more probable third option: “train-crash” Brexit, where there is a failure to reach a deal and Britain crashes out of the European Union – with chaotic and drastic consequences.

It is often said that the British Establishment, at the height of its imperial power, would plan for decades and centuries into the future, such was its confidence and control over its own destiny. In contrast, it has been noticeable in recent years how short-sighted the British ruling class has become - looking for short-term profits through financial alchemy and quick political fixes via risky referenda.

Following the resignation of Nigel Farage – and his successor, Diane James, after only 18 days – Paul Nuttall, UKIP MEP and former deputy leader for the party, was yesterday announced to be the newly elected UKIP leader, winning the leadership contest with over 62% of the votes from party members. But does the future hold in store for Nuttall and this far-right, racist party?

When Boris Johnson, the pro-Leave Tory foreign secretary, recently promised to “make a titanic success” of Brexit, it is unlikely that he realised at the time just how apt his choice of words was. With the Office of Budgetary Responsibility (OBR), as part of yesterday’s Autumn Statement, predicting slower growth and a £122bn hole in the government’s finances as a result of Britain’s forthcoming departure from the EU, it is clear that the UK economy is heading for an iceberg.

Walter Bagehot famously remarked that there is no point in a mediocre monarchy - either the monarchy is fabulously expensive, or there is no monarchy. And fabulously expensive it certainly still is.

The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has announced that the government’s agenda is “unashamedly pro-business”. Millions of Britons who are gearing up for Christmas must be in a state of shock at this earth-shattering news that a Tory government is an “unashamed” supporter of big business.

Ross Walker discusses the events of the recent SNP annual party conference, where leader Nicola Sturgeon announced plans for a second referendum on Scottish independence. Beneath the apparent party unity surrounding independence, however, it is clear that strong class contradictions are developing within the SNP.

On Wednesday 2nd November the last inhabitants of the so-called Calais “Jungle” were moved from the site, drawing the operation to demolish the refugee camp to a close. The camp itself has been reduced to a pile of rubble and ash. The thousands of men, women and children who had endured its unimaginable squalor in the desperate hope of a better life now face the prospect of further fear, indignity, and suffering, including deportation if their applications for asylum are unsuccessful.

The recent hardening of Tory rhetoric over Brexit and the status of migrant workers in Britain has shocked many, prompting some on the left to wonder if we too should advocate immigration controls and others, such as Owen Jones, to fall into a spirit of impotent despair. But aside from being a return to form for Britain’s traditional “Nasty Party”, May’s hard talk reflects a deepening divide within her own party and, if anything, a position of weakness rather than strength.

Having seen off the miserable challenge of Owen Smith and the Blairites, both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell gave emboldened speeches to this year’s Labour Party conference. These were the speeches that the right wing did not want. Rather than trying to imitate the Tories, as previous Labour leaders have done, both Corbyn and McDonnell set out their vision for a Britain transformed. They even dared to use the “s” word – socialism.

Labour Party conferences have become very interesting all of a sudden. For years they have been notoriously stage-managed, and the few decisions that were taken were routinely ignored by the party leadership, which was in total control. Now things look very different. Without question, the left of the party have reason to celebrate, following the resounding second victory of Corbyn. But this year’s conference has served as a stark reminder and warning that the battle is very far from over and there remains a great deal of work to be done.

The sense of shock amongst the Labour right wing was evident from the look on their faces as they streamed out of the Party Conference on Saturday. Their dreams of an Owen Smith victory, the so-called “unity” candidate, were dashed. This has created a sense of turmoil and disarray within Labour’s right wing. Although many had conceded defeat for their candidate, they still hoped they could reduce Corbyn’s margin of victory. Despite everything, they failed miserably.

Ecstatic screams and cheers broke out across the country as the news came through that Jeremy Corbyn has again won a decisive victory to become Labour leader, with an even bigger mandate than last September. 313,209 members voted for him, 61.8% of the vote, compared to 59.5% last year. His challenger Owen Smith, the “unity” candidate, got 193,229 votes, or 38.2% of the vote. The turnout was 77.6%, with 506,438 members and supporters taking part.

With Jeremy Corbyn on course to win another landslide victory in the contest for the Labour leadership, the Party Establishment are preparing the ground for a split. Rob Sewell, editor of Socialist Appeal, looks back at the Labour split of 1931 to analyse the important lessons of Labour's history for today's tumultuous events.

With Jeremy Corbyn on course to win another landslide victory in the contest for the Labour leadership, the Party Establishment are preparing the ground for a split. Rob Sewell, editor of Socialist Appeal, looks back at the Labour split of 1931 to analyse the important lessons of Labour's history for today's tumultuous events.

Jeremy Corbyn is on target for a landslide victory in the election for Labour leader. According to all the polls, he will defeat his right-wing supported challenger Owen Smith by a wide margin. In fact, the support for Jeremy Corbyn amongst the grassroots of the Party has increased since last year; over 84% of local Labour Party leadership nominations have been for Corbyn, compared to under 40% in last year's four-way race.

[This article was first published on socialist.net on July 22.] After a short lived leadership campaign, beset with false starts and misfortune from the beginning, Angela Eagle graciously fell on her sword in order to allow another “unity candidate”, Owen Smith, MP for Pontypridd, to challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership.

Events are now moving at a lightning speed. Everyday there is a new twist and turn in the situation. Britain has become the focal point of the European crisis and even the world crisis. As we have explained in previous articles, the crisis which began in 2008 represented a turning point and would have massive repercussions around the world.

Ted Grant was a well-known figure in the international Marxist movement. He had a significant impact on British politics. When he died all the most important newspapers carried extensive obituaries that recognised this fact. This is a remarkable work that comprehensively covers the development of Ted's life and ideas, starting from his early family background in Johannesburg right up to his death in London in 2006 at the age of 93.

Yesterday evening, as Theresa May prepared to move into 10 Downing Street and continue the Tories’ programme of austerity, privatisation, and attacks on workers and migrants, Jeremy Corbyn emerged from a tense meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to confirm that he would be automatically on the ballot paper in the upcoming Labour leadership contest. With hundreds of thousands of new members joining the Party over the past year because of Corbyn’s leadership, the Blairite back-stabbers are now resigned to the fact that their attempted coup has failed.

We are living in a period of sharp and sudden changes. The result of the British EU referendum was yet another such sharp and sudden changes. In a further dramatic turn of events yesterday the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party voted by a majority of 14 to 18 to allow Jeremy Corbyn to defend his position as Labour leader without having to seek nomination by Labour MPs.

The Chilcot report into the 2003 Iraq war and how Britain was dragged into it has finally been published after a delay of seven years. It fell like a bombshell on the British political scene that was already reeling from the effects of the EU referendum.

It was like a scene from the Living Dead, with the Blairite zombies out in full force over the weekend calling on Corbyn to resign. The mummified remains of Lord Kinnock – who lost two general elections – joined up with Ed Miliband, the previous Labour leader who failed to win an election, to demand that Corbyn stand down…in order to make Labour “electable”! Of all the cheek - our greatest failures offering advice to Labour on how to win an election!

Over the past week, thousands have turned out at demonstrations and rallies in cities across the country in protest against the Blairite coup and in defence of Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party. We publish here a collection of brief reports, pictures, and videos that provide a vivid expression of the enormous rank-and-file movement behind Corbyn.

There are some very powerful reasons why the British capitalists are not keen on Britain having to leave the European Union. Some of them have been looking at ways of getting around the result of the recent referendum. The question is: can they succeed? And what would the consequences be on the political front?

As the Blairites continue to plot their coup against Corbyn, mass meetings and rallies of Corbyn supporters have begun to sprout up in city after city across the country. A rebellion of Labour members against the careerists in the Parliamentary Labour Party has begun.

Britain is in a state of turmoil. There is a political crisis, which will be followed by a constitutional crisis. Independence is again on the cards in Scotland. There is fear in European establishment that Brexit could spark a continent-wide revolt.

The Rubicon has been crossed. The die is cast. With their vote of no confidence against Jeremy Corbyn (by 172 votes to 40), the den of thieves that is the Parliamentary Labour Party have declared all-out war against the democratically elected leader and the vast majority of grassroots members. Tensions have reached breaking point. As the Financial Times, the reliable mouthpiece of the ruling class, correctly asserts, “having unsheathed the dagger, Labour MPs cannot now draw back.”

The fat is on the fire. A right-wing coup is under way to oust Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. This shabby coup, instigated by Labour's Tory Tendency, has been prepared a long time ago by those who never accepted his democratic election by an overwhelming majority. They are the Blairites: right-wing Tories who infiltrated the Labour Party to further their careers. They are indistinguishable from the Tories in their dress, manners, outlook and ideas.

Yesterday, 23rd of June 2016, the people of Britain made a momentous decision. After 40 years as part of the European Union they voted to turn their backs on it. This decision has immense consequences for the future of Britain, Europe and the world.

After the Brexit result, right-wing Labour MPs have mobilised once again to try to remove Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. They have called a vote of no confidence to be taken early next week. They are using the Brexit vote, to which Labour was officially opposed, as a stick with which to beat Corbyn, saying that it was his fault the Remain campaign was not successful. 

Britain goes to the polls today to decide on whether to Leave the European Union or Remain. The closing speeches in last night’s BBC “Great Debate” by Boris Johnson, the Conservative former London Mayor, and Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Tories, summed up what this referendum has been from the outset: a fight between two wings of the Tory Party; a fight in which neither side has anything positive to offer workers and youth.

As the hour of judgement draws nearer, the campaigns on both sides of the EU referendum have become increasingly dominated by one issue: immigration. On the Leave side, the months leading up to this referendum have seen a ratcheting up of xenophobic and racist rhetoric, with the sole aim of scapegoating migrants and the EU’s free movement of labour for all the ills in society.

At lunchtime yesterday Jo Cox, a young Labour MP, was standing outside a local library, as she did every week, meeting residents in her constituency. It was just an ordinary day in the small town of Birstall near Leeds in Yorkshire. There was nothing to indicate the horrific events that were about to happen.

With a week to go before the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, Leave has leapt to a 7-point lead in a poll published by The Times on Monday. The sudden swing of support away from Remain, which held a slender 1-point lead last week, has caused outright panic in Westminster and stock markets around the world.

Two sides of the same capitalist coin. That is the choice on offer to workers and youth in this Tory farce of a referendum. On the one side is David Cameron and George Osborne, backed up by the majority of the Establishment, big business, and the bankers. Their vision for Europe is the complete antithesis of that advocated by the leaders of the labour movement who find themselves in the same camp as Cameron, campaigning to Remain.

Despite facing a barrage of attacks since his election as Labour leader last September, Jeremy Corbyn’s support amongst Labour members has not been dented. Indeed, according to the latest figures from YouGov opinion polls, Corbyn is even more popular with the rank-and-file of the Labour Party now than at the time of his election.

Anyone who in general believed the news before the recent elections would have been in for a shock on the 6th May. Rather than the catastrophic defeat predicted for Labour, the reality was that the Labour Party received by far the most votes cast (38.5%), as against 27.1% for the Tories.

Beginning at one minute to midnight on the 3rd May, the 1926 General Strike shook the ruling class of Britain to its foundations. Lasting for nine days, the strike showed the enormous power and solidarity of the working class. 4 million trade unionists - out of a total of 5.5 million - responded to the TUC’s call to halt work. Despite no real preparation by the TUC leadership, workers organised - through their own initiative - strike committees up and down the country. Nothing moved without the workers’ permission.

Just a few days before the May elections, the Blairites in the Labour Party have stepped up their war against Jeremy Corbyn, using the slur of “anti-Semitism” to further their aims. By doing so, they are hell-bent on creating a “crisis” within the Party.

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, junior doctors in England came out on strike once again in defence of their terms and conditions, and in a struggle to save the wider NHS from Tory cuts, attacks, and threats of privatisation.