Several months ago there was a report in some British papers of an unusual speech by the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King. The speech gives a glimpse of a discussion that must have recently taken place amongst the British capitalists, and which the Gate Gourmet dispute is a direct consequence of. It is about the use of cheap immigrant labour to drive down wages and worsen working conditions.

The dispute that erupted at the Gate Gourmet company in August is symptomatic of what is really happening in the British labour movement. The strike of the Gate Gourmet workers received strong support from the workers at British Airways who paralysed Heathrow Airport and inflicted heavy losses on the company. The class solidarity expressed in this dispute is an indication of what is to come throughout the whole of the British labour movement.

We are publishing here a speech given by Phil Mitchinson at the recent international Marxist school in Barcelona. Dealing with the history of the centuries old struggle for freedom in Ireland, and the part played in that history by republicanism and socialism, as well as the political developments that have led to the current impasse, this should serve as an introduction to a major article analysing the recent declaration of the end of the armed struggle by the Provisional IRA which we will be publishing later this week.