Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/574/7150
MPs' gravy train
HOUSING minister Margaret Beckett is the latest government minister to be caught with her hand in the parliamentary expenses till.
Beckett, along with chancellor Alistair Darling and transport secretary Geoff Hoon, rented out London flats while living in 'grace-and-favour' homes and claiming expenses for another home, in Beckett's case totalling £106,000.
Workers are sick to their back teeth of seeing MPs living the 'life of Riley' while being expected to make sacrifices to bail out a failed capitalist economy.
A MASS demo of workers, called by the Italian trade unions, marched in Rome on 4 April attacking the Berlusconi government's handling of the economic crisis. Italy's economy, Europe's fourth largest, is expected to contract by over 4% this year according to the OECD. Unemployment in the last quarter of 2008 reached its highest level for over two years. Some 1.73 million people are currently unemployed.
Greek general strike
GREEK WORKERS staged a general strike on 2 April, coinciding with the G20 summit, in opposition to the right-wing Karamanlis government's austerity programme to deal with the recession. 10,000 marched through Athens in a peaceful protest. The general strike, the fourth in 12 months, halted transport and closed public services. It was called by the GSEE and ADEDY union federations which organise half the country's 4.5 million workforce. They are demanding an end to cuts in public spending and attacks on pay and pensions.
GORDON BROWN'S plan to create 400 academies, undermining comprehensive education, has hit troubled waters as a third of academies have lost their head teachers, many leaving within the first year. Academies are sponsored by millionaires or religious groups and opt out of democratic, accountable control.
Two heads have quit 'flagship' London schools in three months. Both schools were sponsored by Christian charity United Learning Trust. At one of them, Walthamstow Academy, the NUT teachers' union was threatening to strike over an unacceptable "blame culture" in the school.
Salford school protest
400 school students and supporters marched through Manchester on 28 March against the closure of their school. Socialist Party members joined the demonstration, with our Youth Fight For Jobs leaflets and petitions very well received.
St Georges School in Walkden is threatened with closure by Salford council under the 'Building Schools for the Future' programme. The demo was organised by the 'justkids4georges' group of pupils demanding their school is saved.
It took place a year after the last, hundreds-strong, march in Salford. This time protesters had to march in Manchester, as Salford's Labour council threatened to charge them thousands of pounds to march in Salford! The campaign will mount a legal challenge later this year to the closure.
In The Socialist 8 April 2009:
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party campaigns
International socialist news
Socialist Party workplace news