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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 January 2008

Legal - illegal

VOSPER THORNEYCROFT, one of the world's biggest warship manufacturers, is set to be given the contract to run education services in Waltham Forest, east London. Guns and young people can be a bad mix. The media is full of it. Teach kids not to get involved with handguns - it is dangerous and illegal.

However, when New Labour councillors hand out contracts to their big business friends, it is perfectly legal to let a gunship company, whose military sales constitute 80% of its total sales, run education services for our young people. New Labour is bereft of any socialist consciousness when it comes to privatising public services. Now they are bereft of any basic morality in allowing an arms company, even with its makeover name the VT Group, into our children's lives.

Life after Twizzlers

THE YEAR 2007 was surprisingly good for top catering multinational Compass/Scolarest, which has PFI contracts with 2,500 educational institutions in Britain and the armed forces. With military operations in Iraq being reduced and schools and colleges pulling out of PFI contracts after celebrity chef Jamie Oliver publicly exposed Scolarest's unhealthy food, company investors were concerned about profits.

They needn't have worried! With 442 million reported profits last year, Scolarest is benefiting from the government's willingness to let any private-sector vulture feed off education, despite criticism for serving "turkey twizzlers and rock-hard pizza".

The government's new student website urges students to budget strictly. The government expects them to spend only 5 on food a day but as Scolarest's average college meal costs 4 this is impossible!

Lambeth College students organised a successful boycott of the Scolarest-run canteen in 2006 and forced a price reduction. We need this on a national basis!

Student fees

THOUSANDS OF students face increased tuition fees of more than 7,000 a year after funding cuts. The government is cutting 100 million a year from second degrees and lower level, shorter courses so students will foot the bill for funding these courses.

Government minister Bill Rammell says: "Funding people for a first degree has to be a higher priority than supporting those studying for a second degree". This government is supposedly "championing" life long learning! Rammell claims money saved from these cuts will go into funding undergraduate courses. They are clearly running an education system on the cheap by robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Socialist Students is organising a Campaign to Defeat Fees day of action on 21 February with protests in universities, colleges and schools across the country.

Join the action, fight fees and protest. Contact Socialist Students on / 020 8988 7947 for ideas, material, and model letters for support from student unions and speakers for meetings.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 17 January 2008:

Fight for a living wage

Burslem: Support victimised postal workers

Editorial: Fight three year low pay tie-ins

Environment and socialism

Stop nuclear power plans NOW!

Is the burning of fossil fuels causing climate change?


Hain's sorry saga of sleaze

Blair's rewards from big business

Anti-Cuts campaigns

Fire cuts threat to our public safety

Cardiff schools campaign grows

Housing Crisis

Nationalise Northern Rock - permanently

Growing crisis in housing

Socialist Party news

Save our post offices

Salford says: "Don't close our women's centre"

'Them and Us': news shorts

Trade unions

Feature: Building the shop stewards' movement

Socialist Party campaigning

Ideas for campaigning and fundraising

International socialist news and analysis

Sri Lanka: New year starts with atrocities

Biggest miners' underground occupation in Polish history

Socialist Party review

Review: More Time for Politics, Diaries 2001-2007, by Tony Benn

Socialist Party workplace news

Reinstate Karen Reissman - defend mental health services!

Derby nurses fight management attacks

Liverpool: City of Cuts

Vote Jim Cessford


Home   |   The Socialist 17 January 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

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