Ian Taylor

Resisting the outsourcing giants

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Has the outsourcing of groups of workers limited their ability to fight back? Ian Taylor looks at recent strikes that challenge this claim, while Kevin Devine looks at the growth of outsourcing.

Outsourcing need not end workers' power to resist their employer. Strikes by three groups in the last three months - cleaners at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, ancillary workers at Ealing Hospital, London, and Care UK workers in Doncaster - make that clear.

Cleaners at SOAS won improved holidays, sick pay and pensions after taking on multinational ISS, one of the world's biggest employers.

The group of mainly migrant workers struck for three days in March after a long campaign for parity with in-house workers.

The politics of Tony Benn

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Ian Taylor looks at the life and politics of one of the most important and iconic figures of the post-war Labour left

It is difficult to imagine the British labour movement without Tony Benn. All on the left will miss him and the simple arguments he put for socialism. The man once demonised by the press as "the most dangerous in Britain" was declared a "national treasure" at the end. But the abiding animosity towards him shone through some obituaries.

Miliband's balancing act: Labour and the unions

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Following a row about Unite's role in the selection of Labour parliamentary candidates, Ed Miliband announced a special conference to re-examine Labour's relationship with the unions. Ian Taylor looks at the tensions between Labour and the unions but also the forces that push them together.

A Labour party special conference in March will review how unions fund the party and, by extension, the link between the two. At least, that is what Labour leader Ed Miliband pledged last July to the delight of New Labour acolytes and Blairite former ministers.

Miliband announced the review in the wake of allegations of malpractice by members of Unite in the selection of a parliamentary candidate in Falkirk. It was a decision Miliband appeared to be bounced into at the time. But there seemed little ambiguity when the Labour leader declared himself "incredibly angry".

Hillsborough: truth, now justice

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Seldom does the struggle for justice intrude on, let alone dominate, media sports coverage, but the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel did.

The facts can be briefly stated: 96 Liverpool fans died, crushed behind steel fences at Sheffield's Hillsborough stadium. Many died from asphyxia where they stood. The list of victims reads like a war memorial with 37 teenagers, 60 under 25.

Most football grounds then had high fences barring pitch access and more fences cordoning off terrace enclosures. Hillsborough was a regular venue for semi-finals and a regular scene of potential disaster. A crush in 1981 left 38 injured. There was serious overcrowding in 1987 and a crush again in 1988.

A Class Inquiry

Issue section: 
Author: 

The Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking ended in June, no doubt to collective relief in establishment circles. We must wait until the autumn for Lord Justice Leveson to submit his findings to David Cameron. The knowledge that a Lord Justice will report to a Tory prime minister is enough to know not to hold our breath.

The 86 days of hearings have been tedious on one level and extraordinary on another. The prime minister and chancellor, chief constables, billionaire newspaper owners and their editors have been called to account, laying bare a world not just of corruption and cover up but of routine collusion, of "country suppers" and "Yes we Cam" (former News International boss Rebekah Brooks' congratulatory text to Cameron). We now know, for example, how many times Cameron met executives at News International over a period (59).

The Sun isn't shining

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The wheels continue to come off at News International. James Murdoch's resignation as executive chairman is the latest blow. It came a few days after Metropolitan police deputy-assistant commissioner Sue Akers' explosive account to the Leveson Inquiry of a "culture of illegal payments" to a "network of corrupt officials" by the Sun

Ackers' broadside came a day after Rupert Murdoch launched the first Sun on Sunday, replacing the News of the World which was shut last July. His abrupt move followed the dawn arrests of ten Sun journalists - an eleventh is wanted for questioning - sparking such discontent among Murdoch's loyal hacks that Rupert himself descended on Wapping to reassure them.

How the mighty Murdoch has fallen

Issue section: 
Author: 

It's seldom the daily news brings joy such as the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

Rupert Murdoch is a man who held prime ministers in his palm - "the 24th member of Blair's cabinet" according to a Labour insider. Yet there he was in July, called to account by MPs, pushed to close his biggest-circulation newspaper and drop his bid to control the absurdly profitable BSkyB, his son James poised to lose his role as heir, his US empire in jeopardy.

From Coulson to Cameron

Tony Cliff: a Marxist for his time

Issue section: 
Author: 

Tony Cliff, the founder of the Socialist Workers Party, made major contributions to revolutionary theory and practice. Ian Taylor reviews a new biography of Cliff and assesses his place in post-war Marxism

Few Marxist revolutionaries become household names, but it is a travesty that the greatest Marxist of the latter part of the 20th century is so little known. So the appearance of a biography of Tony Cliff is a major event.

Hacking away at the truth

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The dam has burst over revelations of phone hacking at Rupert Murdoch's News Group. Fresh revelations tumble daily from the High Court.

On just two days in mid-February we learned of a witness statement, previously withheld by police, that suggests an unknown number of News of the World (NoW) journalists used a private investigator to hack into celebrities' phones. We also learned that the Metropolitan Police held evidence of hacking that it repeatedly claimed did not exist and that Scotland Yard had uncovered new evidence (don't laugh) of illegal activity at the NoW.

Greece: the fightback against austerity

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Greece has been a focal point of crisis and resistance in Europe since exposure of its ballooning debt. Panos Garganos, editor of Socialist Worker's sister paper in Greece, spoke to Ian Taylor about the situation

Panos Garganos

What has been the response to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) going into Greece?

The delegation from the IMF, European Union (EU) and European Central Bank (ECB) arrived in Athens on 21 April, the anniversary of the colonels' coup in 1967. We suffered from the military then. We suffer from the bankers now. The fire service, hospitals, local authorities and teachers were on strike that day - that was the workers' response to the IMF, although the strikes were called earlier.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Ian Taylor