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Tories can’t square the circle of Brexit

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The front cover of September’s Socialist Review asked, “Are the Tories heading for the rocks?” This month came the answer: a resounding yes.

While Theresa May seems to have seen off the initial rebellion against her draft withdrawal treaty from the EU, the Tories’ decades-long row over Britain’s membership of the EU could blow up at any time over the next few weeks, toppling May and crippling the government.

Labour should take a lead against Tories

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A general election now is the best response to the Tories’ crisis, so it’s unfortunate that Jeremy Corbyn and his close allies did not clearly make that call as soon as Theresa May delivered the draft treaty.

They are entangled in a row with Labour Party right wingers and many of the country’s major trade union leaders about the EU, and the call for a “people’s vote”.

However, John McDonnell did go on to call for a general election, and socialists must get behind that call and campaign to oust the Tories.

Aussie teachers give lesson in solidarity

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On 20 November in Australia hundreds of teachers from dozens of schools across Victoria and Brisbane walked out to protest against the offshore detention of refugees.

The atmosphere was charged with excitement as teachers, plus hundreds of supporters, filled the State Library forecourt in Melbourne to demand the government bring all kids and adults off Nauru and Manus immediately.

More than a Saudi PR disaster

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The brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi dissident and critic of Mohammed bin Sultan (aka MbS), has ripped apart the image the ruling Saudi prince had crafted for himself as a “moderniser”. The details of Khashoggi’s killing — he was enticed into the Saudi consulate in Turkey and butchered with a hacksaw — reads like a script from a horror movie.

Buck passed on jailing Robinson

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On a cold Tuesday morning late last month, 500-1,000 supporters of Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) gathered outside his retrial at the Old Bailey, central London. The retrial focussed on two charges — whether Robinson had breached reporting restrictions on the Huddersfield child grooming case, and for contempt of court. After a short hearing, Nicholas Hillyard QC took the decision to refer the case to the Attorney General.

Glasgow equal pay strike is huge success

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A walkout of over 8,000 low paid mainly women council workers in Glasgow, in late October, was rocking city council bosses as Socialist Review went to press.

The dispute that has brewed for 12 years was said to be easily the biggest strike by workers over equal pay since the 1960s. They work in care, catering, cleaning, caretaking, administrative and educational support roles for the council.

The dispute centres on an unfair pay and grading system that left women worse off. This was under a Labour-run council that also imposed cuts and privatisation of services.

Sweden Democrats are a serious threat

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The politics of the centre has come to an end. In last month’s election in Sweden both of the two main parties, the conservative Moderates and the Social Democrats, lost votes, leading to a situation where neither block can proclaim themselves as the winner.

Both blocks are wedded to the neoliberal economic consensus which has meant privatisation, deregulation, no budget deficit and a more insecure labour market. Sweden has the fastest growing income gap of all the OECD countries and is now a haven for the rich. Many voters clearly don’t want more of the same.

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