Chile heats up
There were huge demonstrations in Chile last month against the privatised pensions system. According to organisers 2 million people marched in cities across the country. Pension contributions are set to rise. Protesters want them replaced with a public social security system.
Landlord is untenable
A flagship promise of the Trump campaign was thrown into chaos last month. The American Health Care Act, known as “Trumpcare”, was pulled from the floor of the US House of Representatives at the end of March, having failed to win enough support from Republicans to pass.
Throughout the presidential election Trump had made attacks on the rising costs of Obamacare a central strand of his campaign, promising to repeal and replace it.
Reports last month revealed that girls and young women have missed days of school because they can’t afford to buy sanitary products.
Teachers in Leeds noticed that some of their female students seemed to be missing school regularly. They found that it was because they had no cash for tampons or sanitary towels and were embarrassed to ask for help. One girl told BBC radio, “I wrapped a sock around my underwear just to stop the bleeding, because I didn’t want to get shouted at.”
The first round of the French presidential election takes place on Sunday 23 April. The latest polls put fascist Marine Le Pen of the Front National level with neoliberal centre candidate Emmanuel Macron, both on 26 percent. In third place is disgraced conservative Francois Fillon, who is under fire for corrupt practices. The left is last, with mainstream Parti Socialiste candidate Benoit Hamon struggling to stay ahead of far-left candidate Jean Luc Melenchon, both on 12 percent.
UKIP unsure exactly how racist to be
A row erupted among Britain’s premier bigots after their defeat in the Stoke by election last month. Former leader Nigel Farage wanted current leader Paul Nuttall to boot out sole MP Douglas Carswell before he rejoins the Tories. Also, having been so anti-establishment for so long, Nigel was upset that he didn’t receive a knighthood. This is no time to stop organising against them, though. Farage has complained that UKIP wasn’t hardline enough over immigration.
The appointment of Cressida Dick as Metropolitan Police Commissioner will have sent shivers down the spines of many Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Londoners. Walk past Stockwell underground station and you will understand why. Immediately to the left of the entrance is a mural with the inscription “INNOCENT Jean Charles de Menezes…Shot dead here 22.07.2005 Sadly missed”.
Right wing parties are set for victory during the upcoming parliamentary elections in the Netherlands. Geert Wilders’ far right Freedom Party (PVV) and current prime minister Mark Rutte’s conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) are leading the polls. The projected seats of the four left wing parties combined amount to just 45 out of 150 seats in the latest poll.
Alan Simpson, who has died aged 87, was half of one of the most talented and socially-perceptive comedy-writing partnerships of post-war Britain. He and Ray Galton created two of Britain’s best-loved comedy series, Hancock’s Half Hour and Steptoe and Son.
Alan Simpson was born in Brixton to a working class family, the son of a window-cleaner. He attended Mitcham grammar school but left early to work as a shipping clerk.
There is no doubt that the left were in the driving seat at Brighton and exuded a confidence and assurance born from the unexpectedly favourable election result in June and the subsequent turmoil and implosion of their Tory opponents.
It was particularly refreshing that socialist ideas were common currency and openly debated. What a change from the stage-managed PR presentations of recent years.