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Centre-left returns, but far right gains

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The results of the 28 April general election in Spain were very contradictory. There was good news in that the main right wing party, the PP, lost half of its vote, going from 137 MPs to just 66 today. The Labour-type Socialist party, PSOE, won the election with very big gains (from 85 to 123 MPs) and will almost certainly form the next government.

Brexit shambles and EU crisis

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There could be many twists and turns in the Brexit melodrama in the hiatus between my writing this article and you reading it.

To speculate on what may or not happen is futile, but there have been enough developments to date that help us unpick some of the fundamental issues at stake.

The most obvious starting point is that the government’s paralysis as a result of Theresa May’s inability to put her deal to the vote for a third time does not mean that there is likely to be an agreed alternative.

Mike Oliver: a pioneer for disability rights

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Mike Oliver, who died last month, was a key figure in the British disability rights movement. He pioneered the development of what became known as the social model of disability.

His many books, including The Politics of Disablement (1990), helped lead to the foundation of Disability Studies as an academic discipline — in which he became the first professor in Britain. Throughout his life, Oliver argued that the fight against disability discrimination was also about wider social change.

US: an opening for left ideas this time

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Can there be a red in the White House? Although it’s very early days — primary season hasn’t even kicked off — the prospect doesn’t seem so ridiculous now Bernie Sanders has confirmed he will again run for president.

Over a million people had signed up to volunteer with his campaign within the first six days of his announcement.

First things first: could he win the Democratic nomination? The most important aspect of the Sanders campaign in 2016 was that it tapped into a deep bitterness in working class America at the status quo of poverty and inequality.

Love Music Hate Racism

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Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) was founded in 2002, when the British National Party had begun to make electoral gains and even produced a CD aimed at increasing their support among young people.

LMHR held many successful festivals in the early 2000s. Tens of thousands of people attended the Victoria Park carnival in 2008 and at Stoke Britannia Stadium in 2009.

LMHR is responding to the new rise of the right by launching a fortnight of anti-racist content aimed at tackling the hate filled propaganda of the far right.

No compromise on freedom of movement

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The Immigration and Social Security Bill which had its second reading last month is designed to put an end to freedom of movement after Britain leaves the EU.

It makes an entirely arbitrary distinction between “skilled” and “unskilled” migrants and imposes a 12-month limit on the latter, who would not be able to bring in their families or access public funds.

Irish nurses picket for pay

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Around 35,000 Irish health workers walked out of and picketed hospitals and clinics across the republic at the end of last month over pay and conditions.

Nurses and midwives are demanding a 12 percent increase in pay and improved conditions in a programme of action set to last two weeks.

In response, the Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, has claimed spending on Brexit preparations prevents him from ceding to their demands.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation says its members are working longer hours and receiving less pay than than they were in 2008.

Yellow Vests up the stakes

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A general strike of French trade unionists alongside further Yellow Vest protests at the beginning of February was set to up the pressure on president Emmanuel Macron to stop expenditure cuts, privatisation and a tax system weighted against the poor.

The continuing movement is also demanding significant wage increases and the right to protest without the fear of police violence; a factor that has seen, since the movement began last November, the police badly injure more than 2,000 protesters.

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