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Ian Macdonald: fierce advocate for justice

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Lawyers don’t generally enjoy a very good reputation with the public, still less with most socialists. Ian Macdonald QC who has died aged 80 will rightly live long in the memories of many socialists and activists. All his life he was a fighter for justice and freedom.

Ian is probably best remembered now for his huge contribution in immigration law. Indeed he wrote the book on it. The standard textbook bears his name. But Ian cut his teeth doing criminal cases in the late 60s and early 70s.

Bullying hits public sector workers hardest

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As the election began the press was full of stories about the number of MPs, particularly women, stepping down because of the “horrific abuse” they have received. MPs such as Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan dominated these reports, despite the fact that Diane Abbott MP was the recipient of half of all offensive tweets to female MPs in the six weeks preceding the official start of the election.

Election highlights need for real alternatives in North of Ireland

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Boris Johnson’s proposed Brexit deal threw the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) under a bus with his plan to create customs checks in the Irish Sea. In the run up to the election in the North of Ireland, the DUP has been stirring up its supporters by talking loudly of the union with Britain being under threat if this deal goes ahead.

Loyalist paramilitary groups, especially the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the leader of the Belfast flag protests in 2012 Jamie Bryson, have been organising public meetings against what they call Johnson’s “betrayal act”.

Election briefing: Freedom of movement

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The terrible deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants last month once again brought to the fore just how murderous are the government’s anti-migrant policies. They are policies that have seen scores of Syrian, Iraqi, Afghani and others having endure untold miseries — sometimes ending in severe injury and even death — in their attempts to reach this country, as witnessed in the dreadful scenes around Calais and northern France and, indeed, across the continent.

Johnson's useful idiot

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Sajid Javid, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, regularly makes reference to his father having been a bus driver, and inevitably this has figured in half-hearted attempts to proclaim the Tories as the new champions of the British working class.

Of course, his father was only briefly a bus driver before opening a shop, but regardless of that Javid can much more accurately be described as an ultra-Thatcherite multi-millionaire international banker. He is reportedly worth £8 million — hardly a man of the people!

Grenfell report fails survivors

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The First Phase Report of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry (GTI) was finally published on 30 October. When this date was originally announced, the bereaved, survivors and families (BSFs) were concerned that this was a ruse to bury it in the fanfare of what was expected to be “Brexit Day”. As it happens, the report was prematurely leaked to the Daily Telegraph and captured considerable attention in the media.

‘We need a different vision of Ireland both sides of the border’

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The challenge of what to do about border arrangements in Ireland has haunted the Brexit process. In the week that the British parliament was prorogued, there was intense speculation that the Tories might return to the Northern Ireland-only backstop arrangements in order to get a Brexit deal with the EU.

Boris Johnson appeared to be backtracking on his absolute commitment to “no backstop”. As with all the manoeuvres of recent weeks, however, there is no guarantee that he is not simply bluffing in order to blame the EU for the chaos of a “no deal” Brexit.

The courts, parliament and Boris Johnson

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The ruling of the Supreme Court that Boris Johnson acted unlawfully when he prorogued parliament is not without significance, but when the liberal establishment stop hyperventilating with excitement, they may wish to reflect on some of the problems that their noble Lords have presented them with. Those of us who want to see a fundamental transformation of society will have quite different responses to the ruling.

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