Opinion

Notes on the climate crisis: Heathrow expansion

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In June last year, sensing the growing chaos of Theresa May’s administration, the Heathrow lobby got the government to smuggle legislation through parliament to expand Heathrow airport. It only passed because many Labour MPs voted for a third runway, against their party’s policy on aviation. They undoubtedly received encouragement in their defiance by the actions of Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey, who wrote to every Labour MP lobbying for Heathrow expansion.

How defeat bred division

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On 20 April 1968, leading Tory politician Enoch Powell made his infamous “rivers of blood” speech in which he attacked mass immigration from the Commonwealth. Quoting from the Latin poet Virgil, he proclaimed: “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood.” The speech caused a political storm, making Powell one of the most divisive political figures in the country.

How supermarket workers buck the trend

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The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) has long had a reputation as a right wing force in the labour movement, a bulwark of the right inside the Labour Party and a voice for “moderation” inside the TUC, where it champions the utility of cosy “partnership” deals with employers and avoids even the occasional language of confrontation.

Close to Tony Blair throughout the New Labour era, the union nominated Andy Burnham in the 2015 Labour leadership election and, learning nothing, backed the hapless Owen Smith in the 2016 attempt to depose Jeremy Corbyn.

Fighting to defend a working class Ruskin

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The relatively small University and College Union (UCU) branch at Ruskin College passed a vote of no confidence in the college’s principal, Paul Di Felice, on Wednesday 27 March. This came after several years of decline in student numbers during which time systems of management — including, crucially, systems of managing recruitment — have fallen into a chaotic state.

On Labour and Zionism

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The Labour Party has a long history of support for the state of Israel. It’s the shifting of opinion towards Palestinian rights that has prompted the current antisemitism claims, writes John Newsinger.

Far from being “institutionally antisemitic”, a much better case can be made that the Labour Party has throughout most of its history been “institutionally Zionist”.

The Labour Party embraced the notion of creating a Jewish state in the Middle East even before the Balfour Declaration, and thereafter regularly reaffirmed this commitment. This was a commitment shared by both the left and the right in the Party, although for different reasons.

Simmering anger at teachers’ conference

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The new National Education Union held its first conference last month, and delegates met amid much prior speculation and some trepidation. Would the merger of the NUT and the ATL prove a block on moves to action, and how would the turn out in our pay and funding ballot affect teachers and support staff’s commitment to taking on government cuts? Would the commitments of National Union of Teachers to international solidarity, to social justice and the fight for an equal society be side-lined in favour of a narrow agenda? How would we continue our work on curriculum and pedagogy?

Fascism and the Daily Mail

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The Daily Mail has a long history of siding with the far right. John Newsinger reveals the key period of the 1920s and 1930s, when the paper’s proprietor Lord Rothermere actively backed fascist movements.

The Daily Mail has always been a viciously reactionary newspaper, prepared to slander and malign anyone perceived to be a threat to the interests of its proprietor Viscount Rothermere and his class.

It most famously published the forged Zinoviev Letter in order to damage the Labour Party in 1924, but also went after Stanley Baldwin, the Tory leader, for being a crypto-socialist in 1931.

Letter from Australia

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Our government’s Islamophobic onslaught led to the Christchurch attack, writes James Supple

The murder of 50 Muslims at Friday prayers in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March was an act of far right terror. It was also the direct result of the Islamophobia and racism promoted by Australia’s Tory government and the political mainstream. Brenton Tarrant, who carried out the attack, is an Australian who left the country in 2011 before settling in New Zealand.

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