In late February, the long predicted Blairite split from the Labour Party – or at least its first wave – finally emerged, with the resignation of seven MPs to launch the so-called Independent Group. They were soon joined by one other from the Labour benches and three pro-EU Tories, including Anna Soubry.
The supposed economic recovery and growing wealth inequality have made workers in all sectors more confident in demanding ‘their share’. International movements on issues of oppression, such as the #MeToo movement, have also given workers confidence to speak out against widespread sexual harassment, such as those leading the historic strike in McDonald’s in the US on the issue.
The scale of the defeat in Westminster of Theresa May’s UK/EU withdrawal deal, by 432 votes to 202, was devastating. According to the Daily Telegraph it was a “complete humiliation”. The Guardian referred to it as a “historic defeat”, while the Mirror summed it up with “No deal; no hope; […]
On March 29th 2019 the United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the European Union. For seventeen months the British government and the EU negotiators have been struggling to reach a legally binding “withdrawal agreement” to govern the terms of UK withdrawal, including the “divorce bill” or the sum the UK pays to settle its obligations to the EU, and a “political declaration” outlining the basic shape of a final deal after further negotiations.
At the moment on the surface Britain seems to be relatively quiet. However, a mass revolt is brewing as the scale and type of indignities that have been heaped on the shoulders of working-class people grows. It will inevitably break to the surface. It is necessary that this is led by the organised battalions of the labour movement coalescing into a mass movement to topple the Tories and bring a socialist, Corbyn-led Labour government to power.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Britain has called for the introduction of a four-day working week. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady compared this demand to previous milestone achievements such as the eight-hour day achieved in the 19th century and the two-day weekend won in the 20th century. Unfortunately, no specific time frame has been targeted other than… this century!
Our health service is nearing the precipice, but the damage can be reversed. As a health worker, I need my own union, NIPSA, and the union movement as a whole to step up – to defend our right to a decent standard of living, not to scratch out an existence from month to month; to fight for public ownership of all parts of our health services.