Thursday, September 18, 2008

Flying the flag at Turnham Green

by Alan Rogers

FOR THE second time this year Southall New Communist Party set up its stall at the popular Peace Market. The previous week had seen a lot of bad weather and Saturday morning started grey and dull.
Comrades were not surprised to find few members of the public at the market and sales were low. But the afternoon brought out the sun and the people.
As comrades found at the April market, young people had a lively interest in the Marxist Leninist literature and as the afternoon went on sales of the Communist Manifesto and of Lenin texts such as Left Wing Communism and copies of the NCP booklet The Case for Communism and Ernie Trory’s Poland in the Second World War were sold.
And there were conversations with old and young people. As ever, there were our “regulars” who came to buy our marmalade. All things considered we were satisfied with the £46.90 we took away for the New Worker fund.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

RMT slams Boris' big fare rise

INFLATION-BUSTING fare increases are a short-sighted fix that will create more problems than they solve, London Underground’s biggest union said last Monday.
As London Mayor Boris Johnson announced increases at one per cent ahead of inflation, RMT called for an end to the colossal waste of public money still being poured into private pockets under the part-privatisation of the Tube’s infrastructure.
“If the mayor needs extra cash for the London transport network he should be looking at ways to end the shocking waste still caused by the PPP, not squeezing passengers even more with inflation-busting fares hikes,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said. “Metronet’s catastrophic failure has already cost the public £2 billion and has cast a shadow over the upgrades the network desperately needs by 2012.
“But even if Metronet hadn’t collapsed the PPP would still be haemorrhaging huge sums out of the network because it is an expensive scam designed to convert public cash into private profit.
“The truth is that Tube Lines, like Metronet, is massively underwritten by the public, and the time to end the PPP is now, rather than waiting for another financial calamity,” Bob Crow said.
Inflation-busting fares hikes not the way for the capital, says RMT.
Johnson announced rises of 10 per cent in bus and Tube fares last week to be introduced in January. He blamed rising fuel costs after he cancelled the agreement made by his predecessor Ken Livingstone that would have supplied London buses with discount Venezuelan oil. He also cancelled the planned rise in congestion charges for bigger, heavier polluting private cars and the extension of the congestion charge to west London.

Celebrating 60 years of victory!

NCP LEADER Andy Brooks along with Central Committee members Daphne Liddle, Theo Russell and other comrades from London attended a meeting and social at the historic Lucas Arms in central London on 7th September to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the DPR Korea . The meeting was organised by the Friends of Korea committee and speakers included John McLeod (SLP), Michael Chant (RCPB-ML) and Jang Song Chol from the DPRK embassy in London. The formal part of the meeting was followed by a musical interlude by Michael Chant and Leslie Larkum who performed a medley Korean national songs and In Praise of Unsung Heroes, which was composed by Michael in 2008.
photo: John McLeod, Michael Chant and Jang Song Chol

Cromwell remembered in London

RE-ENACTORS from the Parliamentary Army of the English Civil War Society carried the Commonwealth’s flag on Cromwell Green at the House of Commons on Wednesday 3rd September to marked the 350th anniversary of the death of Oliver Cromwell, the MP who led the New Model Army and became head of state of the English republic in 1653.
The occasion was marked by the Cromwell Association’s annual commemorative service beneath the recently restored imposing statue of the Lord Protector outside Parliament. Conducted by John Morrill, a leading authority on the period, the service included contemporary prayers and hymns. The ecclesiastical business was supplemented by an address by Professor Barry Coward of King’s College London.
He gave a necessarily speculative account of what Oliver Cromwell was thinking about his life’s work . While Cromwell’s final illness was worsened by news of the death of his daughter and political divisions among his supporters there is every sign that he retained confidence that he had done the right thing in the eyes of God.

Further details about the Cromwell Association can be found on their excellent website at Enquiries about membership, which includes their annual historical journal Cromwelliana should be sent to Gary Barker, 18 Healey Road, Scunthorpe DN16 1HW.

Friday, September 05, 2008

London bus strike solid

THE GIANT general union Unite last Friday announced that the 24-hour strike at First Capital East Buses and First Centrewest Buses had remained solid. The union is warning that the employer, FirstGroup, faces further disruption unless it returns to the negotiating table with an offer which recognises the hard work of these bus workers and the rising costs of living in London.
Unite regional officer, Peter Kavanagh, said: “This strike has been solid. It’s a clear indication of our members’ determination to get a fair deal. It’s time for FirstGroup to return to the negotiating table with an offer that our members deserve. FirstGroup is extremely profitable – it’s only right that these workers should get a fair share of the rewards.”
A further 48 hour strike is planned beginning Friday 12th September.
Strike ballots are now taking place in most other London bus companies in disputes over pay. The union submitted a London-wide claim to all bus operators in March of this year to challenge the current system whereby drivers (and other grades) performing identical jobs within the TfL regulated industry, receive hugely varying pay and conditions.
In many cases the pay disparity for drivers working for different operators can be as much as £6,000 a year.