As nearly 500 British Gas engineers face sackings, it is becoming increasingly clear that both employers and the Tory government are using the COVID crisis to attack workers’ rights.
Buckingham Palace announced this afternoon (9 April 2021) that the Philip, so-called ‘Duke of Edinburgh’, had died. The BBC’s stations all took a moment of silence before a rendition of God Save the Queen was broadcast throughout the country. Flags will be flown at half mast, and testimonials will follow from across the political spectrum.
In the same week as a botched Governmental report found the UK was not institutionally racist, there have been a number of incidents proving the contrary.
Thursday nights Rangers V Slavia Prague match ended 1-3 on aggregate with the Czech side going through to the Quarter finals of the Europa League, drawing the Ibrox sides European campaign to a close. However, it isn’t the score line that is being discussed in the aftermath of the game.
This week in Parliament, Boris Johnson published the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, described widely as the largest review of its kind since the end of the Cold War. Its publication comes after a string of related announcements, and an inflated defence budget last year.
MSPs have passed what has been described as “Scotland’s most controversial piece of legislation”. The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill was passed on Thursday (11 March 2021) by 82 votes to 32, with 4 abstentions after a marathon debate of amendments on Wednesday. The legislation seeks to consolidate existing law and extends protection for some vulnerable groups with a new offence of “stirring up hatred”. Concerns have been raised about the potential impact on freedom of speech, with opponents arguing that the full implications of the proposed law have not been thought through. While supporting the principle of protecting people from prejudice, they argue that the definition of “‘stirring up hatred” is too vague and open to interpretation.
On Wednesday (10 March 2021), the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA) released a statement following the death of a civilian during student protests near the University of the Witwatersrand. Protests have been raging in South Africa since the turn of the year, when the ANC Govt introduced new measures stopping students laden with debt from enrolling for university.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced yesterday (4 March 2021) that it’s members would be preparing for potential strike action over the pay rise announced in the UK budget, which they describe as ‘pitiful’. The RCN announced it was preparing a £35 million strike fund in advance of potential industrial action in England. Healthcare pay is devolved, hence the inclusion of England only. Although, workers in Scotland and Wales are preparing similar actions related to equally dismal pay rises.
On Wednesday morning, The Loyalist Communities Council (LCC) said it was temporarily withdrawing support for the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) due to concerns around the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Communist Party candidates in Scotland launched their campaigns this week ahead of the Scottish Parliamentary elections this May. The Communist Party is putting up candidates, not just in Scotland, but across Wales, many of the English regions, and London. Each and every one of these candidates offers hope in a political landscape that has been ravaged by neoliberal politics for over a decade at least.