Union leaders and MPs demand justice for first black woman MP
DIANE ABBOTT has called on Sir Keir Starmer to prove his commitment to fighting anti-black racism amid growing anger over Labour’s “fraudulent” investigation into the left-wing MP.
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, TUC president Matt Wrack and scores of socialist MPs and activists have joined the campaign to restore Britain’s first black female MP’s Labour whip.
Speaking to the Morning Star, Ms Abbott said: “I appreciate the support. But this is all about much more than me.
“The issues are Labour Party democracy and the leadership’s commitment to recognising and fighting anti-black racism.”
Labour faces increasing pressure to conclude its investigation into the Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP’s comments about racism after she branded the process “fraudulent” in a statement earlier this week.
“I hope it signals the start of a public transport revolution across the whole of England,” says Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham.
Greater Manchester has retaken control of its buses after almost 40 years of deregulation.
As bus services were deregulated across the UK in 1986 – except in London where services remained under local control – the move represents the biggest change to public transport in a generation.
The privatisation of Britain’s bus sector was introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s government. At the time, the government predicted that the move would lead to “lower fares, new services, and more passengers,” while removing “any potential liability on the taxpayer.”
Instead, bus use has been in decline ever since, and today, much of the sector is in crisis, with taxpayers subsidising corporate profits. In Greater Manchester, the number of passengers using buses has fallen from 355m in 1986/87, to just over 182m at the end of 2019, just before Covid.
From September 24, a fleet of 50 zero-emission Bee Network-branded buses (ZEBs) will be in service. The buses offer a range of improved features for passengers, including two bays for wheelchair users, anti-slip flooring, audio and visual announcement systems, and hearing induction loops. Over the next two years, existing buses in Greater Manchester will be gradually upgraded to Bee Network buses.
BEN CHACKO reports from a Crouch Hill event where locals and community leaders gathered to celebrate the dedicated service of their member of Parliament
COMMUNITY and faith leaders, peace and social justice activists and local Labour Party members paid tribute to Jeremy Corbyn on Sunday in an event marking his 40 years as Islington North MP.
An afternoon of film, talks, dancing and refreshments saw hundreds pack the Brickworks Community Centre in London’s Crouch Hill neighbourhood — sending a strong message to the Labour Party that the constituency continues to support the MP that the national executive committee has banned from standing on a Labour ticket.
The range of speakers showcased Corbyn’s unparalleled campaigning record. Shirley Franklin of the Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition recounted their work together to protect threatened services at the hospital, Kate Hudson of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament spoke of his dogged attendance at anti-nuclear demos come rain or shine and fellow MPs John McDonnell and Claudia Webbe saluted the courage he had shown in the face of appalling abuse to champion vital but unpopular causes at Westminster over the years.
Founder of the Muslim-Jewish Forum rabbi Herschel Gluck wryly pointed out that Jeremy resembled his namesake the prophet Jeremiah. “Jeremiah was a person who came with a message many people didn’t want to hear — and he was challenged but he continued to deliver his message,” he said.
After 40 years of being an MP, JEREMY CORBYN talks to Ben Chacko about the role of democracy, the long history of attacks on the left and the importance of taking a stand
It is war that comes to mind when I ask for his worst memories from 40 years in the Commons. Voting against the Gulf war in 1991 was “a very lonely place to be.” But the much bigger revolt against the 2003 invasion of Iraq didn’t cheer him. “Iraq was, in many ways, the worst because I don’t believe anyone that had objectively looked at any of the information at the time honestly believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
“You wouldn’t have to read very far into those documents to see that it was nonsense. Huge pressure was put on Labour MPs to vote for this — and that they did so was one of the low points.”
Despite the defeat of Corbynism, we now know more clearly than we have in decades how popular left-wing policies are if put to the public — and that’s all thanks to Corbyn’s bravery, writes CHELLEY RYAN
We were crying out for change, for Labour to become a real opposition, for hope — and Corbyn couldn’t resist that pressure despite his natural inclination to be part of the collective rather than lead it.
And that’s why we grew to respect, trust and even love him as a leader in a way that nobody, least of all Corbyn, could have ever envisaged.
Over time we were accused of being a cult with our “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” chant, scarves and badges. Frankly, we didn’t care. Not because we were a cult unless as some Corbyn supporters started to jokingly refer to themselves, they were members of “the cult of giving a f***.”
But because we knew this was never about Corbyn the man. It was all about what that man stood for and the hope he represented.
Having said that, we knew we owed that hope to the courage of that man and we loved him for it. And the more he was scorned and smeared and slandered, the more angry and outraged we became.
After all, we are a movement that only exists because of our intolerance of all things unfair and unjust, and the treatment Corbyn received from the Establishment, including — and especially — from the Labour rightwingers, was both of these things in spades.
Thanks to Corbyn and the movement that grew around him, we have seen how popular left-wing policy positions can be. We now know they almost won a general election despite the most hostile press and Parliamentary Labour Party in political history.
Standing in a sunny Parliament Square surrounded by a colourful mix of trade union flags, Mick Lynch spoke to LFF about the troubling state of democracy in Britain.
The RMT general secretary was a speaker at the emergency protest organised ahead of the final Parliament vote on the anti-strike legislation, Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill.
For Lynch, the anti-strike legislation comes under a broader attempt by the Tory government to clamp down on any kind of opposition, warning that a threat to trade union power is a threat to democracy.
“The government has got an attitude towards anything they don’t agree with, any kind of dissent. It could be politically or more broadly socially, where if they don’t agree with people, they try to ban them,” said Lynch.
“We got these police bills and these counter-demonstration bills where people will be stopped from demonstrating or protesting.
“We saw that during the coronation, one of the most passive pieces of civil disobedience if you like, was banned in effect and people were put in jail for the day.
“They’re trying to clamp down on any dissent, and I think that’s a very troubling state, and it’s time for the British people to wake up to that and see that if trade unions, which are an organic part of life and grow in every society, if they’re not allowed to function properly, democracy in this country is in a lot of trouble.
“We’ve got to make sure that people are out opposing that and we’ve got to make sure that people understand the issues.
The legislation is an attempt to ‘drive a wedge between working people’
General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) Paul Nowak took to the airwaves this morning to speak out about the anti-strikes bill which will be voted on by MPs this evening.
He slammed media accusations of union ‘scare tactics’ by laying out the reality of the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill which could see workers lose their job for taking strike action.
As media presenters sought to play down the implications of the bill, Nowak said threatening workers with the sack was ‘untenable’ and that the real reason it was being put through was to ‘demonise trade unions’ and ‘drive a wedge between working people’.
“There is no public appetite at all to see nurses, paramedics, teachers, railway [ workers …] sacked for exercising what most people will think as a fundamental British liberty, the right to strike,” Nowak said on Sky News.
“To remove it would put the UK as a real international outlier.”