The British government's controversial back-to-work programmes lay in tatters after the Court of Appeal ruled their regulations unlawful on February 12. Three judges unanimously ruled that the regulations which most of the schemes have been created must be quashed. The ruling is a huge setback for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) whose flagship reforms have been beset with problems from the beginning, with campaigners and unions accusing ministers of effectively introducing forced labour.
Britain is a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. But despite its international legal obligations as signatory to this and other human rights conventions, the reception granted to those knocking on Britain’s door in hope of protection is far from welcoming or humane. In fact, Britain appears to be doing everything in its power to keep its doors tightly closed to those often referred to as “scroungers,” “terrorists,” “economic migrants,” or other “bogus” refugees hiding behind a smokescreen of asylum ― adding deadbolts by the day.
In Peter Watkins' remarkable BBC film, The War Game, which foresaw the aftermath of an attack on London with a one-megaton nuclear bomb, the narrator says: “On almost the entire subject of thermo-clear weapons, there is now practically total silence in the press, official publications and on TV. Is there hope to be found in this silence?” The truth of this statement was equal to its irony. On November 24, 1965, the BBC banned The War Game as “too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting”.
Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class By Owen Jones Verso updated 2012 300 pages, $15:00 “It's not the existence of classes that threatens the unity of the nation, but the existence of class feeling,” an official British Conservative Party document stated in 1976. Indeed, abolishing classes was the last thing on the mind of the Tories' new leader at the time, Margaret Thatcher. She merely wanted people to forget which class they belonged to, says Owen Jones in Chavs.
About 200,000 people marched in London, Glasgow and Belfast on October 20 against the austerity programs of British Prime Minister David Cameron's government. The trade unions that called the actions put the numbers of participants at: London 150,000, Glasgow 10,000 and Belfast 10,000. Marchers were of all ages and backgrounds — trade union members, students, families affected by cuts to health and social services and women's rights advocates, among others.
Women and girls are among the hardest hit by the anti-working-class policies of Britain’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government. A report published in The Guardian earlier this year showed that rising taxes and cuts to social spending have hit women three times as hard as men. Women aged 50-64 have been hit hardest by rising unemployment since the coalition came to power. It is up 31% compared to an overall rise of 4.2% in the country (to 2.6 million people).
Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation & the Corruption of Britain Tom Watson & Martin Hickman Penguin Books 2012, 360 pages, ￡20.00 This book provides much needed background information to the Levenson inquiry, which investigated the phone hacking scandal of Rupert Murdoch-owned newspapers and its cast of characters.
Twenty-three years too late, the real truth is finally being told about the Hillsborough disaster of April 15, 1989, which killed 96 football fans and injured hundreds more. A new 354-page report, released by the Hillsborough Independent Panel after accessing more than 400,000 pages of secret documents, has implicated the police, media and British government in what has been described as “the biggest cover-up of British legal history”.
Pressure is mounting for police officers involved in the Hillsborough disaster to face prosecution. In 1989, 96 football fans were killed in a human crush in a game between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield. The calls for prosecution follow the publication of a damning report by the Hillsborough Independent Panel that exposed the extent of the cover-up by South Yorkshire Police, which attempted to shift the blame onto the 96 innocent victims.
With weary familiarity, Britain’s government deficit — the gap between what it spends, and what it receives from taxes — has been revealed as far worse than anticipated. Last month, the government borrowed £557 million ($846 million). In July last year, it saved £2.5 billion — spending less than it received in taxes. For the financial year since April, its total deficit has risen to £44 bllion, £11.6 billion higher than the same period last year.
The statement below was released on August 23 by Craig Murray, a former British ambassador and career diplomat, on the Ecuadorean embassy siege in London. It is reprinted from www.wikileaks.org. * * * My name is Craig John Murray. I am a retired British diplomat. I was a member of Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service for over 20 years, and a member of the Senior Management Structure of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for over six years.
The personal saga of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange has been used to overshadow the ground-breaking journalism of WikiLeaks in exposing the secrets of governments and corporations around the world.