Whether or not it is true, the internet has decided that British Prime Minister David Cameron probably put his private parts into the mouth of a dead pig when he was at Oxford. The allegations have been made by extremely well-connected Establishment figures, former Conservative Party Deputy Chairman Lord Michael Ashcroft and former Sunday Times political editor Isabel Oakeshott, and is published in the Daily Mail. This is the highest possible tier of character assassination in British politics.
Jeremy Corbyn. Photo: Stopwar.org.uk. Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader has raised hopes for people who oppose Britain's wars. More than in any other area, it will take a mighty effort to make those hopes real. There is no other area in which national politics so ignores the population at large. On the economy, health, education and so on, there is at least debate.
SYRIZA pulled off a remarkable victory at the September 20 Greek election. Although burdened by its acceptance of the draconian austerity measures in the third memorandum imposed by Greece's creditors and eight months of rule in the midst of recession, closed banks and capital controls, SYRIZA's vote fell by only 0.88% and its parliamentary seats by just four.
Threats from a senior general that the army would take “direct action” against a possible Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government show a jaw-dropping contempt for democracy. Top brass “wouldn’t stand” for a prime minister committed to international peace, said the September 20 Sunday Times, and would be prepared to use “fair means or foul” to stop a PM who “jeopardise[s] the security of this country”. The outspoken military chief remains anonymous, of course.
In Geneva, Switzerland, earlier this month, a range of human rights groups co-sponsored a side event during the 30th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) addressing “the extensive use of torture and other forms of cruel and degrading treatment in the Saudi criminal justice system”.
Workers from Venezuela's 'housing mission', which is building large numbers of public housing, march on Venezuela's independence day, July 5. Photo from Venezuela Analysis. Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution has transformed the country since the rise to power of late socialist president Hugo Chavez in 1998 on a platform of tackling poverty and promoting participatory democracy.
The United Nations' Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) report of its investigation into human rights violations in Sri Lanka found “reasonable grounds to believe that gross violations of international human rights law … were committed.” The investigation deals with the period between February 2002 and November 2011. It thus includes the final years of the war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The LTTE fought for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka and was defeated in May 2009.
"This morning marks 50 days since the start of this important dispute," Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Sydney branch assistant secretary Paul Garrett told Green Left Weekly on September 25. He was speaking at the community assembly outside the Hutchison Ports terminal at Port Botany, which was set up after the company's sudden sacking of 97 waterside workers by text and email on August 6.
Students from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) marched through the university on September 22 to deliver a 1000-signature petition to the Vice Chancellor calling on the administration to divest from the fossil fuel industry. Student group Fossil Free RMIT is calling on the university to rule out any further investment in fossil fuel stocks, make a public declaration of commitment to fully divest in a specified time as well as periodic reporting of its divestment progress.
The Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association (VAHPA) has begun an industrial campaign with the current pay deal due to finish at the end of the year. There are about 7500 VAHPA members in the public sector. Health professionals include physiotherapists, medical imaging technologists and social workers. The union recently conducted a survey that found 49% of health professionals were considering leaving their current employer and almost 25% were actively seeking work outside the health sector.
The Australian Labor Party’s (ALP) new higher education policy, announced on September 21, risks being indistinguishable from that of the Coalition under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. That is because the new Prime Minister has signalled a departure from the bully-boy antics of former education minister Christopher Pyne, who had threatened to introduce his doomed education cuts a third time to the Senate this spring.
More than 1000 people rallied in Wollongong on September 19 to demand the federal government take action to save jobs at the Port Kembla steelworks. Bluescope has announced it aims to cut $200 million from its operating budget and intends to sack 500 workers in the short term, with a possibility that thousands more jobs will go in the future. This is despite BlueScope posting a $134 million profit for the last financial year. Unions have launched a campaign to save the steelworks and emergency talks have been held between government ministers, unions and Bluescope management.
September 21 was declared International Peace Day by the United Nations. This is an abridged version of a speech given by Pip Hinman on behalf of Sydney Stop the War Coalition to protest against the bombing of Syria at a rally on that day. * * * Stop the War Coalition (STWC) adds its voice to those saying Australia should not join the latest “Coalition of the Killing” and the disastrous bombing of Syria.
More than 1 million people took part in a pro-independence march in Barcelona on September 11, Catalonia's national day. A year has passed since the British establishment won the September referendum on Scottish independence with a final campaign week of blackmail, dirty tricks and multi-party sworn promises yet to be kept.
The recent election of socialist MP Jeremy Corbyn as leader of Britain’s Labour Party has spurred a flurry of debate on the left, particularly after the failure of anti-austerity SYRIZA to live up to its promise of standing up to Europe’s imposed memoranda. Regardless of where we stand on the Labour Party generally, there is no denying that Corbyn’s victory has generated huge excitement and mobilised thousands of young people new to politics and seasoned Labour members alike.