The Jubilee has come and gone. India and Pakistan stood on the brink of nuclear war. Suicide bombers were striking in Israel and Belfast was aflame with sectarian conflict. But on the streets of London and other British cities, millions of people cheerfully participated in street parties in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Yet this year's festivities totally lacked the grassroots "spontaneity" of the Silver Jubilee, 25 years ago. The enthusiasm for the monarchy that has been whipped up by the media in recent weeks is at best superficial. The mood is quite different to 1977 and even more distant from that of 1952.
This article deals with the scandalous so-called "Private Finance Initiative" in Britain. This process allows private companies to be involved in the building and running of what were formerly public services, such as hospitals, railways, and even schools. Mick Brooks shows quite clearly that the only people to benefit from PFI have been the fat cat capitalists who run the private firms.
Strikes in Britain are at their highest level for thirteen years and the
trend is upwards. The recent council workers' strike involving over one
million people was the largest strike by women workers ever seen in this
country. Fire fighters have voted unanimously at their recall conference to
ballot for strike action over a 40% rise in pay! If this takes place, it
will be the first national strike in 25 years. Rail and tube workers, who
have their own disputes, have threatened to refuse to work on grounds of
safety if there is no fire cover. The general public, according to a recent
Guardian/ICM poll, appear to sympathise with them. The days of workplace
"servitude" seem finally to be coming to an end.