News & Reports

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A small selection of news items and reports that have a particular relevance to Scotland or Scottish workers and our communities.

The Scottish Labour Left Morning Star supporters group will be meeting on Sunday 29th April during the Morning Star Conference, which is being headlined by the Scottish Labour Leader, Richard Leonard. The executive of the group will be discussing a number of issues. There will be a report  on the training that Unison's John Stevenson and Malky Burns provided to help Star supporters to get into writing for the paper. One potential outlet for these writers is this very website! It could help provide up to date articles and information on what is happening in the Labour movement and the Labour Party in particular. So really,  watch this space.

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A progressive blueprint for the future


In Place of Austerity 2017 Cover

William Steele reviews In Place of Austerity: A Programme for the People (The People’s Assembly)

Click the cover to get a free download of this new essential pamphlet!

“It is essential that we, together with the trade unions, continue to build the mass movement further to force the Tories out of office, and to help elect and sustain a future anti-austerity progressive government — which, of course, would be under fierce attack by the bankers, big business monopoly corporations and their pet politicians and media. This is the clear aim of the People’s Assembly.”

In its strongest-ever policy statement and plan of action, the recently published pamphlet, In Place of Austerity: A Programme for the People, the People’s Assembly reasserts its position right at the front of the very widespread view that the Tories are not fit to continue in office, and the fast-growing awareness that our movement — the People’s Assembly and our trade unions — needs to go beyond protest to organising to bring them down.

Tracing the origins of austerity to the policies of government following the 2008 financial and economic crisis, which ministers claimed to be aimed at “deficit reduction,” the policy statement says: “Many people now say that austerity policies have failed — and indeed deficit targets are routinely ‘missed,’ and there has been no debt reduction … in fact it has steadily grown from under 40 per cent of GDP in 2008 to just under 90 per cent in 2017.

“But the real aim of austerity was to stabilise the post-crisis economy in favour of the bankers and big business billionaires, raising the rate of profit at the expense of the working class. In that they have succeeded, and will continue to do so, if we let them.”

The opening section of the pamphlet pulls together very useful evidence and statistics

The opening section of the pamphlet pulls together very useful evidence and statistics — from pay and pensions to jobs and working conditions, from privatisation of services to community infrastructure, from benefit cuts to taxation policy, from NHS and state education to the growth of bogus or enforced “self-employment,” from the wealth gap and poverty to housing and transport, and much more.

international brigade morning star sculpture

PAUL SHAW explains why RMT Glasgow shipping branch is asking for your donations to finish a monument to the blockade runners

SOME 15 years ago, Ronnie Moran, then RMT Glasgow shipping branch secretary, was approached by renowned sculptor Frank Casey looking to honour the seafarers who formed the blockade runners to Spain during the Spanish civil war.

The branch (including its then chair and former secretary Stuart Hyslop) and the RMT Scottish regional council then formulated a plan to construct a memorial incorporating the sculpture that Casey would build to create a lasting memory to the seafarers dispatched to Spain to overthrow Francisco Franco’s fascist regime.

Casey stresses the importance of a lasting memorial, saying: “The ships that were part of the struggle to preserve the democratically elected Spanish republic in the face of Francoist aggression has largely gone unremarked.”

The ships that were part of the struggle to preserve the democratically elected Spanish republic in the face of Francoist aggression has largely gone unremarked

These small ships not only had the threat from insurgent Spanish warships to deal with but also Franco’s well-armed German and Italian allies.

In total 27 British-registered vessels were lost between 1936 and 1939 and are recognised by a plaque placed on the memorial.

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SCOTTISH Labour leadership elections are a bit like Glasgow buses — you wait ages for one and then along come three.

Although to be honest we’ve not had to wait that long for them here in Scotland of late, having had contests in 2011, 2014 and 2015.
It was only a year ago Jeremy Corbyn stormed to his second leadership victory, seeing off Owen Smith in a Britain-wide contest. Then last month Kezia Dugdale resigned ostensibly, and probably honestly, for personal rather than political reasons, creating another contest for the leadership, this time for Scottish Labour.
That is not to deny that there have been political tensions. Dugdale made her disapproval of Jeremy as clear as her support for Owen Smith.
She could probably have survived this given Smith’s relatively good showing in Scotland — at least among full party members.

But questions were raised about her grasp of strategy during the snap general election when she concentrated on an anti-independence platform rather than emphasise the widely popular, radical Corbyn manifesto. It probably lost Scottish Labour the opportunity to pick up many more than the seven seats they managed, given the unexpected sag in SNP support.

Although this was commented on, especially by the left including of course the Morning Star and this column, it was not accompanied by calls for Dugdale to resign.
First, she had by then apparently accommodated herself to the Corbyn leadership and Scottish Labour had introduced a number of radical policy initiatives, and there was, in any case, no obvious alternative.

2017 free election star 1

The Morning Star election special is available for free in the following supermarkets in Scotland. If there isn't one near you, don't worry - all shops which usually sell the Star will have free copies available

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Why read the Morning Star?

The Daily Paper of the Left with regular contributors from the trade unions, peace and solidarity movements and socialist politicans from a wide ranger of parties including Labour, the Greens, the Communist Party, Plaid Cymru, the Scottish National and Scottish Socialist parties & more

The Paper of the Labour movement with nine national trade unions and one trade union region on our management committee.

Co-operatively owned as the only co-operatively owned national daily in Britain anyone who buys a £1 share can take part in our AGM and vote for the paper's management committee.

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AS WE enter another general election campaign it will be obvious to all that media coverage of the different parties isn’t fair.

Most of Britain’s biggest newspapers are owned by a handful of super-rich white men — most infamously US-based tycoon Rupert Murdoch, whose bid for ever greater control of the news that we are allowed to hear is assessed in a special Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom pullout in today’s paper.
A free press is supposed to hold power to account, but a press owned by the likes of Murdoch, the mysterious Barclay brothers, Lord Rothermere and fat cat pornographer Richard Desmond is more interested in protecting the wealth and privilege of people like themselves.

The same applies to broadcasters — even the publicly owned BBC, where an ingrained prejudice against anything that threatens the status quo has resulted in Labour’s socialist leader, Jeremy Corbyn, being constantly belittled, misrepresented or slandered on our TV screens.

Some say those of us who want to change the world should avoid the press altogether and use new social media techniques to communicate our ideas — and there’s no doubt this is an impressive and effective tool.

But social media audiences can be self-selecting, creating online echo-chambers which can dupe us into thinking we’re making more progress than we really are.
That’s not to mention the frequent difficulty of assessing how reliable the information we see on social media is.
Not that what we see in the mainstream media can be counted on either, in a world which has lived through Blair’s dodgy dossier on Iraqi WMD and a host of more recent media-concocted scandals.

Socialists need to use every weapon at our disposal to counter the overwhelming advantages possessed by an Establishment which will always have “lawyers, guns and money” at its service.

Part of that means having our own media. That’s where the Morning Star comes in.

Part of that means having our own media. That’s where the Morning Star comes in.

Founded in 1930 as the Daily Worker, then the paper of the Communist Party, it’s been a co-operative since the 1940s and now answers to its owners — not some offshore billionaire in our case, but thousands of ordinary readers who own equal shares and elect its management committee.
We’re also the daily paper of the labour movement. We have nine national trade unions and one trade union region represented on the committee, accounting for a majority of Britain’s organised workers.

We publish six days a week, bringing you the stories the other press won’t — the struggles, strikes and victories of working people, the misery created by a system designed to maximise profit for the bosses, the views and debates of our movement and the culture and history of our class — including a uniquely class, gender and raceaware sports section edited by our award-winning sports editor Kadeem Simmonds, the first black sports editor of a national paper.

We’re the only English-language socialist daily in the world and the only British daily to support Jeremy Corbyn — there’s no other paper like the Morning Star, and we think it’s needed more than ever in the cruel new Britain the Tories are set on building.

We’re the only English-language socialist daily in the world

But life for a little title like us is a constant struggle to survive in an industry where many papers are going to the wall.
We’ve increased our readership over the last two years, but not by enough to keep the wolf from the door and we really need more people buying us daily — either in print form from your newsagent or supermarket or by subscribing to our e-edition, which includes an app to let you read us on your mobile phone (visit to find out more).

The Morning Star is constantly evolving and on these pages we’ll tell you a bit about that — and how you can help!


Angela Davis, a radical black feminist, political activist and academic, told a packed audience in Belfast City Hall today of the struggle ahead to oppose the policies of newly elected US President Donald Trump. Ms Davis was in Belfast for an event organised by Reclaim the Agenda on International Women’s Day.

This short audio track of Angela Davis being interviewed on radio by Seamus McKee is a segment from BBC Evening Extra 8/3/2017. The last minute or so is a collection of women saying what International Women's Day means to them personally, recorded at the Bread and Roses event in the City Hall.
(Image of woman with hair of butterflies from

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joe law cpi OPTA loyal trade unionist, JOE LAW campaigned for peace, freedom and socialism all his life, writes Brian Campfield

IRELAND, and the north of Ireland in particular, has lost one of its stalwart communists and trade unionists with the sudden and untimely death of Joe Law on September 28, one month before his 70th birthday.

Joe came from Belfast’s radical Protestant tradition and fought against the sectarian state for workers’ unity and for socialism.

In this he was from the same mould as Henry Joy McCracken and the other northern United Irishmen of the 18th century.

joe law ireland tuAn industrial worker who was active as a shop steward in the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union (ATGWU) Joe was an executive committee member of the Belfast Trades Council in which he was active for 30 years.
He worked in a number of heavy engineering companies, including Mackie’s Foundry, Shorts and Rolls Royce.

But it was his initial experience as a young seaman in the 1960s which opened his eyes to the injustices of the world.

His experiences of apartheid when his ship docked in South Africa set him on a journey which led to his active trade unionism and membership of the Communist Party of Ireland.

Following redundancy as a riveter with Shorts Aircraft factory in Belfast, Joe made a major contribution to confronting sectarianism as a tutor and educator with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ (ICTU) anti-sectarian unit, Counteract.
He then became a founding member of Trademark, an organisation which later became recognised by ICTU as its official partner in confronting sectarianism.

Through engaging with trade unionists and managements in a wide range of employing bodies, Joe, in his unique and direct way, successfully challenged long established practices and encouraged people to confront their own prejudices.

Trademark also developed a political economy education programme which is highly regarded by trade unionists north and south of the border.

Unlike many, Joe also understood imperialism and this understanding was at the centre of all his work.

joe law cpi scotland OPTJoe also co-operated with his comrades in the Hope Not Hate Glasgow campaign and contributed immensely to strengthening relations between comrades in Scotland and the north of Ireland.

A Junior Orange Lodge member in Belfast in his early youth, Joe Law travelled a monumental distance and was proud of the contribution of the Irish members of the International Brigades who valiantly fought the fascists in Spain.
He was active in anti-apartheid solidarity work, confronted sectarianism on hostile shop floors in difficult and dangerous times and held the banner high for peace, independence and socialism.

He has left us much too soon. Our sincere sympathy to his wife, partner and soulmate, Brenda.

Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann (There will never be the likes of him again).

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Brian Campfield is president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions

hope not hate logo smallANTI-FASCISTS and trade unionists came together in Glasgow on Saturday to commemorate the International Brigades with speeches and music before laying wreaths.

Vera Dehle Thaelmann, granddaughter of renowned German communist and anti-fascist leader Ernst Thaelmann, led the tribute at the La Pasionaria statue, saying the German-speaking brigade members had named their battalion after Thaelmann because of his “unwavering courage” in the face of nazi persecution and imprisonment during the Spanish civil war brought the brigaders close to him.

vera thaelmannShe said the nazis feared her grandfather due to his ability to “mobilise working-class communities against fascism.”

Even though the nazis kept him in solitary confinement for 11 years, she said they “couldn’t break him” and “he is in our hearts and in our actions” to struggle for a better world.
Ms Thaelmann said the struggle that the International Brigades led against fascism 80 years ago is just as relevant today, highlighting the anti-refugee policies of many EU states and warning that fascism and racism feed off desperation in times of austerity.

She called for unity against the far-right to honour the legacy of the International Brigades in their struggle against fascism.

From Morning Star Monday 12 Sept 2016

Held at the Scottish Trades Union Congress On 27 August 2016

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Download the report here:

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Chair’s Opening Comments:

Denise Christie

denise star reacders conf 2016

Jackson Cullinane
Head of Unite Scotland’s Politics, Research and Campaigns Unit

jackson star readers conf 2016

Bernadette Keaveney
Morning Star Circulation Manager

bernie star readers conf 2016

Readers and Supporters Groups
Tony Kierney and Sandra Trotter reported from Dumfries RSG. Arthur West reported from Ayrshire RSG

dumfries star readers conf 2016

Reporting: a Voice for the Movement
Zoe Streatfield, Morning Star Scottish Reporter

zoe star conf 2014

Building sales in the Trade Union Movement
Tom Morrison, Secretary Clydebank Trades Union Council and Communications Officer for West Dunbartonshire Unison

tommy star readers conf 2016

tony chater obit page

Former Editor of the Morning Star

THE name of Tony Chater, whose funeral takes place in Luton today, will forever be linked with the battle to defend the political and organisational integrity of the Morning Star.
The paper became a battleground in the 1970s and early 1980s where differences within the Communist Party of Great Britain were played out.

Tony Chater editor Morning StarCommunist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) conferences held discussions on the paper’s content, its political orientation and the responsibility of party members to support it.
A self-styled Eurocommunist minority was hostile to the priority given by the Morning Star to trade union activities to raise workers’ living standards, terming it “economism.”
The paper’s generally positive attitude toward the Soviet Union, despite various criticisms, also attracted hostility, although it was well known that the Soviet Communist Party bought several thousand copies of the Morning Star each day.

The difficulties of publishing a left-wing daily paper in a hostile capitalist environment spawned countless ideas of how to overcome this, but, as the Eurocommunist trend gained traction within the party leadership, these were distilled into a single demand that the editor should go.

Chater incurred the wrath of the party leadership by inviting Communist Party industrial organiser Mick Costello to respond in the paper to an article in the Marxism Today journal that attacked the shop stewards movement as corrupt.

This culminated in an invitation to Costello to return to the Morning Star as industrial correspondent without discussing his redeployment with the party’s general secretary Gordon McLennan.
The executive committee ordered Chater and his deputy David Whitfield to stand down and be replaced by diplomatic editor Chris Myant and editorial assistant Frank Chalmers respectively.
Chater and Whitfield were supported in their refusal to do so by many party organisations and by the People’s Press Printing Society (PPPS) management committee, which, then as now, stewarded the assets of the paper and had responsibility for appointing the editor.

The Morning Star and the management committee wanted to head off what was already looking like an all but inevitable split by seeking discussions to allow co-operation based on respect for the paper’s autonomy, but the party leadership was intent on resolving a political question by administrative methods.

Both men and other party members on the management committee, including its chair Ken Gill and chief executive Mary Rosser, were expelled from the party in 1985.
Party individuals and organisations that sided with the paper and its management were expelled, suspended or reorganised, resulting in a loss of thousands of CP members.

Despite the disciplinary onslaught and CPGB leadership’s efforts to change the paper’s management through mass attendance to vote at annual PPPS shareholder meetings, the majority, comprising an alliance of Communists, Labour Party members, militant trade unionists and international solidarity groups backed Chater and his comrades.

Miners’ leader Arthur Scargill told the Manchester section of the PPPS AGM that the Morning Star’s crime had been to defend “the working class and socialism.”

the Morning Star’s crime had been to defend “the working class and socialism.

Chater and a number of supporters then set up the Communist Campaign Group (CCG) as a means to keep these expelled members together and, in 1988, believing that the CPGB was about to give up the ghost, set up the Communist Party of Britain in what they called a “re-establishment congress,” claiming the mantle of the party set up in Britain in 1920.
To this end, the CPB adopted the same party programme and rules — with one exception. It reinstated the recently dropped rule that all members should buy and support the Morning Star.

The CPGB lingered on for another three years before dissolving itself into a short-lived talking shop known as Democratic Left.

Chater had been a loyal party member since joining while still at grammar school in Northampton shortly after the end of the second world war.
He studied chemistry at Queen Mary College, London, gaining a First and, while studying for his PhD, met his future wife Janice who was reading chemistry and maths.
They went to Canada where he had a research studentship at a government experimental farm in Ottawa, studying what happens to proteins in leaves in freezing conditions.
Chater then received a British Council grant to study radioactive techniques in research in Belgium before returning to teach first in Norwich and then at Luton Technical College.
He stood as a parliamentary candidate for the CPGB four times in Luton before taking up full-time work for the party in its press and publicity department in 1969, working alongside Nora Jeffrey.
Five years later, he and Morning Star editor George Matthews swapped jobs, with Chater taking up the helm at the Morning Star at a time of acute class conflict.

The release of the Pentonville Five from prison, the jailing of the Shrewsbury pickets and the Grunwick dispute in the 1970s gave way to the women’s occupation of Greenham Common, the Falklands war, the 1984-5 miners’ strike, the Wapping dispute and the carnival of reaction that was Tory rule under Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

The Morning Star under Chater gave voice to the workers’ cause, to the peace activists and to all fighting for human rights

The Morning Star under Chater gave voice to the workers’ cause, to the peace activists and to all fighting for human rights, despite internal Communist problems.
He encouraged the development of closer political working with the left of the Labour Party, including Michael Foot, Tony Benn, Dennis Skinner, Ken Livingstone, Eric Heffer and a young parliamentary entrant in 1983, Jeremy Corbyn.

tony chater ricky tominlson des warren

Labour’s annual conference agreed that same year to “support our media,” urging the movement to back existing titles Labour Weekly, Tribune and the Morning Star.
Close working with Foot helped to secure a brief breach in the ban on the Morning Star receiving government advertising as prime minister Harold Wilson ordered that ads should be placed.
Former parliamentary correspondent Roger Bagley recalls that senior civil servants failed at first to comply, saying: “It must have been like something out of Yes Minister with the civil servants refusing to authorise them until Wilson laid down the law.
“Mind you, Wilson was crafty, so the first ads were about the government incomes policy that the paper opposed.”
Chater gave the go-ahead for Bagley to break the strict embargo on the Queen’s 1982 Christmas Day message in response to the government’s decision to give her a speech that went beyond the usual platitudes to a pro-war stance.
tony chater wapping“The Queen is set to plunge into political controversy with a Christmas Day message glorifying the Falklands conflict,” the Morning Star splash opened, setting off a political storm.
Three years later, during the Wapping dispute, industrial correspondent Mick Costello blew the whistle on Rupert Murdoch’s plot to engineer a strike by print workers as a means to sack them without compensation, having got his hands on a letter from Murdoch’s legal advisers.

Costello had first met Chater when they both worked at the party’s King Street HQ.
“I knew him as a consistent propagandist for the fight for peace and against the dangers to it from aggressive military alliances — in the first place Nato,” he says.
However, he worked most closely with him at the Morning Star, where “he did not tolerate the use of shoddy or loose terminology that might dilute the paper’s clear editorial approach to news and comment.
“Tony ensured that the team at the paper kept to the political path charted by the Communist Party programme Britain’s Road to Socialism, with its strategy for building a broad anti-monopoly alliance rooted in the leading role played by the working class,” says Costello.

“I will remember him for his rigorous thought, hard work, uncompromising commitment to principles, devotion to the fight for peace and socialism and also for rows with him and then sharing a joke and a pint.”
David Whitfield, who was Morning Star features editor and deputy editor under Chater’s editorship during the 1970s and ’80s, recalls him as “single-minded and steadfast” in defending his strongly held views.
“He was convinced the trend of Eurocommunism aimed to destroy both the Marxist party and close the Morning Star as a daily campaigning focus and voice of ordinary people. He put himself stubbornly in its path, often at great personal stress to himself.
“And it is largely down to Tony Chater’s focus that the Morning Star continues to publish daily.”

And it is largely down to Tony Chater’s focus that the Morning Star continues to publish daily

Whitfield says that, “in lighter moments, Tony Chater would chuckle that his strategy was Sitzfleisch,” which translates as “buttocks” and was deployed by Albert Einstein to explain his refusal to leave a problem until it was resolved, but this was rendered by Chater as “the one with the fattest arse sits longest.”
He insists that Chater could not be provoked. He would just become more stubborn.
“It took personal courage. Tony Chater was not at all an aggressive man. Indeed, he was sensitive, gentle and patient with those of lesser experience, political imagination, learning, reading or mettle. He could be charming, witty, always erudite and generous.”

Many commentators speculated, with the reduction and then cancellation of Morning Star sales in the Soviet Union, that the paper would go out of business in 1991 or shortly afterwards.
However, sacrifices by staff and supporters, assisted by new sales and influence in the trade unions and the Labour Party, especially since Jeremy Corbyn’s election, have confirmed that there remains a material basis for the Star’s existence.

As Chater said in 1985 when the paper changed to tabloid format, “the Star will continue not just to report events but to be a weapon in the hands of the movement to shape events — in favour of ordinary people.
The Star is a mobiliser, educator and agitator.”

The Star is a mobiliser, educator and agitator

Communist Party general secretary Rob Griffiths, who got to know Chater when they worked together in the CCG and then in the CPB leadership, says that his “commitment to working people and class politics rescued the Morning Star from those whose class collaboration would have destroyed it.
“He also helped devise the ‘re-establishment’ strategy which saved the existence of a Communist Party anchored in the labour movement and implacably opposed to imperialist militarism and war.”

Chater retired in 1995 and stepped back from activity, spending his time with family and reading voraciously, looking over his life, especially his political involvement.
“Tony spent 21 years as editor. A large part of it he enjoyed, but it got too much towards the end. The disappearance of the Soviet Union really upset him,” says his wife Janice.
“He reviewed everything. He was reading and reading. I wouldn’t like to say he regretted everything, but he said that there had been some bad mistakes.

“In his latter days, he suffered from vascular dementia which robbed him of the ability to concentrate. It was very sad to see. He had a very good mind and it just went towards the end.”
As well as wife Janice, Tony Chater leaves sons Martin, John and Simon and a number of grandchildren.

Morning Star political editor