Year 2000 No. 203, November 29, 2000
At the National Consultative Conference 2000:
Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :
At the National Consultative Conference 2000:
The Challenge RCPB(ML) Accepts
"Law and Order" at the Heart of the Next Queens Speech
Health Care News
UNISON Attacks PFI Deal
Scottish Parliament Calls for Free Elderly Care
Government Figures: More Elderly Using Care Homes
Central Europe News
Joint Croatia-US Military Exercise
Ministers Visit Slovakia to Support its Path to EU Membership
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At the National Consultative Conference 2000:
The 3rd Congress of RCPB(ML) took up the slogan The Challenge We Accept when it discussed the tasks the situation is calling the Marxist-Leninists to take up. This will therefore be the theme of the presentation by the Central Committee at the National Consultative Conference on December 9-10.
Having carried out the work of the start-up period since the Congress, the NCC 2000 will sum up that work. In doing so, it will present the crystallisation of the tasks of the Party in this period, and use the summing up to point the way forward.
The work of the start-up period has centred around the launch of the Millennium Project as the immediate project the Party must undertake in order to organise the working class to lead society in its mission to bring about a socialist Britain. The presentation of the Central Committee will therefore give an all-round elaboration of this Millennium Project, the key task of which is building the Mass Party Press in the context of consolidating the Communist Party on a new historical basis.
In pinpointing that the Communist Party, consolidated on the New Historical Basis, is the decisive factor in ensuring that the working class is organised to prepare for the coming revolutionary storms, the Central Committee will pose the question as how to now define that task in a clear and concrete form to take the Party to the 4th Congress. It will involve all the activists and sympathisers at the National Consultative Conference in participating in summing up their work and discussing this historic challenge.
All those intending to participate in the National Consultative Conference 2000 are invited to submit their proposals for the agenda of the Conference on the basis of these considerations.
Parliament will be prorogued at the end of this week, prior to the State Opening of the next session of Parliament on Wednesday next week. All the governments bills introduced in the last session will have received the Royal Assent before the session officially ends.
The fact that this session has gone on so long is an indication of the crisis of legitimacy of parliament itself. Despite the fact that the government has brought in new arrangements with the reform of the House of Lords, it has been clear that the legal will as represented by the legislature, the Government consisting of the whole parliamentary system, is still out of kilter with these arrangements. This is in addition to the fact that the people have no say whatsoever in formulating the legislative programme.
Another fact is that both in the last session and in the coming session, the focus will be on the "law and order" legislation initiated by the Home Office. This fact alone shows that the crisis facing society is not being addressed by the government, which is concerned with criminalising all aspects of society. It is reported that Tony Blair is "impatient with the time that it is taking for the governments law and order measures to have effect", according to one newspaper report. It is in front of everyones eyes that the political and economic crisis cannot be dealt with by "law and order" measures. The impatience is that despite these measures, the people will not submit to the bourgeoisies dream of dragooning the whole of society into making the monopolies successful on the global market place.
Society is crying out for political renewal and a change in the direction in the economy. Yet the centrepieces of the governments legislation are reported to be a Crime Finance Bill, a Police Bill, a measure to regulate the private security industry (ridding the "industry" of its "criminal elements"), another to regulate the motor salvage industry (because of the volume of stolen cars), as well as a Hunting Bill and the introduction for a third time of the Mode of Trial Bill. This last measure has twice been thrown out by the House of Lords. It is the legislation which proposes curtailing the option of trial by jury in a Crown Court in a number of cases, which is directed at fast-track "justice", affecting the rights of the vulnerable and minorities.
The conclusion must be that the people must themselves take the initiative to bring about a renewal in the whole democratic process. To do this, they must reject the direction in which Tony Blair is leading society and get organised to fight for their own interests.
UNISON, the public sector union, stated on Monday that over 300 NHS staff are being privatised as a result of the Private Finance Initiative hospital being built at Wishaw in Scotland.
Jim Devine, Scottish organiser of health for UNISON, said portering and catering staff were being privatised by the government "in order to make profit for bankers".
He also attacked the Labour government over the move to privatise more NHS staff in Edinburgh in the next few months. He said: "More NHS workers will be privatised in the next seven months in Scotland than the Tories privatised in their last seven years."
The contract to develop the Law hospital in Wishaw as a PFI deal was signed in June 1998 and will cost around £100 million. Jim Devine added that the closure of Stonehouse hospital has reduced the number of acute beds by 130 as well as reducing the number of nurses. This is a direct result of the new PFI hospital deal.
The health committee of the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday called for all personal care for older people to be provided free of charge and without means testing.
This move puts pressure on the Scottish Executive to implement the findings of the Royal Commission on Long-term Care in full. This would put the Department of Health into a dilemma since it is estimated that the cost would be £110 million a year.
The convener of the health committee, Margaret Smith, said that a civilised society was "judged upon how well it looks after its most vulnerable citizens" and that many of Scotlands most vulnerable people were not getting the support services they needed. The committees report says there should be a commitment to raising both NHS and local authority expenditure on community care services in real terms. It also calls on the Executive to ensure "uniformity" where charges are made for support services.
In a report published on Tuesday, the Department of Health reveals that the total number of elderly people using residential and nursing homes has increased by 5,000 during the last year.
The report found that over half of residents were in independent residential care homes, with 28 per cent in independent nursing homes and a fifth in local authority staffed or other type of home.
Around four fifths of all residents were aged 65 or more, with over a quarter of services used by people aged 75 to 84.
Excluding private hospitals and clinics, the number of nursing homes fell by 4 per cent, amounting to a fall of around 8,000 beds. The independent sector provided around 92 per cent of all homes and 84 per cent of places in residential care homes, continuing the upward trend of recent years. Around 1.67 million patients used services that were provided, purchased, or supported by social services departments during the year.
A joint exercise between the Croatian and US air forces began on Monday in the northern Croatian port of Pula, according to Zagreb television.
The three-day exercise forms part of the ongoing military cooperation between Croatia and the US and the joint training of pilots. Seven US F-18 and two F-14 fighter jets as well as two Seahawk helicopters are participating alongside Croatian aircraft in the exercise, operation "Safe Sky".
A visit by three British ministers of state to Slovakia begins today, November 29. It is designed to open a stage of closer cooperation between Britain and Slovakia on the path towards Slovakias membership of the EU. The delegation is headed by the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Keith Vaz.
It is the largest British government delegation to visit Bratislava following Tony Blairs presence at the Warsaw meeting with the heads of the government of the Visegrade Four countries (Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland) in October. At that meeting, Tony Blair said that he would like voters of EU new member states to be able to take part in elections to the European Parliament in 2004.
The British ministers visit has launched a "British-Slovak action plan" as a framework for joint projects in the areas of security, the environment, trade, finance and business spheres. Keith Vaz said that Britain had initially intended to support cooperation with Slovakia in 2000-2001 with a sum of £2.8 million, but the sum would be increased to £3.0 million as of January 1, 2001.
The Slovak Foreign Ministry State Secretary, Jan Figel, said, "Britain is one of the decisive countries for Slovakias aspirations in the Euro-Atlantic area."
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