Health successes

The Department of Health has announced a five year plan for health and medical research. World Health Organisation figures have demonstrated that since the invasion there has been an increase in both live births and surviving infants. The, immunisation programme has resulted in a significant reduction in cases of measles, pertussis (Whooping Cough) and rubella for the same period. These vaccines were available during Saddam’s rule but he chose not to instigate such a programme.

Meeting on Labour foreign policy

Progress Westminster Fringe Series 2020 VISION: LABOURS FUTURE CHALLENGES After our largest-ever annual conference in September, Progress launches a new series of seminars which seek to continue the debate on the challenges of the next decade. The first two events are: ‘Labour’s foreign policy: Is liberal interventionism dead?’ Professor Brian Brivati, Kingston University; Gary Kent, Labour Friends of Iraq; Denis MacShane MP; Gisela Stuart MP; Oona King (chair). Tuesday 7 November – 1800-1930 – House of Commons: Committee Room 15 If you want to come along, please register with Tom Brooks Pollock, by supplying your full name and email address … Continue reading Meeting on Labour foreign policy

TUC campaign to assist Iraqi union organisers

The TUC has set itself a target of equipping every one of the thousand trade union organisers within Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan with a mobile phone. This Autumn the TUC is also planning to bring a delegation of transport union representatives to Britain for meetings, training and to develop solidarity links.

Harry Barnes on the current situation in Iraq

LFIQ Vice President Harry Barnes has produced an extended written version of a speech he has recently delivered to the Ruskin Fellowship and the Exeter University Labour Students. He covers matters about the invasion and the call for the troops to be withdrawn, before concentrating on a third big issue, the role of the Iraqi Trade Unions in seeking to build towards democracy and a secular State. He concludes “… whose side will we be on when the troops leave? If the answer includes the Trade Unions, then shouldn’t we be active at their side already?”

Troops out?

Dave Anderson MP recently took part in a Commons debate on a possible strategy for the removal of British troops from Iraq. He criticised the opinions of “armchair theorists” who would leave Iraqi workers in a vulnerable situation, and cited Iraqi union leaders opposing a premature withdrawal. He said: This year, I led a delegation to Kurdistan on behalf of Labour Friends of Iraq. The people there were clear that our intervention was positive and that we were giving them a chance to rebuild their country and their infrastructure and to develop an industrial base from which to grow. Although … Continue reading Troops out?

Tony Blair promises to act in favour of free Iraqi trade unions

In response to a question today from Dave Anderson who asked the Government to do all in its power to persuade Iraqi ministers to rescind restrictions on Iraqi unions, the Prime Minister said that his ministers and the Special Envoy on Human Rights to Iraq, Ann Clwyd, were making these points and that there should be no inhibitions on free and fair unions in Iraq. He praised the TUC pamphlet on the life and times of murdered Iraqi union leader Hadi Saleh and said that the TUC book showed the tremendous transformations that had taken place and that this was … Continue reading Tony Blair promises to act in favour of free Iraqi trade unions

Questions to the Prime Minister

LFIQ Joint President Dave Anderson is asking the PM what support the UK Government is giving to develop democratic, independent trade unions in Iraq. The question will be raised in Question Time on 25th October Dave Anderson has also tabled a written question asking the Prime Minister, what assessment he has commissioned into the findings of the recent Lancet report on deaths in Iraq. Both answers will be posted as soon as they are available. Gary Kent

Grim news on education

Peter Beaumont in Baghdad for the Guardian reports that Iraqs school and university system is in danger of collapse in large areas of the country as pupils and teachers take flight in the face of threats of violence. Professors and parents have told the Guardian they no longer feel safe to attend their educational institutions. In some schools and colleges, up to half the staff have fled abroad, resigned or applied to go on prolonged vacation, and class sizes have also dropped by up to half in the areas that are the worst affected. Professionals in higher education, particularly those … Continue reading Grim news on education

Speech by President Talibani to UN General Assembly

Here is the text of the Iraqi Presidents speech to the recent UN General Assembly in which he called on national leaders to support the International Compact for development in his country: We are hopeful that the international community fulfils its obligations by providing the required resources to deal with the key priorities and achieve a common vision in the framework of an economic transformation process for the sustainable development programme.

New peace plan

The Times reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has announced a four-point plan based on neighbourhood committees to report on sectarian militias and government security forces amid scepticism that this effort will succeed. More proof, I say, that the international labour movement should redouble its solidarity with the non-sectarian trade unions and other parts of civil society. Their chances of success will be increased with such external support. Gary Kent