The strikes at the Lindsey oil refinery, in Lincolnshire, feel like an important mood indicator of the country. There is anger about companies possibly illegally hiring workers from certain countries mixed with economic insecurity. This makes the strikes completely understandable. It is how they are bringing back Brown’s ill-advised phrase ‘British Jobs for British workers’ that is worrying. Fearing for your job will bring out a lot of things. Anger at those you may take your job is certainly understandable. As is the desire to demand for action that’ll protect your job. Brown’s phrase acknowledged these sentiments in 2007, before there was a recession and before people has so much to fear. The problem is that now people will be pushing for action. Action that will mean protectionism. Strikes in France have called for this already and clauses in Obama’s stimulus package include measures such as only buying American tools. Such actions are only going to make economic circumstances worse everywhere, see the Depression-era ‘beggar thy neighbour’ policies to see the best indictment of protectionism. Brown has to be brave and stand up to such sentiment.
This is the first blog by Mo Danyal Shaid, BULS Treasurer
This week in France, there were widespread walkouts as over 1,000,000 workers decided to strike over their government’s handling of the economic downturn. French unemployment is due to hit 10% early next year, and the French seem a bit ticked off about it. At least workers still have a say in their country I guess, even though the strikes seem to have not caused a complete shutdown as the unions were predicting…
Chris Blewitt, BULS website editor-elect
Hollie Jones, BULS member and Guild of Students Vice President Welfare, giver her first blog
Days after the 36th anniversary of Roe vs Wade and less than a week into his presidency, it is refreshing to learn that Barack Obama has decided to join the ping pong politics of the Mexico City policy. On Friday, President Obama overturned the controversial ban on U.S. support to international aid groups that provide abortion services around the world. The result is a victory for women globally and enables NGOs to once again equip women with information about contraception and family planning, with organisations working in developing countries benefiting particularly from the policy reversal. It’s great that Obama has taken such a progressive step. Throughout his presidential campaign, Obama balanced his support for a woman’s right to choose with his commitment to reduce the number of abortions. Lets hope that Fridays ruling is the first of a number of steps he takes fulfilling this mandate.