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Democrat January-February 2010 (Number 116)

Four short Book reviews

Spookery and all that


Andrew, Christopher : The Defence of the Realm – the Authorized History of MI5: Allen Lane: £30:ISBN 978-0-713-99885-6 1032 pp, illus,index,bibl

This weighty door stopper makes an interesting read into which you can dip in and out, especially for those who have ever opposed establishment policies whether they are involved with the labour and trade union or peace movements.

   One subject which has no references whatever is the subject of Britain’s membership of the “Common Market”, now the European Union super-state. The subjugation by stealth of the Government at Westminster to Brussels required a qualitative change in foreign and domestic policies and has many notable past and present opponents. The ruling class decided prior to Britain signing the Rome Treaty in 1972 to desert the nation state which many regard as a monstrous traitorous act.

   The Foreign Office has done everything to ensure Britain is enmeshed with “Europe”. They would be very interested in all opposition to that thrust, head it off and introduce false arguments amongst EU-sceptics. Without doubt the intelligence services do keep a watching brief. One small piece of evidence that proves the point is when one leading CAEF member was pulled out of an airport line-up by Government security officials and told, off the record, that they did not agree with Britain being in the EEC and that opponents were being watched. This, with the absence of references in this tome, proves those who want Britain out of the EU are the true patriots.

   As resistance grows to the autocratic EU Government in Brussels there is no doubt that surveillance will increase and include an EU intelligence service. This already includes monitoring of telephones, surface mail and emails.

   The principle points to remember are that none of us are doing anything illegal and that such surveillance surely proves we are effective and some in that service agree.

A breath of fresh air

Post tolley

Roy Mayall: Dear Granny Smith - A letter from Your Postman:Shortbooks: £4.99:120pp: ISBN 978-1-906021-97-9

“The world doesn't seem to be made for human beings anymore. There does not seem to be any room for us. We all have this fantastic help us communicate...but...the human race is completely lost…”

   This gem of a book is about the work of posties, how the mail is sorted and delivered including what a “flat” and a “frame” are. Above all it has a serious message and appeal for ordinary people’s interests to be put in front of corporate interests.

   Recently the book was read as ‘book of the week’ on BBC R4. It makes clear that the mantra about less mail put about by Lord Mandelson and the Royal Mail management is untrue. These “suits” have never worked in their lives as posties or anything else for that matter and do not seem to be able to read ordinary scales.

   The EU Directive on deregulation is given a short airing as well.

The right to strike

KD Ewing (editor): The Right to Strike; from the Trade Disputes Act 1906 to a Trade Union Freedom Bill 2006:  ISBN 978 0 9551795 4 9: 320pp (£15/£30): Institute of Employment Rights:

This book was published in 2006 and so does not cover the latest European Court of Justice decisions attacking trade union rights. Never-the- less it is very relevant today as the history and struggle to establish rights and conditions is given in a series of pieces. These are largely based on the court cases with the all important background of workers taking action. There are plenty of references to sources.

   One of the most important questions facing the labour and trade union movement is the restoration of trade union rights. This book will help as well as reading theDemocrat to understand the EU factors.

The EU’s Court and Trade Union Rights

KD Ewing & J Hendy:The New Spectre Haunting Europe—the ECJ, Trade Union Rights and the British Government: Institute of Employment Rights: (£8/£30): ISBN 978 1 906703042: 112pp:

The introduction states: “On  11 December 2007 the European Court of Justice delivered a crushing blow to trade unions when in the Viking case it held that the right of businesses to freedom of establishment...must take priority over the right of trade unions to take industrial action to safeguard the interests of their members.”

   Another very useful work but you will still need the Democrat to fully understand  the whole picture.