The Morning Star is the only socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain. It has a long and proud history.
Originally called The Daily Worker, the Morning Star was founded by the Communist Party of Great Britain and first published on 1 January 1930. The aim was, in Lenin’s words, to provide “an economic and political tool of the masses in their struggle”. Since 1945 the paper has been owned by a broad-based readers’ co-operative, the People's Press Printing Society (PPPS). The paper’s editorial line remains anchored in the political programme of the Communist Party of Britain but it offers a broad left perspective on political, industrial and international issues. The Daily Worker was renamed the Morning Star in 1966.
The Daily Worker/Morning Star has experienced many challenges since its foundation, experiencing a wholesaler boycott within weeks of its establishment; ongoing police surveillance and harassment; prosecution and imprisonment of its journalists; an outright ban during part of World War Two; an ongoing boycott by commercial advertisers; and a constant battle to cover production, distribution and staff costs. But through all this it has continued to chronicle the struggles of the British working class and champion progressive movements around the world. At its peak, during WW2, had a weekend circulation of over 100,000.
Management of the paper rests with the shareholders via their Annual General Meeting (which is held at different locations around Britain to ensure maximum participation) and election of the PPPS Management Committee. The Management Committee appoints the Editor and Company Secretary.
Shares in the PPPS cost £1. No dividend is paid and no person or organisation profits from the Morning Star. It is the only national daily wholly owned by its readers rather than a tax exile millionaire.
Nine national trade unions and one trade union region have seats on the Management Committee: Community, CWU, FBU, GMB, NUM, NUM North-East, POA, RMT, UCATT and Unite. This means that more than half of Britain’s trade union members are now represented on the Management Committee. The other, individual members of the Committee are elected by the shareholders and are subject to regular re-election.
The Morning Star is the only paper that actively campaigns for working-class politics. The only paper that supports the People’s Assembly and reports authoritatively on what is happening in Cuba, Palestine, Ukraine and elsewhere. It offers a unique, non-sectarian perspective on national and international news not offered by the mainstream media. No other daily newspaper carries such a range of voices from the left — trade union leaders and activists, left Labour MPs and the Communist Party, the Stop the War Coalition, the anti-fascist campaigns Hope Not Hate and Unite Against Fascism, the Green Party and more. We also feature distinctive arts and sports coverage unavailable elsewhere.
Fat Cat Bankers shit on the country as the public carried the burden for the 2008 financial meltdown. The parasitical nature of finance capital and it's inevitable result is given short sharp treatment.
The News International phone hacking scandal exposed just how closely connected the politcal, media establishments are. Martin reflects on the 'close relationship' between Prime Minister David Cameron and former News of the World, then The Sun Editor Rebekah Brooks. Rupert Murdoch is still at large and the power of the right wing mass media remains unchallenged and deeply entreched within British society.
Also produced as a special Morning Star Xmas card in 2007, Martin marks Gordon Brown's first festive period as British Prime Minister after 10 years waiting in the wings. After an initially successful few months in office his poor political judgement become apparent by announcing a General election wouldn't happen until 2010 despite a substantial poll lead at the time.
Capitalist politicians' ability to hold slap-up international summits to much news coverage and acclaim, but don't actually lead to any substantial action, continues today on climate change. Martin's cutting analysis of the triumph of rhetoric over substance that was 2007 United Nations Climate Change conference in Bali - the 13th since the original Copenhagen agreement. Plus ça change - as the few sincere participants at the Paris conference must've reflected.
Brown's continual plummet in the polls leads to further jettisoning of 'old' labour principles that many on the labour movement hoped he would bring back. As the architect of New Labour's economic policies for more than a decade, particularly the scrapping of the 10% tax band for the lowest earners which he implemented as Chancellor and came into force as PM demonstrated he's willingness to kowtow to City interests with disastrous results for workers and ultimately the Labour Party.
Gordon Brown's insistence on pressing ahead with the adoption of the EU constitution - in spite of it's rejection by referendums in France, Denmark and Ireland - triggered the enmity of Rupert Murdoch who began to ramp up the anti-Brown rhetoric. Brown's 'Red Lines' were the test he imposed on the constitution as a measure to whether or not it imposed on Britain's "National Interest" in areas relating to "Justice, Home and Foreign affairs" whilst the Sun demanded "The EU referendum. He promised it. We want it."
Darling's propensity to shovel money at the City is given the Rowson treatment. Immaculate pin striped City bankers can't hide their eagerness to consume taxpayer funds. New Labour's naivity in expecting any sort of return for the fawning sucking up to the City is treated to a stinging critique by Martin.
Parodying 'from the battle scene' reports and the Colossus of Rhodes, Martin demonstrates in his unique style the sheer scale of the public bailout as the financial earthquake continues to reverberate around the world. Ordinary people, crushed by its impact, are disempowered by a Government in thrall to the bankers.
A mordant reflection by Martin on the 2009 MPs expenses scandal. The revelations about the widespread misuse of allowances and expenses permitted to Members of Parliament, which cut across party lines and benches - generated a torrent of justifiable public anger. Tory grandees were seen claiming for moat clearing and floating duck-houses and MPs of all stripe appeared to be feathering their nests by claiming for second homes, refurbishment costs and other excessive benefits. The revelations resulted in a large number of resignations, sackings, de-selections, retirement announcements and even some criminal prosecutions. It provided a visible demonstration of the disconnection between people in Britain, who were grappling with the consequences of the financial crisis and their elected representatives.
Part of a series by Martin, this time commenting acidly on the Isreali assault on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead. Raining death on a people already facing years of oppression, violence and a humanitarian crisis, the conflict resulted in an astonishing mismatch of casualties as densely populated urban centres were targeted by a co-ordinated ground, air and sea attack. This resulted in the death of around 1,400 Palestinians (the majority civilian) and 13 Israelis (4 from friendly fire). Isreal continues to act with impunity in Palestine…
The Sun withdrew its support for Labour in September 2009 as Rupert Murdoch decided Gordon Brown was a lost cause who would no longer do his bidding and switched support to the Tories. This didn’t endear him to Brown. During a later Commons debate on the phone-hacking scandal, in July 2011, the former Prime Minister branded News International "a criminal media nexus" which "claimed to be on the side of the law-abiding citizen" but in fact stood "side-by-side with criminals against our citizens". He went on: "Others have said that in the behaviour towards those without a voice of their own, News International descended from the gutter to the sewer. The tragedy is that they let the rats out of the sewer." Bizarrely, Murdoch later claimed in evidence to the Leveson enquiry that they had bonded over their shared Scottish heritage, both descending from a long line of Presbyterian ministers!
Martin captures beautifully the trademark smirk that accompanies Osborne’s public utterances about the overriding ‘need’ for austerity and savage cuts to public services generated by what is, after all, a crisis of capitalism. And in the full knowledge that the rich are using the recession to get still richer. Pulling a wing off a fly is a nice touch, underlining the casual cruelty that Osborne and his Bullingdon pals display towards ordinary people. We’re all in the shit, indeed!