Bosses at the stalinist Communist Party of Britain-controlled daily paper the Morning Star are accusing their editorial employees – the majority of whom are not party members – of class treachery for demanding more than poverty wages. Journalists are now threatening industrial action.
The National Union of Journalists chapel at the paper has rejected management’s 3% pay offer, and points out that promises to bring journalists’ pay closer to that at other national newspapers have not been fulfilled. Morning Star journalists typically earn less than £18k a year, and the union claim is for a rise of 14%. By my reckoning that still leaves the hard-pressed hacks a monkey or more short of twenty-one grand a year.
Editor and party functionary John Haylett is over at the ludicrous “Socialist Unity” blog declaiming that “[s]ocialists of any stripe should not be applauding the actions of a group of workers who are putting their own interests before those of our class as a whole.”. Take note, Gordon Brown: for this Haylett deserves a peerage and an honourary fellowship of the Institute of Directors.
Class interests? That’s a bit rich when the Communist Party of Britain is chaired by one Anita Halpin, who in 2006 inherited under Nazi restitution laws a painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner titled “Berlin Street Scene”. This she sold at auction for £20.5 million. Halpin is part of a long tradition of wealthy comrades, and the various incarnations of the Communist Party in these British Isles have never been short of a bob or two.
It doesn’t take an arithmetic savant to comprehend the monetary value of 3% of bugger all. If those who control the Morning Star are looking for political activists to write tankie propaganda for the odd sack of spuds and a few cabbages, then they should wind up the paper and establish a blog. If they wish to employ journalists, then the latter should be paid a professional wage.