THE FIGHT between SPUC and the student unions over the provision of abortion information has entered a new phase. SPUC's solicitors, are now seeking costs from the student unions for the earlier stages of the case. This is despite the fact that the legal case is ongoing. In fact this is the first time in the history of the Irish state that one party has been awarded legal costs over the other while the case is still being disputed. Talk about impartiality!
THESE DAYS you are more likely to hear the word 'revolution' on the soundtrack of a film or on the latest pop release than you are to hear someone talking about bringing one about. It is partly for this reason that people think of revolutions as buried deep in history. Yet, as little as 25 years ago France was on the verge of a total revolt with 12 million workers on strike, 122 factories occupied, and students fighting against the old moribund system in which they found themselves.
In the late sixties in France real wages were on the rise, but large sections of the working class were still suffering from low pay. This was despite foreign trade having tripled. 25% of all workers were receiving less than 500 francs (£46) per month. Some unskilled workers were only getting 400 francs per month. Unemployment was at half a million, in a period which was considered a post-war boom. Trade union membership had dropped to around 3 million, as opposed to 7 million in 1945. Not many victories had been won in the preceding years. Michelin boasted that they had only talked to trade unions three times in thirty years. So how did everything change so quickly in the France of 1968?