Taken from the Morning Star

South-west Morning Star supporters launched a new regional drive on Saturday with an inaugural trade union-backed conference in Exeter.

Over 40 delegates from Somerset, Devon and Dorset made their way to the city's university to discuss issues affecting members and communities.

They heard Communist Party of Britain general secretary Rob Griffiths argue that the real purpose of the City-driven cuts agenda "is nothing less than to dismantle and privatise the welfare state and all public services."

And RMT union's Alex Gordon delivered a sharp critique of the EU's role in driving down standards, warning of a new era of "anti-social Europe" with workers and public services in the crosshairs.

Delegates also listened to regional and workplace trade unionists on local victories and campaigns, including the fightback against cuts-hungry Exeter Uni bosses and the latest on the drive to beat back plans by the so-called "south-west cartel" of NHS trusts to tear up national pay deals and force down wages and conditions.

And they joined a probing Q&A session with Morning Star editor Richard Bagley and Bob Oram, chairman of publisher the People's Press Printing Society.

Delegates pledged to forge links between readers and supporters groups, trades councils and unions in the region.

Among plans are similar events, strategies to win new readers, and to gain support for a mass shares drive to fund a better Morning Star.

Mr Bagley said: "It's great to get out and talk to local activists face to face. It's their paper and it's vital that we listen in return for their essential support."

Mr Oram added: "The South-West has made an impressive start."