As the G8 leaders gather on the Baltic there is a growing realisation that we face two threats to the future. One is from global warming. The other is the renewed threat of a nuclear war.
Russian president Vladimir Putin stole the headlines with threats to target nuclear missiles on European cities. Putin was responding to US plans to install ten missile interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic.
George Bush claims this is to protect the US from “rogue states” citing Iran and North Korea or Islamic terrorists. The fact none of these possess missiles capable of attacking the US is ignored.
And on global warming Bush has a plan for the 15 major polluting countries to meet to agree on a voluntary code to cut carbon emissions. He has counterposed this to a statement drafted for the G8 by Germany which the US labelled “totally unacceptable.”
Bush’s plan also undercuts a United Nations conference scheduled to draft a successor to the Kyoto treaty. Two years ago the G8 world leaders, meeting in Gleneagles, promised to end poverty in Africa. Those were weasel words.
A statement on global warming is likely to follow that pattern. We can’t rely on these thieves and murderers to secure the future of our planet.
How not to fit in
Fresh from fanning the flames of racism in Barking & Dagenham, government ministers have come up with another great idea to aid the integration of recent immigrants and undercut the Nazi BNP – they want to declare a “Britain day”.
We will be encouraged to look back at the “good things” that Britain has given to the world. Probably not a good idea to delve too deeply into the history though. You might come up with things like being the first country to use weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in the 1920s.
Yet ministers expect the result of such a day to be a feeling of belonging that will embrace new immigrants and help them “fit in”. The purpose of patriotism is not to unite people however, but to divide and marginalise.
Britain day is an attempt to impose an agenda of acceptable behaviour and beliefs upon all of us. It is nothing more than an attempt at divide and rule – and what could be more British than that?
Rights under threat
The battle lines over a woman’s right to choose are being drawn.
As Socialist Worker went to press Tory MP Ann Winterton’s ten minute bill, which calls for a “cooling off period”, was due before parliament. It is the third attack on the 1967 Abortion Act in the past eight months.
The government’s Human Tissue and Embryos Bill is due to go through parliament later this year. Although the motion is not about abortion rights, amendments that attempt to either liberalise or curb the current legislation are expected.
The last reduction in the time limit in 1990 was tabled as an amendment to a similar bill.
The 1967 Abortion Act was won, and defended, by campaigners and trade unions coming together to fight for a woman’s right to choose. We must be ready to bring those groups together again, not just to defend the limited rights we have now, but to extend them.