Dated: 27 May 2004
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New Labour spends £4.2 million a day on occupation
WITH EACH day the brutality and violence of the occupation of Iraq gets worse. But so too does the utter disarray of the warmongers. Nothing symbolises this better than the raid on the villa of Ahmed Chalabi, the man once tipped to run Iraq.
War comes to Rafah
<LI>YVONNE RIDLEY, the journalist, is heading up the Respect list in the north east of England.
US ARMY officers have been desperately organising a grubby cover-up after their slaughter of guests at a wedding party in Iraq last week. Showing astonishing arrogance and total ignorance for the culture or geography of the country his men are occupying, Major General James Mattis, commander of the 1st Marine Division, dismissed talk of a massacre, saying:
THE GOVERNMENT'S clampdown on public sector pay has reignited last year's fire dispute. It has led management in the Manchester brigade to slash fire cover by sending firefighters home. The danger firefighters face in their work was tragically seen over the weekend when Cardiff firefighter Richard Jenkins was killed in a fire during the early hours of the morning.
WORKERS AT Euro Packaging in Birmingham are continuing with their industrial action over low pay, long working hours, union recognition and threatened redundancies. Joint managing director Shabir Majid provoked further outrage in a meeting last week by announcing a total of 80 redundancies out of a workforce of 180. Workers were told that the remaining 100 would have greater job security by severing ties with their GPMU union.
WORKERS AT Newham council, east London, were set to strike for two days this week. We are protesting against the council's attack on our union, Unison. This includes evicting the union from its offices and axing facility time for union offices.
COUNCIL TENANTS in Kingston in south west London have voted against the sell-off of their homes. In another blow to the government's attempts to blackmail tenants to accept privatisation as the only way of getting improvements, 63 percent of tenants voted against the sell-off on a 65 percent turnout.
THOUSANDS OF people joined the emergency Stop the War Coalition demonstration in central London last Saturday. The loud, lively protest called for an end to the torture of Iraqis by US and British troops and the occupation of Iraq. At the rally in Trafalgar Square Lindsey German, the convenor of the Stop the War Coalition and Respect candidate, said, \"The images we are seeing today rank with some of the worst images of war, torture and occupation. Is this liberation? Are these the civilised values of Bush and Blair? This is a fantastic turnout at eight days notice, because we're a fantastic movement. We will continue to demonstrate until every foreign troop is withdrawn from Iraq,
DESPITE THE financial hardship of nearly three months on strike, the resolve of the nursery nurses was still strong at the start of this week. Over 300 strikers in Glasgow demonstrated outside one of the main council buildings on Thursday of last week. A group of nursery nurses hung a banner from the roof of the car park opposite the building saying \"Support your nursery nurses\".
THE LEFT have won another landslide victory in the PCS civil servants' union national executive elections. This is a victory for everyone who wants a fighting, democratic union. There are no crumbs of comfort for the Cabinet Office and New Labour. The left continues to hold the majority of national executive positions, consolidating the position of left wing general secretary Mark Serwotka.
THIS LOOKED like being a very important week for postal workers in south west England. We were coming under intense pressure to deliver election material for the British National Party. But many of us are totally opposed to handling their filth.
AROUND 500 manufacturing workers marched through Birmingham on Saturday on a march called by the TGWU, GMB, Amicus and other trade unions. They were marching to protest against the decline of manufacturing industry. Contingents from Land Rover, Vauxhall, Alstom and other workplaces in the Midlands marched behind their union banners.
IN A magnificent response to the news that the Nazi BNP are to stand for election in 17 of the 22 council wards in Gateshead, anti-Nazi campaigners hit the streets en masse over the last week. Teams of campaigners have been out leafleting local estates and have organised campaigning stalls in Gateshead town centre on busy Saturday afternoons.
RMT UNION members on Network Rail have voted for strikes over pensions, two-tier travel concessions and pay. The vote for action was 58 percent on a 68 percent turnout. \"That's a clear mandate in anybody's book,\" says one RMT member. \"I bet Blair would be happy with a result like that in the 10 June elections.\"
A WAVE of revulsion swept through Nottingham last week after a popular Rastafarian youth worker was shot and seriously injured. Fifty year old Derek Senior was the victim of a racist attack in a pub in Bulwell, north of Nottingham, last September. Derek Senior was beaten with pool cues, and a lock of hair was torn from his head as a trophy.
MORE TRANSPORT has been booked now for the pensions march called by the TUC and the National Pensioners Convention in London on 19 June. Coaches are now coming from over 30 cities and towns across Britain. The march will see today's trade unionists join with pensioners to show their anger over an issue which is becoming more important by the day.
THE STENCH of institutional racism across the police was obvious last week after two incidents in Manchester and north London. Local people in Camden are furious at the death of Kebba Jobe, originally from Gambia, on Saturday 12 May. He died after officers stopped him at Camden Lock. Around 300 people joined an angry march through Camden last Saturday demanding a full investigation of how he died.
THE HORROR of ethnic cleansing was shown on TV screens across the world last week. But there were no shrieks of outrage from George Bush and Tony Blair. That's because their ally, Israel's prime minister Ariel Sharon, was carrying out that policy in Palestine.
IRAQ 11-Britain 0.
CAROLINE IS a Unison shop steward in Birmingham. She works at a small day centre for people with learning difficulties. Because she has a network of regular paper readers around her she was able to organise a workplace meeting recently at short notice.
THE MY Lai massacre was one of the US army's most notorious war crimes. On the morning of 16 March 1968 the soldiers of Charlie Company marched into the Vietnamese village of My Lai. Three hours later they had massacred over 500 people-men, women, children and babies.
A KIND of merger mania has begun to grip the bureaucrats in the TUC and in major unions as unions like the GPMU and KFAT are swallowed up by bigger organisations.
I'M GOING to keep to very simple truths. Moral truisms are so widely rejected-and the human consequences are quite serious. They are often disdained by the powerful who set the rules. We have just been living through a period that dramatically illustrates this. The last millennium ended and the new one started with an extraordinary period of self adulation by Western intellectuals.
I WANTED to write a novel about the miners' strike for years, but I also wanted to wait until I was a good enough writer to do it justice. With the 20th anniversary of the strike, it was perfect timing. The only two books that came out about the strike were mine and another crime novel, GB84. All the mainstream novelists left it to us crime writers.
THE BELL is tolling for Tony Blair. We are two weeks away from the 10 June elections, which should seal the fate of the liar who took us into this disastrous war and occupation. We have marched in our millions against this criminal attack on the Iraqi people. Now we have to vote in this referendum on Blair, his war and his Tory policies. Never before has the future of a British prime minister rested on an election which usually passes most people by.
IT'S NOT only the prospect of an abysmal result on 10 June that has New Labour worried. The biggest industrial confrontation under Blair has returned, as firefighters refuse to cave in to a government-inspired bosses' offensive. A panicky editorial in the Financial Times on Monday warned against employers making any concessions.
THE ANNUAL Pensioners' Parliament took place in Blackpool last week. At the opening rally about 2,500 people heard speeches from representatives of the Labour, Tory, Liberal Democrat and Green parties. It was noticeable that the speeches were received with virtual silence or even derision.
A 27 year old man was found dead at his flat in the Dennistoun area of Glasgow on 18 May after apparently committing suicide. He was Zekria Ghulam Mohammed, an Afghan asylum seeker. The papers that are normally so keen to splash pictures of refugees over their pages ignored his death.