Dated: 16 Aug 2003
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<LI>Even top civil servants didn't believe Blair's dossier
THE ROW which led to death of David Kelly and sparked the Hutton inquiry centres on a report by BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan on Radio Four's Today programme at the end of May. In the weeks leading up to Kelly's death the government, and Blair's lieutenant Alastair Campbell in particular, furiously attacked Gilligan and the BBC. Curiously their anger seems to have been a delayed reaction.
THE PHOTOGRAPH on this page is of 16 year old Alhassan Kamara. He is an asylum seeker from war-torn Sierra Leone, West Africa. He did not want his full face photographed for fear of being singled out in the future. Known by his friends and family as "Alaska", this young man escaped a brutal civil war.
ANTI-WAR campaigners are hitting the streets to get things moving for the People's Assembly in two weeks time and the national demonstration in London on Saturday 27 September. The People's Assembly is designed to call the government to account for its policies over the war.
REFUSE WORKERS in Edinburgh held mass meetings on Monday of this week. They are planning to take unofficial action after Edinburgh council refused them bank holidays. They are also angry that they are still working on old contracts while their workload increases.
THE BOSS of car parts manufacturer Friction Dynamex has done a runner, putting 93 workers on the dole and leaving 86 others battling to get compensation cash they are entitled to.
AROUND 70 trade unionists, activists and campaigners gathered in Wrexham, north Wales, last Saturday to discuss building a left alternative to Labour. John Marek, the independent member of the Welsh Assembly, was central to organising the meeting.
WORKERS AT the Forensic Science Service may go on strike against government plans to privatise it. The Prospect union, representing 1,400 scientists at the service, will decide this week whether to organise a strike ballot. The PCS civil service union, which represents 380 clerical staff at the forensic service, is also considering strike action.
BUS WORKERS in Devon have forced their bosses into big concessions after nine days of strikes. The strikers' RMT union general secretary Bob Crow says, "Our members' stand against low pay in the company has been nothing short of magnificent." Their determination has won massive support among the travelling public in Exeter and Torbay.
CIVIL servants' PCS union leaders warned the government last week that it would not stand for the low pay many of their members face. Left wing general secretary Mark Serwotka announced that the union was preparing to coordinate strike action across ten government departments over pay.
NEW DISPUTES are brewing among British Airways workers at Heathrow. Some 4,500 BA engineers moved a step closer to an industrial dispute when their union negotiators failed to reach an agreement with BA management last week. The engineers are represented by the Amicus and GMB unions. They are potentially an extremely powerful group of workers.
TALKS BETWEEN the RMT union and management of the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry company over pay were taking place as Socialist Worker went to press. The company had been refusing to meet the union and had launched a campaign in the Scottish press directed at RMT general secretary Bob Crow.
"What do we want? Shift pay! When do we want it? Now!" These chants echoed round a small North Wales town last Sunday as workers from Ifor Williams Trailers continued their battle for night shift pay and other improvements.
CONSTRUCTION workers at Heathrow's new Terminal Five complex have won significant gains over working hours that will enable them to have something approaching a family life. Bosses of construction firm Laing O'Rourke caved in at the end of last week under the pressure of a strike ballot planned by the GMB union and of threatened wildcat walkouts by the 1,500 workers on the site.
AROUND 450 workers at luxury car maker Aston Martin struck for three hours last week. It was the first strike in the company's history. Workers at the company's two plants are angry over the introduction of what they call "Martini" shifts-a reference to an advertisement for the drink which could be enjoyed "any time, any place, anywhere".
HUNDREDS OF Scottish nursery nurses struck for three days across East and West Dunbartonshire last week. Support for the strike was solid and it closed about 60 nurseries.
TENS OF thousands of public sector workers marched through Brasilia, the Brazilian capital, last week in the sharpest clash yet between workers and the country's president, Lula.
AN ASTONISHING crowd converged on the Larzac plateau in southern France last weekend. It was the biggest anti-capitalist event we have ever seen in this country, far bigger than anyone had expected.
BURIED AMID the largely vacuous coverage of Tony Blair overtaking Clement Attlee as the longest serving Labour prime minister were a couple of interesting facts. The Independent on Sunday put together a mass of figures to try to establish whether or not we are better off now than we were in 1950, when Attlee was prime minister.
LIKE MOST people, I was shocked by the results of a report published last week into the effects of taking Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). The huge study of over one million women aged between 50 and 65 found that those who took the most common form of HRT, a combined dose of oestrogen and progesterone, were twice as likely to get breast cancer.
Allan Leighton, the chairman of Royal Mail, combines a readiness to spout management theory bollocks with a steely readiness to wage class war. One minute he is like David Brent, the boss played by Ricky Gervais in the TV series The Office. The next minute he is a hard-faced axeman.
Poetry offers many ways of looking at the world, investigating it, and presenting the findings to the rest of us. In schools and colleges, more often than not it's a way of testing and grading children and students. This means it becomes a way of convincing people that they don't know as much as they should.
Tony Blair's government is now the longest serving Labour administration. The media has made many comparisons between Blair and Clement Attlee, leader of the 1945-51 Labour government. For many in the Labour Party the achievements of the Attlee government, with its creation of the welfare state and nationalisation of key parts of industry, are the high points of the party.
Diane Diane is a community nurse at a health centre in west London. She has a young daughter
AS THE lies told to justify the war on Iraq unravelled in a courtroom in London, the reality of the occupation of Iraq by US and British troops was shown on our TV screens. For months we have been told that British troops, with their "softly, softly" approach to dealing with civilian populations, had won the trust of the Iraqi people.
AROUND 100 years ago socialists talked about the choice facing humanity as that between "socialism and barbarism". That barbarism is not only seen in the horror of war, but also in capitalism's destruction of the environment.
Only stars I see are when I'm on nights Thanks to the three-star rating we have been awarded, I, along with many other lucky staff members employed within the Wirral Hospital Trust, will feel the benefit of an extra day off.
IT'S A funny old life, being a socialist. To put it more grandly, it's a mess of contradictions. We oppose wage slavery, but we work for wages-usually in horrible jobs. It's even worse when we're "unemployed"-we have to run around trying to find someone to exploit us, just to live.
US MARINE Corps fighter pilots and commanders who have returned from Iraq have confirmed the use of firebombs similar to napalm during the fighting. They were dropped near bridges over the Saddam canal and the River Tigris on the approaches to Baghdad.