Imagine some New Labour minister, press puppet or government geek steps up at a press conference and makes a statement: "Our job in education has always been seen as raising standards. This remains absolutely and unequivocally our policy. To bring this about, many ways have been tried-hiring extra staff, putting money into schools in areas where there is poverty, and supporting children with special needs, whether those are due to deprivation, disability or speaking another language. Sometimes what's been tried is ending the way children are selected for this or that school, or this or that stream. The idea here was that we would treat school students as people who would discover their
If you sacrifice public interest for private sector gain you have to bury bad news every day. That simple truth lies at the root of the row surrounding transport secretary Stephen Byers. The media and mainstream parties are focusing solely on the tale of who said what to who.
There is a debate going on among establishment economists over the recession that hit the US last year. Many of them claim that it is already over. Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve board (the US central bank), told a Senate committee last month that economic activity was "beginning to firm".
"This is not political – this is entertainment," said the man who refused my leaflet for the Stop the War demo. Then as if to confirm his point the tannoy system announced, "The Tony Benn show will start in five minutes."
George Bush has lit the fuse for war on Iraq, a war that will kill thousands of innocent people. Next weekend is your chance to protest against this rush to mass murder. The bombing of Afghanistan has been horrific, killing more civilians than died in the World Trade Centre. War against Iraq will be far worse.
Amid the uproar caused by George W Bush's "axis of evil" speech, one voice has not been raised in criticism-that of Tony Blair. Bush's apparent extension of the "war against terrorism" to include Iran, Iraq and North Korea caused outrage in the European Union (EU).
IT IS rare for a television drama to be set in an ordinary workplace. Clocking Off is, and has attracted audiences of around 11 million. This is the third series of the award-winning BBC drama set in a Manchester textile factory.
I am the father of two young children, one five, one nearly two. After some anxiety, my partner and I decided they should have the MMR vaccination. I believe that was the right choice, and that scientific evidence supports that view. But I can equally well understand why many, many parents do not trust MMR or government advice about it.
"Tony Blair talks about public sector workers putting scars on his back, and then calls us wreckers. I think public sector workers should be a boil on Tony Blair's nose." Julie Pih, a Rochdale homecare worker, is furious with the government, especially after Blair's "wreckers" insult. She is one among millions. Julie was one of the delegates who expressed their anger at last week's Unison women's conference.
Tony Blair has been strutting around abroad again, posing as the saviour of the world. This time Africa has been the victim of his attentions. When Blair pledged to "reorder the world" at the Labour Party conference last October he claimed to have Africa especially in his sights. He called the continent a "scar on the conscience of the world".
"I am under pressure from rank and file members of my union to disaffiliate from the Labour Party." That was the message from Dave Prentis of Unison to his fellow union leaders last week. Both Unison and the GMB union have launched big advertising campaigns in response to Blair's "wreckers" insults. They rightly point out that public sector workers are not wreckers.
The rows at Labour's spring conference in Cardiff last weekend signal the end of the truce between the government and certain union leaders that has existed since 11 September. Remember the morning of that day? Delegates were gathering at the Trades Union Congress and preparing for a huge battle over public services. Tony Blair was to speak, and union leaders were lined up to condemn privatisation and savage the government's priorities.
I guess readers of this paper were delighted to read that 50 reservist Israeli army officers had refused to serve in the West Bank. They have signed a petition saying, "We will not fight beyond the Green Line Israel's 1967 border with the West Bank in order to rule, expel, destroy, blockade, assassinate, starve and humiliate an entire people."
The scandal surrounding the collapse of giant US corporation Enron is coming closer to the heart of New Labour. The party received £36,000 from Enron after coming to office in 1997. As Socialist Worker reported last week, a string of meetings between ministers and Enron bosses followed.
"TORTURED" was the outcry on the front page of the Mail on Sunday. Pictures released by Bush's government boast of the barbaric treatment meted out to prisoners taken from Afghanistan to the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The prisoners are caged, masked, bound hand and foot, and forced to kneel before US soldiers.
SOME OF the gloss is coming off the glorious victory the United States and Britain are supposed to have won in Afghanistan. This is largely because of the prisoners of Guantanamo Bay. Liberals who supported the war are discovering that defending civilisation means humiliating captives, imprisoning them in cages and denying them a fair trial. But doubts are also growing about the war itself.
So who's got it in for the Black Police Association (BPA)? The BPA is a moderate body. It was formed in 1993 to give black police officers and civilian staff a voice against the rampant discrimination built into the profession.
"FLAKY." That's how transport secretary Stephen Byers described the core ideas of the New Labour government this week. It is an astonishing admission from a man who has long been one of Tony Blair's closest allies. Byers was an evangelist for the "Third Way" ideas he now concedes are off the wall.
TONY BLAIR returned from his jet-setting this week to face a domestic political crisis. He and his government face a groundswell of opposition over a range of issues - the crumbling NHS, mounting job losses and, above all, the transport crisis. A top aide to transport secretary Stephen Byers infamously wrote on the day of the destruction of the World Trade Centre, "Today is a good day to bury bad news."
ARGENTINA IS the sharp end of the global economic crisis. The social and political explosion there should not be dismissed as the kind of turbulence typical of obscure parts of the Third World.