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By-elections offer no good news for the big three parties


There's a case for saying that the two by-elections on Thursday last week weren’t particularly good news for any of the three major parties. The biggest loser was David Cameron with the Tories pushed into third place in both Sedgefield and Southall.

Gordon Brown – a change of style, but not of policies


Gordon Brown’s first few days in 10 Downing Street have been marked by his determination to tippex Tony Blair out of history and distinguish himself politically from his predecessor.

Swelling cities of the Global South


Some time next year more people will live in cities than in the countryside. According to the State of the World Population report published last week by the United Nations (UN), humankind is experiencing a second great wave of global urbanisation.

G8 summit voted to let planet burn


Bild, Germany's equivalent of the Sun, proclaimed the country’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, "Miss World" at the end of last week’s Group of Eight summit. It’s hard to see why she is so popular.

US elite knows the ‘surge’ is failing


The US strategy in Iraq is in flux. George Bush’s generals say the "surge" in US troop numbers will continue into spring next year.

Democrats play a double edged game over Iraq


It’s hard to judge how serious the confrontation over Iraq between George Bush and the Democrats in the US Congress is.

French election heralds more battles to come


The first round of the French presidential elections last Sunday was haunted by its counterpart five years ago.

A bad week for Bush’s Iraq surge


No one could miss the symbolism of the suicide bomb that went off inside the Iraqi parliament building in Baghdad on Friday of last week. There is nowhere, even in the heart of the Green Zone, that is safe from the resistance.

This profits boom can’t be sustained


Profits are, of course, what capitalism is all about. The ultimate measure of success for any firm is the rate of profit – that is, its profits compared to the capital it invested to obtain them.

Will the borrowing boom go bust?


The official view of the world economy put forward, for example, by the International Monetary Fund, is that everything is going splendidly, despite the sharp falls in global share prices last May and at the end of February this year.

Tony Blair can't wriggle out of blame for the war


Tony Blair is spending what is meant to be the twilight of his premiership rushing around in a frenzy of policy initiatives meant to define his famous "legacy". The decision to update the Trident submarine-launched nuclear missiles is apparently part of this.

Labour to blame for Tories’ revival


The Channel 4 fantasy programme The Trial of Tony Blair had the next general election culminate in a photo finish between a tongue-tied, terminally indecisive Gordon Brown and a vacuously trendy David Cameron.

Britain and the US – a special nuclear relationship


A decade ago Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the US’s leading strategic thinkers, published a book called The Grand Chessboard.

Global warming: why rich won’t turn off the heat


From being a fringe issue climate change has apparently become completely mainstream. News bulletins are incomplete without a report on some new sign of global warming.

Election challenge for French left


It's hard not to look forward to the French presidential elections, whose first round is only two and half months away, with a sense of foreboding.

Bush’s Iraq plan is a desperate gamble


George Bush’s method when deciding his new Iraq strategy seems to have been to take the report of the Iraq Study Group (ISG) and, where it said minus, replace with a plus.

Historical Materialism conference: Debating radical ideas for change


The state of the radical left in Europe is quite contradictory. If one just looked at the visible state of political organisation in some countries one could get quite depressed.

Nato’s plan for continual war


We live in an age of imperialism. The mess into which the US and Britain have got themselves in Iraq is unlikely to change this.

The occupation is breeding violence


The political tide has turned decisively against the war in Iraq. Yet George Bush and Tony Blair show absolutely no sign of bowing to mass pressure. On the contrary, they are redeploying their arguments.

Will Democrat win bring change?


The New York Times carried a wonderful report of how Hashim al-Menti brought the news of Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation as US defence secretary to the group of US Marines occupying his house in Iraq’s Anbar province. "Rumsfeld is gone," he said. One of the Marines replied, "Who’s Rumsfeld?"

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