A year ago many of us were gearing up for the protests at the G8 summit at Gleneagles, Scotland. We were doing so in a climate of great optimism that the summit would achieve real improvements for the poor of the world, especially in Africa.
"Market volatility". This is the conventional description of the period of intense turbulence that financial markets have been going through these past few weeks. The main stock markets saw share prices fall sharply, though these subsequently recovered most of what had been lost.
Over the past few weeks much attention in the media and on the web has been devoted to a document called the Euston Manifesto, which was finally launched on Thursday of last week.
It's good that the trade union leaders have said they won’t let the closure of Peugeot’s Ryton plant go through without a fight. Last week the Peugeot bosses admitted they could build a new model in Ryton profitably – though not as profitably as in a new plant they are building in Slovakia.
The media blackout on Respect’s breakthrough in the local elections is, I suppose, par for the course in the era of Tony Blair, the master of the sincerely uttered Big Lie. But simply ignoring the results is only one way of dismissing Respect’s achievement.
"Maoism Rises Again" lamented a Financial Times editorial a few weeks ago.
Why are Britain and France so different? This question is back in the air. Trade union officials have been complaining that Britain’s flexible labour laws made it easier for Peugeot bosses to shut down their car plant at Ryton rather than any of its French counterparts.
Half a million marching in defence of immigration in Dallas, Texas, last Sunday. Hundreds of thousands more the next day in more than 60 other cities. Half a million in Los Angeles a few weeks ago… something big is happening in the US.
The rescue of Norman Kember and his fellow hostages in Baghdad is a tiny glimmer of light in an Iraqi picture that remains uniformly grim. John Reid’s gung-ho remarks on his recent visit to Iraq simply provided further evidence of the defence secretary’s very troubled relationship to reality.
No one should be in any doubt about Tony Blair’s arrogance in saying that god will judge him for invading Iraq. The implication was that he doesn’t care about the judgement of mere mortals such as the rest of us.
Last week didn’t go too badly for Tony Blair. He was able to persuade the House of Commons to approve legislation introducing identity cards and prohibiting the "glorification of terrorism".
You may not have noticed it, but poverty has become history. Or so one has to presume, since at the end of last month the campaigning coalition Make Poverty History (MPH) decided to wind itself up.
It's barely a year since, at his second inauguration, George Bush proclaimed the commitment of the US to an apparently revolutionary programme of spreading democracy worldwide.
It is, of course, utterly hypocritical for George Bush and Tony Blair, both commanding vast nuclear arsenals, to denounce Iran for deciding to restart its uranium enrichment programme. I heard one US neo-con, Frank Gaffney, ranting and raving on the radio the other day about how uniquely evil the Islamic regime in Iran is.
It is just over six years since the great protests in Seattle of November 1999. And it is almost three years since the great anti-war protest of 15 February 2003.
For news junkies like me the Christmas break is the purest hell, an information black hole from which nothing emerges but the queen’s speech or some stupid Today programme poll.
The current debate about torture is an astonishing symptom of how a civilization can regress morally and politically despite the technological advances it may make.
Last week the sixth anniversary of the protests in Seattle passed without much notice. The passage of time has, however, if anything underlined the importance of the challenge that demonstrators mounted to the World Trade Organisation summit on 30 November 1999.
When George Galloway was interviewed on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme a few weeks ago, John Humphreys taunted him with the suggestion that Respect was a single issue party whose issue — the war in Iraq — would have disappeared by the time of the next general election.
I’ve said it before and been wrong — but now I’m pretty confident that the skids really are under Tony Blair.