THE FEROCITY of the attacks on the BBC was underscored last Saturday when Radio 4's flagship news programme, Today, handed its weekly essay slot to Charles Moore, editor of the Daily Telegraph. You had to suspend disbelief as Moore told his listeners the BBC was left of centre, anti big business and-wait for it-passionately opposed to the war in Iraq.
ENGINEERS AT British Airways voted by over two to one to reject a 3 percent pay offer that was tied to a new swipe card time recording system. The introduction of the swipe card system was the issue that saw check-in staff take extremely effective unofficial action at Heathrow two months ago.
TONY BLAIR will go if the anger over his lies and the war on Iraq comes together with the deep bitterness about people's lives in Britain. And that no longer seems a remote possibility. Blair's popularity and satisfaction with the government are both plummeting. The ebbing of support recalls nothing so much as the death throes of Tory leaders Thatcher and Major.
The occupation of Iraq has turned into a disaster for George Bush as well as for the people of that country. And disaster for Bush can be catastrophic for Blair. Just four months ago Bush made a special, triumphant "mission accomplished" television address and Blair went to Basra to congratulate British troops. On Sunday Bush made another broadcast, this time to claim that Iraq was the "centre" of a global "fight against terrorism" in which the very future of "civilisation" was at stake.
I DON'T know about you, but I hate columnists who write about their holidays abroad. So I had better apologise in advance! This year I stayed in a tiny village just outside Marciac in the south west corner of France. Marciac, a village of 6,000 inhabitants, puts on the biggest jazz festival in Europe. Over two weeks some of the greatest names in jazz played there-Wayne Shorter, Oscar Peterson and Wynton Marsalis.
SUPPORT FOR the occupation of Iraq is melting away.
"THE FAR Left Is In Fashion". That was the headline in the right wing French daily Le Parisien on Wednesday last week.
ONE OF the sideshows to the Hutton inquiry is how the press report what's going on.
TONY BLAIR is the dead man walking of British politics. That much was clear even before he appeared before the Hutton inquiry this week. The problems for Blair are deeper than those caused by the death of scientist Dr David Kelly.
"WE ARE fighting for the inalienable right of humankind, black or white, Christian or not, left, right or merely indifferent, to be free," said Tony Blair in his fawning speech to the US Congress last month. Lying, as we know, comes naturally to Blair.
BBC2 BROADCAST The Colour of Football on 19 August about racism in the game. It's an important issue. Yet they transmitted it late at night in the middle of a month when many are on holiday. There were positive aspects. It allowed ordinary fans to voice their disgust at racism. It featured black players explaining the effect that racist abuse and actions have on them.
Diana Mosley, who died last week, was a particularly unpleasant fossil. Fossils are relics of living things that tell us something about the past. Sometimes what they tell us is so deeply upsetting to the conventional wisdom that people make great efforts to hide it.
AUGUST IS traditionally part of the "Silly Season" when the press scrabbles to find serious news to fill its pages. This year things have been very different. The Hutton inquiry into the death of the scientist David Kelly has ensured that Iraq and the scandal over weapons of mass destruction have remained in the media spotlight.
Whatever the outcome of the Hutton inquiry, it's clear that the Iraq war is putting not just the Blair government, but also its more powerful partner across the Atlantic increasingly on the defensive.
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.
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.
BETWEEN THE peaks of excitement over who won Big Brother and the whys and wherefores of Geoff Hoon's holiday arrangements, you may have missed an unnerving and at times unpleasant TV history of the Baader-Meinhof episode. It told the story of what happened when a group of Germans in what was then West Germany formed the Red Army Faction.
TONY BLAIR has been forced to admit that his official spokesman tried to discredit dead weapons expert David Kelly as a "Walter Mitty" fantasist. That revelation came on the eve of Kelly's funeral. The timing showed just how callous this government is, but also how it is desperately losing control. There are now bitter recriminations between three of the central institutions that promote capitalist stability in Britain-the government, the BBC, and the secret services.