FOOTBALL USED to be called "the people's game". Not any more. The professional game now mirrors Blair's Britain, with a growing gap between the handful of rich clubs at the top of the Premiership and the also-rans in the Nationwide leagues. Clubs used to be owned by local businessmen with big cheque books and even bigger egos. But now the top clubs are listed on the stock exchange and are controlled by the City of London institutions.
CLARE SHORT'S resignation has exposed the weakness of the Blair government. It shows that his loyal supporters are an incredibly thin layer of people. Her departure has further increased the serious problems for Blair, a leader who only a few weeks ago was presented as walking on water by the media and many politicians.
Kevin Ovenden on key agent Stakeknife
BLUR HAVE just released their new album, Think Tank. The band's lead singer, Damon Albarn, was one of the most outspoken opponents of the war against Iraq. To many, his stand is even more remarkable given his close connection to New Labour just eight years ago.
HERE'S A simple question - who is an expert on war? Watching TV during any war gives us a simple answer. Experts on war are made up of the reporters "out there", and back in the studio, the ex-generals or "defence analysts" - people who work for military hardware catalogues, departments of military studies or for strange "institutes" devoted to studying wars.
LAST WEEK'S elections revealed not a "Baghdad bounce" but a sharp backlash against Tony Blair, especially in Labour heartlands. The sense of utter betrayal by this Labour government, which grew this week over the issue of foundation hospitals, brought breakthroughs for socialists.
IN ONE of these carefully staged media events so typical of this global "war on terrorism", George W Bush used the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to announce victory in Iraq on May Day. Actually, he didn't use the word "victory".
AFTER THE war on Iraq, Tony Blair has declared war on the welfare state and the trade unions. Blair believes his position has been strengthened by the war. But he faces huge opposition and sharp battles in the near future.
THE MEDIA has reacted in typical fashion to the SARS flu-like disease. Truth has been the casualty in a media frenzy driven by the need to sell newspapers, outdo rivals, and push particular ideological agendas over issues like racism. Some, headed by the Daily Mail, talk as though we were all about to be wiped out by SARS.
THE WAR on Iraq was based on blatant lies, and the warmongers are still lying today. The pro-war press owners are trying to smear George Galloway MP and, through him, the anti-war movement.
TEN THOUSAND demonstrators fought off police attacks on workers from the Brukman tailoring factory in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires, on Monday night. The factory was being run successfully under workers' control after the boss tried to close it down 16 months ago.
THREE CHEERS for the protesters who gave Tony Blair and the other pro-war prime ministers such a hot time when they visited Athens for the European Union summit last week. At the beginning of June George Bush will attend the Group of Eight (G8) meeting in the French city of Evian, just over the border from Geneva in Switzerland.
SARS. IN a few weeks the word has rolled around the world, bringing panic and fear. SARS stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. By the start of this week it had killed at least 200 people in seven countries and infected thousands more. The World Health Organisation warns, "SARS could become the first severe new disease of the 21st century with global epidemic potential."
"THE PAST few months have seen Tony Blair unshakably hold to the courage of his convictions. He is entitled to receive recognition of his single minded determination." So ran the Daily Mirror's editorial on Thursday of last week. This is the same paper that during the early part of this year ran page after page which tore apart Bush and Blair's case for war.
MILLIONS OF people across the world marched last weekend against the US occupation of Iraq. The chaos in Baghdad and US companies crawling over the bodies of the dead to get their hands on lucrative reconstruction contracts confirmed what this war was really about.
THERE WERE two major summit meetings last week. The first, highly publicised here, was the meeting of George W Bush and Tony Blair in Northern Ireland. The other brought together the French and Russian presidents - Jacques Chirac and Vladimir Putin - with the German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, in St Petersburg, Russia.
"WE WILL export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defence of our great nation." These chilling words were spoken by George Bush a few months ago to a US journalist. They put the invasion of Iraq into sharp focus. It wasn't just about revenge for 11 September, though Bush was determined to lash out at an Arab nation - somewhere, anywhere - in order to gain revenge for that dreadful act.
The US has unleashed on Iraq the greatest military machine the world has ever seen. It recalls the colonial wars of 100 years ago. Bush, Blair and their media cheerleaders began to hail victory as US tanks entered Baghdad on Monday. Occupation, not liberation, is the reality facing Iraq. The Ba'athist regime of Saddam Hussein has inflicted horror on the Iraqi people. For much of the time it was backed to the hilt by those now waging war against Iraq.
THIS WEEK'S budget isn't notable only for Gordon Brown's willingness to squander billions on the conquest of Iraq. It comes against the background of increased difficulties for both the US and British economies. The situation is worse in the US. Last week figures were released that showed that the number of jobs outside agriculture fell by 108,000 in March. This is the fifth fall in the past seven months, including a huge drop of 357,000 jobs in February.
THE ANTI-WAR movement is sending the advertising hacks into a spin. Canny corporations see the anti-war and anti-capitalist movements as new marketing tools to get to young people. How they connect into these movements takes many different forms. Corporations like Nike with its "Just do it" theme or FCUK with its anti-establishment stance are playing on relatively safe ground. Meanwhile Qibla and Mecca Cola are trying to take a small bite out of Coca-Cola and Pepsi's markets by plugging themselves as an ethical alternative to these global giants.