NORMALLY THE centre-left monthly magazine Prospect is as good a cure for insomnia as I know. Relentlessly middle-brow and mid-Atlantic, its contributors agonise over how to maintain the global domination of market capitalism and of the United States without being excessively cruel to the poor or suppressing too many civil liberties.
I ONCE thought the late, great Marvin Gaye was white! The reason was simple: I was eight years old and the guy pictured on the front of my compilation album gazing up at a white woman on a swing was a blue-eyed, blond-haired John F Kennedy look-alike.
RALPH NADER's decision to run as an independent candidate in the US election is causing consternation to many opponents of George Bush. Surely, they say, the most important thing is to get Bush out.
Colin Barker continues his series on the 'Where We Stand' Socialist Workers Party statement of principles printed each week in Socialist Worker
OF ALL the excuses I could have come up with for buying the new lads' mags Zoo Weekly and Nuts, "They're not for me, they're for a review in Socialist Worker..." probably wasn't the most believable one to give to my newsagent. They are clearly both products of the same PR focus group-the two magazines look identical. The front cover layout is the same on each, both featuring brash red on black title next to a semi-naked woman, and is punctuated with the shared promise of stories about footballers, footballers' wives and, bizarrely, amputees.
BLAIR WANTS to draw a line under the war and move on. He wants us to forget about the 10,000 civilians who have died in Iraq since the war began. He wants us to forget that, far from bringing democracy to the country, the US plans to impose a government on Iraq.
AS THE shadows gather around Tony Blair, the sun seems to be shining on chancellor Gordon Brown. The government announced last week that the number of people seeking work fell in January to 1.46 million, 4.9 percent of those of working age.
Divisions weaken the working class
IN CASE you missed the advertisement and would like to apply for the job, the BBC is looking for a new chairman. He or she will work a four-day week and the salary is around £80,000 a year- nice work if you can get it.
THE QUICKSANDS of Morecambe Bay became a grave for 19 Chinese workers last week. Their job was to pick cockles for low wages, working all hours in dangerous conditions, with no rights. Some of the last tabloid articles they would have seen were about how people from abroad "are heading to Britain to leech on us" and branded them all "benefit tourists".
TONY BLAIR'S die-hard supporters have given up trying to trumpet the Hutton whitewash's discredited conclusions. They think they can convince us that we have all become thoroughly bored with the stream of revelations about the lies that took us to war. We're meant to be obsessed with the minutiae of I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!
In 1919, dockers in the city of Seattle refused to load arms for use against the recent Russian Revolution. They were followed by dockers in San Francisco, London, Hull and elsewhere.
What a fortnight...the top-up fees vote...the Hutton whitewash...Blair lurching from one crisis to the next...
TONY BLAIR is following one fake inquiry with another. He thought that Hutton's report would let him off the hook. But within hours of its publication the whitewash had provoked a huge backlash. Now Blair has announced another inquiry-this time into "intelligence" on Iraqi weapons.
ONCE UPON a time the Hutton report might have worked. Lord Hutton himself represented the British army at Lord Widgery's inquiry into the Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry in January 1972. Widgery produced probably the greatest official whitewash in 20th century British history. After a chat with the prime minister, Edward Heath, he exonerated the Parachute Regiment of the charge of killing 13 unarmed civilians.
IT IS almost 20 years since the start of the miners' strike of 1984-5. I worked as a miner for 25 years and I was out picketing all through the Great Strike. Two TV programmes screened recently brought the memories flooding back. They are not the first such programmes-a small flurry came out on the tenth anniversary of the strike. The usual approach taken by such films goes along these lines:
THE TOP-UP fees vote on Tuesday was a disaster for working class people hoping to go to university. But it was more than that.
RETURNING TO London from Mumbai (Bombay) was like moving from technicolour to black and white.
The argument for socialist revolution is not really a case about "violence". It's about developing genuine popular power within society. It's about a vast expansion of democracy.
AN ANNIVERSARY that may slip your notice: the 100th birthday of the intelligence test.