I HAVE just written to Tony Blair with the following message: "Dear prime minister, My family has Labour roots going back to the beginning of the Labour Party. To witness the disintegration of a once proud party into the spineless shadow of its former self fills me with horror.
BLAIR'S PLAN to cut the number of asylum seekers is shocking. One way the government justifies its plans is to say children's education suffers if they are taught with children who don't speak English. I am a parent governor at my daughter Sorcha's school, in a very deprived area of central London.
FIVE ELDERLY people have died within eight weeks of their residential home in Liverpool being closed. This appalling treatment caused blazing anger at our weekly Merseyside Pensioners' Association meeting on Wednesday of last week. One man who is in his nineties said it was a disgrace that the government could spend millions on war but abandon pensioners.
LABOUR'S CHANGES in education will mean many students are expected to choose their future jobs aged just 13. They won't have to learn foreign languages, history or technology. Instead they will be taught a narrower work-based curriculum tailored to meet the demands of employers.
AS A result of recent changes in government policy, asylum seekers are being evicted from their homes, having all benefits removed and being denied the right to work. Most are Iraqi Kurds. We challenged my local MP and immigration minister Beverley Hughes to say what the government expects Kurdish refugees to do in such circumstances.
Trouble on t' moor
There have been some strange goings-on on the moors of North Yorkshire. Two weeks ago members of the Scarborough Coalition Against War And Globalisation (SCAWAG) got wind that the local Labour MP, Lawrie Quinn, would be holding a consultation meeting. It was about the upgrading of the Fylingdales base as part of Bush's Son of Star Wars scheme.
WE ORGANISED an anti-war stall in Milton Keynes on the Saturday before Christmas. People were queuing up to sign the Stop the War petition. Among those queuing to sign were five British soldiers.
THE ITALIAN state is clamping down on the anti-capitalist movement. That should concern every reader of Socialist Worker and every activist. Since the extraordinary success of the European Social Forum in Florence, the Italian government has arrested 42 leading activists and charged them with political crimes. Some of the charges carry five to ten year sentences.
CHERIE BLAIR tries to con us with her tears. She wants us to think she is just a poor working mum struggling to cope with all the pressures and worrying about her eldest child going off to university. Don't make me laugh. She should try living in the real world. As a working woman with three children, the eldest of whom has just gone to university, I know about the kind of stresses and pressures, personal and financial, that brings.
LIKE JOHN from Glasgow (Letters, 30 November) I too served in the army. I was involved in the firemen's strike in 1977. I was young and naive. I joined the army thinking it would be a good way to see the world. How wrong I was. I had only been in the army a few weeks at the time of the strike. As we were new recruits in the army, that we had to break the strike was stupid, irresponsible and dangerous.
I feel betrayed by the Labour Party
As a firefighter I am at the end of my tether with the Labour Party, a party which I have been a member of for around 18 years since I left the Royal Navy. At our last FBU union conference our general secretary, Andy Gilchrist, argued strongly that the union had to continue to fund Labour, and only Labour. We voted loyally to stick with Labour.
I HAVE been watching the troops running Green Goddesses during the firefighters' strike. I used to be a squaddie many years ago. In 1975 the Labour government faced a strike over pay by dust workers in Glasgow.
AS A delegate to this year's TUC conference in Brighton, I sat through Tony Blair's speech where he warned trade unionists not to turn their backs on the New Labour government. The alternative, he exclaimed, would be a return to Tory rule - "18 years of being ignored, derided and attacked as the enemy within".
End silence on new apartheid
ALONG WITH five other members of my trade union, the rail workers' TSSA, I have just returned from a fact-finding visit to the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip. We witnessed a frightening expansion of settlements and "Jewish only" roads linking these settlements.
<H4>What the butler saw but we can't</H4>
EVERY TEACHER will get a support worker. It sounds like a headline to please parents, teachers and classroom assistants throughout Britain. This is what New Labour announced while Estelle Morris was still the education minister.
THE HORRIBLE racist abuse that black England players Emile Heskey and Ashley Cole received during the recent match in Slovakia has caused outrage in the press over here. Newspapers like the Sun have rushed to condemn the racism and state that it would never be accepted in Britain.
Guarantee on NHS is a con
TONY BLAIR'S speech at the Labour Party conference was hailed by the media as brilliant. The best description would be "a bunch of lies" – and not just about Iraq or Palestine. As someone who works in cancer care, I was outraged when Blair used the government's "achievements" in this area to show how well the NHS is doing. Blair told the Labour delegates, "Listen to this story of a woman who has breast cancer who saw a consultant within two weeks. Saw him because now every urgent patient suspected of cancer has to be seen within two weeks. Treated within four weeks because that is now the maximum time for breast cancer treatment. Five years
AS YOUNG people who live in the north of England in a small town called Burnley, it seems near impossible to get our voices heard on anything in the world. Feelings of helplessness and uselessness are always associated with our concern for Palestinians, or any other oppressed people. But the "Don't attack Iraq" demonstration gave us a voice we've never had before and helped us to conquer these feelings of helplessness.
THE HYPOCRISY of Bush and Blair's propaganda against Saddam Hussein is striking in very many ways. But few can feel more nauseated by this hypocrisy than the Kurdish people of Iraq and Turkey. They, more directly than anyone else, know that Saddam is a ruthless and bloody dictator.