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Blair should be worried


EAST OXFORD's Labour MP, Andrew Smith, is a senior foreign office minister who sits in the cabinet. There have been angry anti-war demonstrations each time Smith has held his constituency surgery in Oxford. Many people in the Labour Party are angry with Smith because of his support for the war.

The real benefits rip-off


LAST WEEK it was revealed that nearly £5 billion in means tested benefits are not claimed every year. As a benefits worker, I see it first hand. People who desperately need extra cash don't claim the benefits they are entitled to because the system is so complicated and the rules are constantly changed.

Why don't our trade union leaders catch this mood?


OPPOSITION TO this US war and an increasing fury at our own government's complicity have been growing in our PCS union branch. Our motion was carried at the 2002 PCS conference. It committed the union to a strong anti-war stance.

Short has abandoned every shred of decent principle


I AM a Labour Party member in the West Midlands who on several occasions met local MP Clare Short. I feel ashamed to have shaken her hand after last week. Within the party we were circulated her disgusting note trying to justify her betrayal-although from the language employed I very much doubt that she wrote it.

The Daouds are the human cost of attacks on refugees


THE FINANCIAL Times carried a report on Wednesday of last week that David Blunkett is trying to reduce the number of people from Iraq who are granted asylum in Britain. Apparently Iraqis make up the largest group requesting asylum. This is hardly surprising given the present situation.

Race, class and education


IF YOU believed the Daily Mail you would think there is a witch-hunt against middle class students being rejected by top universities simply because they are middle class. "Felicity had ten A grade GCSEs and three A grade A-levels. So why was she rejected by Bristol University?" screamed the front page of one edition.

Iraqis are not cheering Bush and Blair's war


I have listened with intrigue to Mr Blair saying, "It is the moral case for removing Saddam." I was one of the many people of Iraqi descent who campaigned against Saddam in the 1980s up to the present day. I don't believe that Mr Blair's morality lies in what is right or wrong for the Iraqi people.

From the front line


"THE GREATER Manchester Coalition to Stop the War is coordinating an antiwar demonstration on 8 March. This will involve three separate marches converging on the city centre. On the city centre stall on Saturday 5,000 leaflets and hundreds of posters were distributed.

This time Tony Blair has gone too far for us to stay


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.

Don't fall for the right wing lies about asylum seekers


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.

Victims of the cruellest cuts


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.

Learning to toe the class line?


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.

Starvation is Labour policy


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.

Letters


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.

Soldiers get the anti-war message


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.

Don't let them criminalise us


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.

'Try living in the real world'


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.

Soldiers are pawns in game


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.

Letters


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 disobeyed order to break a strike


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.

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