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.
LISTENING TO David Blunkett advocating that Asian families should speak English at home infuriated and disgusted me. As a nursery teacher in a multi-ethnic school I have responsibility for coordinating support for children when English is their additional language.
A High Court judge ruled last week that home secretary David Blunkett's decision to deport the Ahmadi family was "unlawful". Farid and Feriba Ahmadi and their two young children fled from the horror of Afghanistan. Then they faced a police raid on the mosque where they were seeking sanctuary.
I AM one of the 6,000 call centre workers employed by Reality who were balloted for strike action over a threat to cut our jobs. I voted yes to strike. Reality is a multi-million pound catalogue company owned by Great Universal Stores.
IRELAND IS the only country in Europe that is to vote on the Nice treaty agreed by European Union leaders at their summit at the end of 2000. Though people here have already rejected the treaty in a vote once, the government is coming back with it again.
THE "LEADERS" of the world meet this week in Johannesburg. They will put profits before people and try to convince us there is no other way to run the world than the way it is done now. The activists, campaigners, arguers, debaters, discussers and awkward people of the European anti-capitalist movement will come together in Florence in November.
PARENTS AND teachers in Hackney have argued for years for a new comprehensive school in Hackney. Instead we were greeted this week with the news in our local paper that 150 local school children have no secondary school places.
We're more angry than ever before
THE ANTI-war mood in Glasgow and across Scotland is growing daily and not just among the usual suspects. For years the Muslim community has been considered quiet and respectable, playing little or no role in active politics.
THE INHUMANITY of New Labour's treatment of asylum seekers seems to have no limits. The principle of the United Nations and European Union conventions on the rights of the child and the rights of families is that, in any case affecting children, it is the interests of the child that must be the guide.
Chilled to the bone by Israel's murder
I HAVE just returned from Gaza City where I was part of a small delegation of trade unionists from Britain. We were there to show solidarity with the Palestinians and their struggle. It was the final visit of a week that had taken us all over the West Bank. I was shocked by what I saw.
SAVAGE RACIST attacks on three black men within 48 hours could easily have been murders. That has been the toll recently in Eltham, south east London, where Stephen Lawrence was murdered nine years ago.
HOME SECRETARY David Blunkett's new policy on drugs announced last week shows how New Labour cannot adopt a rational approach to the issue. His "drugs tsar", Keith Hellawell, resigned in protest at Blunkett putting cannabis in the least dangerous category of illegal drugs, class C. The overwhelming evidence that cannabis is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco and that most people support a change in the law has forced Blunkett to retreat.