THE SPEECHES by union leaders at and around the TUC this week were among the angriest and most confrontational ever under a Labour government. It was not an industrial issue like wages or a single piece of legislation like a proposed anti-union law which was in the spotlight. It was the whole relationship between trade unions and New Labour.
THE DEVASTATING attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon in the US have seen politicians and press unite to denounce those responsible as "evil terrorists" with no regard for "the sanctity of human life".
"THE WORST is yet to come." They were the words of a City economist as British manufacturing industry was officially declared to be in recession. Figures released this week showed the biggest fall in manufacturing output for a decade.
Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee spent 1,200 words last week attacking the Socialist Alliance. That she had to do so is a sign of the resonance the Socialist Alliance is getting among thousands of people. Toynbee is a staunch defender of New Labour, although she sometimes criticises aspects of its policies.
Foot and mouth disease has dominated the press and TV for the last week. The disease is highly infectious, and action is needed. But it is not like BSE, mad cow disease, which passed to humans with devastating consequences. There is little risk to humans from foot and mouth disease. No one is likely to die or even get ill.
"The hidden hand of the market will never work without the hidden fist. McDonalds cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas. The hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies to flourish is called the US army, air force, navy and Marine Corps."THOMAS FRIEDMAN, right wing US journalist
Nuclear weapons were suddenly back on the political agenda this week. They were in focus because of the determination of protesters at Faslane, and because the government is ready to do the bidding of the US and spend billions more on new missiles that could destroy the earth. The outcry against nuclear weaponry runs deep. At the Faslane protest police arrested over 370 people, including Scottish Socialist Party MSP Tommy Sheridan, Labour MP George Galloway and Green MEP Caroline Lucas. Nuclear weapons show Labour's priorities.
New Labour was falling apart last weekend. The leaders of the project that was supposed to have transformed politics for all time were tearing each other apart. New Labour's sleaze is a result of the way it has sold itself to business, put company chiefs at the centre of decision making, and allowed firms to rake in profits from the NHS.
There is a new sense of fightback in the air. Workers' anger at job cuts, planned factory closures, rotten pay deals and long working hours runs deep. In some areas it is beginning to bubble over. Last Saturday's demonstration against General Motors shutting down the Vauxhall car plant in Luton showed that spirit.
Every day this year a new scandal explodes and fuels the bitterness people feel with New Labour. This week millions of people were sickened by the shocking picture of bodies dumped on the floor of a hospital chapel because cost cutting meant the mortuary was closed.
Just two weeks after the Christmas holiday period we can already see the coming together of the issues that will dominate British politics for the next four months. The main parties are shadow boxing in expectation of an election in May. But on the ground there is growing opposition to the policies they agree with each other on.
PRESS REPORTS this week claimed that Tony Blair was waiting for one crucial endorsement before he could think about launching a general election campaign. It wasn't from a union leader or a pensioner or a student, or any of the people New Labour promised to help in 1997.
THE economic boom is passing millions of workers in Britain by. That is the conclusion of a study in the Financial Times this week. For some people this is proof that there is a growing "north-south divide" in Britain.
An outbreak of Loyalist in-fighting in Northern Ireland hit the headlines this week as two Loyalists were killed and British troops were returned to the streets.
"The great movement which began in Seattle has grown massively." That's the verdict of Todd Chrétien of Socialist Worker's US sister organisation on last week's demonstrations outside the Democratic Party convention in Los Angeles.
SOME 6,000 people gathered at the Marxism 2000 event in central London this week to discuss resistance to global capitalism...
THE RESIGNATION as junior defence minister of Peter Kilfoyle, an enthusiastic supporter of "modernisation", is a sign of the deep crisis engulfing New Labour. Kilfoyle's decision follows Tony Blair's worst ever week, when the press was full of headlines about Labour's betrayals.
NEW Labour's crazy transport policy sums up everything that is wrong with this government. It is a government which helps the smugly well off and spurns the homeless. It showers handouts on "entrepreneurs" but grabs back benefits from the poorest.
THE PROTESTS against the World Trade Organisation this week were a brilliant show of opposition to the multinationals and to the naked rule of profit. The protests showed the anger against the system that squeezes the very life out of people in developing countries so that bankers, bosses and their hangers-on can grow ever richer.
"IT'S LIKE George Orwell's 1984 in there. You can't even go to the toilet without someone in Coventry or London knowing where you're going and for how long." Those were the words of a BT call centre worker in Bristol who was out on strike on Monday along with over 4,000 call centre staff. Their fight is against bullying managers, understaffing and impossible work targets.