27 March 2004
POLLY TOYNBEE has produced a neat digest of Downing Street press releases over recent weeks. This is a service to the left, since it allows us to itemise New Labour's defence of government policy and reply point by point.
20 March 2004
'NO WAR! No war!" the crowd chanted as the Socialist Party leader, Zapatero, made his acceptance speech in Madrid on Sunday. They did so as a shock election result in Spain removed from office the Tory Popular Party of Aznar. Aznar was the one of the key European leaders who most backed the war against Iraq, and a year ago posed with Bush and Blair in the Azores as they launched that war.
20 March 2004
SPAIN'S ELECTORATE shocked the world by voting out its pro-war government on Sunday. There is no mainstream party you can vote for in Britain that has been unequivocally against the war. The Tories backed the war, the Lib Dems supported the war once it started.
20 March 2004
SPAIN'S TORY government tried to blame ETA for the Madrid explosions as part of its attempt to hang on to power using Spanish nationalism in a completely reactionary manner. Under the Spanish republic established in 1931 Catalonia and the Basque country had their own governments. Franco's fascists destroyed this independence when they overthrew the republic in the civil war of 1936-9.
13 March 2004
AROUND 100 people lobbied a Calderdale (Halifax) council meeting on Wednesday of last week in noisy protest at the threat of closure of a popular local school, Mixenden Community Primary. Councillors callously voted for closure-all Labour and Tory councillors. Just one Lib Dem and three Nazi BNP councillors voted against.
13 March 2004
THE GREEK centre-left party that pursued Blairite policies for four years was swept out of office at last Sunday's general election. New Democracy, the Tory party, took 47 percent of the vote to 41 percent for Pasok, equivalent to the Labour Party in Britain.
24 January 2004
I got involved when Laurie Flynn, who was working on Socialist Worker, dragged me up to the trial in Shrewsbury. He'd gone up there week in and week out, sometimes day in and day out.
29 November 2003
THE TORY candidate for London mayor, Steven Norris, is taking over as chairman of Jarvis, one of the top firms to benefit from privatisation. Jarvis faces an investigation into its maintenance of the rails at Potters Bar, scene of a fatal crash last year.
08 November 2003
AROUND A third of the undergraduates at King's College, Cambridge University, are expected to withhold their rent. This is despite the scare tactics used by the head of the college (who stood as a Tory in the 1997 parliamentary elections) and the college bursar (who was a key figure in the privatisation of the railways).
01 November 2003
THERE'S A simple reason why the Tories are doing each other in with the ferocity of a Quentin Tarantino movie. Tony Blair is doing everything a Conservative prime minister would dream of, and more. What hope is there for the toffs and toadies of the Tory party when they find their nasty measures already inflicted by a Labour government? Much more importantly, what hope is there for millions of working people who feel utterly betrayed?
27 September 2003
THIS CRACKING film about the power struggle between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown was dropped by ITV as "too sensitive". Luckily Channel 4 are screening it on the eve of Labour's conference. Like the recent The Project, it combines memorable newsreel footage with drama. The actors playing Blair and Brown are scarily true to life, although the Peter Mandelson character never gets close to explaining the man's power. The film shows how the drive to "modernise" Labour was born out of frustration with years of defeat by the Tories.
13 September 2003
TONY BLAIR will go if the anger over his lies and the war on Iraq comes together with the deep bitterness about people's lives in Britain. And that no longer seems a remote possibility. Blair's popularity and satisfaction with the government are both plummeting. The ebbing of support recalls nothing so much as the death throes of Tory leaders Thatcher and Major.
23 August 2003
Larzac success is a great sign for Paris
The Larzac festival in France two weeks ago was the biggest anti-capitalist event France has seen. Over 250,000 people attended. Besides the usual activists lots of people came to the festival out of the vast social movements that have swept France in the last six months. Workers have struck against the Tory government's plans to attack pensions.
09 August 2003
BERNARD Manning, who has made his name out of telling racist "jokes", says he will not play the British National Party's "festival" in August. Manning was booked by his manager to play at the BNP's "Red, White and Blue" annual event, to be held in a field on the edge of Sawley village, Lancashire. Manning's manager claims, "it's just the same as playing at a Labour or Tory event." But Manning claims he knew nothing of the booking.
09 August 2003
THE TORIES sank further into the gutter last week with a new attack on migrants coming to Britain. Liam Fox, Tory health spokesman, said a Tory government would force immigrants to pay to be screened for illnesses like TB and HIV in their own country before they could get travel visas.
26 July 2003
THE NEWLY formed Westgate-on-Sea Socialist Alliance last week helped win an important victory. Kent County Council had sent letters to the parents of three pupils at St Crispin's infants school telling them they could not be offered a place at the local junior school, St Saviour's, because of lack of resources. The parents had approached their local councillor and their Tory MP for support but heard nothing more.
21 June 2003
FRENCH TRADE union leaders may have allowed their Tory government to survive the mass protests over its attack on workers' pension rights. There were two more days of strikes and demonstrations involving hundreds of thousands of workers last week, and more protests were planned this week. But they were not on the scale of the earlier strikes that repeatedly paralysed the country in recent weeks.
21 June 2003
LAST WEEK'S headlines in the mainstream press showing a large increase in the rise of sexually transmitted infections will come as no surprise to anyone who works in the area of sexual health. Sexual health workers, many with great expectations of a Labour government after years of the Tories and their back to basics morality, have been lobbying the government consistently over crippled resources and a steady rise in infections. The Sun's shock warning "Sex could kill you!" laid the blame at the feet of irresponsible young people. It also blamed asylum seekers for the rise in HIV. A cursory glance at government policy gives a truer picture.
14 June 2003
THE TRIAL of strength between French workers and their Tory government reached a decisive stage on Tuesday. The government pressed ahead with its attacks on workers' pension rights, presenting its plans in the country's National Assembly.
07 June 2003
TUESDAY SAW another huge show of strength by French workers in their fight with the country's Tory government. Strikers shut down much of the country. But the government was gambling on some union leaders now holding back from the all-out action which could bring workers victory.