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.
31 May 2003
THE STAKES are mounting in the battle over workers' pension rights in France. Sunday saw a new round of massive demonstrations against the Tory government's plan to force workers to work more years, and pay more, for poorer pensions. Around 600,000 people marched in Paris, with tens of thousands more marching in cities across the country.
24 May 2003
THE BATTLE to defend workers' pension rights in France is at a critical stage this week. The Tory government has been rattled by last week's strikes and demonstrations. Up to two million workers joined marches across the country and many more walked out of work.
10 May 2003
THOUSANDS OF teachers could receive redundancy letters this month as schools face the kind of cash squeeze last seen in the dying days of the Tory government.
26 April 2003
TEACHERS STOOD up this week to the way the government's constant testing is destroying children's education and health. The largest teachers' union, the NUT, moved to boycott the national SATs tests for seven, 11 and 14 year olds at its conference in Harrogate. They are absolutely right. The SATs were introduced by the Tories in 1992.
29 March 2003
AN OPEN letter condemning racist hysteria from the media and politicians against refugees will be published as a half-page advert in the Mirror on Tuesday 29 April. This is two days before the May local council elections, where the far right and Tories hope to do well.
29 March 2003
"ONCE OUR boys are fighting, opposition to the war will virtually evaporate." The Blairites, the Tories and the political commentators close to them all agreed on this after the parliamentary debate 10 days ago. A section of the left, believing the media are all-powerful, agreed. How wrong they were.
22 March 2003
THE TORIES and the government are using the cover of war to launch an attack on the firefighters which threatens the freedom of every worker in Britain. Tory defence spokesperson Bernard Jenkins, government ministers and the media are attempting to witch-hunt the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
15 March 2003
THE FIRE dispute is back on after four weeks of talks produced the worst offer yet from the employers and the government. There is pressure from firefighters for more strikes. There are also threats from deputy prime minister John Prescott to use Tory anti-union laws and the cover of war to ban action.
15 March 2003
"YOU MAY be unhappy with Tony Blair's international polices, but look at New Labour's achievements on the domestic front." That's the message coming from some of Blair's ministers and supporters. But Blair's Tory policies at home are creating hardship and misery for millions of people.
18 January 2003
HOME-OWNERS are all middle class. If you've bought your house or got a mortgage you're a property owner, got a stake in the system, been bought off. Any activist must have come across such comments. It was an argument popularised in Britain during the years of Margaret Thatcher's Tory governments in the 1980s. She pushed the notion of a "property-owning democracy".
04 January 2003
Secret cabinet documents from 1972 have just been released to the public. They reveal how working class action terrified the highest levels of government. And they show how solidarity action between workers humbled a powerful right wing cabinet. The Tory government began 1972 full of confidence and determination to hold down workers' pay.
04 January 2003
The events of Bloody Sunday influenced the growth and development of the IRA, which was committed to the armed struggle against the British and Protestant state. Hundreds of angry young men and women flocked to join the IRA. A number of the leaders of the IRA came to the conclusion, however, that while the British army could not militarily defeat them, they could not defeat it.
14 December 2002
A BOGUS group posing as an authority on immigration in Britain has become the toast of the right wing press and Tories. Migrationwatch UK is constantly quoted in the Times, Sun and Daily Mail. These are the papers that relish attacking workers on strike as much as they enjoy bashing refugees. The group's name is supposed to make you think it is a respected think-tank, like Human Rights Watch.
07 December 2002
THEY TALK of modernisation today. Funnily enough that was the language and the fight we faced back then. The employers and the Tory government wanted to break dockers and our employment "scheme", which gave us real protection of jobs and conditions.
23 November 2002
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".