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Unmasking the State

 

Our latest blogs on the state

Blog Date

Stop the fast track to war!
The official reason for sending British warplanes to support the US bombing campaign in Iraq is as much of a fraud as the pretexts put forward for the illegal, disastrous Anglo-American 2003 invasion.

26/09/2014

Despite ‘No’ vote, Scottish referendum advances struggle for real democracy
The momentum of Scotland’s independence movement, although thwarted on this occasion by an unholy ConDemLab alliance and its corporate-financial sponsors, has nevertheless driven the UK state into a profound constitutional crisis.

22/09/2014

The year we found our rulers out
As 2013 draws to a close, we can say with some certainty that while none of the major questions facing humanity are any nearer finding a solution, there is a renewed determination amongst ordinary people to reject how things stand in the search for answers.

20/12/2013

Corporations get 'keys to Europe' under trade deal
In recent history, only nation states had the attribute of sovereignty, the power to govern a defined area, to make laws and exercise force in defence of perceived interests. Now what is called “corporate sovereignty” is assuming a superior position in the political hierarchy.

09/12/2013

Corporate power has sidelined Lincoln's vision
Abraham Lincoln’s two-minute speech at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, delivered 150 years ago today, during the country’s bitter civil war, looks back to the founding principles of the American revolution and forward to a democratic society for all.

19/11/2013

Parliament is spooked by the spooks
A parliament that cannot defend civil liberties and human rights against the secret state is not fit for purpose and ought to be sent packing. That’s one conclusion you could draw from the pathetic performance of the Intelligence and Security Committee yesterday.

08/11/2013

Snowden calls for support for A Manifesto for Truth
While the Guardian is targeted by the state for publishing Greenwald’s articles exposing mass surveillance of its citizens, with few public figures coming forward to defend the paper, in Germany the response is different.

04/11/2013

Cameron and Obama: puppets of the state within the state
There are two “democracies” where the secret state within the state is pulling the strings of politicians so hard that their movements resemble those of puppets. The hidden apparatus is so powerful that to challenge it is to court accusations tantamount to treason.

29/10/2013

Exclusive: Sell the Acropolis, says Merkel in bugged phone call
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has complained to President Barack Obama about the bugging of her mobile phone by America’s infamous National Security Agency. In fact, according to whistleblower Edward Snowden, the NSA has access to just about everyone’s emails and phone conversations.

24/10/2013

The surveillance state tightens its grip on us all
New laws that will mean ID checks for all, state supervision of the media, gagging of campaigns in the run-up to an election and a threat against publishers of devastating accounts of secret surveillance. Russia? China? Nope, dear old Britain.

14/10/2013

Mail sell-off is market state's 'wild experiment'
The privatisation of the Royal Mail after centuries in state hands is not simply a carve-up of a public service for the benefit of big business and shareholders. It’s also another step down the road towards a fully-fledged market state.

13/09/2013

How the state plans to shut down dissent
Later this month, the Trades Union Congress is backing a march and rally in Manchester against the ConDems’ carve-up of the NHS. Next year, a repeat campaign could be deemed illegal under legislation due for debate in parliament today.

03/09/2013

Salute Bradley Manning, victim of the secret state
The front pages are full of a statement by Bradley Manning that he will try now to live as a woman, reconciling what he explains has been a lifelong personal difficulty. They lasciviously reprint the picture that was introduced into his trial.

23/08/2013

Kafka's nightmare goes global
We are all potential “terrorists” now, at least in the eyes of the state. Why else would the police want to stop 61,000 people at entry points into Britain during the last year under the infamous schedule 7 of the anti-terror laws of 2000.

21/08/2013

US-UK security state strikes back
The outrageous detention of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner for nine hours at Heathrow airport yesterday gives a new meaning to the “special relationship” between Britain and the United States.

19/08/2013

Immigrant checkpoints are naked state racism
Today is Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, marking the start of the liquidation by the Nazis of the “Gipsy” camp at Auschwitz on 2 August 1944. Today is also being marked by racist, illegal state targeting of immigrants on the streets of Britain. The parallels are clearly not exact, but the sentiments are.

02/08/2013

George Obsorne - CEO of Britain PLC
“The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” So wrote Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848. And today George Osborne confirmed how true this observation remains.

19/07/2013

Labour provides cover for state spies
Labour’s shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, will say today that she is “appalled” by revelations about the Metropolitan Police’s use of undercover agents.

08/07/2013

Secret police show how rotten the state is
The revelation by former Met officer turned whistleblower Peter Francis that he was ordered to find dirt on the Stephen Lawrence family in the wake of their son’s murder is shocking in itself. But it’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the state within the state.

25/06/2013

Snowden exposes how a whole country is under suspicion
US whistleblower Edward Snowden’s courageous decision to lift the lid on the secret state is dramatically changing the stakes in the war between covert spy agencies and ordinary people.

11/06/2013

The state is a greater danger than the EDL
In the wake of Woolwich, the need to unite communities against threats of all kinds goes without saying. The question is, however, who do we unite against and for what purpose?

28/05/2013

The state feeds on terror and ignores serious threats to society
Events in Woolwich yesterday show that the state is totally geared up for emergency action when it wants to be – committees meet, officials are called in, politicians focus their attention and insist something must be done.

23/05/2013

Amazon and Google having a laugh at taxpayers' expense
Whatever angle you come at it from, the state at national level, as well as key global agencies, exist to make life easier for corporations like Amazon and Google when it comes to taxation.

17/05/2013

ConDems attack rule of law with sledgehammer
The slide to outright authoritarian rule continues apace. Another assault on access to the courts system, this time through restrictions to the judicial reviews process, is a further nail in the coffin of the rule of law and thus to our democratic rights.

23/04/2013

Iron fist of the US state comes down hard in Boston
The reaction to the Boston marathon attack reveals a dangerous degeneration at the very heart of the US state, from president Barack Obama downwards. In truth, if you want to know what martial law looks like in the 21st century, what happened in Boston says it all.

22/04/2013

Le Carré's anger finds an echo at Guantanamo
John Le Carré, the consummate spy story writer, insists that his first best-seller was a figment of his own fevered imagination. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold was simply, “a bad dream”, he says, in an article to mark the 50 years since its publication.

15/04/2013

Dancing to the tune of the far right
Prime Minister David Cameron has chosen the pages of the Sun newspaper to launch a crackdown on immigrants. In what the tabloid calls his “manifesto”, he claims that “frankly this country became a soft touch”.

25/03/2013

Political system 'incapable' of solving crisis, warns leading Tory
The ConDem government’s plan to, in effect, engineer a state-financed, speculative housing boom in a bid to stimulate expansion, sums up the increasingly desperate state of both the economy and the political classes.

21/03/2013

Beware the threat of rule by Privy Council
The agreement of the three main parties to use the Privy Council to create a Royal Charter to impose controls over newspapers shows their utter contempt for the democratic process.

19/03/2013

Dark days for rights as attacks gather pace
A massive attack against deeply enshrined rights is gathering pace and the alarm bells are ringing in unlikely quarters. Never before have they been rung so thick and fast.

05/03/2013

A decade of weapons of mass disinformation about Iraq
News that the BBC is preparing a special programme to mark the 10th anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq doesn’t feel you with joy, even though it might contain new material about the Blair government’s use – or, rather, misuse – of intelligence.

19/02/2013

Real democracy needs a new constitution
Watching the impressive Steven Spielberg film Lincoln brought home how important a constitution is to a country and the momentous, often historic, struggle it takes to bring it into line with contemporary social circumstances.

08/02/2013

EU referendum also about who rules Britain
In raising questions about Britain’s membership of the European Union, the leader of the Tory Party has put constitutional questions about the state and democracy on the agenda. While David Cameron would like to confine these to the EU, we should make how Britain itself is governed the main question.

25/01/2013

Federal agencies spy for corporate America
The United States is always awash with conspiracy theories, some more outlandish than others. But their source does not lie simply within the imagination of those who develop them. In fact, real, actual conspiracies by the American state constantly fuel people’s deep suspicions about their government.

08/01/2013

When people decided that enough was enough
Long ago, society was being overwhelmed by a series of catastrophes to which there seemed no answers. Unemployment, poverty and inequality were rife as a global crisis took hold. The old capitalist economic system had run its course and was unsustainable.

31/12/2012

Something rotten in the state of Britain
A plot by the state against a weak government of the day, unable to govern on its own, amidst a grave economic crisis. Sounds familiar? Well, this is not actually about “plebgate” and the Tories – though it could just as well be – but Harold Wilson and Labour.

21/12/2012

Tories have Human Rights Act in their sights
The imminent appearance of the parliamentary commission’s report into a new Bill of Rights is giving the Tory right an opportunity to bray against what they call “a court sitting overseas” – the European Court of Human Rights.

17/12/2012

Finucane's murder reveals the state within the state
A state within a state signifies the fact that sections of the armed forces, police or intelligence services are running their own agenda, often with deadly consequences. They take it upon themselves to defeat perceived enemies of the state.

14/12/2012

Secret courts one step closer
“The Ministry of Justice is transforming the justice system”, says its website. But behind the jargon of transformation, transparency and modernisation, there is an actual demolition of justice taking place in Parliament.

04/12/2012

Cameron as salesman for the merchants of death
One thing is certain in British politics. Whichever party is in government the sale of arms to countries with oppressive regimes will continue unabated. David Cameron is only the latest in a long list of prime ministers acting as a salesman for an industry that deals in large-scale death.

06/11/2012

A democratic Europe is worth fighting for
The fracturing of the European Union’s existing structures under the weight of the economic and financial crisis should be an opportunity to promote an alternative to a body that is more bureaucracy than democracy, more pro-business than pro-people.

02/11/2012

The Levellers' light shines on
Some 365 years ago this weekend, soldiers known as “agitators” and their civilian supporters, sprang a political surprise of historic proportions. They openly challenged the leaders of the New Model Army about the future direction of the English Revolution.

26/10/2012

Young people victims of an uncaring state
The British establishment, the state and its institutions, the media – none of them really give a damn about young people. And if they say otherwise, they’re lying. That’s the conclusion not only from the Jimmy Savile scandal but an investigation into the deaths of children and young people in prison too.

24/10/2012

Drone attacks are state-sponsored terrorism
On 17 March 2011 some 40 individuals – including 35 government-appointed tribal leaders known as maliks, as well as government officials – gathered in Datta Khel town centre in North Waziristan in Pakistan.

28/09/2012

A state that serves and protects the powerful
The self-sacrificing and inspiring struggle by relatives of the Merseyside fans who needlessly died at Hillsborough in 1989 to establish the truth, must add to the erosion of public confidence in state institutions of rule and power.

13/09/2012

Weapons of mass deception: we reveal that Bush-Blair transcript
A transcript of a crucial conversation between Tony Blair and George Bush just before the invasion of Iraq seems certain to be suppressed by the Coalition government, despite a ruling that it should be published.

17/07/2012

G4S - 'securing' their world, not ours
Despite its inability to fulfil its London 2012 contract, the rise and rise of G4S is the story of the privatisation of the state and an increasing emphasis on “threats” and “security concerns” aimed at keeping people in thrall to authority.

13/07/2012

EU-IMF blackmail aimed at Ireland and Greece
The principle of self-determination of nations may, to some, appear irrelevant in the context of the eurozone crisis. The 17 countries signed up to the single currency are all, on the face of it, independent states free to determine their own destiny.

28/05/2012

Phone hacking saga to run and run
The charging of former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in connection with phone hacking at the News of the World can only add to the growing sense of political crisis in Britain.

15/05/2012

Olympics clampdown takes sinister turn
The Police-Military Games – formerly known as the London 2012 Olympics but now rebranded – are set to challenge Berlin 1936 for the title of most authoritarian sporting event of all time.

30/04/2012

A corporatocracy in all but name
The scandal engulfing the Cameron government over ministers’ close links with the Murdoch media empire, as well as promises made about BSkyB before the 2010 election, is symptomatic of a wider political disease called corporatocracy.

26/04/2012

Supermax prisons: America's own gulag
The European Court of Human Right’s extraordinary decision that a lifetime of solitary confinement in a “supermax” prison in the United States would not amount to a violation of human rights flies in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

10/04/2012

The Big Brother state comes calling
Make no mistake, the plans to extend surveillance into real-time monitoring of every type of electronic communication do not originate with the ConDem government. They represent the demands of the secret state tooling up for social confrontation.

03/04/2012

Market state wrecks public services
The ConDems’ health bill is part of a major shift in the role of the state that dates back to the Thatcher period and the onset of corporate-driven globalisation in the early 1980s. Rather than a roll-back of history, we need real alternatives to what is effectively a market state.

20/03/2012

How the system is undemocratic
As the Occupy movement in London (and elsewhere), discusses next steps, it is as well to restate some basics about the extremely limited democracy we live under and what the alternatives might be.

13/03/2012

Murdoch and the Met uncut
The Leveson media ethics inquiry, now in its fourth month, is unravelling an increasingly sinister web of corruption between the Murdoch media and the Met. It stretches from criminal elements in south east London right up to hacking the phones of politicians and the Royal Family.

01/03/2012

Institutionally beyond reform
Wheeling out Cressida Dick to give the Metropolitan Police’s reaction to the conviction of two men for the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence almost 19 years ago says it all really.

04/01/2012

Boycott the Olympic war games!
Just in case you missed yesterday's news, next year will see the inauguration of the first Military and Security Olympics. They will take place over 17 days in London and other venues around the country.

16/12/2011

Militarized policing comes to America
The crackdown on the Wall Street occupation and similar actions around the country have prompted two authors to warn about an increasing militarization of America’s policing.

29/11/2011

Time to sack the watchdog
Two advisors have resigned from the community group set up by the Independent Police Complaints Commission after the police killing of Mark Duggan in Tottenham last August.

22/11/2011

Bond dealers put a price on democracy
The financial markets that have forced out the Greek government and are on the verge of bringing down Italy’s, now instinctively prefer to sideline what is left of the democratic process if it means they have a better chance of getting their money back.

08/11/2011

State violence at Dale Farm
The reality is that the state does not hesitate to use violence, undercover agents, bugging, provocations, and other ruthless and illegal methods to enforce the rule of the few over the many and to selectively defend the laws of private property and state power as and when it chooses.

20/10/2011

'A blank cheque for America's war state'
Ceremonies that will mark Sunday’s 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks cannot disguise the fact that the dead have been cruelly misused to justify building a militarised, surveillance state that is a greater threat to Americans than Al-Qaeda will ever be.

09/09/2011

Punish the poor 1930s style back with a vengeance
Fake data claiming that the majority of those who took part in the recent riots had previous records is behind the government’s plans for a new, punitive regime.

08/09/2011

Torture exposes West's hollow claims about democracy
The indictment gets longer. Still wanted over the illegal invasion of Iraq, former prime minister Blair could be open to prosecution over New Labour’s secret collaboration with the Gaddafi regime, leading international lawyer Philippe Sands has suggested.

05/09/2011

Essex council set for ethnic cleansing at Dale Farm
Tensions are mounting as the August 31 deadline for the forced eviction of up to 400 Travelling people from their homes in Basildon, Essex draws near. Campaigners are appealing for a mass attendance at Camp Constant from tomorrow.

26/08/2011

The state tools up for confrontation
The summonsing of social networks Facebook, Twitter and the Blackberry messenger service to the Home Office in London today is part of a growing crackdown by the state in the wake of the riots in a number of English cities.

24/08/2011

Challenge the hate-filled state
The low level of debate at the emergency recall of Parliament underlines the yawning gulf between rulers and ruled, and the establishment’s poisonous hatred for working class youth.

12/08/2011

The story of a riot foretold
Riots across London are a result of rising anger against the corrupt and repressive Metropolitan Police, and against the poverty and unemployment hitting the poorest first.

08/08/2011

Met 'institutionally corrupt' says ex-spy
It’s a plum number: £260,000 a year salary, Thames-side flat, luxury car complete with chauffeur and a bullet-proof pension. And there’s a vacancy if you feel like applying.

02/08/2011

Hacking shows state's corrupt underbelly
The News of the World phone-hacking scandal shines a spotlight on the sinister side of the tabloid media, the police and Parliament at a time when these institutions are already in crisis and increasingly discredited.

07/07/2011

In memory of Brian Haw
A World to Win salutes the uncompromising determination of Brian Haw, who became a symbol, not only for the anti-war movement, but for the basic democratic right to demonstrate and protest. His death from cancer at only 62 robs us of an unbending voice and symbol of resistance to the state.

20/06/2011

A one-party state for the rich
Shocked or surprised at Ed Miliband equating those struggling on benefits in the absence of jobs at decent wages with bankers and executives whose salaries resemble telephone numbers? You shouldn’t be.

14/06/2011

Reclaim democracy now!
Just because global elites are always harping on about “democracy”, claiming it as the ideal political system, doesn’t mean that we abstain from the question. The challenge is to fight for a more advanced democracy than society has achieved so far.

27/05/2011

Power is not a dirty word
The occupation of Puerta del Sol in Madrid and actions in other Spanish cities organised by the Real Democracy Now/M-15 movement, openly challenges the country’s economic and status quo.

24/05/2011

A climate of suppression
Pre-emptive policing aimed at suppressing dissent and frightening people so that they will think twice about taking part in protests, is fast becoming the norm in a Britain more unequal and divided than ever before.

10/05/2011

Big Society's sinister school policing plan
News that the government plans to involve school students in policing their playgrounds and local neighbourhoods confirms the sinister intent behind the so-called Big Society project.

01/04/2011

Revolt heading your way sometime soon
When the wave of revolutions and resistance reaches Europe from North Africa and the Middle East, as it surely will, what happens in Britain depends on how we prepare for the eventuality.

25/02/2011

Welcome to the market state
From welfare to market state is the name of the project that Thatcher began, Blair and Brown continued and Cameron is intent on completing. The words he uses – 'choice', 'diversity' and 'freedom' – seem harmless. But the real purpose is barely disguised.

22/02/2011

Bigger state no answer to 'Big Society'
David Cameron’s crusade for the 'Big Society' should compel its opponents to question and reconsider the role of the state in our corporate-owned, profit-driven society. Unfortunately, it has done nothing of the kind.

15/02/2011

The dirty hand of the state exposed
But for the exposure of police agent Mark Kennedy, there is every likelihood that six climate activists would shortly be staring at long prison sentences, framed on conspiracy charges by the state. You can be sure that no one at Scotland Yard would have given a damn.

11/01/2011

Parliament as a dead parrot
The events in and around Parliament yesterday represent a watershed – not just for university students but for society at large. Higher education officially became a business and the present political process was shown to have less life in it than a dead parrot.

10/12/2010

The truth behind secret diplomacy
For all Washington’s outrage at Wikileak’s publication of hundreds of thousands of hitherto secret diplomatic cables from America’s embassies around the world, they confirm much that was already known.

30/11/2010

Game over as the Met's mask slips
Just in case any student still thinks that the police’s role ought to be to facilitate protests and demonstrations, the commissioner of the Met, Sir Paul Stephenson, has put them right. As they showed in London on Wednesday, the police as a state force have other loyalties.

26/11/2010

The state prepares for a showdown
Rank-and-file students and their national leaders are travelling in opposite directions. At college and university level, students are preparing for further action against soaring tuition fees. At national level, the Labour-led leadership of the National Union of Students is heading for the hills.

15/11/2010

Spooks muscle in
The result of the toner cartridge bomb plot, as with all such individual acts of terrorism, will be to further strengthen, rather than weaken, the anti-democratic arm of the state to use against its own citizens.

02/11/2010

The great pensions robbery
Public sector workers should pay more and retire later on smaller pensions, according to former New Labour minister Lord Hutton. His proposals form part of the continuing pensions rip-off by both the state and the private sector that condemns millions to hardship in older age.

08/10/2010

America's 'enemies within' number millions
“Imagine being among several hundred million people who wake up each day having to prove they are not a ‘terrorist’ by whatever arbitrary means the government has decided to both define the terms of such a crime.”

28/09/2010

The disaster that is the 'war on drugs'
When the outgoing president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), Sir Ian Gilmore, calls for an end to the state’s prohibition of drug use, acknowledging that the policy has failed abysmally, you can guess what the official reaction will be.

17/08/2010

Petraeus deepens Obama's problems
Only a month after taking charge of US troops in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, commander of US and NATO forces, has openly challenged President Obama. Coming amidst increasing political turmoil, it is a dangerous moment for his presidency.

16/08/2010

Public money - private profiteering
As NHS hospitals struggle to make £20 billion in cuts imposed under the previous New Labour government’s spending plans, a select group of large building contractors and developers will be smiling all the way to the bank.

13/08/2010

When GOD spoke to Cameron and Clegg
What we learned from last night’s BBC documentary on the formation of the first peacetime coalition government for almost 80 years is that in times of crisis, the state will always step into the breach and bang heads together.

30/07/2010

Coalition broadens its attacks
The fragile Cameron-Clegg Coalition is drawing in more forces with mad but bad schemes to help with the assault on public sector services. And they are using little known, fast-track parliamentary procedures to get their way.

28/07/2010

Wanted: a democracy for the people
The Tory wing of the Coalition’s plans for the “Big Society”, which now include a massive shake-up of the police force, are not simply a cover for public spending cuts. They are far more sinister than that.

27/07/2010

A law unto themselves
The decision not to bring charges in relation to the death of Ian Tomlinson following his beating by the police at the G20 demonstration on April 1, 2009 is truly shocking. But it should not be surprising.

23/07/2010

US secret state out of control
If you think that the American state is all-knowing, all-powerful and always in control, you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, some of the most sensitive areas of state activity are not actually under the control of federal employees at all but are in the hands of contractors answerable to shareholders.

20/07/2010

Brutality against young people in the criminal injustice system
It’s taken five years and a determined struggle by parents and children’s rights campaigners to get the misnamed Ministry of Justice to release a secret manual used by the prison service to control young people.

19/07/2010

A very 'public execution'
The eleventh-hour arrival of former England footballer Paul Gascoigne at the scene of the manhunt in Rothbury over the weekend certainly was bizarre. But unfortunately Gazza’s efforts at mediating a non-fatal outcome were unsuccessful. Like Raoul Moat’s brother and uncle, the footballer was turned away by the police.

12/07/2010

Coalition prepares for showdown with unions
A massive provocation against the trade unions in the public sector is openly being prepared by the Coalition government as it prepares to force through spending cuts that will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs and wreck vital services

05/07/2010

Deprivation and inequality - New Labour's record
You didn’t have to wait for the Lib-Tory coalition for an assault to begin on living standards, health and education. All you had to do was endure years of New Labour and watch inequality rise sharply.

02/07/2010

Derry remembers Bloody Sunday dead
Thousands of people will march into the centre of Derry today along the route that a civil rights march planned to take on 30 January 1972. This time they will be marking the publication of the Saville report into the cold-blooded shooting dead of 14 people by British paratroopers on what became Bloody Sunday.

15/06/2010

A very British coup
The political marriage between David Cameron and Nick Clegg in a ceremony in the garden at the back of Downing Street yesterday is not simply the result of a general election that failed to produce a party with an overall majority. Britain’s first coalition government for 70 years also shows that the process that led to New Labour is still at work.

13/05/2010

The uncertainty principle in politics
The break-up of parliamentary politics is happening right before our eyes, most dramatically shown in the resignation under pressure of Gordon Brown and the frantic moves to cobble together some sort of coalition before the money markets decide Britain is another basket case.

11/05/2010

It's all about power
The political crisis that has erupted in Britain following the general election provides a window of opportunity to bring the most basic of questions – who rules the country and in whose interests – right to the top of the agenda.

10/05/2010

Election crisis: markets call the shots
The hung parliament that has resulted from Britain’s inconclusive general election is certain to lead to a prolonged period of political instability slap bang in the middle of the gravest economic and financial crisis since the 1930s.

07/05/2010

Voters in for 'the shock of their lives'
Nothing that happened during this election has persuaded us that our call on people to hang on to their votes and instead focus on building the framework for a new political democracy in Britain was mistaken. In fact, quite the opposite.

06/05/2010

Devolution leaves power in same hands
The Scottish people have first hand experience of what it is to have greater devolution without any real power over their lives and communities.

04/05/2010

Election deepens political crisis
The death at the weekend of writer Alan Sillitoe and the looming possibility of a hung Parliament have no direct connection. And yet looking back at Sillitoe’s writings, and reflecting on the latest twists in the election campaign, you can detect a profound shift taking place in British history.

27/04/2010

PR is not the road to happiness
As the likelihood grows of the Lib Dems holding the balance of power in terms of seats after May 6, so does the debate about what price Nick Clegg’s party might exact for joining a New Labour or Tory-led coalition government. Centre stage is the idea of replacing the present voting system with PR or proportional representation.

26/04/2010

A future unfair for most
Once upon a time in the 18th century, a Frenchman wrote “the style is the man”. Studying New Labour’s election manifesto published yesterday, it is wise to keep this in mind.

13/04/2010

Privatisation by stealth set to soar
Whatever the result of the general election, private sector corporations are eagerly looking forward to getting their hands on larger and larger areas of public services as state spending comes under pressure because of the budget deficit.

12/04/2010

History points the way
The idea of organising independently of the state in order to challenge the established political order, which we put forward in the shape of People’s Assemblies, is not new or foreign to British social history.

19/03/2010

Staying out of the hands of the state
The flowering in the numbers of civil society, non-state organisations, groups and campaigns is the reverse side of an historic decline in participation in formal political processes in Britain and an ever-increasing alienation from existing power structures.

16/03/2010

Hang on to your vote!
So the latest opinion polls are again pointing to a “hung” Parliament after the upcoming general election, with no single party able to form a majority government. In that event, say constitutional experts, the queen and her advisors could play a key role in deciding who is asked to form a government.

23/02/2010

Mafia and Italian state target minorities
A Kafkaesque decree handed down by a magistrate in the town of Pesaro on the east coast of Italy has sentenced two human rights defenders, Roberto Malini and Dario Picciau to prison or payment of a heavy fine.

22/02/2010

An open and shut case
Of course MI5 doesn’t collude in torture, as wrongly suggested in the case of Binyam Mohamed. Nor do they suppress documents. And how do we know all this to be true? Because the head of the Security Service, Jonathan Hunt, and two cabinet ministers – foreign secretary David Miliband and Home Secretary Alan Johnson – say so.

12/02/2010

Obama waves big stick at Iran
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of Tony Blair’s appearance before the exceptionally tame Iraq war inquiry was his pointed remarks about Iran being next in line for military action. And it seems it was more than the usual Blair “I’d do it again” bravado and that his connections to the White House are as strong as when he was prime minister.

01/02/2010

Time for 'regime change' in Britain
Whatever Tony Blair says or doesn’t say at the Iraq inquiry will not alter the historical record. Blair and George W. Bush went to war on a pretext, pursuing regime change in Baghdad behind the smokescreen of weapons of mass destruction that existed in imagination only.

29/01/2010

Not a crime to seek asylum
An early campaigner for women’s rights, philosopher John Stuart Mill argued 141 years ago that the treatment of women was the measure of any society’s civilisation. By that measure, today’s Britain is a sorry place, as campaigners against the brutal treatment of female asylum seekers, the most vulnerable women in the world, have documented.

12/01/2010

Political crisis gathers momentum
The first thing to say about the divisions within New Labour over Gordon Brown’s leadership is that there are no principles involved on any side of the civil war that rumbles on at Westminster. All the plotters without exception are concerned about one thing above all other considerations – their political futures.

11/01/2010

Ending the 'war on terror'
So now air passengers will be subjected to the equivalent of a strip search as the futile “war on terror” enters its second decade. The next step, surely, is to get travellers to leave all their clothes in a bag and fly in a bathrobe. This is how absurd the world has become, with no solution in sight.

04/01/2010