Judith Orr

War criminals exposed

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The Chilcot report went further than many expected in condemning Tony Blair's role in the invasion of Iraq. As Judith Orr says, it also reinforced the need to be vigilant against all warmongers.

It took 12 days for the Chilcot report on the Iraq war to be read aloud non-stop at the Edinburgh Festival event last month. The 2.6 million words of the report were not the whitewash some had feared. In fact they were a confirmation of what so many of those who protested against the war at the time said.

High Dive

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Fiction based on historic events can suffer from the lack of plot surprises when the conclusion, in this case the 1984 Brighton bombing of the hotel the Tory cabinet were staying in, is well known.

So the questions raised throughout are not, will the bomb go off? Will Margaret Thatcher die? They are about the non-celebrity characters and their fate.

Jonathan Lee moves the narrative between the world of IRA volunteers training in Northern Ireland and life behind the scenes of the Grand Hotel in Brighton.

No victory

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The US exit from Iraq was a humiliation for the world's biggest superpower. Barack Obama wanted to fulfil his commitment to pull out of Iraq by 31 December 2011, but he also wanted to leave some troops in place. He didn't get his way. The Iraqi authorities refused to extend an agreement of immunity from prosecution for US troops beyond 2011 - so Obama had to pull them all out.

Obama once described Iraq as the "dumb war", yet in his speech to soldiers in the US marking the pull out he called it "an extraordinary achievement".

Local cuts are a council of despair

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One way in which the coalition government is attempting to deflect anger about its austerity measures is to cut funding to local councils - meaning that the councils themselves are seen as inflicting the pain when libraries, youth centres and sports facilities close.

What makes this a win-win situation for the Tories is that Labour councils with largely working class residents will suffer the most. The poorer the population in a local council area, the less income it will accrue from council tax and other local income, leading the councils to depend on central government subsidy to provide basic services. Yet these are the very councils which have the greatest need for services.

Tories declare war

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The Con-Dem coalition has launched an all-out assault on the public sector and the welfare state in the name of reducing the budget deficit. What will be the impact of these austerity measures? Judith Orr looks at the risk of a double dip recession - and the possibilities of resistance.

It started with the banks going bust and ended up with closing playgrounds. Or as Tory education secretary Michael Gove put it, "Play has to make its contribution to tackling the deficit." Today the economic crisis is being played out in the lives and meagre budgets of millions of ordinary people in Britain as the sheer scale of attacks planned by the government starts to become concrete.

Bloody Sunday: A very British atrocity

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Journalist and socialist Eamonn McCann witnessed the Bloody Sunday massacre in 1972, when British soldiers killed 14 demonstrators in Derry. He spoke to Judith Orr about the long campaign for justice.

You once wrote that the families of those shot on Bloody Sunday didn't need to be told the truth - they just wanted the truth to be told. What was it like in the Guildhall when they finally saw the Saville inquiry findings?

Budget is "Vintage Thatcher"

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The budget was a big gamble for the ruling class. The government has gone on an all out assault against the working class.

They want to shift the burden of the crisis, with great speed and thoroughness, onto the shoulders of the most vulnerable in society. Derek Simpson, leader of the Unite union, called it "Vintage Thatcher" and even Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf described it as a "bloodbath".

Osborne's references to protecting the poorest were pathetic sops to the supposed sensitivities of the Lib Dems - whose collusion made this onslaught possible. They also say everything about where Osborne thinks public opinion is.

Veiled threats

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When a Muslim woman was stopped by police for wearing a niqab while driving in Nantes, western France, last month it gave a warning of what may be to come.

Legislation is due to be tabled this month banning the burqa and niqab in public places in France, including transport, universities, hospitals, job centres and post offices. Women would have to "keep the face uncovered throughout their presence" or face "a refusal to deliver the service demanded". This is despite the fact that less than 2,000 - out of an estimated 1.5 million Muslim women who live in France - are known to wear it.

Interview: Sheila Rowbotham - Women who dreamed of emancipation

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A new generation is taking up the struggle against women's oppression. Sheila Rowbotham spoke to Judith Orr about her latest book celebrating women who were fighting for liberation 100 years ago

Your new book, Dreamers of a New Day, explores the period around the turn of the 20th century. What motivated you to write about this period?

The book has a very long history. When I was writing Century of Women I worked through the period and summarised different aspects of politics and work. But I had material that I wanted to explore in more detail that didn't really fit into that very terse format.

The Labour debate

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Working class people are angry at Labour, but at the same time they are fearful of the prospect of a Tory government. Judith Orr responds to the arguments about Labour and the election

The debate we are having on the pages of Socialist Review about whether socialists should call for a vote for Labour where there isn't a left alternative reflects a very real debate happening across the wider working class movement. After 13 years of Labour in government the bitterness against it among workers is intense.

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