Lindsey German

Uniting Round the Key Issues

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Lindsey German reports from the successful first annual conference of Respect.

There have been repeated predictions of its demise - most recently from the employers' house magazine, the Economist. But Respect's first annual conference, held in London on the final weekend of last month, was a success which defied even the highest expectations. Over 300 delegates from across England and Wales were engrossed for two days in debates which ranged from Diego Garcia to Palestine, from anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) to asylum seekers.

The Rovers Returns

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Review of 'The Closed Circle' by Jonathan Coe, Viking £17.99

For those who found The Rotters' Club riveting, here is the sequel. Jonathan Coe takes his characters 25 years on from their schooldays in Birmingham to work, relationships, love and politics - again mostly in Birmingham with the odd walk-on part for Italy, Denmark and London.

Resistance: The Heart of the Matter

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Manoeuvres at Labour Party conference showed contempt for democracy here and in Iraq.

For the third year in succession, Labour's annual conference has allowed Tony Blair to get away with it on Iraq. Voting down a resolution which called for an early date for British troops to withdraw, delegates refused to look reality in the face. Short term interests - the need for a united conference, especially on the day of the Hartlepool by-election and shortly before a projected general election next May - took precedence over long term Labour interests, let alone the interests of the Iraqi people.

Respect Tests 'Safe' Hartlepool Seat

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'There aren't many Muslim votes in Hartlepool,' was the cynical response of a Blair aide when asked whether Labour stood to lose one of its safest seats in the forthcoming by-election there.

There may not be that many Muslims in Hartlepool, but there are plenty of traditional Labour voters there who are determined not to vote Labour again. That was the message of the 110-strong public meeting organised by Respect in Hartlepool in the middle of the August holidays.

The packed hotel room heard the Respect MP George Galloway, Unison executive member Yunus Bakhsh, the local candidate for Respect in the by-election John Bloom, and myself make the case for a left alternative.

Putting Respect on the Map

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Mayoral candidate Lindsey German assesses the impact of the vote.

The centre cannot hold; things fall apart. That's the only conclusion to be drawn from Britain's 'Super Thursday' on 10 June, when right wing minority parties achieved high votes, but the left also put itself on the map and in some areas achieved astonishing gains.

Women on the Front Line: Can't Beat the Real Thing

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Lindsey German receives an enthusiastic response campaigning for the 10 June election, as these extracts from her 'blog' reveal.

The Double Shift
Tuesday 4 May

Alarm goes off at 5.30am and as usual when I have to get up very early I have slept very badly. I'm surprised - as usual again - by how many people are up and working. The people who drive the buses and trains, bake the bread and clean the streets have already been up for hours. This army of workers which keeps London moving is for the most part badly paid and taken for granted by the government.

Iraq: A Year to Remember

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A year since the invasion of Iraq and the government is still in a state of crisis. Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, analyses why.

Time to draw a line. Time to move on. So the government exhorts us as it tries to turn its back on the monumental failure which is the war and occupation of Iraq. Yet the line persistently refuses to be drawn. The government lies crushed under the nightmare of the war, desperately trying to move on to any other issue. It is now nearly a year since the statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down in Baghdad to proclamations of Iraqi liberation.

Unwon Hearts and Minds

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Review of 'Bush in Babylon', Tariq Ali, Verso £13 and 'The New Mandarins of American Power', Alex Callinicos, Polity £12.99

Richard Perle, self styled 'Prince of Darkness' and close adviser of George Bush, recently admitted that the invasion of Iraq was illegal. At around the same time news leaked that Saddam Hussein desperately tried to sue for peace just before the war began. Both reinforce the most damning fact of all - that the US and Britain were determined to go to war last March regardless of the circumstances.

Anti-War Primers

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Review of ’Weapons of Mass Deception‘ by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, Robinson £6.99; ’The Iraq War Reader‘ by Micah L Sifry and Christopher Cerf,
Touchstone £12.99; ’Iraq‘ by Dilip Hiro, Granta £8.99; ’You Back the Attack! We‘ll Bomb Who We Want!‘ by Micah Ian Wright, Seven Stories Press £10.99

Few of us will forget the scenes of George Bush piloting a plane onto the flightdeck of the USS Abraham Lincoln off the coast of San Diego, California, in May. Against a banner proclaiming ’Mission accomplished‘, he declared the Iraq war over: ’We have fought for the cause of liberty, and for the peace of the world.‘ A dramatic moment and a great image for the president, who faces re-election next year. But it was one of the most expensive photo opportunities in history: an estimated $1 million.

War and Resistance: Within Political Inches

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Andrew Murray and Lindsey German reflect on the achievements of the anti-war movement.

Colonial war has now brought Tony Blair and, by extension, the entire New Labour project, to the edge of a richly deserved political abyss. If the most reactionary prime minister ever associated with a democratic labour movement is indeed brought down it will be because of the fall out from the illegal and aggressive Iraq war, of which Ministry of Defence scientist Dr Kelly is just the latest, and particularly poignant, victim.


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