Peter Morgan

Coming Out

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Review of 'Queer London', Matt Houlbrook, University of Chicago Press £19

In this interesting and often compelling book Matt Houlbrook discovers some of the personal stories of gay men who lived in London in the early 20th century. Coming to the city for the first time, many men were simply after pleasure, sexual gratification and, hopefully, some sort of loving relationship.

'The Thrashing Around of the Beast'

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American journalist and writer Mark Danner explains to Peter Morgan why support for the Bush administration is slipping.

You've recently written about the minutes of the meeting that took place between Tony Blair and his foreign policy and security advisers in the run-up to the war in Iraq, now known as the 'Downing Street memo'. How significant have these revelations been in the US?

The Downing Street memo has fit in with a general perception on the part of the US public that the war was begun on false pretences and the Bush administration was not honest about the reasons they were taking the country to war in Iraq. All of this results from the fact that the war is going badly.

Respect: Look to the Future

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Respect is set to challenge Labour in a number of key seats in this year's election, as Peter Morgan explains. He also speaks to psephologist Paul Whiteley about why Labour is facing declining support.

Tens of thousands take to the streets against the occupation of Iraq and demand British troops come home; anger grows against New Labour's attacks on public sector pensions; latest opinion polls show a surge in support for the Tories and a cut in Labour's lead to just a few points. These were the headlines as Socialist Review went to press this month - and with the general election probably just a few weeks away is it any wonder there is growing unease among Labour MPs?

Immigration: The Bully of the Gang

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Migrants face violence, intimidation and insecurity when working in Britain - so says a new report released by the TUC. Peter Morgan spoke to Bridget Anderson, one of the report's authors.

This is a report that the government did not want you to see. 'Forced Labour and Migration to the UK' was written by two independent academics and explores the relationship between forced labour, migration and the deregulated markets under the Labour government. The report was initially delivered to the International Labour Organisation and the TUC last year but it remained unpublished for six months.

Everyday Resistance

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Review of 'The Freedom', Christian Parenti, New Press £12.99

After you've read this excellent short book by Christian Parenti you will be in little doubt that Britain and the US are doomed to fail in their latest military adventure in Iraq. In part this is because Parenti describes how the everyday life of ordinary Iraqis continues to deteriorate for as long as the occupying forces remain in control. But he also clearly shows how the anger and disaffection this causes are leading to a rapid rise in the power, influence and audacity of the Iraqi resistance.

Interview: The Pen is Funnier Than the Sword

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Satirical cartoonist Michael Leunig discusses art and politics with Peter Morgan.

Can you tell us some of your personal and political history?

I was born at the end of the Second World War in the western industrial suburbs of Melbourne; I grew up in a working class family - my father worked in an abattoir - and I grew up with a left wing outlook. My father was a communist in the 1950s when the Communist Party was illegal in Australia. I also grew up surrounded by migrants - people who'd been through the Second World War and were traumatised refugees.

Iraq: Abusing the Position of Power

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Two reports have revealed that the issue of torture of Iraqi detainees is far more widespread than either US or British officials would have us believe.

The first report, from Human Rights Watch, found that Iraqi police and intelligence forces themselves have been involved in the abuse of detainees.

On the basis of research conducted between July and October 2004, the report concludes that Iraqi police and security services conducted arrests without warrants, and that many detainees were beaten with cables, hosepipes and metal rods. Detainees also reported 'prolonged suspension from the wrists with the hands tied behind the backs and electric shocks to sensitive parts of the body'.

The Heat is On

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Strikes and pickets are now back in the news. Pay heads a list of grievances that express growing frustration with New Labour. Peter Morgan explains why workers are getting more awkward.

There is clearly something going on with workers in the offices, factories and workplaces of Britain. It can best be summed up in a single word: confidence. Today our side seems to be winning more disputes than it loses and sometimes this happens without a strike taking place. Often it is simply the case that a resounding yes vote for action in a ballot is enough to win.

Vote 04: On Whose Authority?

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Peter Morgan tries to find out how well the left did in the recent elections.

The task, I thought, was a simple one. Socialist Review wanted to print a map showing the breakdown of vote by ward in some of the London boroughs to see how well Respect did. There is a by-election in St Dunstans and Stepney Green ward in Tower Hamlets on 29 July, so it would have been useful for the Respect coalition to gauge how they did at the European election, if their campaign worked, and if their supporters and sympathisers turned out to vote.

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