Columnists

Lights Go Out in Blair Bunker

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Campbell‘s departure is unlikely to halt the repackaging of privatisation.

With the ’dodgy dossiers‘ on Iraq in tatters and indeed the entire Blairite project heading for meltdown, now might be a useful point to turn attention to how the government‘s case for privatisation is being repackaged. Just like the war, it continues to be advocated at every available turn, despite overwhelming opposition from the general public.

A Touch of the Sun

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Tony Blair tells it like it isn't to Pat Stack.

I have never been to Barbados before, so I was really looking forward to seeing the beautiful scenery, tasting the local rum and meeting the Blairs.

The enchanting Cherie greeted me - television just doesn't do her justice, she really does have lips. I was brought into a spacious room where the PM was sitting in a cool summer shirt and a pair of neatly pressed jeans. An electric guitar sat in one corner of the room, and there were family portraits all over the place.

Reformism without Reforms

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What happens when social democracy fails to deliver concessions?

There is strange idea going round much of the far left internationally. It is that because capitalism can no longer afford reforms that improve the life of the mass of people, reformism as a powerful ideology within the workers' movement is dead. From this it is said to follow that the old argument over reform or revolution is no longer relevant.

Awkward Moment

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The defeat of Mick Rix has important lessons - but not those the Blairites would have us believe.

The unexpected departure of Mick Rix as leader of the train drivers' union, Aslef, is a bit of a one-off in that it goes against the broad trend which still dominates in union elections. A week before the upset in Aslef, left candidates virtually swept the board in votes on the PCS civil service union national executive. And not long after, a leading Blairite and member of Labour's national executive, John Keggie, was ousted as deputy general secretary of the Royal Mail section of the CWU.

Data is Power

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'Distributed Computing' is one of the most interesting computing phenomena of recent years. Millions of people voluntarily take part in projects that use their computers to aid scientific research.

The original, and by far the widest used, is the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, with over 4.5 million users worldwide. You can find out more at http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/.

Other projects involve the analysis of genes in the search for cancer cures at www.chem.ox.ac.uk/curecancer.html and mathematical data to model climate change at www.climateprediction.net.

Hit Them David One More Time

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David Aaronovitch spends much time attacking the left. So it's time we fought back.

The National Union of Students has a lot to answer for. The New Labour benches are packed with former NUS executive members. There is minister of war Jack Straw. There is the blustering buffoon who is currently trying to wreck education, Charles Clarke. In Blair's early summer reshuffle two more former NUS types emerged into ministerial glory, Fiona MacTaggart and Phil Woolas, while on the backbenches we see Stephen Twigg, whose finest hour was beating Portillo, but who is now probably to the right of Portillo.

A Right Royal Con Trick

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Whether it's the monarchy or the new celebrity aristocrats, we should sharpen our guillotines.

The queen's latest state visit was to Legoland. Meanwhile the other princelets visited sites of national significance. William attended the Toytown annual parade, Edward visited the Bassett's liquorice allsorts museum annual open day and Anne opened the International Velvet pony retirement home.

A Blast from the Past

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Correct revolutionary theory requires correct revolutionary practice.

One of the great things about the anti-capitalist and anti-war movements has been the refusal of people to take old certainties for granted. You cannot seriously contemplate changing the world unless you are prepared to critically examine every accepted dogma. If you try, you end up rather like those 17th century clerics who tried to cling onto the 2,000 year old Aristotelian notion that the earth was the centre of the solar system.

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