In my view column

Yearning for a third Intifada

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Miriyam Aouragh reports from Nablus in the West Bank, where Israel's assault on Gaza provoked a new upsurge of protest and has further isolated the Palestinian Authority

Israel's "Pillar of Clouds" attack (the less fanatical-sounding "Pillar of Defence" was only used for English speaking audiences) sounded like a paperback thriller - but for Gazans it was an episode of real-life terror. The biblical reference was to a description of the form God adopted to protect the Children of Israel by striking terror into the heart of Egyptians. For a week a cloud of bombs rained down on Gaza, the most densely populated area in the world.

Heseltine's revealing report

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Lord Heseltine's recent report on economic growth is no help for working class people - but it shows how the state props up the private sector, writes Jack Farmer

If you've heard about ageing Tory peer Michael Heseltine's recent report on economic growth, entitled No Stone Unturned, you'd be forgiven for assuming it must be boring, specious and right wing. In fact, you'd be more than forgiven - you'd be right.

But there are a few interesting points to be gleaned from this government-commissioned report, because it brings into the open arguments within the ruling class about the way British capitalism should be structured - and especially what role should be played by the state.

No Christmas for the homeless

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by Judge Red, Dave Renton

In every city in Britain, this Christmas will see more people sleeping rough than at any time since the 1980s. Officially, street homelessness is increasing by just under 10 percent. That figure is almost certainly an underestimate.

This November in a speech to the business federation, the CBI, David Cameron announced plans to cut the number of Judicial Reviews (JRs). The government hates judicial reviews because it provides a legal means to challenge government when it gets things wrong.

A number of JRs are complaints brought by homeless people seeking emergency housing. Under the Housing Act 1996, homeless adults are entitled to temporary housing as a right.

To hell in a Chelsea tractor?

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The news that Vauxhall in Ellesmere Port is to move to a four-day week, albeit with no cut in basic working hours, highlights the predicament facing the UK motor industry. The industry appeared to have recovered from the worst of the recession.

Indeed, luxury and niche producers, like Jaguar/Land Rover - which is now the sector's biggest employer, mainly because of sales of the all-terrain vehicles derided as "Chelsea tractors" - and BMW/Mini are doing extremely well. However, continued recession and the impact of austerity means a drop in demand for cheaper "mid-market" models, especially in Europe.

Don't dance with Israeli apartheid

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Cultural boycott of Israel

Edinburgh International Festival director Jonathan Mills refused to disinvite Israeli dance troupe Batsheva from this summer's festival. But he had to eat his words when Scotland's national poet, Liz Lochhead, joined Iain Banks and AL Kennedy in defending the cultural boycott of Israel because of its violations of Palestinian human rights.

Unaffordable Justice

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Dave Renton writing as Judge Red

The Employment Reform and Regulatory Reform Bill, currently before parliament, contains a series of measures which are likely to make life harder for every worker.

Press coverage has focused on plans to reduce the maximum compensatory award that an employee can be awarded for unfair dismissal from £72,000 to around £26,000. Few claimants win the maximum award, but it is an important benchmark in high-value cases. These claims usually settle, because employers do not want evidence of bullying, etc, to be in the public domain. The proposals will do nothing other than reduce the financial liability of employers who behave unreasonably.

The Olympics: a nation united?

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Now that the hysteria has subsided, Brian Richardson asks whether the Olympics lived up to their promise

"It just cannot get better than this! This is us, our time, our country, our Mo Farah. Crowd of our time; tears of our time. Hope for all time." Those were the words with which journalist Jon Snow greeted Mohammed Farah's victory in the Men's Olympic 5,000 metres final. Elsewhere there was similar hysteria as commentators rushed to celebrate "Team GB". London 2012 was, we were told, a triumph for the nation.

Capitalism and the caped crusader

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The success of movies based on iconic "costumed heroes" can hardly have escaped the notice of anybody who has been awake in the past ten years.

As such the endless "rebooting" of these characters is easy to understand. Christopher Nolan may have been excited by Batman's reinvention as the Dark Knight, but not as excited as Warner Bros by the return of at least $372 million for the first movie alone.

The popularity of these film franchises is more difficult to explain, but the sheer overabundance of chiselled vigilantes battering their way through Nazi supervillains and colourful outcasts ought to make us question why the appeal of these films is growing, and what they say about the world that is churning them out.

Algeria's bitter struggle for freedom

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Fifty years since Algerian independence Ian Birchall looks at the uprising that forced the French to leave

In July 1962 Algeria achieved independence after a bitter war lasting over seven years. Some 300,000 Algerians died to win their nation's freedom. The war was fought brutally on both sides, but the need for a violent independence struggle was deeply rooted in the violence French imperialism had imposed on Algeria for over a century. As philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre wrote, "It is not their violence, but ours, turned back."

Germany: the rise of the Pirate Party

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The German Pirate Party has captured the imagination of millions of young and unemployed voters but, asks Mark Bergfeld, are they really the radical anti-establishment force they claim to be?

"Que no! Que no! Que no nos representan!" They don't represent us. From the streets of Buenos Aires in 2001 to the squares of Puerta del Sol and Placa de Cataluna in 2011 this slogan captures the anger and alienation that millions of people feel towards the political system made up of professional politicians, lobbyists and unelected technocrats.

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