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Between the Lines

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Arms fair - BBC objectivity - US bosses and sugar

The sixth International Defence Exhibition and Conference took place in Dubai as war in Iraq was breaking out. The arms fair brought together some of the world's largest weapons manufacturers, mostly from Britain and the US. Visitors could browse stalls selling everything from guns to warplanes. They could also visit a firing range to try out the new weaponry, maybe watch a live demonstration...in nearby Iraq.

G8 Protests: Streaming into Evian

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On 1 June George Bush flies to 'old Europe' to meet the other seven 'great powers' at Evian in the French Alps at the G8 summit meeting.

In his mind's eye no doubt he comes as conqueror--in reality he will be flying into a few problems. Hundreds of anti-war activists and campaigners met at the end of April to ensure that Bush and the other warmongers will get a 'warm' reception.

Local Elections: 'Labour's Membership Has Gone Underground'

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'Many people have left the Labour Party. There are also large numbers who have let their membership lapse. In east Dorset, where I come from, there are only five Labour candidates put up for 34 seats. I have actually registered as Dorset Stop the War and we are fielding ten candidates.'

So said Damien Stone, a former Labour councillor who is standing in the local elections on 1 May. Some 10,000 seats are being contested, yet despite newspaper reports of a postwar surge in support for Blair and New Labour there are plenty of signs that they will face a difficult night on 1 May.

School's Out Against War

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In the past few weeks tens of thousands of school students have made an extraordinary entrance into political activism. On the day war broke out waves of walkouts, sit-ins and protests against the attack on Iraq swept the country, completely confounding journalistic stereotypes of 'apathetic youth'.

A series of wildcat student strikes began on 28 February, when 800 Glasgow school students walked out of classes to shut down an army recruitment office. On the same day about 1,000 school students in Northern Ireland and 400 more in Wales also struck.

With You in Every Struggle

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Welcome to our 25th anniversary issue.

Socialist Review was launched in April 1978 with the aim, as we said at the time 'to offer our readers informed analysis of events taking place in both Britain and the world. We hope, through doing so, to show how the system under which we live is faced with a world crisis, and to examine the response of workers in many countries to the effects of the crisis,'

Coalition: Monkey Business

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Having failed to steamroller the United Nations Security Council into supporting its invasion of Iraq, the US has created a tinpot 'coalition of the willing' instead.

Although the military assault is an almost entirely US/British affair (with a little help from Australia), the US is boasting that 48 countries back its crusade, although 19 of the named countries are offering only 'moral' support.

This is unsurprising given that it includes such military heavyweights as Iceland, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands (population, 65,000) and the Pacific island of Palau.

War Profits: Troops In, Contracting Out

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There may be profits to be made from securing control of Iraq oilfield at the end the war, but US companies are already cashing in as they queue to secure contracts to repair infrastructure currently being destroyed.

One of the first was Stevedoring Services of America, which is a major donor to the Republican Party and was given a £3 million contract to administer Iraq's ports, including Umm Qasr. The contract was awarded even before the British gained control of the port.

Between the Lines

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Political correctness myths - Blunkett takes on children - No insurance in the Tower of London

The 'Sunday Telegraph' and the 'Sun''s campaign against 'political correctness' continues. 'Nobody', fumed Richard Littlejohn in the Sun, 'confronted with a proposal to remove hot cross buns from school dinner menus [for being offensive to non-Christians] has turned round and said: "Don't be so bloody ridiculous".' For good reason--no council has made such a ban.

David 'zero tolerance' Blunkett was in action again recently, valiantly fighting anti-social behaviour by phoning the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to shop local children for playing 'knock down ginger'.

On Guard for Strikebreakers

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Train guards began their first national strikes since privatisation at the end of last month in response to persistent attempts by train operators to diminish their safety role.

Strikes are under way at nine of the companies that have refused to implement rulebook changes recommended in a study commisioned by fellow train operator GNER. The regulator, the supposedly neutral Strategic Rail Authority (SRA), has responded by funding the recalcitrant train operators £10 million to take on the unions .

Labour's Welsh Roots are Withering

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The crisis that has engulfed Blair and New Labour will be exposed in the forthcoming Welsh Assembly elections in May.

There are signs of real desperation within Wales's New Labour ranks. First Minister Rhodri Morgan has stated that there is 'clear red water between Cardiff and London'. Ron Davies, the former Welsh secretary, has weighed in with a warning that Labour could lose the election to Plaid Cymru, stating that if the Labour manifesto is not radical enough they will face meltdown in the polling booths.

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