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By Jingo

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Britain's empire is nothing to be proud of.

If the strains of 'God Save The Queen' send a shiver of delight around your body; if you thought it was a good idea when Blair and Mandelson 'reclaimed' the British bulldog in an election ad; if the occupants of Henman Hill shouting 'C'mon Tim!' do not make you think, 'What a sad bunch of middle class losers'... then you might want to look away now.

Blogging Off

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Be careful what you reveal about your workplace.

Readers may remember at the beginning of the year the media coverage of Joe Gordon, an employee of Waterstones in Edinburgh, who was sacked because of comments he made on his blog. Joe's 'crime', in the eyes of his Waterstones managers, was that his comments online brought the company into disrepute. His supporters pointed out that Joe's website hardly mentioned his job, just an occasional moan about his boss. Such cases are going to become more of an issue.

Boys in the Hoodies

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New Labour and the fashion police should have more respect for the young.

It's remarkable how full of ideas New Labour suddenly is immediately after an election. Just imagine, if only they'd come up with these popular progressive policies to dump nuclear waste throughout the country and vastly extend PFI profiteering in April how well it would have gone down with the electorate.

Rich Pickings to Combat Poverty

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Edinburgh gears up for the protests against the G8.

There is no doubt that the G8 meeting next month in Gleneagles will be marked by huge protests. The Make Poverty History (MPH) campaign has brought together a huge number of people and organisations dedicated to exposing and ending the vast inequality suffered by millions around the world.

Pope Idol

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John Paul II's social conservatism should not be taken as gospel.

John Paul II was, according to that impeccable news source Yahoo!, 'the people's pope'. Other than a huge ego, it's hard to say what he had in common with 'the people's princess' Diana, and the headline probably had more to do with the ease of alliterating the 'p' than anything else. If there is an afterlife, Pontius Pilate must be kicking himself that he wasn't born 20 centuries later.

We've also heard endlessly about 'spontaneous outpourings of emotion', the way he 'touched people's lives' and all the other mawkish sentiments rolled out whenever someone famous cops it.

I Predict a Riot

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Tensions are mounting as the housing bubble nears its limits.

Last February the sirens howled in Hollywood as the LAPD rushed reinforcements to the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue. While a police captain barked orders through a bullhorn, an angry crowd of 3,000 people shouted back expletives. A passer-by might have mistaken the confrontation for a major movie shoot, or perhaps the beginning of the next great LA riot.

Polls Apart...

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Elections are one thing - the revolutionary party is another.

'You can't mean we need a Bolshevik party in Britain in 2005?' The point was put to me by a veteran socialist activist, someone who joined the Communist Party at the time of the Spanish Civil War, left after the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and remains a bitter opponent of Bush and Blair today. Some 70 years of struggle did not make him feel that revolution was imminent in Britain today or that the left should be organised accordingly.

No Doubt About It

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Back to the dark ages with the right-wing think tanks

Scepticism has been developing a bad name of late. Whereas once it suggested Enlightenment thinkers questioning the stale assumptions of feudal theology, the mantle has now been seized by an unholy alliance of 'intelligent design' proponents and climate change deniers. They may have different motivations for their anti-science, but they are equally pernicious to our understanding of the world around us.

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