Britain

I read the latest propaganda with a feeling of foreboding, and we must constantly remind ourselves as Marxists just what sort of thing we are up against on a daily basis from those spokespeople of capital.

The resignation yesterday of Clare Short, the former international development secretary, is a shattering blow to the Blair government. It could spell the beginning of the end for Blair, as things begin to unravel with increasing speed.

The Blair government faced its worst nightmare in the immediate run up to the war with Iraq. According to the Guardian revelations, Blair, Straw, Blunkett, and others in the Cabinet were on the verge of resigning if the Commons vote went against them.

With most of the results in from the local council, Welsh Assembly and Scottish parliament elections the message to Blair is clear - his imperialist adventure in Iraq was deeply unpopular, and at least as unpopular are the government's proposed attacks on public services, the introduction of foundation hospitals, the further privatisation of the NHS, and the introduction of top-up fees for students.

Almost a year after firefighters tabled their claim for a pay rise to £30,000 a year, new strikes are being prepared because of the intransigence of the employers and a Labour government hellbent on attacking public services.

The outspoken left-wing Labour MP George Galloway is facing a witch-hunt because of his anti-war stance. This attack, orchestrated by the Tory Telegraph and Sun, has been seized upon by Blair and his entourage.

Barbara Humphries looks at the conflicting tendencies within the British Labour Party on the question of war. It is clear that the rank and file members of the party have always tended towards opposition to war, while the leadership has swung the other way. At times, however, the opposition has been so strong that it has limited the ability of the Labour leadership to put all its weight behind war efforts such as the US war on Vietnam.

As we go to press the TV is broadcasting scenes of US 'victory'. Yet if we have learned one fact in recent weeks it is that the first casualty of war is the truth. This war is not finished yet no matter what the headlines say.

Over the past few months I have been reading on your website and in daily newspapers information about anti-war demos around the world. On the evening that war broke out I also went to a local meeting here in Coventry against the war that was organised by the Stop the War Committee.

Tony Woodley, the left candidate for general secretary of the 800,000 strong (British) Transport and General Workers' Union, opened his election campaign by launching a bid to "reclaim the Labour Party", which was at odds with the union in a number of important policy areas.

Now the battle for Baghdad is under way, capitalist commentators are going euphoric. The war against Saddam could possibly be over in days. The stock market is already rocketing up on the prospect. Capitalism is renewed, such is the current mantra.

The killing of two Spanish reporters during the war in Iraq stirred public opinion in Spain and it increased the anger that the working class and youth feel towards the present right-wing Aznar government. Above all, the case of Jose Couso, a reporter of the Tele 5 TV channel, which is believed to have been a case of blatant murder carried out with a deliberate action on the part of an American tank, underlined the brutality of the invading forces and has put Aznar in a very delicate position. The Spanish Marxist journal, El Militante, interviewed Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the British NUJ (National Union of Journalists), on the war

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With the latest issue the Socialist Appeal journal in Britain has gone fortnightly. It will be published twice a month for the duration of the war and its immediate aftermath. This is an important step forward for the forces of Marxism in Britain. It is a clear indication that Marxist ideas are getting a wider echo in the British Labour movement. To mark this occasion, we are publishing the Editorial of the first fortnightly edition.

According to the Sunday Times, two British service men were sent home from the Middle East after refusing to fight in the war against Iraq. The two face a court martial and up to two years in jail for disobeying orders.

The dramatic resignation of Robin Cook, until yesterday the Leader of the House of Commons was a devastating blow to Blair and represents another nail in the coffin of Blairism. The prospect of war has shaken British politics to its foundations. There is no going back for Blair now. Sooner or later his days as Labour leader are numbered.