Solidarity 030, 14 May 2003

What next after the war?

By Sacha Ismail
War in the Gulf and mass opposition to it have inevitably raised big questions about the nature of our society. Why were Bush and Blair so intent on attacking Iraq? Are the US and UK governments really accountable to those they claim to represent? If two million people on the streets can't stop a war, what force can?

Black and white: French women unite and fight!

In Vitry-sur-Seine, a rundown suburb of Paris, in October 2002 a 17-year-old woman Sohane Benziane was set on fire by an 18-year-old boy. His friends were spectators.
Sohane had had the temerity to spurn his amorous advances. Sohane died in hospital from her injuries.
Sohane's elder sister Kahine Benziane explained:
"My sister was burned because she was rebellious. She broke the rule of the cité which is to be submissive.

FBU: get the braziers ready?

By Jill Mountford
"Get the Braziers Ready", urges the headline of a recent letter sent out to Fire Brigades Union members from their London regional office.
London and Merseyside are among some of the regions that have rejected Professor Frank Burchill's proposals on the long-running pay dispute. Yet, on the eve of the National Executive meeting in Sheffield (15 March), FBU activists around the country say it's too close to call as to whether Burchill's proposals will be voted down at the Executive.

Where next for Northern Ireland?

By Colin Foster
The postponement of the Northern Ireland Assembly elections signifies that the London-Dublin "Good Friday" plan of 1998 to reshape Ireland, bit by bit, from above, is stalled for another long period, at least.
It has been overshadowed, however, by the disputed claims that the British state has had an agent acting as the Provisional IRA's chief of internal security. In that capacity, the man is said to have helped torture and kill other British agents and informers - as well, of course, as IRA people who just got unlucky.

What future for Short?

Clare Short has finally resigned from the Government - jumping before she was pushed, according to some reports. When two months ago on the eve of war she might have had a tremendous impact had she carried out her threat to resign, now, inevitably, there is an anti-climax.
The Clare Short who has now delivered a fierce attack on Blair is a lot weaker - indeed discredited and widely held in contempt. Two months ago she could have helped discredit a Prime Minister who is now a lot stronger as a result of the easy US-UK victory in Iraq.

Foundations for privatisation

By Mike Fenwick, Airedale Health UNISON (personal capacity)
Foundation hospitals mean some hospital trusts will be given a greater degree of local autonomy to run their own affairs, including setting their own wage rates, borrowing from the private sector and specialising and expanding as they see fit.

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