Alex Miller

Marx in London: An Illustrated Guide
By Asa Briggs & John Callow
Published by Lawrence & Wishart, in association with the Marx Memorial Library
Revised edition, 2008
110 pages, £8.99
The Soviet Century
By Moshe Lewin
Verso 2005 416 pages, $73.56 (hb)
Karl Marx: His Life & Thought
By David McLellan
Palgrave Macmillan, 4th Edition 2006
487 pages, $59.95 (pb)
Justice secretary Jack Straw has been forced to order an investigation into allegations that a senior Muslim MP was bugged while visiting a constituent in prison. The February 5 Morning Star reported that Labour MP and government whip Sadiq Khan was allegedly bugged while visiting his constituent Babar Ahmad in a prison in Milton Keynes.
The Last Breath
By Denise Mina
Random House Australia, 2007
352 pages, $32.00 (pb)
Tony Blair, who resigned as British prime minister last May, has signed a lucrative deal with leading Wall Street merchant bank JP Morgan.
This film tells the true story of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and murdered by a jihadist group in Karachi in January 2002. However, it focuses mainly on Pearl’s wife, Mariane, who was pregnant at the time of the kidnap, and on the ineffectual search for Pearl carried out by the Pakistani and US intelligence services.
The Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Ian Blair is under severe pressure to resign after a court found the police force guilty of violating health and safety legislation in the shooting of innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes in July 2005.
Following a week of discussions behind closed doors, the national executive of the Communication Workers Union voted by nine votes to five on October 22 to recommend that postal workers accept Royal Mail’s latest offer on pay, pensions and working conditions. The proposed deal will now be put to CWU members in a national ballot.
Some 130,000 post office workers in the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have brought mail deliveries in Britain to a standstill by holding two 48-hour strikes over pay and working conditions. The strikes, which began on October 5 and October 8 respectively, are over management plans to axe 40,000 jobs, to close workers’ final salary pension scheme, to offer a below inflation pay rise, and to tear up all existing national and local agreements on working hours.
The 120,000-strong University and College Union has called off a debate on a possible academic boycott of Israeli universities, as well as a speaking tour of Britain by Palestinian academics. UCU delegates at the union’s annual Congress in May had voted to circulate and debate a proposal for an academic boycott of Israel issued by Palestinian trade unions, NGOs and community organisations.
Delegates at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Brighton gave Gordon Brown a frosty reception during his first speech to the TUC as Britain’s new Labour PM on September 10. Brown used the speech to underline his demand that pay rises in the public sector be limited to no more than 2% over the coming year.