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Mark Steel: How 'leftie' academics hijacked the Great War

Now the centenary of 1914 has got going, we should do as British education secretary Michael Gove suggests and celebrate the First World War, instead of taking notice of “left-wing academics”, who complain it was a regrettable waste of life.

But the other day, on the radio, they played an interview with Harry Patch, the last man alive who fought for the British in the war. Harry said: “Politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder.”

Britain: Left Unity launches new party

More than 400 members of the Left Unity party project gathered in London on November 30 for the party's founding conference.

The fledgling project has its origins in a call earlier in the year for a new party to the left of Labour made by veteran left film maker Ken Loach. Against the backdrop of the most brutal austerity experienced in Britain for generations and with the British left fractured, the call met with strong support.

John Pilger: Impoverished and silenced, we must fight back

I have known my postman for more than 20 years. Conscientious and good-humoured, he is the embodiment of public service at its best. The other day, I asked him, “Why are you standing in front of each door like a soldier on parade?”

“New system,” he replied. “I am no longer required simply to post the letters through the door. I have to approach every door in a certain way and put the letters through in a certain way.”

“Why?”

“Ask him.”

Britain: People's Assembly prepares for fight back (VIDEOS)

Frances O’Grady, head of the British Trade Union Congress (TUC), set the tone in the opening session of the People's Assembly in London on June 22, declaring: “The Bullingdon boys are waging class war against ordinary people. We will retaliate, it is time to fight back against a government of millionaires.”

O'Grady's reference to Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne by the exclusive upper-class Oxford University society they belonged reflects the anger at the Conservative-Liberal Democrats war on the poor.

Visa's exclusive Olympics 'cashless' deal turns sour as system fails

Olympic organisers and their corporate sponsor Visa were still keeping mum on August 1 after yet another ironic twist to their “cashless Olympics”.

Hungry spectators at Wembley to see Team GB women's victory over Brazil took to social networks on the night of July 31 to complain of a second breakdown in three days of payment systems at food counters “proud to only accept Visa” under the company's exclusive sponsorship deal.

Victory for free speech as London Olympic protesters speak out

In a victory for free speech, the Counter Olympics Network held a demonstration of 500 people on July 28 against the corporate takeover and militarisation of the Olympic Games.

Under pressure from local campaigners, Tower Hamlets Council was forced to lift its ban on the arranged speakers for the demonstration. Speakers included MP John McDonnell, Ruth Tanner from War on Want, and Stop the Olympic Missiles campaigner and vice-chair of Stop the War Coalition, Chris Nineham.

Mark Steel: Only a conspiracy theorist would believe there was a Murdoch-Blair deal

Who's the vindictive bastard who made Tony Blair give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry?

This was heartlessly cruel, to all decent people who have tried to put Blair behind us and get on with our lives. But there he was again, tormenting us, making us feel like someone just coming to terms with their years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp and then the bloke who used to electrocute us every morning comes on daytime television, justifying himself and leaving us screaming and dribbling and eating an eight-pack box of Toffee Crisps as all the memories come washing back.

John Pilger: The Leveson press inquiry — oh, what a lovely game

Rupert Murdoch is a bad man. His son James is also bad. Rebekah Brooks is allegedly bad. The News of the World was very bad; it hacked phones and pilloried people.

British prime ministers grovelled before this iniquity. David Cameron even sent text messages to Brooks signed "LoL", and they all had parties in the Cotswolds with Jeremy Clarkson. Nods and winks were duly exchanged on the BSkyB deal.

Shock, horror.

Offering glimpses of the power and petty gangsterism of the British tabloid press, the inquiry conducted by Lord Leveson has, I suspect, shocked few people.

Mark Steel: Europe swings left, but Labour wants more of the same

Now that parties supporting cuts are losing elections across Europe, I wonder if the British Labour Party will consider a policy of opposing cuts.

At the moment, they sort of oppose them, so if the government announces 200 libraries are closing next Wednesday morning, Labour says: "This is typical of this callous administration. They ought to wait until the afternoon."

Britain: Let the rich decide who gets treated in hospital

However the dispute in Britain about tax and charity donations ends up, the one thing we must all agree on is how inspiringly generous these philanthropists are, selflessly donating chunks of money that, by coincidence, are the amount they would have had to pay in tax anyway. Even the Good Samaritan would have said: "That's TOO philanthropic, you're being a fool to yourself."

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