There is power in a (European) Union. It was deja vu all over again, as workers all over Europe went out on strike in protest at austerity measures being imposed in order to make up for losses occasioned by the banking crises and bailouts of 2008-09. There were partial strikes in Greece, Portugal, Slovenia, Poland, Italy, Serbia and Ireland , but the twin foci were a general strike in Spain, and a collective gathering of workers from all over Europe in Brussels. Though many have dismissed the possibility that such actions could lead anywhere, they ain’t going away. This is about the 15th round of strikes in Greece, and other places like Portugal have been in continuous resistance. The only question is where can it go next — after all, the EU has translated much of the actual machinery of government out of the hands of government. Which was the whole point of the EU in the first place.

It’s the wimp not the gimp. Two days after Ed Miliband was elected to the leadership of the British Labour Party, his brother David has announced he will leave frontline politics, refusing to nominate for the ministry. Having left the conference early, Miliband D addressed the media from his North London home, dressed in a casual shirt which unfortunately gave the impression that he hadn’t made it out of his PJs. Mili D had earlier made the commitment that he would serve if Mili E won, but has apparently told people that he now realises he just can’t do it. Part of his decision is an anger about the way in which so much of ‘New Labour’s’ record is being trashed — especially by those who supported it at the time.

Wikileaking. Suggestions that Wikileaks is in turmoil have been rejected by founder, Julian Assange, via Twitter, from his undersea headquarters. Daniel Domscheit-Berg, claimed by some to be number two in WL, publicly announced his resignation, accusing Assange of being dictatorial, excessively focused on huge document releases, and in danger of losing the confidence of other members. The story included a release of alleged chat-room dialogue between Assange and Berg, in which the latter was ‘suspended’ for a month. Whether the turmoil was a result purely of internal chaos, or of disarray engineered from the outside, remains to be seen.

La Boheme. France and the EU are heading for a collision as the latter threatened to carpet the former for denying Roma people the right to freedom of movement. Thousands of Roma have been expelled from France with virtually no right of return — an illegal move under the EU’s minimum conditions for all citizens of EU countries. France now has two weeks to change its laws to comply with the EU. The move against the Roma has proved extremely popular, boosting the flagging ratings of evil dwarf leader Nicolas Sarkozy.

Plot foiled! Everyone stop protesting the war! Intelligence agencies claimed that potential terrorist attacks in Paris and other cities had been thwarted in recent weeks, arguing that the plots had been frustrated by drone attacks on Islamist camps in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area. By an incredible coincidence these plots — from which there have been no arrests, no evidence — were discovered just as a fresh wave of drone attacks were launched in the Af-Pak region.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey