Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith is "murally dyslexic," according to one of his own backbench MPs Anthony Steen, "he can't read the writing on the wall!" The "nasty party" as their own chairman Theresa May MP dubbed the Tories, stumbles from one crisis to the next. The issue of adoption for unmarried and gay couples is an important one, but is not the root cause of the latest debacle. The press make much of Duncan Smith's history as a plotter and a backstabber in the days of John Major's leadership. He voted against the 'party line' more than 40 times over Europe. True as this undoubtedly is, the Tory leader's paranoia, seeing plots around every corner, is not the source of their crisis either. The Tory Party is the most successful bourgeois party in history, its longest period in the wilderness came between 1846 and 1866. Otherwise from the 1830s to the present day, the Tories have never been out of office for more than 11 years. Today they are not only out of office but hopelessly split, reflecting the divisions in the capitalist class about the way forward for their system.

On Friday October 18 over one million workers demonstrated in 120 cities and towns all over Italy against the right wing government. The general strike was called by the Cgil in protest against the suppression of article 18 of the 'Workers' Statute' (see previous articles on this issue) and against the proposed budget presented by the government. This strike marks a new turning point in the class struggles in Italy. Deep changes and further struggles are clearly under way.

For the fourth time in its short existence the Northern Ireland Assembly has been suspended. On Monday October 14, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, John Reid, announced that London was once again imposing direct rule. The whole process has been like a perverse game in which the workers hopes are constantly sent sliding backwards.

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