GORDON Brown yesterday, at his monthly press conference, condemned the striking postal workers and their union the CWU.
He called their strike action in defence of their conditions of service and pensions ‘unacceptable’ and continued to threaten to cut the financing of the Post Office and the Royal Mail if the strike action continued.
He said: ‘When we the government are investing a huge amount of money in the postal services it is not something that we can either condone or we can stand lightly by and say it is an acceptable form of behaviour. I want these people back to work. I want people to have the postal services immediately and we the government that is providing money for the post office will have to consider our position in the light of the events.’
On the issue of US preparations for a war on Iran he said: ‘I do not rule out anything.’
He said that the Iranians ‘must not intervene in Iraq’ and that ‘we take very seriously Iran’s nuclear programme.’
He added that ‘the matter can be resolved by diplomatic means, by the resolutions of the security councillor by strengthening sanctions.
‘We take very seriously what Iran is doing’, but ‘i will not rule anything out.’
Brown also maintained that opinion poll ratings had nothing to do with him deciding not to call an election.
He confirmed that if the opinion polls had shown him having a five point lead in the marginal seats, and that he would win by a 100 seat majority, that he would not have called an election.
• Second news story
POLICE BACK DOWN ON TROOPS OUT MARCH
OVER 10,000 youth, trade unionists and anti-war activists yesterday defied police and government threats to ban their march for withdrawal of British troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and marched on parliament, forcing the police to let them demonstrate in Whitehall and opposite the House of Commons.
At a rally in Trafalgar Square before the march, the convenor of the Stop The War Coalition, Lindsay German asked: ‘Are you willing to go to prison to defend civil liberties’, and the whole crowd responded: ‘Yes!’
The Respect MP George Galloway was loudly cheered and applauded when he told the rally that assassinated Cuban revolutionary leader Ché Guevara had said: ‘There are no frontiers in this struggle.’
He added: ‘A victory for one people in this struggle against imperialism is a victory for us all.
‘Victory to the resistance in Iraq! Victory to the Palestinians! Victory to freedom fighters everywhere, because their victory is our victory too!’
Galloway also warned: ‘If we don’t wake up, you’ll hear news that the United States and Israel has launched a blizzard of death and devastation against the people of Iran.’
There was a sea of placards and banners and large contingents of students and school youth chanting: ‘Whose streets? Our streets!’, ‘Whose war? Their war!’ and ‘Troops out now!’
• Prime Minister Brown announced yesterday that the number of British troops in Iraq would be reduced to 2,500 in Iraq by spring 2008.