Donald MacIntyre

Donald Macintyre writes political sketches for The Independent, having been Jerusalem correspondent since 2004, covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as travelling for the paper to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Egypt.

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Saturday Profile Baroness Symons: Labour's peerless performer

THIS MORNING, Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, having returned last night from a ministerial trip to Vancouver, Seattle and Los Angeles, is on her way to Cardiff to put the final touches to preparations for the European Council, which opens on Monday and marks the climax of Britain's six-month presidency of the EU.

Jobs, not wages, are what really matter to Blair and Brown

TWENTY YEARS ago, to mark the end of a nine-week-long firemen's strike Terry Parry, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, bought himself a racing greyhound. In honour of the settlement - which linked firemen's pay to the top segment of male manual workers' earnings and which still holds good today - he called the beast Upper Quartile. But then Parry was entitled to his stylish celebration. Not many strikes over pay ended in such unambiguous triumph, even then.

As Robin Cook fails to live up to his billing, look out for John Prescott

THE Sandline affair is very far from being a first-order crisis. Nor will it become one even if Peter Penfold, the British High Commissioner, turns out to have discussed military coups with President Kabbah and someone from a mercenary group in some fly-blown hotel bar in Conakry. But it shows a stubborn reluctance to lie down.

No time to despair - where there's talk there's hope

Cutting a deal in northern Ireland

Only Ulster's own parties can break out of the maze

The negotiators' final task

Hague's best hope: say little and pray for a recession

How should the Leader of the Opposition respond to a Budget that could have been given by a Tory Chancellor?

Scottish tremors should act as an early warning for Blair

OF THE MANY things Tony Blair has to worry about, a challenge from political parties on the left of Labour isn't one. This wasn't true of his four predecessors as Labour Prime Ministers. The Communist Party may not have had much electoral success for most of this century, but well into the early Eighties it punched heavily above its weight in the unions and therefore in Labour's policy making machinery. Tightly knit groups of politically motivated hatchet-faced men - and, let's be frank, some congenial, literate, idealistic and amusing men such as the communists Mick McGahey and Jimmy Airlie - were able to use their persuasive powers in drab smoky rooms in seaside hotels, where union delegations met to decide how to vote at Labour Party conferences. Now the CP has imploded. Arthur Scargill's Socialist Party is a joke. The Morning Star is on strike, All this is the envy of some of Blair's European counterparts, such as Romano Prodi and Lionel Jospin, both of whom faced direct electoral competition on the left in the elections that brought them to power. Here there is nowhere on the left to go but Labour.

It's time Mr Cook applied his ethics to China

An angry dissident brings a message for us all: defend human rights, whatever it costs

Call me unfashionable, but Harriet deserves an even break

WHO'S UP? Who's down? The great, burning question of British political gossip since records began, fills the pages of every diarist from Chips Channon through Dick Crossman to Alan Clark. The basis for the answer is something intangible, a combination of the press coverage minister X gets, the last thing anyone heard, or says they heard, the Prime Minister remark about him or her, some wispy, inexplicable sense the colleagues have of whether promotion, demotion or a sideways move beckons.

Why liberals owe a grudging debt to the threat of force

We liberals are never happy. Having fretted about war we are now uneasy about the peace. Having worried about the allies demonising Saddam, we now worry that he is stronger than ever. Having preferred a diplomatic solution all along, we now worry about whether diplomacy has been successful enough. There is a solution to the liberals' dilemma - to be a bit less grudging about the fact that force has shifted Saddam without a shot being fired. That said, it has not been liberalism's finest hour. Consider first, now that the immediate crisis is over, three myths that have built up during the Gulf crisis.
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His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
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An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

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Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
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Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
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From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
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A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
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How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
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A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders