Left produces taped response

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Indy Politics
The broad church of the socialist left, currently sidelined by Labour's shift to the centre, will tomorrow launch a regular video "magazine". With Tribune and Labour Left Briefing the dominant critics of the printed left, Video News is aiming to offer a new perspective to Tony Blair's New Labour agenda.

While international socialist groups have taken to web sites on the Internet, the video magazine is the latest critical tool of the left in their search for a new multi-media voice.

The Labour MPs Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn were among the first to view the new video format, produced and edit by Pat Edlin and Pat Byrne. Edlin is former press officer of Militant who worked as a freelance journalist with Channel 4. Byrne, also a journalist, is a former executive member of the civil servants union, the CPSA, and secretary of the producers branch of Bectu, the broadcast union.

The launch issue of Video News, costing pounds 10, and initially distributed through mail order and labour movement conferences, contains a critical analysis of what is billed as "Labour's race to the right"; an investigation into "unaccountable housing associations" which it calls the "new property empires; and a report from South Korea on the struggle for democratic trade unions.

The media's portrayal of the Tony Blair and the Labour Party is also examined, while Ken Loach's award-winning film on the Spanish Civil War, Land and Freedom, is perhaps the lightest feature on the video.

Mr Benn welcomed Video News, stating: "I have to watch right-wing establishment rubbish all day. This offers a different perspective."

The momentum for the venture came from some on the hard left who, according to Edlin and Byrne, felt excluded from access to mainstream broadcast video. Where cable and video channels in the United States appear willing to broadcast anything, cable in Britain has yet to open its doors to political fringe groups.

Cable and satellite channels in the US, Denmark, Holland and Germany are planning to broadcast certain features from Video News, but no UK outlet has yet been found.

Maria Exall, from the Communications Workers Union, said : "If you go out of your way to find people who don't normally get access to the media, that will be doing a grand job."