Socialist Worker

BNP forger behind bars

Issue No. 1784

STEVE SMITH, the Nazi British National Party (BNP) organiser for Burnley, was sentenced to six months in prison last week. The BNP's general election candidate in Burnley was led away from court in handcuffs.

Smith was found guilty of allowing nomination documents containing 12 forged signatures to be put forward in last year's Lancashire County Council elections. 'I was sure these people would support me,' Smith claimed. 'All the people were noted in our reports as sympathisers or supporters.' The forged signatures included that of Eileen Rawlinson, a Burnley Labour Party member!

Smith also claimed he used 'intuition' to fill in the forms. 'If it is for the betterment of society, then breaking the rules is justified,' he said. This member of a 'party of law and order' will be spending the run-up to this May's council elections, in which he hopes to win a seat, in Preston jail.


Arch Liar

TORY LIAR Jeffrey Archer still managed to shower his friends with gifts last Christmas despite being jailed.

At the height of his political career Archer used to send whole Cheddar cheeses to friends at Christmas. Last year was no different. 'We received our cheese from Jeffrey as normal,' said Tory MP Peter Bottomley. 'It was accompanied by a tape of Lady Archer singing.'


ALMOST every right wing newspaper has carried a red scare piece about the Socialist Alliance over the last two weeks. But no paper went as far as the Times, which assigned columnist Michael Gove to the case.

Gove found that the Socialist Alliance' is the most coherent fighting force in Britain across the territory that stretches to the left of Tony Blair.'


Living costs

MEDICAID, the health insurance programme that 44 million low-income US citizens rely upon, is being hacked back by state governments. Medicaid pays for one third of all births in the US and almost two thirds of all nursing home patients. Medicaid spending grew by 11 percent last year.

Parents of children with severe illnesses protested in Arkansas last week against cuts and making families share the cost (co-pay) for medical care. 'They could easily co-pay a family to death,' said C J Moorman, the father of a 16 year old with cerebral palsy.


Energy shock

JON BERRY, the Socialist Alliance candidate in Watford in last year's general election, got a surprise last Christmas. He opened a letter from Virgin Energy, which thanked him for choosing the company as his new energy supplier.

Jon was shocked because he hadn't done anything of the sort. He discovered that somebody involved with the company had forged his signature. Virgin Energy had notified his previous energy supplier that he no longer wanted their gas.

When Jon emailed Virgin telling them his signature had been forged they asked him to send them a copy of his signature in the post. Jon refused.


The forgotten soldiers

MORE BRITISH Falklands veterans have killed themselves than were killed in action in the war itself. SAMA, the South Atlantic Medal Association, which represents and helps Falklands veterans, estimates that 264 veterans have committed suicide due to the stress they have suffered since. Some 255 died during the war.

'There seems to be a general pattern to what happens,' says Les Standish of SAMA. 'Recurring nightmares and flashbacks followed by a recourse to heavy drinking or drugs, then crime. A lot of the people I know ended up in prison, often for violence, and some of them killed themselves in their cells.'

Over 260 former soldiers are taking the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to court for ignoring the post-traumatic stress disorder that people involved in the war have suffered.


THE US army has turned to the James Bond films to get some inspiration. Scientists have developed a new £1 million SmarTruck after watching Bond movies.

The truck can spray oil slicks, create smokescreens, fire pepper spray and drop tyre-puncturing tacks. It has also got laser guided machine guns.


He's blown it

RENOWNED British explorer Colonel John Blashford-Snell dynamited a ten mile tourist trail through Bolivian rainforests. He destroyed the jungle's sensitive ecosystem, damaging the environment, and made false claims about having found a lost Inca city.

Newspapers claimed last year that Blashford- Snell, or 'Blashers' as he is known to friends like Prince Charles, had discovered the fabled lost city of Paititi. However, a report by the Bolivian government found that the 'historic structures' that the expedition discovered were wooden platforms left by explorers in the 1950s.

'As far as the 'lost' city was concerned, it was like me saying I had discovered Central Park,' said Dr Alexei Vranich, a respected US anthropologist. About 60 people, mainly British, paid £2,600 to participate in the four-month trip. 'I am not an archaeologist,' said Colonel Blashford-Snell.


Things they say

'I HAVE a lot of opinions of my own-strong opinions-but I don't always agree with them.'
PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH

'WE ARE seen as racist, sexist, homophobic and anti-youth. We are in worse shape than ever before.'
Tory shadow Treasury spokesperson JOHN BERCOW

'WE ALSO have to recognise that globalisation and other market driven trends in our society are all the time pulling in the direction of greater inequality and polarisation between rich and poor.'
PETER MANDELSON

'THE INCOMES of the top 10 percent of earners in Britain rose by 82 percent in real terms in the past 20 years, against 6 percent for the bottom 15 percent. Those at the very top did better still.'
PETER MANDELSON

'I WAS against the bombing of Afghanistan because it would kill more civilians and create more terrorists, and it has done that.'
DENIS HEALEY, former Labour defence secretary

'THE continuing war in Afghanistan is no more than a veil for the US to establish political dominance in the region.'
KAZAKH GOVERNMENT

'THE WAR on terrorism is only a pretext for extending influence over our energy resources.
KAZAKH GOVERNMENT

'THIS KIND of thing is to be expected. Even if our relations were excellent, we would still spy on each other.'
CHINESE SECURITY EXPERT after the US bugged the Chinese leaders' plane


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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 26 Jan 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1784
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