REMEMBER LAST spring when the police repeatedly claimed that a 'lone bomber' planted the Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho bombs? Two cases last week have revealed how propaganda from Nazi groups such as the British National Party and the National Front leads directly to such atrocities. Stuart Kerr, aged 20, from Hunston near Chichester was sent down for 12 years for firebombing an Asian-owned shop. His bedsit was stuffed with Nazi material from racist groups. There was also a copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf.
A leading member of the National Front, James Shaw, was also jailed for nine years last week. He was arrested purely by chance last April by local police in Chiswick, west London. Yet he was carrying two bombs, which he had planned to plant. Shaw was a National Front parliamentary candidate in the 1970s and the party's London organiser. His home was also full of swastikas, a portrait of Hitler and other Nazi filth. The cases show the brutal face behind the attempts by Nazi groups to gain respectability at elections.
How many other bombers would the police have discovered if they had turned their attention to all members and supporters of the BNP and NF earlier this year. Instead they consoled the public that the London bombings were the work of a loner.
Will Straw jail these vandals?
DRUNKEN CITY traders caused £20,000 of damage to a country house hotel last month. They drank 20 bottles of vintage wine and then played cricket in the dining room of the £180 a night Careys Manor Hotel in Hampshire. Some of them then ripped lights off walls and smashed Victorian furniture. A fire then filled the hotel with smoke, forcing 100 guests to evacuate.
The director of the traders' firm, Intercapital, dismissed the vandalism as 'boys relieving the stress of work by having some fun'. So far there has been no word from Jack Straw about the need to clamp down on anti-social yuppies.
SOMEONE at the Department for Education and Employment must have a sense of humour. Teachers in south Yorkshire were recently told the details of a proposed Education Action Zone in Derbyshire. The official blurb says more able children will be helped to do even better under the Virgin Trains Fast Trackers programme. Look out for hundreds of children left in the sidings.
Huntin', shootin', sackin'
THE DUKE of Fife shows how little the hunting brigade really care for those whose jobs they claim to be protecting in the row over foxhunting. He was ordered last week to pay a couple he employed £12,000 for unfair dismissal. Philip and Mary Mayles were employed as houseman/valet/handyman/driver and as housekeeper/cook from July 1997. They complained that their lodgings, in the butler's cottage on the estate, were contamsinated with cancer-causing asbestos.
Health inspectors recorded high levels of asbestos dust in the cottage. But an industrial tribunal agreed that the Duke showed more concern about the potential disruption to a shoot than with the welfare of Mr and Mrs Mayles. He sacked both of them a few days later.
A COURT recently heard how Peter Baron subjected his girlfriend to 'strangulation. She fought for her breath, then lost consciousness.' Yet Peter Baron will continue to serve in the infamous Paratrooper Regiment. That is despite the fact that he admitted he beat up his fiancèe and pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm.
Judge David Selwood, who was hearing the case, told Baron, 'This kind of assault on a woman in these domestic circumstances is a serious matter and deserving of a custodial sentence. However, I am going to take an exceptional course in this case. I've heard about your service and that you are a good soldier. Good soldiers are quite hard to come by these days.' He gave Baron a conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £300 compensation to his girlfriend.
Remember the Gulf War of 1991 to 'restore democracy to Kuwait'? The Kuwaiti parliament voted down a move to give women the vote last week. So the only people who can vote are men over 21 who have had Kuwaiti citizenship for more than 20 years.
Good on yer, grandpa
READERS MAY remember how US president George Bush used to praise the 1970s series The Waltons. He claimed that the US could do with less of the Simpsons and more of the wholesome Waltons. So it is with great delight that we announce that the actor who played Grandpa Zeb, Will Geer, was openly gay. He was the former lover of gay rights activist Harry Hay.
Things they say
'WHAT IS the difference between a shopping trolley and an EU commissioner? You can get a lot more food and drink into a commissioner.'
EU commissioner NEIL KINNOCK
'WE SEE another machine and think, 'How many jobs is that going to cost?' People on the shop floor feel that people like yourself are all about profits. You drive off in your BMWs and that's it. You don't care.'
Pottery factory worker YVONNE MORRALL blasts her boss in BBC series Back To The Floor
'MANY people probably just stayed at home.'
Right wing US Christian Coalition spokesperson JASON MILLAR trying to explain why only 80 people turned up to his pro-WTO demonstration in Seattle
'FREE TRADE is the front door into countries to spread Christian and US values.'
Christian Coalition vice- president RANDY TATE
'ONE MUST go into frank details in this matter. Lower orders of species, such as animals, do not practice homosexuality. If you go to see a herd of elephants in Kenya you do not find homosexuality. A stag and a hind live together, but two stags do not. As regards birds, a cock and a hen live together, but two cocks do not.'
Tory LORD WADDINGTON in bigoted rant against the proposed scrapping of Section 28 which discriminates against gay people, speaking in the 'reformed' House of Lords
'IF I were purple with orange spots, I should probably want every one of your Lordships to become purple with orange spots.'
Another 'reasoned' contribution to the debate by LADY SALTOUN OF ABERNATHY
'ON ONE occasion opponents of Section 28 attacked me outside my constituency office and tried to turn my car over with me inside. I was saved by the swift arrival of several police cars.'
BARONESS KNIGHT OF COLLINGTREE