Socialist Worker

Don't send in the cavalry

Issue No. 1832

A HOUSEHOLD Cavalry trooper who shot a cyclist 'because he was bored' escaped jail in December. Adam Everett, one of the queen's guards, fired an airgun from Knightsbridge barracks. This sparked a terrorist alert. He hit cyclist Rajko Novakovic in the arm.

Everett was found hiding in a locker. Horseferry Road magistrates decided not to impose a jail sentence after hearing that Everett was an 'admirable' soldier. Court chairman John Magnall said, 'It was an incredibly foolish thing to do. But you are clearly a soldier going somewhere. 'We don't want to interfere with that by jailing you.'

Everett admitted grievous bodily harm. He was given 100 hours community service and told to pay £500 compensation. The army has yet to decide on his punishment.


Healthy protest

GROUP PROTESTS, or collective action, may have health benefits for participants, according to research. The study is by Dr John Drury, a lecturer in social psychology at the University of Sussex.

He suggests that group protesting and demonstrating is good for people's health by encouraging a sense of empowerment, mutual support and unity. 'Many published activist accounts refer to feelings of encouragement and confidence emerging from experiences of collective action,' said Dr Drury. 'At raves and other events people have a sense of community-but with protest, people have the addition of a sense of changing the world.'

Thanks to Andrea Butcher for this story.


DURING a meeting of Labour's National Executive Committee, the members were asked which retailer best fitted the party's image. Several came up with the Co-op or Oxfam. A more popular suggestion was Ikea. What could possibly link this store-where goods look fine at first but become disappointing, and where there are always traffic jams-with Blair's Britain?

The party leadership's answer was Marks & Spencer. This of course is a once-popular brand that was totally remodelled and turned out to be a complete disaster.


WORKERS at Tesco may still be recovering from the generosity of their bosses at Christmas. The workers got a voucher for double Tesco Clubcard points on a single shopping load of up to £100.

You get one point, worth a penny, for every £1 you spend. So the Xmas gift is worth an additional £1. The vouchers from Tesco read, 'A little extra thank you.'


Inside the cistern

'THERE ARE too many graduates and not enough plumbers and electricians,' complained the bosses' Institute of Directors last year. Chancellor Gordon Brown apparently echoed similar sentiments when he found it hard to find someone to instantly replace his TV satellite dish (at a 'prudent' price).

But the lack of plumbers is not because all young people are now doing media studies degrees. It is the result of the capitalist economic policies pushed by the Institute of Directors and Gordon Brown. During the last big recession firms simply stopped training new plumbers. Roger Burgon, chief executive of the British Plumbing Employers Council, says,

'Work was not as plentiful. Lots of businesses stopped training because to take on a traditional apprentice is a long-term commitment. We were aware that as soon as work became plentiful again there would be a problem.'


Out so soon?

TWO STEPHEN Lawrence murder suspects jailed for racially abusing a policeman are to be freed much earlier than usual. Gangster's son David Norris, and Neil Acourt, are likely to be released in February after serving seven months.

But they qualify for early release because 'they have kept their noses clean', a Home Office source told the London Evening Standard.


In the beginning...

THE EFFECT of a vote three years ago by the education authority in Kansas in the US to teach creationism as a 'credible' theory in schools is being felt. The state's 'Just Because' science course emphasises uncertainty and how human knowledge is often wrong.

A science textbook discusses the Grand Canyon without mentioning how old it might be or how it may have been formed. Instead children are required to remember the order of rock formation names, and their colour, from top to bottom, the state the canyon is in and the number of restaurants on the South Rim.

Physics textbooks have removed all mention of optics. This is because some churches believe that since the first rainbow was seen by Noah after the flood, the refraction of light has not always existed. Such teaching will become more fashionable if New Labour's plans for more 'faith schools' are implemented.


Poor reception

THE SQUAD which chases people without TV licences wastes huge amounts of money. The public accounts committee said recently that 80 percent of its 3.5 million visits in 2001 resulted in nobody answering the door.

Often this was because there was actually no door-657,000 properties visited were under construction, vacant or non-existent. The BBC awarded a ten-year contract to Capita Business Services to collect and enforce the licence fee last July.

People too poor to buy a licence get sent to jail if they do not pay the fine-22 were jailed last year. The private firms that cost millions get away scot-free.


Things they say

'AN ELECTION has been stolen and people are being starved. Our team plans to go and play as though all is normal. I think they should not go.'

Government Minister Clare Short calls on the England cricket team to boycott its games against Zimbabwe because of president Mugabe's policies

'ZIMBABWE IS the most sophisticated economy in the region outside South Africa. New opportunities have been created by the government's decision to adopt an increasingly open market policy.'

government agency Trade Partners UK which promotes business relationships with other countries

'IF the government thinks it's wrong for England to have sporting ties with Zimbabwe, Mr Blair should stop teams going there. Why put the onus on the players?'

Former England captain MIKE GATTING. Gatting led cricketers to play against apartheid South Africa in 1989

'IT'S BUSINESS as usual.'

BARCLAYS BANK on its 39 branches in Zimbabwe

'WHAT I breathed in at Ground Zero has implications for my health. No one is studying me, yet I'm studying the dogs.'

DR CYNTHIA OTTO, who tested for signs of cancer in 131 dogs who were part of rescue teams at the World Trade Centre. George Bush has just vetoed a bill which recommended monitoring the 35,000 human rescue workers

'HE CLIMBED nine unconquered peaks in Tajikistan and wanted to call one Pik Thatcher because it was near one called Pik Communism.'

JULIAN AVERY, on his son, former chartered accountant and so called explorer Tom


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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 4 Jan 2003, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1832
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