Socialist Worker

Megabus raid: no smoking gun, just someone smoking

Issue No. 2311


A man smoked an e-cigarette on a Megabus coach last week.

And why is that newsworthy? Because the man was of “Asian appearance”— and was suspected of being a terrorist as vapour leaked from his bag.

Armed police, military personnel, firefighters and bomb disposal experts descended on the coach on the M6 last week.

The 48 passengers on the coach, including at least one child, were forced to sit apart in a cordon on the road, surrounded by police.

Passenger Jenny Lister said they got off the coach to find “armed police aiming at us”. “We were told to sit in rows and not talk to each other,” she added.

Another passenger, Vermilion Von Kangur, said, “I felt very intimidated. “I thought if I moved I would get shot.”

Cops closed the entire motorway for more than four hours before deciding that there were no suspects on the coach and that no crime had been committed.

Responsibility for this chaos lies with the government and right wing rags. They have whipped up racism against Muslims throughout the “war on terror”.

More terror raids continued last week in London, Birmingham and Yorkshire. Armed police tasered one of the six people they arrested in London, apparently in relation to a possible plot involving Islamic extremists.

The cops say the raid was “intelligence-led”. This “intelligence” seems to include the fact that one of those detained had criticised the royal family.

Others were arrested in terror raids allegedly linked to planned attacks during the Olympics. The Tories claim that the games are something that we should all celebrate.

In reality they are using the Olympics as yet another excuse to clamp down on ordinary people. They deserve a gold medal in Islamophobia.


What a load of Lubbocks

A Tory peer has come up with an ingenious idea for punishing the banks. Lord McColl says bank holidays should be renamed because of the “poor behaviour” of the banks.

He wants to call them Lubbock holidays, after Sir John Lubbock who introduced the Bank Holidays Act in 1871. That’ll show the bankers.


From prince to frog

Do you feel that renowned eco-warrior Prince Charles isn’t getting enough recognition for his efforts? Well worry no more.

Not only has he got an 11 percent pay rise, but an entire species of Ecuadorian frog has been named after him—Hyloscirtus princecharlesi. The question is: which is slimier?


Money for nothing—if you’re a rail boss

You’ve probably heard of golden hellos and golden goodbyes. They’re handouts bosses get when they enter and leave firms. But what about golden handcuffs?

Network Rail plans to pay three bosses £300,000 each to stop them leaving the firm. But there were no headlines denouncing bosses for “holding the firm to ransom”.

Network Rail “can’t afford” to keep workers and so has slashed thousands of jobs. The government bungs it £4 billion a year in a direct subsidy.


Some migrants better than others

David Cameron has said he would be prepared to stop people from Greece coming to Britain. Cameron is notorious for his hate of migrants.

But some migrants are better than others. “We will roll out the red carpet and welcome more French businesses to Britain,” Cameron declared last month.

He was referring to the fact that French bosses might want to evade higher taxes in France. Didn’t he say that was morally repugnant?


Lloyds cares—but for people or profit?

Good old Lloyds bank, always looking out for the ordinary person. Last week Lloyds Banking Group “donated” £8 million to the Farepak compensation fund.

Some 116,000 customers lost £37 million between them when the Christmas savings firm collapsed in 2006. But Lloyds only gave up the cash after a High Court judge ordered it to.

HBOS, which is now part of Lloyds, financed Farepak. Mr Justice Peter Smith said that HBOS’s “hardball” attitude was partly responsible for the collapse of the firm. The bank took millions from the firm while savers got nothing.

The money works out as under £69 each for all of Farepak’s former customers—if they get it at all. Lloyds said it was “working to ensure that this money goes directly to those customers”.

Now liquidators say that customers could get half of their money back next month. We will see.


Blitz spirit as war memorial unveiled

The Bomber Command Memorial was unveiled in London last week—and was almost accompanied by a real bombing. A Lancaster bomber flew over the crowds and dropped poppies on the war veterans gathered below.

Unfortunately 80 percent of the poppies gathered together in two huge clumps and zoomed to earth at speeds that would have killed anyone they hit. Whoops.


Girl Guides send a snub to the queen

Monarchists in Australia are outraged after the Girl Guides dropped their pledge of allegiance to the queen. Instead they will pledge “to be true to myself and develop my beliefs”.

Girl Guides Australia director Belinda Allen said the change would make the Guides “relevant to the girls of Australia”.

Philip Benwell of the Australian Monarchist League unsurprisingly disagreed, denouncing the Guides as… “misguided”.


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The Troublemaker
Tue 10 Jul 2012, 18:01 BST
Issue No. 2311
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