Socialist Worker

Cops get their snouts into a £23m trough of champagne

Issue No. 2328

Being a cop isn’t without its perks. Businesses have showered the Metropolitan Police with almost £23 million worth of gifts over the past five years.

They got free cars and motorcycles from firms including Landrover, BMW, Rover, Renault and Toyota.

London’s football clubs are all piling in, including free shirts from Chelsea and Queen’s Park Rangers, free tickets from Fulham and £14,000 for a car from West Ham.

Even non-league Dulwich Hamlet FC found its way towards £4,000 in venue hire.

There were even 11 free concert tickets from record company EMI, including for Beverley Knight and the Chemical Brothers. The top cops must have been gutted not to get invited to the Fun Lovin’ Criminals.

The donations range from five and six figure sums right down to many entries documenting free crisps.

Other nibbles include chocolates and three large tins of biscuits from Walkers, as well as more substantial gala dinners and drinks.

A lot of the donations go to the cops’ competitions—from Homebase plants to theatre tickets, champagne from Waitrose and a digital camera from Argos. Young’s brewery sent cops to a five-a-side football competition in Holland. One online dating agency gave them 32 free subscriptions.

Of course we would never suggest that corporate executives were motivated by anything but the generosity of their hearts. But many of the donors do appear to be getting their money’s worth.

So a lot of businesses—such as Ikea, McDonald’s and HSBC—have paid for bikes, cars, special constables and buildings used to patrol in the areas of their premises.

The biggest single donor was a consortium of credit card firms, which gave a total of £11.9 million to set up a specialist unit to look into credit card fraud.

And oil industry representatives paid £30,000 to have a constable dedicated to petrol station forecourts. But there’s no mention of who paid for the more than 189 deaths in Metropolitan Police custody since 1997.

Economic alienation

Sometimes it feels like there is no solution to the economic crisis. But don’t worry—economist Paul Krugman has a recovery plan that’s out of this world.

“If we discovered that space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat,” he argued last week, “this slump would be over in 18 months.”

Internal affairs

The office of war criminal Tony Blair has finally been shamed into paying its interns. Blair’s office, also known as Windrush Ventures, made a pre-tax profit of £1.1 million last year.

But the money it channelled to other parts of Blair’s network of firms and partnerships adds up to much more of this.

This year’s bumper crop of ‘poppy bling’

As politicians and TV presenters compete to get their poppies on earlier, the question on everyone’s lips is how to go one step further in supporting Britain’s imperialist wars. Well don’t worry—top jewellery makers are here to help.

For just £24.99 you can have an extra large, crystal-studded, 18 carat gold-plated poppy like the one worn by the Duchess of Cambridge. But it’s too late to get the £59.99 crystal brooch which sold out due to excessive demand.

Tessa Greener of the British Legion defended the flaunting of the poppy, saying it “has never been a political statement”.

But in the years after the First World War many veterans refused to wear them because of their association with General Haig—the Earl who sent two million to their deaths.

Of course the poppy appeal can’t be accused of glamourising war. Last week it got model Nell McAndrew to pose on a Spitfire fighter plane in London’s Covent Garden.

How many snakes are in Whitehall?

How far does the stuffed animal scandal go? The Foreign Office spent £10,000 of our money renovating Albert, a 20 foot anaconda looted from Guyana.

But a Cabinet Office spokesperson told Socialist Worker they “don’t know” how much more has been spent on stuffed animals.

They said that for all they know there could be a snake in every department. They’ve been much more on the ball when it comes to lobbying for job cuts. Albert himself was unavailable for comment.

Border patrol

Home secretary Theresa May had letters sent to families with Borders postcodes telling them they couldn’t vote in police chief elections because they were in Scotland.

This must have come as a shock, as they were actually in the north of England.

Depressed by Tories? You’re not alone

More than 5.1 million people are depressed in Britain, according to GPs. That’s more than a tenth of the population, making it the most common illness.

Some of the increase may be down to more people seeking help. But mental health charity Mind said that job insecurity and financial worries were also making it harder for people to cope.

Benefits firm ‘killed my Dad’ says boy, 13

Former security guard Brian McArdle had his disability benefits stopped in September after an assessment by Atos Healthcare. The following day he died of a heart attack.

Brian was paralysed down his left side by a stroke last year. He suffered another stroke days before seeing Atos. But they still ruled him fit to work. Brian’s son Kieran, 13, said, “Atos need to know their changes are killing genuine people like my dad.”

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The Troublemaker
Tue 6 Nov 2012, 17:54 GMT
Issue No. 2328
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