Inside the system
READERS OF Socialist Worker will be pleased to know that Bulgari Collection Internationale has just revealed its latest range of jewelry. Bulgari, the Financial Times claims, is only a small capitalist. It is, says the paper, "a vigorous young David pitched against the Goliaths of luxury brands". Three items are absolute must-buys for our trendiest readers. They are:
- White-faced art deco timepiece with chronograph, quartz movement and date (it's actually a watch). A bargain model begins at 1,200 but anyone who is anyone will naturally want the top of the range aluminium piece. It's a snip at 44,000.
- The necklace collection, which includes the $1 million Sassi necklace "made of unusual coloured cabochon aquamarines and set on a minimalist gold chain".
- Ear clips complete with diamonds "the size of small ice cubes" and set with 16.23 carats of 24 marquise diamonds. Price? A trifling 868,000.
ACAS, the arbitration service, is being take to an employment tribunal by its own staff. They are protesting over the regulations for long-service awards.
This is worth up to 3,000 a year but is paid only to those with unbroken service. The workers' union says this is unfair to women who take maternity leave.
Space in Seattle
THE RICH are up in arms about a local authority's decision to restrict their grandiose home building plans. The mayor of Medina, a suburb of Seattle, has limited new buildings to "only" 13,500 square feet.
Restrictions will also be placed on garden structures. This has frustrated one boss's wish to build a replica of the Taj Mahal. Bill Gates, the world's richest man, will not be allowed to extend the man-made salmon stream at his 80 million home. The mega-houses of the obscenely wealthy are draining the area's water resources. Gates uses 4.7 million gallons of water a year.
Evidence of gross wealth is everywhere in Medina. One home has a tram system to take people from the main house to the one on the shore. Jon Shirley, former Microsoft president, has a house with three art galleries, four libraries and more lavatories than the average airport.
STAFF AT Buckingham Palace have revolted over low pay and have forced above-inflation rises from their monarchical bosses. Some palace workers get as little as 7,000 a year-140 a week. The staff refused to chip in for a birthday gift for Prince Philip, who was 80 last weekend.
The Master of the Royal Household had suggested that 1,000 servants put in between 5 and 25 each towards a statue of Prince Philip's favourite horse.
Friday for chop
ACADEMICS AT George Washington University in the United States have decided that Friday is the best day of the week to sack someone. They have "researched" the links between days of the week and the ability of office staff to complete different tasks.
Monday and Tuesday are apparently good for analytical tasks such as sales analysis and budget setting. By the end of the week, say the "experts", the more creative left side of the brain has eclipsed the analytical right side. With people at their most relaxed and sensitive, it is a good time for tasks requiring "strong interpersonal and communication skills". These include giving people the sack!
Business consultant Judi James says, "If you tell a person on a Monday that he is going to get the chop, the chances are that he takes only the negative message away from the meeting. By Friday the words may not be so wounding. You will be more gentle, and in that end of the week reverie he may even agree with you that it's best to look for another job."
POLICE WERE called to a school in Tiverton, Dorset, last week when pupils rebelled against restrictions on what they could wear. The school refused to allow the pupils to wear shorts, despite sweltering temperatures.
They staged a sit-down demonstration on the school playing fields. At one point some of the protesters defended themselves by picking up rounders bats. The headteacher said, "There were clear ringleaders inciting anarchic behaviour."
Three children have been excluded permanently, four for up to ten days and 70 for five days or less.
RICHARD Murphy was recently sentenced to jail for three months. He had been arrested on the May Day demonstration in central London. He had "thrown missiles" at the police. The missiles were paper balls.
Things they say
"BRIAN is supposed to be in charge of Africa but he spends most of his time in bloody Dublin. He is a liability."
- HENRY McLEISH, the first minister of Scotland, on former deputy Scottish secretary Brian Wilson
"OH, I know."
- HELEN LIDDELL, the Scottish secretary replies
"JOHN REID is a patronising bastard, he really is."
- HENRY McLEISH, on the Northern Ireland secretary
"THE PROBLEM is not that he has no beliefs, but that he believes in the wrong things."
- ROY HATTERSLEY on Tony Blair
"WE ARE going to do much worse-I mean much better-than people expect."
- LORD STRATHCLYDE, Tory spokesperson, on election night
"HE'S the continuity candidate-balding, a right winger and unelectable."
- JOHN REDWOOD, right wing Tory MP, on prospective Tory leadership candidate Iain Duncan Smith
"I'M NOT surprised he reduced the Tory vote. He did exactly the same to our circulation when he was editor. The man's a star."
- JOURNALIST at the Birmingham Post on former editor and defeated Tory candidate Nigel Hastilow
"THE common European perception of George Bush is of a shallow, arrogant, gun-loving, abortion-hating, Christian fundamentalist Texan buffoon."
- US SENIOR OFFICIAL
"TO EASE my guilt I'd buy another Ferrari."
- Rock star JACK BRUCE describing his way of easing his guilt at being so rich
"I DON'T think I have read a book from cover to cover for three years."
- ESTELLE MORRIS, Labour's new education secretary