Inside the system
Black, white and shades of blue
THE POLICE are fiddling the figures on racial attacks. They suggest there is a big increase in attacks on white people by blacks when in fact there is not. That's the conclusion of a new book by Marian FitzGerald, a former adviser to the Home Office. Her research looks at the practice of London's Metropolitan Police.
She says that some white victims of crime claim their case would have been taken more seriously if they were black or Asian. Some police officers then deliberately twist the evidence to say such cases are racial attacks as defined in the Macpherson report.
Marian FitzGerald says her research "suggests that some officers may have actively connived in the white backlash against Macpherson by recording this type of perverse reporting. Backlash
"Officers can infer a racial motive simply on the grounds of the parties being from different racial groups." Although the number of claimed racial attacks by black people against whites is rising, the number of convictions shows no such pattern. This suggests the reports are false. The most likely cause is a police backlash against Macpherson in an attempt to discredit it.
In the year before the Macpherson report the Met police recorded 71 percent of racial suspects as white and 16 percent as black. The year after the report saw white suspects fall to 67 percent and black suspects rise to 20 percent. Recently in Oldham police recorded an assault against a white pensioner as racially motivated even though neither the victim nor his family mentioned any such thing.
Sent to Siberia
RICHARD BUDGE, the founder of private coal mining company RJB Mining, left the company earlier this year. It made a fortune out of the Tory privatisation of the pits. Now shareholders are considering a new name for the firm.
Budge's sons, Kurt and Grant, still hold senior management positions. Perhaps they could follow their father in using their initials in the new name. KGB Mining (sounds like the old Stalinist police) sums up the way its workers are treated.
PORN baron Richard Desmond is forcing staff at Express Newspapers to sign new contracts. As you'd expect, they include cuts to holidays and pensions. But there is a special harsher edge as well. They allow the management to "stop and search" employees on the premises.
THE BLAIR-supporting New Statesman recently published a hatchet job "review" of Liz Davies's excellent expos� of New Labour, Through the Looking Glass. Steven Pollard wrote, "By damning any contact with business, and by attacking everyone involved in the party's fundraising, she destroys the credibility of her argument."
Pollard knows a thing or two about business. He has written two pieces for the Pfizer Forum. That was set up by the drugs multinational so that it could sponsor articles about "public policy issues". One of the articles Pollard was paid for called on New Labour to embrace private healthcare.
The other suggested people should pay a regular "top-up " fee for the privilege of visiting the doctor. Pfizer in turn recommends his work. And it is, of course, one of the drug firms which is trying to price medicines out of people's reach in the Third World.
'Cured' to be killed
GEORGE W Bush's US must have the most obscene policy over the death penalty anywhere in the world. Authorities in the state of Arizona want treatment for a schizophrenic man so that he can be declared "mentally competent" and then executed. Claude Maturana was sentenced to death for murder nine years ago. Even the court-appointed psychiatrists had reservations about his mental state and whether he was fit to stand trial.
The court ignored those pleas. Psychiatrists report that Maturana is suffering from schizophrenia. He talks about daily visits from his mother who died 30 years ago, and believes he is already dead. Arizona's attorney general has sent 1,400 letters to psychologists across the US trying to find someone who will treat Maturana sufficiently for him to be executed.
Spot the difference
RONNIE BIGGS-deemed fit for trial GENERAL PINOCHET-deemed not fit for trial
Things they say
"DURING his speech to the Witney Conservative Association final selection meeting we were led to believe certain facts-Shaun approved of foxhunting, would support the reintroduction of capital punishment, would support the existing ban on homosexuals in the armed services, was a mild Eurosceptic. Shaun was a loyal true blue Conservative."
- Tory mayor of Witney STEPHEN HAYWARD on Shaun Woodward, now a Labour candidate in St Helens
"MY FATHER was a strong Conservative so I saw a lot of what Mrs Thatcher did. She was definitely the original Spice Girl, rising from greengrocer's daughter to prime minister. She was a real role model of a strong woman."
- GERI HALLIWELL speaking after she appeared in a Labour election broadcast this week
"I AM proud to be British and I am happy to put my support behind a strong leader."
- GERI HALLIWELL on Tony Blair
"A government formed by the Socialist Alliance would at least be a laugh. Most of its leading lights are stand up comedians. But if you yearn for the old fashioned socialism that Mr Blair makes crystal clear you won't get from unremittingly New Labour, then there is somewhere else to put your vote."
- ANDREW RAWNSLEY, columnist in the Observer
"A laughing stock."
- Former Tory leader EDWARD HEATH on William Hague
"THE PROBLEM for the Tories is William Hague."
- BOB WORCESTER, head of MORI opinion polls