Socialist Worker

Inside the system

Issue No. 1713

Inside the system

Police, camera, action

CRIMEWATCH, the anti-crime TV programme, will not be showing CCTV footage of police officers breaking the law. There are 1,000 complaints a year against the police using evidence from CCTV cameras in communities across Britain.

PC Steve Watson and PC Barry Vardon were jailed last month after being caught on camera carrying out what the magistrate described as a "punishment beating" on 28 year old Peter Crane. The footage shows the police grabbing Peter Crane round the neck and throwing him to the ground. The two officers held him down while they punched and kicked him.

The Police Complaints Authority severely criticised a group of 16 riot police caught on CCTV cameras using batons to attack football fans drinking in a Manchester pub.

For some reason the police are not keen to implement the Police Complaints Authority's recommendation that all forces install cameras in cells. Perhaps it has something to do with 35 people dying in police custody between April and December last year.


Raytheon - Brotherhood is right on target

ARMS FIRM Raytheon Systems Ltd faces a bit of bother on the home front. The US weapons maker raked in millions as its cruise missiles were used in the Balkan War last year.

The firm, which has a turnover of �12.5 billion, saw its share price soar by around 50 percent during the conflict. Raytheon now faces an angry workforce at its Andover plant in Massachusetts after 3,000 workers began a strike two weeks ago.

The workers are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union Local 1505. Some 88 percent of them voted to strike after rejecting the Raytheon bosses' four-year pay deal, which undermines the workers' job security.

The firm also faces some trouble at its Fife plant in Scotland from engineer Colin Everard, who accused Raytheon of falsifying test results on electronic radar.

Raytheon tried to silence him by giving him the sack. Colin has now brought a charge of unfair dismissal to an industrial tribunal.


Quango cracks

NEW LABOUR'S Millennium Commission quango has two more failed projects to add to the list of millennium disasters. After the footbridge across the Thames in London was closed for swaying dangerously, two more projects are falling apart.

The Cuttleslowe Bridge in Oxford, which spans the A40 east of Oxford, needs to have extra pier supports to stop it from swaying. A �15 million environmental project at South Yorkshire's Earth Centre has defective steel roof connections which has led to cracks in the steel.

Both were funded by the Millennium Commission.


Blair's nasty backers

NEW LABOUR is increasingly dependent on donations from big business, according to the party's annual report published this week. Business donors last year included Gerry Robinson, chairman of the Granada media and leisure group.

The government later appointed him chairman of the public body the Arts Council. Cash also flooded in from arms manufacturers BAe Systems, privatisation and management consultants Andersen Consulting, and Rupert Murdoch's British Sky Broadcasting company.

Tesco was also a New Labour donor. Tesco heiress Shirley Porter had to flee Britain after corruption allegations surrounding her leadership of Tory Westminster council.


Cover up

SCOTTISH COAL bosses have tried to blame the workforce for an increase in a potentially life threatening lung disease in coal mines at Longannet. Routine health checks revealed 11 miners were suffering from pneumoconiosis, known as black spite, at Longannet.

Scottish Coal claimed the return of the disease is because the workforce are "reluctant" to wear the optional dust masks. But the miners' union blames the rise of pneumoconiosis on the bosses' drive for longer working hours.

Nicky Wilson, president of the National Union of Mineworkers in Scotland, explained, "Indications are that the unfortunate cases of pneumoconiosis which occurred came from the length of time the men were working underground."


Silks tee off

THE TABLOID papers have criticised lawyers like Mike Mansfield, who has represented many victims of miscarriage of justice cases, for reaping fat cat salaries. But they are silent over the new breed of City fat cat lawyers who command pay packets of up to �1 million a year.

These top earners deal with corporate cases, representing big business in court. The lifestyle of the 500 highest paid, earning at least �500,000 a year, was exposed a survey published in Commerical Lawyer magazine. The survey reveals that 41 percent of top lawyers own two houses, while 7 percent own three houses.

Nine out of ten solicitors and barristers admitted they paid up to �30,000 a year for their children's education When the top 500 were asked how they spent their free time, the majority said on golf and travel.

Children and family were only just above "equestrian pursuits".


Things they say

"POLITICAL parties rarely have the courage to do anything that might damage their electoral prospects."

  • LORD JENKINS OF HILLHEAD, former SDP leader

"CAPITAL punishment is our society's recognition of the sanctity of human life."

  • US senator ORRIN HATCH

"SOCIAL inclusion committee to focus on the social inclusion agenda!"

  • SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT SOCIAL INCLUSION COMMITTEE talking loud and saying nothing

"THERE HAS been a fatality in the tunnel on the French side involving an illegal immigrant. I look at a suspicious lorry, but leave the experts to deal with it. Tonight I have a relaxing evening at home."

  • TONY MARSH, operations director of P&O Stena Line-unmoved by another person killed trying to enter the country-in his diary describing his week

"THERE IS an endemic culture of betrayal in progressive circles. Leaders are always accused of selling out."

  • PETER HAIN, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, 3 September 2000

"MAKE Britain once again a force for good in the world. An ethical content to foreign policy recognises that the national interest cannot be defined by narrow realpolitik."

  • Mission statement of foreign secretary ROBIN COOK, 12 May 1997

"IT DID not form any part of our discussions. It was not surprising. It was understood that Robin Cook's view was that the whole thing has become a millstone. It was an embarrassment as we couldn't live up to it. We were always being panned."

  • SENIOR GOVERNMENT SOURCE explaining why the ethical foreign policy is not mentioned in documents which will form New Labour's election manifesto, 4 September 2000

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Sat 9 Sep 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1713
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