Socialist Worker

Inside the system

Issue No. 1708

Inside the system

Bigots knife hatchet man

BRIAN SOUTER, the millionaire head of the Stagecoach transport firm, had an example of the anti-gay bigotry he supports brought close to home last week. Souter spent �1 million on an unsuccessful campaign to keep anti-gay Section 28 on the statute books in Scotland recently.

But his head of operations, Barry Hinkley, has been arrested in the US for trying to solicit sex from an undercover policeman. Hinkley has been working for Stagecoach since 1987. Now he has become a victim of the bigotry his boss upholds. Hinkley was arrested in a police "sting" while on a business trip to Houston, Texas.

He is said to have phoned what he thought was an escort agency from his hotel room. He allegedly asked for a "black male" to be sent to his room for sex. When the undercover officer arrived he arrested Hinkley, who then spent the night in the cells.

He was suspended from Stagecoach and has since resigned. Hinkley is known as Souter's hatchet man. In a recent biography of Souter he was quoted as saying, "You can't afford to pay people for an hour's tea break or a meal break. At the end of the day if you are paying someone for eight hours and they are driving for five and a half, then that's not right."


WHERE WOULD employees of Alliance Capital Holdings be without its snappy little booklet, Rules for Life? Company executives printed the invaluable guide after deciding their workers' behaviour wasn't up to scratch. The booklet advises on dress sense:

"Shirts should always be neatly pressed, long sleeved and made of an opaque fabric. Ties should coordinate with a shirt and be long enough to reach the tip of your belt." In "Annoying Habits" we learn that "seemingly innocuous habits, such as rocking back and forth, playing with hair, or constantly adjusting clothing, can be detrimental to professional image".

CRE gets GBH

THE YOUNGEST ever commissioner at Britain's race watchdog has had a bust up with police. Twenty four year old Mohammed Amran, who sits on the Commission for Racial Equality, was arrested by two officers while outside a relative's house in Manningham in Bradford last weekend.

Apparently it was a case of mistaken identity, although it is not known who the officers mistook the young Asian for. The police twisted his arms behind his back and handcuffed him, managing to break his wrist at the same time.

Amran is sue the police for unlawful arrest, unlawful search and assault, and damage to his reputation.

UN's dirty

IN AN extraordinary move, the United Nations is to join forces with 50 multinational corporations. The UN's "Global Compact" is to include firms like Nike and Royal Dutch Shell, more known for their Third World sweatshops and environmental degradation than upholding human rights.

The firms will be allowed to post statements on the UN website and glow in the publicity generated. The deal was worked out after UN secretary general Kofi Annan approached the companies with the invitation: "I'm interested in open markets for the sake of developing nations; you are interested in yourselves. Let's work together."

Mind yer own

THE FRENCH Concorde tragedy has dealt top businessmen a heavy blow. They have traditionally used the aircraft as a mile high conference centre. The tightly packed seating on Concorde allows executives to huddle over high powered deals. But it also means that business competitors can overhear delicate information.

As one investment banker put it, "I have seen a lot of deals I shouldn't have seen. Not only can you see what the guy next to you has, but you can also see what the guy across the aisle is up to."

BRITAIN'S spooks are to get a big handout, thanks to Gordon Brown. The chancellor has given the intelligence services new budgets reaching nearly �1 billion as part of his comprehensive spending review. New Labour has managed to reverse the downward trend in funding to security services since the Cold War.

Spending on spies is planned to increase 34 percent-�248 million-from 1997 to 2003. This "intelligence" only appeared in the international edition of last Sunday's Observer. It was mysteriously left off the coverage in the edition sold in Britain.

World leaders' G8 binge in Okinawa, Japan, cost a cool half a billion pounds. The biggest spender was Japan's police agency, which was terrified that Clinton, Blair and Co would be ambushed by anti-capitalists. "If it hadn't been for Seattle, our bill would have been much, much lower," moaned one officer.

Things they say

"THE SYSTEM has let us down. We have still not had an official confirmation that my sister was killed. Devranee may only have been a cleaner but she was still a human being."

  • RELATIVE of a black hotel chambermaid who was killed in the Concorde crash but whose family was not even told

"I COULD never come out in public and ask the Vietnamese government not to have people work fewer hours. We'd get strung up."

  • CHRIS HELZER, Nike's director of government affairs, on why he doesn't voice opposition to plans to cut the working week in Vietnam

"I AM not to blame for BA's dismal slump. I don't think fault is a useful idea. Fault is a concept about error, blame. Clearly people do things wrong sometimes, but to say an individual, in relation to a very large business, is at fault is something that is only very occasionally a useful idea."

  • ROBERT AYLING, sacked boss of both British Airways and the Millennium Dome, defending himself

"IT IS not for me to tell the voters of America how to vote, but let me say this: George W Bush is an impressive man with a proud record. I wish him well."

  • WILLIAM HAGUE speaking about the Republican presidential candidate who as governor of Texas has presided over 135 executions

"WE USE the term 'unfit for human consumption' for the pig feed, but it must be remembered that chocolate is edible for a long time. It doesn't go mouldy."

  • RICHARD FROST of Cadbury's defending the firm after allegations that it makes its Creme Eggs and other brands out of chocolate marked "Pig Feed"

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Article information

Sat 5 Aug 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1708
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