Socialist Worker

Irving's mates

Issue No. 1688

Inside the system

Irving's mates

DAVID IRVING the "historian" was forced last week to admit he had spoken at a Nazi BNP meeting. The truth was forced from Irving in court. Irving is suing US author Deborah Lipstadt for calling him a Holocaust denier. Irving had always denied any links with the BNP. But Richard Rampton QC referred to a letter sent to Irving on BNP notepaper inviting him to speak at the Nazis' "northern regional meeting". Irving was forced to admit he spoke at what he described as a "semi - BNP function" in Leeds in 1990.

A Spectator journalist described the audience at an Irving book launch in 1997. The journalist wrote, "One man in the room, who was about 60 and had a care - in - the - community leer, looked less risky than most. He turned out to be the British National Party candidate for Shoreditch and Hackney South. Keen to help, he brought over an intellectual. Why was he here? He replied, 'I'm here because I do not believe in the Holocaust.' He did not mean the Holocaust was wrong. He meant that it did not happen. There were much more effective ways to wipe out a race than gas. He knew a lot about gas. Mr Irving, he said, was 'honest'."

The Spectator journalist also reported that the then national organiser of the BNP, Richard Edmonds, was present. "I admire David Irving," the journalist reported Edmonds saying. The closing speeches in the Irving trial were to begin this week.


Pinochet pursued

GENERAL Pinochet did not only escape justice. He ordered the British police to stop two journalists from following his convoy as he made his escape. ITN journalist Ben Ando and cameraman Soren Munk were the only news crew to pursue him. Pinochet contacted the police who stopped the two and then refused to accept their press passes as identification.


Lord Grabber

THE LABOUR government launched a big Tory - style "stop the scrounger" campaign last week. It wants to hound the poorest who may do the odd job on the side, to try to save the Department of Social Security money. But who are the people behind this vicious clampdown? One is Lord Grabiner QC. What does he know about scraping together a living and feeding his children on miserable benefit levels? Grabiner, who was made a lord by Tony Blair last year, went to the posh Central Foundation Grammar School. He is a top QC, in the same kind of wage bracket as Cherie Blair who gets at least �200,000 a year.


Tanker spilt toxic slick

AN OIL tanker sank off western France before Christmas, leaving a huge oil slick behind it. The tanker was chartered by oil giant TotalFina, France's biggest industrial company. Thousands of ordinary people volunteered to help clear up the pollution covering the beaches. Environmental groups quickly warned of the potential dangers of the oil waste.

Now an official report has confirmed that the oil waste was highly toxic and contained deadly cancer - causing chemicals. But neither TotalFina nor the French government did anything to warn the volunteers of the dangers.


STEPHEN Timms, who is financial secretary to the Treasury, last year announced planned changes in tax rules. The new rules benefited Ovum Holdings Ltd, in which Timms holds �10 million of shares.


HELP THE poor-get sent to jail. That was the fate of Michael Stevenson, a manager at the Crazy George Furniture Store in Greenock, Scotland. Michael was jailed for eight months for embezzling �15,000 from the shop. But he didn't keep a penny for himself. He used a computer fault to help customers who ran up debts because he felt sorry for them. The final straw came when he had to visit people's homes in order to repossess their furniture, including children's beds.


Has Met sacked wrong man?

THE Metropolitan Police sacked one of its officers, Gurpal Virdi, last week. Virdi was found guilty of sending race hate messages to himself and other black police officers. But is there more to the case? Virdi claims he is a victim of the Met's racism. Virdi was responsible for catching and convicting two men for a racist attack on an Iraqi teenager and an Indian boy.

They stabbed them 13 times, while shouting racist abuse. Virdi told the Stephen Lawrence inquiry he was angry that the stabbing was not initially recorded as a racist crime. He was also upset that the mother of one of the victims had still not been contacted three days after the attack. There was no evidence to link Virdi to the hate letters.

Envelopes had fingerprints on them, but they weren't Virdi's. Virdi says that at the time the material was run off from a police computer he was giving another officer a lift home. The other officer confirms this story but he was not called to give evidence. Instead it was announced that the officer must have got the time wrong. The Met's Black Police Association is backing Virdi's appeal.


A GROUP of police officers are trying to set up an organisation exclusively for white officers. According to the Daily Record, the group has made inquiries about the legality of setting up a White Police Officers' Society and a White Retired Police Officers' Society. They claim organisations like the Black Police Association are "offensive".


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Sat 18 Mar 2000, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1688
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