Inside the system
NOT CONTENT with stopping Neville Lawrence recently, the Metropolitan Police have now moved on to Tory lords. Black Conservative peer Lord Taylor was stopped when he was running near his west London home. Taylor says that police shouted, "Stop where you are. Where have you been? Where are you going?"
He adds, "They acted as though I was already guilty of a crime and had to prove myself innocent." If this is how the police deal with a barrister and peer, imagine the treatment ordinary black people receive.
THE CRIME figures released last week were broken down by geographical area. Top of the violence list was not some run down estate but Bishopsgate in the heart of the City of London. Police admitted that a large part of the fighting involves financial market traders. Officers are to visit City institutions and explain the perils of alcohol and drugs. Last year City police reported a big increase in the use of cannabis and cocaine by the men in red braces.
PITY the poor sparrows of China. Under the state capitalist system in the 1950s the sparrow was scapegoated for several poor harvests. Sparrows were declared "enemies of the people" and on a particular day across the whole country people were urged to bang drums and shout to keep the birds airborne until they dropped from exhaustion. This wiped out a huge number of the birds. However, Chinese agricultural experts soon noticed a large rise in insects which the sparrows had previously dealt with.
These pests were far more harmful to crops than the birds had been. Gradually the sparrow was rehabilitated. But now, as Chinese leaders push the market and "free enterprise", the sparrow is again under threat. Farmers are now allowed to plant where they want and use pesticides containing DDT. If any sparrows eat grain treated with such chemicals they tweet their last. Sparrows have now been wiped out in several provinces.
Cash hole down to private deals
THE MINISTRY of Defence has been reprimanded by the government's spending monitor after overspending its budget for the seventh time in ten years. The National Audit Office report found the military had also lost almost �30 million on two failed public-private partnerships for computers. Meanwhile a committee of MPs slammed the Arts Council over its expenditure overruns. The MPs were particularly scathing about the council's attitude to private "partnership" deals which never materialise. On five projects �67 million of pledged private money has not appeared.
WHY are Sainsbury's beef and onion crisps labelled "suitable for vegetarians"?
THE US plan to build a missile-based defence against nuclear attack is not only obscenely wasteful. It may not work. The �8 billion project is in disarray after the latest test firing missed its target. A warhead mounted on a Hawk missile fired from a Pacific island failed to intercept a dummy nuclear missile launched in California. "It was very, very close," said the US military.
Last year US authorities agreed there would have to be two successful tests by June for the president to approve the project. A test last year hit the target, but now there is time for only one more before the deadline. The plan eventually envisages 1,000 missiles based in Alaska and a secondary battery based outside the US. Britain is the favourite for the second site. There is speculation that the final test might be made rather easier to ensure the project gets the go ahead. "We could take away the decoys which might have confused our missile and perhaps make the target a bit bigger and slower," said one military analyst.
GIANT MULTINATIONAL firms often claim that world raw material costs force them to put up prices. The price of chocolate bars has soared at an absolutely uniform rate, whatever the price of cocoa. Plunging cocoa bean prices mean disaster for Third World farmers but they just fatten the profits of the chocolate barons.
A WOMAN lay injured for at least 15 minutes at the Dome's tube station after Dome bosses refused to send an unused ambulance to her aid. The 60 year old woman tripped and plunged down an escalator at the North Greenwich station. Dome managers would not release their ambulance, sited less than 30 seconds drive away. Instead the woman had to wait 16 minutes while an ambulance came from Greenwich. A Dome spokesperson said that although the woman was probably on her way to the exhibition she would not be offered a free ticket.
Things they say
"A POISON tipped umbrella could be handy."
- STEPHEN POUND, New Labour MP, suggests options for Blair if Ken Livingstone wins the vote for Labour's candidate for mayor
"AS OF now my only connection with the Labour Party will be to oppose the leadership at every opportunity and to assist in exposing their hypocrisy."
- Former Labour MEP ALEX SMITH
"WE'RE smiles better under Labour."
- MIRROR, on New Labour's first anniversary on 1 May 1998
"NOTHING has gone quite right, some things have gone badly wrong and the outlook gets bleaker by the day."
- MIRROR columnist PAUL ROUTLEDGE on New Labour's 1,000 days in office
"DEAD AS a Dobbo."
- MIRROR, Friday of last week, giving its verdict on Blair's candidate for London mayor
"IN SOME areas between 95 to 100 percent will come from offshore. In Sri Lanka the labour costs are about a tenth of those in the UK."
- MARKS & SPENCER director explains the firm's latest cost cutting drive
"FOR ME to join a true British institution was part of the challenge."
- Marks & Spencer's new chairman, LUC VANDEVELDE, who gets a "golden hello" of shares worth �2.2 million and an annual salary of �650,000
"I THINK that there is a risk if you spend half of what other people spend on healthcare. Practically speaking that's what we do in Britain."
- LORD WINSTON, New Labour peer, again criticises the government over its lack of NHS funding
"What do you say to a woman with two black eyes? Nothing, she's already been told twice."
- Tory MP NICHOLAS SOAMES's disgusting joke about wife battering