Socialist Worker

Inside the system

Issue No. 1680

Inside the system

NEW Labour has repeatedly told us that private money is the best way to finance services like the NHS. But bosses at the first ever privately funded NHS hospital, Chepstow Community Hospital, recently had to delay their big opening. The reason? They did not build the doors wide enough to allow patients' beds through them. The NHS trust's deputy chief executive dismissed the problem as "a minor design fault".

E-kids get a hand up

IS IT true that anyone can make a pile out of the internet? We are told that any young whizz kid, no matter what their background, can hope to make a fast buck in the brave new world of e-commerce. But a closer look at the Internet entrepreneurs reveals a more familiar story of privileged backgrounds.

  • Jonathan Rowland is chief executive of internet investment company Jellyworks. The company grew by 900 percent on the first day it was floated on the markets last month. Jonathan, aged 24, claims his success is all his work. But the company was set up with a whacking �10 million of "family money". Jonathan's father, David "Spotty" Rowlands, was a property wheeler-dealer in the 1960s who had an empire of some �100 million.
  • Mark Slater founded a similar company, Internet Indirect, which has enjoyed equal success. It turns out he is the son of controversial City financier Jim Slater. As Rufus Olins of the magazine Management Today, which researched the backgrounds, says, "The idea that someone gets several million pounds by jotting an idea on the back of an envelope isn't true. "These are the kind of people who would always have been high flyers, who have the flat in Notting Hill, the fast car and the fast life, and who have decided that this is a way to make a fast buck."

Workers' bellyache

ARE YOU reading this during your well earned lunch break at work? Bread makers Nimble conducted research that found:

  • One in five workers do not stop for a lunch break at all.
  • One in three women workers do not get a lunch break.
  • 11 percent of workers say they do not get a chance to eat at all between 9am and 5pm.
  • Of those who do get a break, a majority only get 30 minutes and 14 percent say they get only 15 minutes or less.
  • 24 percent of workers said they never left their desks during the average working day.
  • One quarter of workers surveyed from Wales and the west of England said they worked more than 50 hours a week.

Tony's Tories

NEW LABOUR has been boasting about its new Tory recruit, the MP Shaun Woodward. Woodward says he has not changed his views and that it is the Tories who have become more right wing. Inside the System was interested to discover what Woodward told Conservatives at a selection meeting in 1997.

A former Tory mayor who was there said, "We were led to believe certain facts. "Shaun approved of foxhunting, would support the introduction of capital punishment, would support the existing ban on homosexuals in the armed services. He was a mild Euro-sceptic and supported the 'wait and see' policy of John Major. Shaun was a loyal 'true blue' Conservative."

Other Tories welcomed into New Labour include Alan Amos, a former Tory MP for Hexham. Amos heads the list of New Labour's approved parliamentary candidates for the next election. He is a former president of Oxford University Conservative Association and Tory central office researcher. Amos advocates flogging criminals and is anti-abortion.

NATO mistake or NATO murder?

THE FULL extent of NATO's efforts to sanitise its murderous bombing campaign against civilians during last year's war in the Balkans is slowly coming to light. NATO chiefs deliberately showed videos of its bombing of a passenger train, which killed ten ordinary civilians, at THREE times the normal speed. This gave the impression that the attack was unavoidable. NATO has now tried to say that the speed of the video was down to a computer error, according to the German Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper. The newspaper quotes a US Air Force Europe spokesperson saying the "mistake" was only spotted months later. Once it was discovered, he said the US Air Force saw "no reason" to make the information public.

Orange turnout

WE ARE told that the British army plays a neutral role in Northern Ireland. This myth is destroyed by the picture above of the Royal Irish Regiment, the army's regiment recruited from Northern Ireland. It shows the armed soldiers posing with an Orangemen's banner from Drumcree. The Drumcree Orangemen's lodge has been responsible for inciting some of the worst sectarianism in Northern Ireland.

Things they say

"SURELY cutting down the right to jury trial, making the system less fair, is not only wrong but shortsighted and likely to prove ineffective."

  • JACK STRAW, 27 February 1997, opposing the Tory government's plans to attack the right to a jury trial.

"IF A police officer, an MP or even a secretary of state were charged with an offence of dishonesty, would they not insist upon being tried by a jury?"

  • JACK STRAW, 27 Feburary 1997

"I AM trying to make the courts run on time."

  • JACK STRAW, 28 November 1999, when asked if his attempts to sacrifice liberty and justice in the name of efficiency recalled fascist dictator Mussolini

"PEOPLE WILL not know what's hit them."

  • Virgin boss RICHARD BRANSON on his planned high speed West Coast Main Line train services

"THE monarchy will end with me. I don't believe William will ever be king."


"THE QUEEN does not want a general election in 2002. She does not want her jubilee year to be marred by division and disunity in the country, and hopes that nothing will detract from a happy family celebration."

  • CONFIDANT OF the Queen to the Sunday Times

"JACK STRAW has made a very big mistake in this case. General Pinochet deserves an apology."

  • FERNANDO BARROS, Pinochet's spokesman

"THE FACT that so many exhibits are sometimes not working shows how popular they are and how much they are being interactively used. It is a sign of success."

  • MILENNIUM DOME spokesperson

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Article information

Thu 20 Jan 2000, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1680
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