Socialist Worker

Foul behaviour in the highest places

Issue No. 1853

AN Arab-American woman who was in court to fight a parking ticket fainted when a US judge asked her if she was a terrorist. Anissa Khoder has now filed a complaint about judge William Crosbie. She says that after giving the judge her reasons for why the parking ticket should be dismissed, 'He said something like, 'You have the money to support terrorists, but you don't want to pay the ticket.'

'I could not believe I was hearing that.' Crosbie has confirmed that he made the remark but said he was 'probably kidding with her'. Meanwhile back in Britain giant car corporation Daimler Chrysler has been found guilty of similar racial discrimination against a Palestinian man by an employment tribunal.

Khalid Jayyosi was an Information Technology manager at the company's Milton Keynes HQ. His colleagues changed his computer password to 'suicide bomber'. He also said that he was compared to the 11 September hijackers, and asked if he was a bomb maker. On another occasion he was told to 'go back to Sangatte'. The company's personnel manager sent an e-mail asking colleagues, 'How critical an employee is Khalid?' He was later made redundant.

Mr Jayyosi said, 'I had to put up with all kinds of rubbish. I could not eat, I could not sleep. I was angry.' Damages against the company are to be set next month.

In the Frame - No. 12 Margaret Hodge

The education minister, and one time Labour left, has endorsed fees of up to £10,000 for top universities. She says that since most people who go to places like Oxford or Cambridge are from better off families, higher fees should be levied. Charging £10,000 will certainly ensure that only the elite go to those universities.

Swiss bankers go incognito

PANIC SET in among the high flying bankers of Geneva in the run-up to the G8 summit across the border in Evian, France. The prospect of anti-capitalist mobilisations pushed the Swiss bankers to abandon sharp suits and dress down.

UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, explains that 'a special situation calls for special measures'.

Birt's empty blue skies

THERE WAS a great fanfare when Tony Blair appointed Lord Birt to come up with 'blue skies' ideas. The former director general of the BBC was meant to come up with radical new policies.

Two years on and Birt has come up with precisely one proposal. It was for a network of toll motorways, which was rejected out of hand by transport secretary Alistair Darling.

Just giving a helping hand

THE Congressman who rewrote US tax laws for six years is poised to win a bonanza for a multinational with billions stashed away in offshore accounts. Bill Archer, a member of Bush's Republican Party, was chairman of the House of Representatives tax writing committee from 1995 to 2001.

He used the position to allow companies to salt away billions in tax havens. Archer is now chief tax lobbyist for PwC accountants. He is pushing for a new law to cut tax on money banked offshore from 35 percent to 5 percent.

Tea with the evil duo

LABOUR MP Ann Clwyd is keeping some very strange company. She has been a well-known champion of the rights of Kurdish people in the Middle East. Tony Blair sacked her from the opposition front bench in 1995 when she missed a vote in parliament to be on the Iraqi border monitoring the Turkish army's incursion into the Kurdish 'safe haven'.

Unfortunately over recent months she fell hook, line and sinker for the government's spin that the war on Iraq was about liberating the Kurds. She even threw her weight behind Blair in the parliamentary vote on the war.

As a reward, Blair was due to send her this week to Iraq as his 'humanitarian ambassador' - a purely ornamental title. Before heading off Clwyd had time to fly over to Washington to meet two of the most hawkish members of the Bush administration - defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz.

The evil duo invited her over after Wolfowitz read her column in the Times newspaper calling for backing the war. By their friends...

Turning a blind eye

FORMER MIRROR editor Roy Greenslade launched a welcome broadside against inaccurate and bigoted reporting of asylum seekers on Monday. His Guardian column singled out the Daily Express, Sun, Telegraph and Mail.

Sadly there was no comment on the Guardian's sister paper, the Observer. The day before it had run the front page headline 'Immigrants 'Behind Crime Wave' - Police'. '

Figure it out

17 - Since New Labour came to power the government's spending on wining and dining has tripled to £17.6 million a year. The biggest spender is the Ministry of Defence with £6.3 million.

Ken's nasty fat cat

LONDON MAYOR Ken Livingstone has appointed David Campbell to head the London Tourist Board at the salary of £300,000 a year. Campbell, a former Pepsi, Virgin and Ministry of Sound executive quickly attacked Livingstone for his denunciation of George Bush.

Livingstone rightly called Bush 'everything that is repellent in politics'. Campbell said the mayor should not say such things, 'repetition would not be helpful'. So why is Ken appointing people like this?

Who says?

'The paper won't be as relentlessly serious on the front page as it has been. We're going to rein the seriousness back by 20 or 30 percent.'
Piers Morgan, editor of the Daily Mirror on the paper's future

'I think the UK is suffering from what we may call a post Iraqi backlash... There is a bit of political voting that goes on.'
Terry Wogan on the Eurovision song contest - the UK entry got nil points

'My film is about an Afghan woman who has no power but who wants to be a president one day. I don't want to be a president myself if the best-known president in the world is George Bush.'
Samira Makhmalbaf, Iranian director after winning an award for the film Five in the Afternoon at the Cannes film festival, in France

'The Labour party is a corporation like Adidas or any other brand. The idea that you vote for them and that they are any different to Adidas, Nike or McDonald's is absurd. They are McLabour.'
Hanif Kureishi, novelist and film writer at the Cannes film festival in France

'We are responding to the G8 as if it were a major natural disaster that we cannot manage.'
Chantal Tauxe, journalist who wrote on panic in Geneva

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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 31 May 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1853
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