Socialist Worker

This City does face drug & crime wave

Issue No. 1860

DRUG ABUSE, heavy drinking, prostitution, violence - it sounds like the press image of 'murder mile' in Hackney or parts of Brixton. A court case told about the goings - on did not come after a police raid in an inner city - it came from THE City, stockbroker land. Steven Horkulak is a high-flying City type.

He accused his former boss, Lee Amatis, of bullying him out of a job. Horkulak told the court he was ordered to sack a whole team who his boss said were 'fucking useless'. When Horkulak objected, his boss 'whipped himself up into a real frenzy, stood over my desk, red in the face, shouting that they were 'useless fucking scumbags' and 'thieving sons of bitches'.'

Accusations of sustained cocaine snorting were also flying - nothing new in the City. Other cases have revealed the extent of racism and sexism in the City. In 2001 Laurent Weinberger, a Jewish former employee of Tullett & Tokyo Liberty, complained that he was asked to dress up in a Nazi uniform for being late. Phillip Karam, a Pakistani-born trader at Credit Suisse First Boston, complained of being treated like a slave. One colleague threatened to petrol-bomb his flat, and he was warned away from dating white women.

One City company, Icap, stopped paying for lapdancing on expenses just 18 months ago. Another company sacked a woman worker for refusing to take clients to lapdancing clubs.


Winston won't win this one

DISGRACED Peter Mandelson is shamelessly pursuing his political comeback. Two weeks ago he addressed a dinner held in honour of India's prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Vajpayee heads the ultra right wing BJP party which stirs up hatred of Muslims and includes the fascist paramilitary RSS group.

Oddly, Mandelson told the fascist-friendly guests about Winston Churchill's anti-fascism, adding that Churchill's story 'shows it is possible to return from the political wilderness'.


In the Frame - No. 19 Digby Jones

He heads the bosses' CBI group. Jones has been invited to tell this year's Trade Union Congress how to be more 'productive'.

But he has not switched sides in the class struggle. Just weeks ago he said, 'The union psyche appears inextricably linked with saying no - of stopping, slowing down, making things more bureaucratic.'


Teens face prison misery

TEENAGE GIRLS in British prisons must continue the degrading practice of slopping out. A 16 year old pregnant girl, backed by the Howard League for Penal Reform, brought a legal case to demand her right to use a toilet during the 12-hour nightly lockups.

If prisoners want to visit the toilet they have to wait up to three hours. Judges refused the girl's plea for easy access to a bathroom. During the summer the stink from the slopping out pots gets indescribably bad. The women are forced to empty the pots out of their windows. This means the waste falls on windows and walls below. Many of the cells have no sinks.

This means serious infections like hepatitis spread easily in the prisons. In 1996 prison inspectors slammed slopping out as 'inhumane'. It was supposed to be banned for most prisoners at the time.


SOCIALIST Worker argued for months that an apparent hike in street crime was caused by lost mobile phones. Owners reported lost phones stolen to claim on insurance, pushing reported crime through the roof.

This allowed the press and David Blunkett to call for tougher sentences to crush young phone thieves. Now police have been conducting raids on phone shops. They suspect staff of advising customers to make false claims to replace and upgrade old phones.


Crapillion gong panned

THE Carillion company has a turnover of £2 billion a year. It has just been given an 'impact in society award' by a group sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry for 'reducing its impact on society'. Carillion pays health workers as little as £4.29 an hour. That's why hundreds of them have been striking against Carillion in Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Goole.


Not time for an early Bath

A HARD-nosed union basher has been awarded the Order of the Bath. Clive Norris works in John Prescott's office. He was so vicious in his pursuit of the firefighters during their dispute that the final deal had to be kept away from him to stop him tearing it up. He was seconded to the government from the Health and Safety Executive to help deal with the firefighters' dispute.


Blairs all going on a summer holiday

BARBADOS is this year's holiday destination for Tony Blair and family. They will be staying at the £3 million mansion of pop singer Sir Cliff Richard. Cherie Blair said, 'I have been lucky enough to get to know him over the years and I can say he is a nice guy. He is also a decent one, and a caring one, who is not ashamed to say he is a Christian.'

Sir Cliff, however, is not always so gushing about Tony Blair. Two years ago he was overheard blasting 'phoney Tony', saying, 'This government is destroying British heritage' and adding that he preferred Thatcher to Blair. Obviously, two years down the road Sir Cliff is satisfied that Tony Blair is sufficiently Thatcher-like to be worthy of his hospitality.

The Blairs have holidayed courtesy of the right wing Italian government, the human rights abusing Egyptian government and one of France's most powerful businessmen, Alain-Dominique Perrin.


Figure it out

11 billion - The amount in pounds of corporate VAT fraud barely reported last week. In the same week MPs slammed £2 billion in benefit fraud as 'unacceptable'.


Who says?

'He would have really liked a sandpit with tanks. I offered to bring in my children's Risk boardgame from home.'
Sally Morgan Number 10 fixer on Tony Blair during the war

'To see young political leaders of the developed world act in ways that undermine some of the noblest attempts of humanity to deal with historical legacies pains me greatly and makes me worry immensely about our future.'
Nelson Mandela slams Bush and Blair

'I think the overselling came in spring when it looked as though the British people were not actually going to sign up to this project. The real overselling was the continual assessments of an imminent terrorist attack in London, advising housewives to lay in stocks of water and food, tanks at Heathrow. I call that overselling.'
Sir Rodric Braithwaite former head of the Joint Intelligence Committee on New Labour's drive for war

'The FBI made little attempt to distinguish between immigrants who had possible ties to terrorism and those who were swept up in the investigation.'
Inspector General of US Justice Department in a review of the FBI's methods in rounding up immigrants


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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 19 Jul 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1860
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