Socialist Worker

The animals come to town

Issue No. 1819

IT'S AMAZING how differently the media and police treated the rural rich's march through London last Sunday compared to protests over real horrors like war. The police closed down central London for the march. They eagerly accepted the organisers' claim of how many marched and policed the demonstration with a tiny number of officers.

The BBC and newspapers helped mobilise for the march with constant reports in the days and weeks before. It wasn't just the Daily Mail and Telegraph campaigning for the march. Papers like the Guardian also gave it wide coverage. The core of the march was rich landowners. They pressganged their low paid rural labourers onto coaches.

Peter Kanabus, a West Sussex farmer, said he was marching because 'life for farmers is much worse. There is all the red tape and low prices.' His family was ordered by a court to pay £44,000 because 'the Kanabus family failed to feed their cattle. They had the financial resources to do so but they simply didn't.'

Huntsman Peter Raymond Jones also joined the march. He was named in the report into BSE 'mad cow' disease two years ago because he broke laws designed to stop the spread of infected meat.

Prince Charles had the nerve to claim that farmers like these get treated worse than black people and gays, according to press reports. The rural rich have now returned home to carry on poisoning our food and polluting the rivers.


Business of death

VICE-PRESIDENT Dick Cheney is a warmonger. But he may have other reasons to wage war. Cheney used to be boss of Halliburton. Last December a subsidiary of Halliburton won a contract to provide barracks and food for the US army overseas.

New US bases in countries like Afghanistan and Uzbekistan mean big bucks for Halliburton. The company also won a $9.7 million contract to build the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.


TRAVEL agents are not usually known for their militancy. But 58 percent of travel agents oppose war on Iraq. The travel industry newspaper Travel Trade Gazette asked more than 200 travel agents, 'Should Britain support a US attack on Iraq?'

Some 58 percent said no, and fewer than one in three agreed with Blair's backing for Bush. The survey was carried out by a market research company.
Thanks to Ian Taylor for this story


TIM Watts is a multimillionaire and founder of employment agency Pertemps. Pertemps is paid by the government to run the Birmingham Employment Zone. What are Watts' credentials for New Labour favours?

He says one of his heroes is the racist demagogue Enoch Powell, who he calls 'the most misunderstood person in Britain'. He has also accused 'viciously left wing' European officials of masterminding legislation that gives agency workers more rights.


That man's at it again

DAVID Blunkett launched another bitter attack on asylum seekers last week. Appearing before a Commons committee, the home secretary revealed that he may soon bar refugees from access to healthcare and education:

'I don't want anyone to have access to public services they are not entitled to. The basis of a civilised society is that if you put something in, you get something out.'

The government's own laws prevent asylum seekers from working while they are waiting for their claims to be assessed. Blunkett was blaming asylum seekers for not working while banning them from doing so.

Labour MP Chris Mullin, a member of the Commons committee, challenged Blunkett. Blunkett replied that young, qualified men should 'get back home and rebuild their countries that we freed from tyranny, whether it be Kosovo or now Afghanistan'.


In zero taste

THE SUNDAY Times magazine devoted a whole issue to commemorating the attacks of 11 September, called 'One Year After The Terror'. The magazine's desire to express its sympathy with the victims did not affect its desire to get advertising revenue, whatever the advert's message was.

In the middle of the pictures of Ground Zero and the testimonies of survivors was an ad for Ecco shoes. The ad's slogan? 'Who says humans can't fly?'


Jobs cheek

SANDY LEITCH is one of the New Labour government's advisers on job creation. He also chairs the governments' National Employment Panel. Its mission is 'to increase opportunities for unemployed and disadvantaged people to get into work'.

Creating jobs is 'the business of business' says Leitch. Leitch is also the chief executive of Zurich Financial's British operations. Zurich Financial has just announced the destruction of 4,500 jobs.


What values?

THE US army is supposed to be fighting to defend Western values. What kind of values? The Playboy porn magazine is being distributed through the military post system to boost morale on the front lines.

But the soldiers' morals are being protected. A court has decided that while Playboy is 'adult sophisticated', rival porn magazine Penthouse is too 'lascivious' for the troops.


End of summits

THE EARTH Summit in Johannesburg was a big flop for anyone who wanted to see poverty and pollution tackled. But, rather than trying to make the next summit more effective in tackling the world's problems, the United Nations has decided not to bother with one.


CHIEF of the Metropolitan Police Sir John Stevens has called for evangelical Christians to join the fight against crime.

According to one report, evangelicals are seen as 'Bible bashing, socially conservative, sometimes reactionary'. Should fit in at the Met, then.


Things they say

'VIVIDLY. He is a survivor.'
US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld when asked if he remembered shaking hands with Saddam Hussein in 1983

'MARGARET Thatcher is chomping at the bit to go. They're going to have to nail her to the tarmac to stop her getting on board.'
'Comedian' Jim Davidson on plans for a pilgrimage to the Falklands

'THERE ARE lots of lads that won't give her the time of day.'
Falklands War veteran David Brown

'IF THE Labour government ever gets round to banning foxhunting I might as well leave this country and spend the rest of my life skiing.'
Overheard promise from Prince Charles

'I THINK they would be a lot more honest if they simply poured pots of paint over Volvos and BMWs. That's a lot closer to what they are all about - a them and us situation.'
Pro-hunt Anne Robinson gets to grips with the anti-hunt lobby

'GOD, IT'S heaving! Shall I just get champagne?' 'Well, it's easier, isn't it?'
Exchange between two countryside alliance marchers in the Turf club during the demo

'I AM absolutely opposed to war. I feel very strongly that it is wrong. There is no justification for sending British troops to Iraq.'
Major General Patrick Cordingley, leader of the Desert Rats in the 1991 war on Iraq

'PARENTS will be very upset if they are confronted by a radical ballet about terrorism.'
John Whittingdale, Tory culture spokesperson, on Gerald Scarfe's production of the Nutcracker


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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 28 Sep 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1819
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