Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker - Demo for right of soldiers to shoot Irish people in the back

Issue No. 2674

A mural remembering the victims of Bloody Sunday in Derry

A mural remembering the victims of Bloody Sunday in Derry (Pic: Murielle29/Flickr)


A few thousand people took to London streets last weekend to support the right of British people to shoot Irish people in the back.

They were protesting against the prosecution of “Soldier F” for his role in the Bloody Sunday massacre.

Organiser Gavin Wragg described the decision to prosecute the former soldier as “one of the crimes of the century”.

Soldier F, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is the only person from the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment ever to face trial over the deaths of 13 civil rights ­protesters in Derry in 1972.

He is charged with the murder of William McKinney and James Wray, and the attempted murder of four other men—Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O’Donnell.

He faces a final charge of “attempted murder of a person or persons unknown”.

The Saville Report, which published its findings in 2010, found James Wray had been shot in the back while fleeing and then shot again as he lay dying, while William McKinney was also shot in the back.

Soldier F was not ­present at the protest. But 78 year old Dennis Hutchings—another former soldier facing trial for a ­killing during the Troubles—was, and was on top of an armoured car during the march down Whitehall.

Hutchings is charged in connection with the death of John Patrick Cunningham, who was fatally shot in the back fleeing an army patrol in County Tyrone in 1974.

The former soldier is accused of the attempted murder and attempted grievous bodily harm of Cunningham, who suffered from learning difficulties.

He was too ill to attend court in Belfast last week but had happily recovered enough to join the parade.


Ex-Clarks boss sues after getting boot

A boss who was forced to quit as the head of Clarks shoe company for making outrageous comments is bringing the case to an industrial tribunal this week.

Mike Shearwood was ousted from his £600,000-a year post at Clarks last year. He was accused of referring to black people as “violent,” calling a representative of a wholesale customer a “fucking faggot,” referring to an Asian woman as a “thing” and asking an LGBT+ woman about her sexuality.

Shearwood also boasted about the size of his son’s penis.

He has insisted that the charges against him were trumped up after he uncovered failures in accounting practices and corporate governance at Clarks.

At the tribunal, he will claim that the company was close to insolvency when he joined and its accounts had been manipulated to hide its problems.


Brexit Party gathers as it loses dodgy MEP

Hundreds of Brexit Party supporters gathered in London last Friday for the last stop on their nationwide tour.

Party leader Nigel Farage warned Boris Johnson that “the real surrender would be putting through that dreadful withdrawal agreement”.

On Sunday the party said that it had removed a Member of the European Parliament from the party for “abusing” his position.

West Midlands MEP Andrew Kerr was alleged to have made comments about a business that he had a direct financial investment in.


Quitting work to provide care

Some 112,00 people were forced to quit their jobs last year to care for a relative with dementia—and a further 147,000 had to cut their hours.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research reckons this cost the English economy £3.2 billion and says it will hit £6.3 billion by 2040.

The social care crisis has left at least 1.4 million sufferers with an “un-met need”, often unable to do basic tasks. This has doubled since 2010.

Numbers in Britain with dementia are set to hit two million by 2050.


Cops abuse every 3 days

Cops are routinely sexually exploiting vulnerable crime victims, a new report suggests.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary said at least 415 officers and civilian staff have been investigated for sexual misconduct in the last three years. That’s one every three days.

It said the abuse was “one of the biggest corruption threats” facing forces in England and Wales.

The victims include women who have suffered domestic and sexual violence, substance addicts and arrested suspects.


Energy firms greenwash

Energy firms are selling “green tariffs” despite producing no energy from renewable sources.

A Which? investigation said many firms claim to sell “100 percent renewable” tariffs but don’t generate renewable energy or have contracts to buy it from generators.

Instead they use accountancy measures that let them pay small fees to buy Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin certificates.

Which? said it feared this helped companies to “greenwash” their tariffs.

It said firms that could be misleading customers include Shell Energy and Yorkshire Energy.


Tory in trouble

A Tory MP “blacked up” to go to a fancy dress party as soul singer James Brown.Sir Desmond Swayne claimed it was “fun” and said the only reason he won’t do it again is because the make up was hard to wash off.

The brag of his came after Canadian PM Justin Trudeau was exposed as using dark make up at least twice in his past.

Swayne called the practice an “entirely acceptable bit of fun”.


Air pollution threat to babies

Air pollution significantly raises the risk of babies dying in their first year, a study found last week.

Researchers at Cardiff university tracked nearly eight million babies born in England and Wales between 2001 and 2012. They found that exposure to chemicals in the air increased the risk of death by up to 50 percent.


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