Socialist Worker

Skirmish in Leeds

Officer training corp | Police Racism | Fatal fire

Issue No. 1890

THE ARMY spent two days on Leeds University campus leafleting for a presentation on the Officer Training Corps at Sandhurst barracks. Sandhurst is where they train the future battalion bosses to lead the privates to possible death or to commit war crimes. We organised an intervention at this presentation. First came a testosterone-fuelled video showing of Be The Best, interspersed with two wooden corporals losing their lines and composure.

Then we were subjected to a lieutenant who was proud to have served in places like Kosovo and Sierra Leone. In the question and answer sessions the fun really started. We had dispersed around the room and we raised our hands immediately. He picked one of us and was given a history of war crimes committed by the British army. He was shocked but composed himself enough to say we should blame the politicians, not the army.

The next person he picked was another of us! The lieutenant was barraged with citations from Amnesty International about the illegality of the war in Iraq. The third person he picked was another anti-war activist. In army privates' speak, the presentation got truly 'rogered'. We suggest other anti-war activists hijack Officer Training Corps presentations on campuses.

John W, Millhouse, Christian H and Marven S


Shocking scenes

THE TV scenes last week of Greater Manchester police beating a black suspect were truly shocking. But what few commentators pointed out is that the same force was at the centre of the BBC's Secret Policeman documentary last year which exposed hardcore racists among trainee officers who joked about stabbing black people.

After that programme Greater Manchester police claimed they were dealing with racism in the force. How does that claim stand up in the light of the pictures shown last week of 33 year old man Delbo King appearing to be repeatedly kicked by a police officer while he lay on the ground?


Fire times crucial

A FATAL fire at an elderly care home in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, on Monday night tragically underlined all that's wrong with New Labour's fire service 'modernisation' drive.

Two residents were killed in the fire. Cambridgeshire fire brigade acknowledges that the loss of life could have been greater had local fire control operators not been able to mobilise a response within 39 seconds. 'Yet the same fire authority is, under so called modernisation, considering cutting response times to automatic alarms, regionalising control centres (which removes local knowledge), closing stations and other cuts,' says Adrian Clarke, secretary of the Fire Brigades Union in Cambridgeshire.

Government auditors are now scouring Britain to ensure that budget savings are made in the fire service. The government says such savings are needed before firefighters get the paltry pay rise they were promised in the deal that ended their dispute last year.


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Sat 28 Feb 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1890
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