Socialist Worker

Inside the system

Issue No. 1794

Mussolini fan sits by Silvio

More news on people who are part of Tony Blair's club in his axis with Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and Spain's leader Jose Maria Aznar. A leading light in Berlusconi's government is his Minister for Italians Overseas.

Mirko Tremaglia is a prominent member of the National Alliance party whose roots and sympathies are with Italy's fascist leader from the 1920s to the end of the Second World War, Mussolini. When Tremaglia was 17 years old he volunteered to fight for 'Il Duce', Mussolini.

'If Il Duce's Italy had won the Second World War it would have been good,' he said during a recent visit to the El Alamein battlefield in Egypt. He went on to lay a wreath for the soldiers killed in the war, alongside representatives from Britain.

Tremaglia made a point of paying tribute to Hitler's troops who fought under Rommel. He said, 'Honour to the British and Commonwealth dead. The same for the Afrika Korps.'

Voodoo nurse?

A US firm has come up with a bizarre excuse as to why their workers have voted for union recognition. Workers at a nursing home, the Mount Sinai-St Francis Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre, voted to have their union recognised.

Hospital manager Barbra Bynum has claimed 'voodoo' signs frightened the staff into joining the union. These 'signs' include ominous half empty water cups and necklaces with black beads on them.

Language barrier at JVC

Workers at JVC at Staples Corner, north west London, are organising in the TGWU union against a management which is putting increasing pressure on them. One e-mail said the employees should not converse among themselves in any language other than English, the official company language.

JVC has many black and Asian workers who speak Gujarati, Urdu and other languages. But does this new instruction apply to JVC's Japanese managers who habitually converse in Japanese?

Thanks to Sarah from north London for this story.

Removing history

The US government has been snatching files on its security operations from the Cold War that were available to the public. Historians and scholars have found that thousands of pages of historically valuable documents dating from 1947 to 1949 have been removed from the National Archives in Maryland.

The government did not announce it was withdrawing the files. Historian Matthew Aid discovered they simply weren't on the shelves any longer. The files show that the US and Britain were monitoring military and diplomatic information from 39 different countries.

Thanks to Mike from east London for this story.

Secret dinner

The secret service in Britain, MI6, held a secret dinner last week for business executives to appeal for new spy recruits. Up to 40 leading city businessmen attended the lunch at MI6's headquarters on the Thames.

'We were told to give a hand and look out for young or proven talent we could send their way,' revealed one executive.

New Labour's refugee prison

Private firms have revealed that New Labour has instructed them to build a new refugee detention centre 'as a prison complex'. A second detention centre at Harmondsworth near Heathrow in west London is due to be built by four private consortiums at a cost of £35 million.

The Home Office has demanded that the firms include a harsher security regime for the 300 refugees. 'The centre was originally designed to allow the detainees the opportunity to associate freely,' a source close to the project said.

'The new documents will mean firms will have to design the centre more as a prison complex with tough security measures.'

VAT next?

IF YOU think the policies of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are something that happens to other countries, think again. The IMF has recommended that chancellor Gordon Brown adds VAT to food. Currently food is exempt from this tax. This is to protect the poor who spend a high proportion of their income on things like food.

Adding VAT could mean a rise of 17.5 percent in food prices, the top rate of VAT. New Labour has apparently said this is one IMF policy it is not prepared to go along with as it would break a manifesto commitment.

Thanks to Rosie from east London for this story.

The next chips at this platform will be cold

Your train is late again and you're stuck in the station, starving hungry. The multinational food company McCain claimed last week that it had come up with the perfect solution.

The Fast Fry machine, piloted at Cambridge station, would supply hungry travellers with a serving of its chips, plus the option of salt, pepper or ketchup for £1.30. However, the impact of rail privatisation and underfunding has even hit the chips. The uneven platform at Cambridge station meant the machine was serving undercooked portions of fries.

Things they say

'THERE ARE plenty of appalling regimes around the world, and some we arm and some we bomb. In Saddam's case we have done both, just to be on the safe side.'
JOHN O'FARRELL, Guardian columnist and Labour Party candidate at the last general election

'THE WAR on drugs has been a resounding failure. Rarely in the history of wars have so many achieved so little at such a high cost.'
ROWENA YOUNG, in a report for the Foreign Policy Centre, a think tank set up by Robin Cook. Tony Blair is its patron

'THERE ARE now 500 times as many drug addicts in Britain as in the 1960s.'

'THIS IS the ultimate in hiding behind one's own walls because rich people are frightened of the real world.'
Academic and writer EDWARD BLAKELY on the US rich's new craze-building secret rooms in their homes in which to hide in case of burglary

'I'M EXPECTING far more than £55,000. It is something quite unique. A lot of celebrities would find it useful.'
Estate agent SHELAGH CURTIS on her attempts to sell a beach chalet in Whitstable

'I'M NOT a rich man. It costs a fortune to keep cleaning these suits.'
French presidential candidate JEAN-PIERRE CHEVENEMENT. He is pelted with eggs and custard pies wherever he goes during the campaign because of his 'patriotic' views

'THIS IS an opportunity for them to do something fun in the midst of the turmoil. '
ELIZABETH NORRIS of pornographic magazine Playboy tastelessly trying to exploit women ex-workers at bankrupt Enron

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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 6 Apr 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1794
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