Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2873

A glimpse of justice for Alfie Meadows who was assaulted by a cop

Stories on supermarket rip-offs, Birmingham council, the Tory candidate for London mayor....and more
Issue 2873
Student protesters defend themselves against police attacks in 2010

Student protesters defended themselves against police attacks in 2010 (Picture: Guy Smallman)

The Metropolitan police has—at last—apologised and agreed to pay a six-figure settlement to Alfie Meadows.

Cops assaulted him during the 2010 university tuition fees protests and left him needing emergency brain surgery.

On the day of the protest, police kettled thousands of young people for hours in freezing conditions.

They hit protesters with batons and shields and police repeatedly rode horses into the crowd. A cop battered Alfie, then a 20-year-old philosophy student at Middlesex university.

He needed more than 100 staples in his head and was left with a large scar.

The cops didn’t express regret. Instead they arrested and prosecuted Alfie three times for violent disorder.

He was unanimously acquitted in 2013. Alfie brought proceedings against the Met for damages for assault and battery, false imprisonment and breaches of his human rights.

Alfie told us in 2013 his treatment was “part of a history going back to the attacks on miners’ picket lines and the clampdown on urban riots through the 80s and 90s. It’s also part of the day to day harassment of black and Asian people by the police.”

In 2019, DC Mark Alston, of the City of London police, was cleared of using unreasonable force against Meadows in a misconduct hearing.

A panel concluded that the person who had struck Meadows was an ­unidentified Metropolitan police officer.

  • Scotland Yard has apologised and paid “substantial damages” to two women arrested during the vigil for Sarah Everard.

The force acknowledged that it was “understandable” that Patsy Stevenson and Dania Al-Obeid had wanted to attend a candlelit vigil at Clapham Common, south London, because they felt women had been “badly let down”.

The women vowed to continue to “speak up about police abuse”.

Voting rules are racist and hit disabled people

New rules governing voter identification led to racial and disability discrimination at this year’s local elections in England.

That’s now admitted in a report co-written by one of the former ministers responsible for introducing the restrictions.

MPs and peers on the all-party parliamentary group on democracy and the constitution issued the report this week.

It said the rules caused more harm than they prevented when they came into force in May.

The report was co‑authored by Sir Robert Buckland, who was the justice secretary in 2021 when the bill to introduce the rules was first launched in parliament.

The report found that “polling clerks are more likely to fail to compare a photo ID to the person presenting that document if the person is of a different ethnicity”.

They highlighted the case of Andrea Barrett, who is immunocompromised.

She was blocked from entering a polling station and could not vote after refusing to remove her mask for an identification check.

Supermarkets’ loyalty schemes are a rip-off 

Supermarkets’ loyalty schemes are not the bargains they appear, according to a consumer rights group.

Which? says Sainsbury’s and Tesco are using “dodgy tactics” by increasing the prices of everyday items so the discounts for people with loyalty cards look bigger than they really are.

Britain’s two biggest supermarkets now offer two different prices for many items.

There’s a higher one for shoppers without loyalty cards and a lower one for shoppers with a loyalty card.

But Which? said supermarkets inflate the “regular” price and the members’ deal was often not significantly better than the general recent price for the product, in their store or at rivals.

Among the deals it highlighted were a jar of Nescafe Gold Blend Instant Coffee sold at Sainsbury’s for £6 with a Nectar card or £8.10 without

Which? said the regular price went up from £6 to £8.10 two days before the Nectar offer was launched.

There was also Heinz Salad Cream at Tesco with a Clubcard price of £3.50 and a regular price of £3.90.

The salad cream had been sold at £2.99 for several weeks but the price was increased to £3.90 just 22 days before the Clubcard promotion began, Which? said.

Tories tear up democracy in Birmingham

Tory Michael Gove was expected this week to announce the appointment of commissioners to take over the day-to-day running of Birmingham city council.

The local authority effectively declared itself bankrupt recently.

The housing secretary’s announcement will mean that the commissioners oversee all the council’s financial decisions.

They will preside over what is likely to be a fire sale of assets, which could include the Library of Birmingham and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Last week auditors showed that problems with its new IT system are so acute that staff are unable to produce accounts detailing the council’s financial status.

External auditor Mark Stocks said, “The council’s not able to produce a set of accounts for 22-23. All of that arises from the Oracle IT system implementation, which we all know didn’t work.”

Meanwhile unions say council officers are now refusing to back a fair pay scheme for workers which would fix the equal pay crisis.

The council has suggested two options for a new job evaluation scheme, giving unions two weeks to sign up.

But, as Socialist Worker previously revealed, these options push out the unions.

At a recent protest outside Birmingham’s full council meeting Unison union joint branch secretary Caroline Johnson said council officers want to “keep salaries low”.

“There’s an attempt to blame the workforce. It’s either ‘those women who want their equal pay’ or it’s ‘those men who have been overpaid’ who get blamed”.

  • Derbyshire county council could stop all “non‑essential” spending and implement a recruitment freeze as budget cuts take it to the “edge of bankruptcy”.

Tory-led Derbyshire has cut £300 million in the past 13 years. It hasn’t saved it. The solution is to fight, not just implement cuts.

Tory mayor candidate praised Powell

The Conservatives’ candidate for London mayor Susan Hall liked a tweet praising Enoch Powell and describing Sadiq Khan as a “traitor rat”.

Hall liked an image of Powell, a racist and anti-immigration politician, which quoted him saying, “It’s never too late to save your country.”

The tweet liked by the Tory hopeful bore the message, “It’s never too late to get London back!” The slogan by Powell—infamous for his “rivers of blood” speech which condemned immigration to Britain—was used by the Nazi British National Party.

Oil bosses hid climate damage

ExxonMobil executives privately sought to undermine climate science even after the oil and gas giant publicly acknowledged the link between fossil fuel emissions and climate change.

That’s according to previously unreported documents revealed by the Wall Street Journal newspaper.

The new revelations are based on ­previously unreported documents ­subpoenaed by New York’s attorney general as part of an investigation into the company announced in 2015.

Things they say – quotes of the week

‘Workers have been paid a lot to do not too much in the last few years, and we need to see that change’

One of Australia’s richest men Tim Gurner launched a tirade that revealed what many bosses really think

‘We need to see unemployment rise, it has to jump 40, 50 percent’

The Tim Gurner prescription to tame the working class

‘We need to remind people that they work for the employer, not the other way around’

Tim Gurner again

‘We need to see pain in the economy’

Tim Gurner again

‘I made remarks that I deeply regret  and were wrong’

Tim Gurner after his comments went viral and led to rage

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