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Enoch Powell would be proud
AFTER A brief flurry of pretending to care about racism, Tory MPs returned to their usual form in last week's debate following the Stephen Lawrence inquiry. Gerald Howarth, the MP for Aldershot, said, "The Metropolitan Police commissioner, Sir Paul Condon, has been pilloried and abused in a manner which would have resulted in charges if meted out by non-blacks. Some unpalatable truths have to be faced, one of which is that no government has ever received a mandate to turn the United Kingdom into a multiracial society. I regret that some who have come here freely and others who have sought refuge in this country appear no longer content to learn and accept our native customs and traditions but wish to assert their own."
As for the Macpherson report, Howarth says, "There is the threat of indoctrination in our schools to make children 'value cultural diversity'. This country is Britain and the best service we can do for all our children is to give them a thorough knowledge of the history and cultural heritage of these islands. It is time that those with ethnic minority backgrounds tried to be more understanding of us and our centuries old culture."
Dying for his new job
EVERY YEAR up to 3,500 people die from asbestos cancer in Britain. Many people will be shocked to hear that the government has decided to appoint Abdul Chowdry, the health and safety officer of Britain's leading asbestos producer, Turner & Newall Ltd, to the Health and Safety Commission.
The Occupation and Environmental Diseases Association said the appointment was "absolutely incredible". A 1994 BBC television documentary highlighted that Turner & Newall Ltd had clear evidence as early as 1958 of the link between exposure to asbestos and cancer. According to the BBC, the company then spent the next 30 years "dodging its share of the blame with legal trickery".
THE assistant catering manager at the peace talks last year in Ireland has lifted the lid on the personalities involved. Esther Robinson, from the mainly Unionist town of Larne, said the worst people were the heads of the Unionist parties. David Trimble, Ian Paisley and Bob McCartney were all "ignorant", she said, "None of the staff liked them." In contrast the representatives of Sinn Fein were charming and grateful for everything they got, she reports.
OFFICIAL investigations have shown the lies behind much food packaging, despite companies' claims to have reformed themselves. DNA tests on 570 samples discovered there was no beef in Spar's minced beef, Sainsbury's shepherd's pie or Iceland's pork and beef sausages. The survey took place in January of last year but it has been held back by pressure from manufacturers. The stores said the methods were faulty but then had to admit that they were absolutely correct when re-tests took place. Are these firms supposed to be trusted over the use of genetically modified food?
Robin the hood
STEFANO CUTRONA, a bank manager who tried to show that not all bosses are bastards, got his reward last weeka year in jail and the sack. Stefano, manager of two branches of the Banco di Sicila, decided to lend money to the poor even though this involved bending the bank's rules. "I only did it to the people who appeared deserving," he told the judge. "They were people who didn't have money but who wanted to work honestly."
To fund the extra lending he dipped into the accounts of wealthy clients. However, in a move which rather sullied his Robin Hood image, Cutrona also directed some of the cash towards a man who was later arrested for Mafia crimes. However, this Mafia connection was dismissed by the judge. Cutrona now finds himself with no work, no money and facing prison.
THE government's attack on the right to protest is hidden behind the Human Rights Act which comes into force next month. The police will be able to apply to a magistrates court for an order against anyone they feel is "causing harassment, alarm or distress". They can even charge someone they feel MIGHT be about to act in such a way. The defendant can then be prevented from doing anything against the order for at least two years or face a five year prison sentence.
The Home Office admits, "In theory it could be used against protesters." Under the 1997 anti-stalking laws three of the first five prosecutions have been of protesters. To enforce the clampdown the Home Office has set up a National Public Order Intelligence Unit to compile profiles of protesters and "troublemakers".
FERGIE, the Duchess of York, may have lost a royal palace recently but is still using our money to ensure a lavish future for her children. The princesses Eugenie and Beatrice are to attend the £19,500 a year Aiglon College in the Swiss Alps. The school appears to break from the drab routine of the national curriculum. Included in the activities available are tandem parachuting, bridge classes and snowboarding as well as astronomy.
TWO pensioners from Hamilton near Glasgow had a shock recently associated with the New Deal. Margaret Maxwell, 95, and Peggy Yates, 81, both received letters from the local job centre to discuss their job prospects.