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THINGS THEY SAY

"I SUPPORT the fulfilment of the government's objectives. However, we cannot escape the fact that the past four weeks have been an unmitigated disaster. The result has not been a humanitarian disaster—it has been a catastrophe."

  • Pro-war Tory MP CRISPIN BLUNT

"HAD THE bombing not started, the probability is that we would not have seen the cleansing that has taken place."

  • Pro-war Tory MP DOUGLAS HOGG

"MANY PEOPLE in the UK want to know that we are not committing our people to a long term and quite frightening adventure that may not be in the interests of the people."

  • Pro-war Labour MP GWYNETH DUNWOODY

"FOUR WEEKS into the campaign the picture remains very gloomy. There is a risk of political collapse throughout the Balkans, so the stakes are very high."

  • Pro-war Labour MP DONALD ANDERSON

"WE urgently need to find a way for NATO to extricate itself with some honour from this increasingly messy situation."

  • GENERAL SIR MICHAEL ROSE

"FEW SIGHTS are more nauseous than the Labour Party in the grip of righteous militarism. New Labour are not the soldiers of truth."

  • PAUL ROUTLEDGE, Mirror columnist

"WEEK FOUR and the Balkan war continues. Sceptics can argue their worst fears have been more than justified. The humanitarian disaster the intervention was aimed to prevent has escalated. Milosevic looks stronger rather than weaker."

  • Beginning of OBSERVER pro-war editorial

"NATO'S approach must be intensifying its military offensive."

  • End of OBSERVER editorial

The Liberal pickpockets

ANYONE WHO thinks the Liberals are a left wing alternative to Labour should take a look at Torbay council. The council plans to cut pocket money style wages earned by mentally handicapped adults. The Liberal Democrat council is considering scrapping the token payments to those attending day centres and charging them to use the facilities instead. About 100 adults across the town—some receiving just 20p a week—could be affected.

Phyllis Partridge is 87 years old and cares for her 53 year old Down's syndrome daughter Catherine. Catherine attends the Torquay Resource Centre three times a week, giving Phyllis a much needed break. Phyllis says, "The council are picking on disabled people who've got nobody to speak for them. It's wicked."

The Breamer care home in Paignton has 12 residents. They earn £4 a week making fishing flies and sorting nuts and bolts. The council plans to take their meagre earnings away . Gareth Campbell-Jones, who runs the centre, says,"It's absolutely outrageous. It's the equivalent of my staff paying me to come to work."


Cops off

THE FORMER deputy chief constable of Cleveland, Robert Turnbull, quit the force last February for "personal reasons". He collected a £150,000 lump sum pay off and a £30,000 a year pension despite not serving his three months notice. Our caped crusader had already found himself a new job as the deputy head of the Royal Turks and Caicos Island Police Force in the Caribbean. His new job attracts a salary of £101,000 a year! The islands have a total population of 14,000 people.

IT seems the Sun's "Save Our Truckers" campaign does not extend to its own drivers. News International's own driving force, TNT News Fast, was not allowed to join in the truck owners' protest. Is this another case of the Sun putting profit before principle?


Quids in for bigots

A SCOTTISH Labour controlled council is helping pay for Loyalist flute bands to stir up sectarian hatred in Northern Ireland. Over the last two years, West Lothian Council has given grants totalling £2,535 to Loyalist bands. One band was handed £350 of public money and immediately travelled to the province to join the bitter Drumcree stand off between the RUC and Orangemen. One community activist said, "It is a disgrace that public money is being used in this way. Sending flute bands to Drumcree is not about promoting cultural identity. It is about laying siege to a small Catholic community."

THE Daily Telegraph'sAlice Thomson came up with an inspired "solution" to the refugee crisis. She argued that, since the people in the Home Counties are finding it hard to recruit domestic staff who will work for a pittance, Kosovans should be allowed to apply for the jobs.


The old bill get the beak

IN MAY 1991 a convoy of police cars sealed off a close in the village of Beeston in Norfolk. This was no drugs raid. The police were looking for a stolen parrot. They set about raiding the home of well known parrot breeder Michael Liddel-Taylor. The police charged into his home and ran amok.

Michael said his prized macaw parrot fell off its perch with shock and died after officers tapped the side of its cage to try and make the bird turn around. By the time the police had left, 15 parrots lay dead in their cages. The police charged Michael with theft. They found a parrot matching a description of the stolen bird. Michael was able to prove that he had imported the parrot from Sweden and no further action was taken. After drawn out legal proceedings a judge has now ordered the police to pay Michael £20,000 damages.

SOMEHOW you get the feeling that the Tory candidate in Falkirk West isn't throwing himself fully into the Scottish parliamentary election campaign. Gordon Millar won't be canvassing in the constituency until the week before election day. Millar, who lives, works and plays in Switzerland, describes himself as "an active long distance member of Edinburgh Pentlands Conservative Association".


Psychedelic mind games

PRISON OFFICERS in North Carolina are using psychedelic torture to punish prisoners. Inmates who "misbehave" at Rockingham county jail are sent to isolation cells painted from floor to ceiling in vivid yellow, with purple dots. The rest of the prison has been painted in a variety of fluorescent swirls and patterns designed to depress the prisoners. Sheriff Sam Page said, "The colours are designed to hurt."

Another isolation cell is painted "Pepto-Bismol pink". Sheriff Page boasts, "Everything is pink, the bunks, ceilings, floors and light fittings. It's enough to make a grown man cry." At nearby Davidson county prison the isolation cell's walls are also pink but covered with crying blue teddy bears.