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Met on the beat again
DEMONSTRATORS marched last weekend in memory of teacher Blair Peach, who was murdered 20 years ago by the police on an anti-Nazi demonstration in Southall, south west London. But just how little has changed was shown by the case of Amit Sharma, who won £8,000 in damages from the Metropolitan Police in an out of court settlement last week.
Amit, who lives in Southall, is disabled. He was born with limb deformities and walks with a limp. In December 1996, when he was 17, Amit and a friend were returning to their car after buying a bag of chips when he was set upon by an off duty policeman. The 6ft 3in officer grabbed hold of Amit, hit him across the face, seized his arms and slammed him twice against a parked car. Amit fell to the ground after his hip hit a wing mirror. While Amit was helpless on the ground the officer grabbed the back of his neck and then slapped him across the head.
Amit says the officer only revealed that he was a police officer after he was challenged by nearby cinema staff who witnessed the attack. The police have not apologised or admitted liability. The officer who committed the attack has not been named and he is still on duty.
A judge ordered an innocent man to jail for two years because he was too cloth eared to hear the verdict properly. Alan Rashid from Cardiff was found not guilty of threatening to kill by the jury. But as the foreman of the jury read out the verdict one of the other jurors coughed. The judge, Michael Gibbon, sent Alan down for two years. Alan was taken down to the police cellsbut luckily one of the jurors questioned why he was going to jail when he was innocent, and Rashid was eventually released.
THE FIRST issue of the Labour Party's new magazine, Inside Labour, boasts of the government's achievements since it was elected. The magazine boasts that the British army has completed the destruction of every single one of its anti-personnel landmines. "No British soldier will ever again lay an anti-personnel landmine," defence secretary George Robertson is quoted as saying. He goes on, "For Britain these obscene weapons are now a part of history." Perhaps we could remind Robertson that the cluster bombs the British army is now raining on Yugoslavia create hundreds of landmines, which will cause civilian deaths and injuries for decades to come.
TALK about paranoia! The British security service MI6 tried to ban the makers of the new James Bond film, The World is Not Enough, from filming a scene outside its headquarters on the bank of the River Thames. That is despite the fact that MI6 is one of the biggest and most easily recognisable buildings on the banks of the Thames! The ban has now been lifted.
A BONUS VIA THE SYSTEM
TWO FAT cat bosses award themselves a 73 percent pay rise and a £400,000 bonus. Inside the System readers may not be too shocked at this news. Maybe these budding entrepreneurs created some jobs and boosted the economy. No. This was the reward the two brothers who own Viasystems in the Scottish borders have given themselves for SACKING 942 workers.
Brothers James and Bob Mills threw workers on the scrap heap when they decided to axe their Viasystems plant last year. Already over 600 people have been thrown on the dole and the others will lose their jobs over the next two months. After the 73 percent pay hike the brothers will each get £430,000 a year, and have also given themselves £200,000 each in bonuses.
The payoff has caused outrage. Viasystems worker Graeme McIver got just £5,000 when he lost his job. He told the Daily Record, "It is sickening, but in the end doesn't entirely surprise me. They have always been out to look after number one."
A tale of two cities
SCOTTISH National Party leader Alex Salmond spoke at a Scottish TUC conference fringe meeting last week and rightly attacked the Private Finance Initiative and spending cuts. But Salmond took a rather different tone when he addressed a swanky business dining club in London the day after his visit to the STUC. He spoke to businessmen, ex-servicemen of the posh No 9 Dining Club, just off Belgrave Square.
They dined on smoked salmon and roast lamb from the estate of Scotland's biggest landowner, the Duke of Buccleuch. Salmond called for "dynamic enterprise" in a speech Tony Blair would have been proud of. He harked back to the Victorian era when "Scotland was the richest country in the world" and when "Adam Smith had laid down the theory, which Scots were to prove adept at in practice." And Salmond pushed pro-business SNP policies such as cutting business rates for small firms.
THE government has boasted of the thousands of calls in response to its nurse recruitment campaigns. But in Wales, despite £5 million being spent on the campaign, not a single nursing job has been filled. Although over 2,000 people called the recruitment hotline, not one has ended up with a job or training to be a nurse.