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"BLAIR'S popularity stems Labour's losses."

  • GUARDIAN, 7 May 1999

"I YIELD to no one in my admiration for people who write for the Guardian newspaper."

  • TONY BLAIR at a press conference

"KOSOVO WILL be a wasteland."

  • NATO spokesperson JAMES SHEA on the war

"I JUST take it as a humorous interlude in my life."

  • JAMES SHEA on his job

"THAT'S ALL from NATO, I mean Newsnight."

  • JEREMY PAXMAN as he signed off from the BBC2 news programme

"WE DID not succeed in preventing Yugoslavia pursuing a campaign of ethnic separation and expulsion."

  • GENERAL KLAUS NAUMANN, head of NATO's military committee, on the failure of its campaign

"LIVE ON £100,000 a year? Impossible. £100,000 a year is now the poverty line of the capital's upper middle class."


"NO ONE really knows exactly what it is they have agreed to and how much."

  • NEW YORK TIMES on the terms of the Russian government's debt restructuring plans

"THERE are imbalances in our expansion that unless redressed will bring this long run of strong growth and low inflation to a close."

  • Head of the US Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan on the US economy

"THE clergy's luxury lifestyles are a cause of shame. So are their smart cars, their high fees for pastoral services and their lack of understanding for many families' financial problems."

  • Report by POLISH CATHOLIC CHURCH on its own priests

In the name of 'freedom'

NATO, WE are told, is playing the role of a defender of freedom and democracy in Yugoslavia. But its murky past in Italy shows this image of NATO is far from the truth. In Italy in 1990 the ruling right wing Christian Democrat party admitted that a secret political network linked to NATO was still in operation in the country. This network, Gladio, was started in the 1940s when it was made up of around 40 commando units and five "rapid action forces".

Gladio was set up to carry out underground sabotage operations in the event of an invasion by the USSR. NATO consciously recruited former Nazis from across Europe to join the operation. The Gladio network was supposed to have been disbanded in 1972. But 12 of the leftover military stashes made up of guns, plastic explosives and other military equipment had been distributed to "unknown sources".

An investigation by a Venice district attorney revealed that Gladio members used these weapons to carry out bomb attacks in Milan's Piazza Fontana in 1969 and Bologna's railway station in 1980. Some 80 people were killed in these attacks. Disgracefully the court of appeal found the Nazis not guilty in 1990 of the Bologna bombing. NATO's press office originally denied having anything to do with Gladio but it was forced to withdraw this after an official request from the Italian government.

No joke

IF YOU need reminding just how sick and nasty comedian Bernard Manning is, take a look at an interview he did with the Express newspaper last week. Manning revealed that he told an anti-gay joke about the Soho bombing just hours after it happened. He cancelled a planned gig on the day, but not out of respect. Rather, only 40 people turned up and two coachloads cancelled.

The punchline of one of Manning's jokes used the word "poof" and belittled the size of the bomb-despite the fact it was known at that stage that two people had been killed and over 100 injured.

A POLICE officer has been fined £180 for careless driving after he ran over a pensioner lying in the road. It is not known if 76 year old Bob Nicholls was dead before PC Christopher Jayne hit him.

The police officer claims he swerved to avoid a greyish object-which was actually Bob's body-saying, "I didn't feel anything, and as far as I know there was no contact." A forensic examiner discovered blood and body tissue on the front tyres, wing and other parts of the car.


THE RECENT campaigns in the Scottish and Welsh elections have shown where Labour's support really lies. Labour's candidate for Falkirk, Ross Martin, was eagerly awaiting a helping hand from a coachload of students. But he got a shock when the bus arrived and the students poured off. They all ran across the street to help Dennis Canavan, the independent Labour candidate who is opposed to tuition fees.

But someone was eager to throw their weight behind Labour's campaign in Wales. Chris Evans, estimated to be worth around £100 million, shared a platform with Tony Blair and Welsh Labour Party leader Alun Michael. Evans said he supported Labour because "with this government you can see an enterprise culture being established".

Can you spot the difference?

  • IT'S 1998. Labour MP George Galloway asks if there could be some space reserved at Westminster for an exhibition of paintings by Iraqi schoolchildren about their lives under the war. He is denied permission by a personal veto from Robin Cook on the grounds that it would be "politically contentious".
  • It's May 1999. Robin Cook proudly opens an exhibition at the Foreign Office of children's paintings from Kosovo about their lives under the war. Of course there is no hint of using the exhibition for propaganda purposes.

THE new tolerance found in the media following the Nazi nail bombing of Soho doesn't seem to have lasted long. The Daily Mail last week carried a full page article about the British Museum using lottery money to buy a 2,000 year old Roman silver cup which depicts a gay love scene.

The newspaper quotes Tory MP Gerald Howarth saying, "I cannot help feeling that somehow this is a politically correct acquisition. What is depicted on there seems pretty disgusting." The paper has obviously forgotten its comments immediately following the Soho bomb: "The best chance for harmony lies in tolerance. We will be all the richer if our society is inclusive rather than exclusive."

Poisoned lies

THE BRITISH military deliberately concealed the dangers of radiation poisoning in the 1950s. The British and US governments carried out 46 nuclear tests in Australia and the Pacific between 1952 and 1962. They exposed 200 servicemen from Fiji to the deadly radiation.

Five aircraft, which had flown through a mushroom cloud, landed at Nandi airport in Fiji in October 1957. They were contaminated with radioactive material. But Air Commodore Sutcliffe said in a top secret memorandum, "The fact that an engine may be 'hot' should be concealed from the Nandi authorities."

Sutcliffe said if anyone asked they should be told the radiation posed no danger. Yet official records show the aircraft crew had radiation doses up to six times the current international safety limit for workers in the nuclear industry.