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(en) SchNEWS 288, Friday 22nd December, 2000

From "Iain Wilson" <iain@paloma.co.uk>
Date Fri, 22 Dec 2000 09:24:23 -0500 (EST)


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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! It’s yer well motorvated...

SchNEWS

Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective

ISSUE 288, FRIDAY 22nd December, 2000

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Wheels of Fortune

"Politicians are in danger of forgetting the lesson of the 90s, when large
scale road development played very badly with ordinary people. Communities
and environmental groups will now take on the Government over every inch of
tarmac." - Lynn Sloman, Transport 2000.

So you thought the Battle of Newbury, Twyford Down and Fairmile had forced
the government to halt its construction programme for new roads? Well now
roadbuilding is back again to haunt us. Last week John ‘Two Jags’ Prescott
announced the transport budget for local authorities for the next five
years. Four billion pounds - nearly half the total - is to be spent on
roads. That’s enough to build forty more Newbury bypasses. It looks like
it’s time to dust down yer D-locks and take out yer tunnelling tools again.

The protests against the new programme have already started. In a
pre-emptive strike, besuited protesters stormed the Department of
Environment, Transport and the Regions in London, and locked themselves in
the offices of ministers Michael Meacher and Lord McDonald. The car park
was blocked by a group linked with arm tubes and security doors were locked
shut, preventing Prescott from parking either of his two Jags.

It’s not all bad news. £4.4 billion is to be spent on improvements to
public transport and providing more support for pedestrians and cyclists.
But hidden in the small print of the Fat Controller’s timetable are plans
to build a new Worcestershire Wyre Piddle Bypass, a new stage of the Leeds
Inner Ring Road, and the East Leeds Link Road. Seventy seven more schemes
are in the pipeline for funding in the next five years.

Bob the Builder’s corporate chums will be jumping for joy at the news, but
it certainly won’t be a Christmas number one for residents in Salisbury,
where plans for the bypass which Labour scrapped when they came into office
have now been dug up and repackaged. Or in Lancaster, where the Lancaster
Western bypass would trash the Lune Valley Site of Special Scientific
Interest (SSSI), or Carlisle, where the privately-financed Northern
Development Route will destroy a section of Hadrian’s Wall - a World
Heritage Site.

A New Battle of Hastings

One of the prime candidates for future funding is the planned Hastings
Bypass in Sussex. Despite a load of greenwash about tough measures to
reduce environmental impact, the bypass would destroy two SSSI’s and pass
through an area of outstanding national beauty and the environmentally
important floodplains of the Rother and Brede Rivers. And consultants
evaluating the project warn that it may actually increase unemployment in
Hastings which is not one of southern England’s most prosperous areas.

That’s not to say there might not be economic benefits. It’s just that it’s
large corporations which stand to gain, with precious little expected to
‘trickle down’ to the resident Hastings’ community. As at Newbury,
construction of the Hastings bypass will open up the way for in-fill
development, with business parks and housing estates already planned for
neighbouring greenfield site areas. As at Newbury, the bypass would become
one part of a larger national road scheme - a long-distance south coast
link-road leading to Folkestone and Ashford. And as at Newbury, public
debate about the Hastings bypass is being heavily manipulated by business,
the local media, and the three main political parties, all of whom strongly
support the road. All this despite surveys which show most local people
would prefer better public transport rather than new roads.

Bypassing Logic

Meanwhile, plans for a big-budget Hollywood film drama, starring Sigorney
Weaver, of the UK anti-roads movement have been put on hold. If you’ve been
lamenting the lack of excitement in your life since events at Newbury, or
if you weren’t there at all, it looks like we’ll all have a chance to bag a
starring role as the real-life drama unfolds once again....

Transport 2000 12-18 Hoxton St, London, N1 6NG. 0207 613 0743.
Road Raging - essential direct action guide to stop road building.
www.eco-action.org/rr/index.html
Copse - Kate Evan’s cartoon book of road protesting. Send SchNEWS a cheque
for £12.
South Coast Against Roadbuilding www.worthing.eco-action.org/scar

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CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK

The police were out in force last month at a car-park near Windsor and Eton
Train Station after one of their number was called a moose. For some time
this place has been used by young people to meet up and chill out, so bored
cops looking for fun have recently also been turning up to harass them.
When one woman, who had had enough of this, called a WPC a moose no less
than eleven coppers stampeded in to arrest her. After locking horns about
it later at the station she was released without charge.

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Christmas Bonus

More than two and a half years after Simon Jones was killed at work, the
Director of Public Prosecutions has decided to charge Euromin, the company
Simon was working for, and its general manager with manslaughter. Simon was
sent to work inside the hold of a ship with no training and was dead within
two hours of starting work.

Since Simon’s death his friends and family have campaigned for the events
surrounding his death to be the subject of court action. Their campaign has
involved shutting down Euromin’s docks, occupying the employment agency
that sent Simon to work for Euromin, occupying the Department of Trade and
Industry on the day that Simon’s case was being debated in parliament,
shutting down Southwark Bridge outside the Health and Safety Executive,
winning a judicial review challenging the Crown Prosecution Service’s
decision not to prosecute and, this September, picketing their headquarters
in London demanding a prosecution. These actions, of course, had no
influence on the decision to prosecute which, in the words of the Director
of Public Prosecutions, was "reached without unnecessary delay". This is
only the sixth time that any company director has been taken to court for
the charge of Manslaughter by Gross Negligence. So remember - direct action
never works. Honest.

   * The Construction Safety Campaign are planning a day of action on 27th
     February to co-incide with a Health and Safety Crisis in Construction
     Conference which is to be held at the Queen Elizabeth Conference
     Centre. In the first six months of this year there have been twice as
     many construction workers killed than in the same period last year.
     London Hazards Centre 020-7794-5999 construction.safetycampaign@talk21
   * Schwoops! The web address to see ‘Fighting to Win’ about preventing
     deaths at work is
     www.red-star-research.org.uk/fightframe.html

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Wassa NATTA?

Anti-terrorism posters by the Met police are being subverted by campaigners
from The Network Against The Terrorism Act (NATTA), drawing attention to
the new laws which come into force on February 19th. The Act has such a
wide definition that everyone from striking workers to anti-genetic
campaigners could be tarred with the terrorism brush (SchNews 268). But it
is the police powers to stop, search and harass that should get alarm bells
ringing - especially if the old Prevention of Terrorism Act is anything to
go by. Out of five thousand mainly Irish people stopped under the old PTA
less than 7% were charged, even fewer convicted, with one former Home
Secretary revealing "The object of the exercise is not just to secure
convictions but to secure information."

NATTA 01273 298192 http://go.to/ta2000

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A Right Carry On

Britain’s planning system faces chaos after a ruling in the High Court last
week. Controversial planning decisions are often decided by the Environment
Minister, however lawyers successfully argued that this is in breach of
Article 6 of the Human Rights Act ‘the right to a fair hearing.’ The ruling
is the first time an English court has used the Human Rights Act to declare
existing laws incompatible with human rights. The Government are now
appealing.

   * A decision last week by Hampshire County Council to grant permission
     for a waste incinerator at Marchwood, near Southampton is being
     challenged under the Human Rights Act on the grounds that it breaches
     the rights of nearby residents.
   * The police have started to threaten people who take their photos at
     demonstrations with the Human Rights Act. John Voos, a snapper with
     The Independent was taking pictures at animal rights demo when a
     copper told him "If you take my photograph and publish it, you will be
     infringing my human rights and I will take action on that basis." A
     bit rich when you can’t go to any demo nowadays without the police
     sticking cameras in yer face. Voos has written to the Association of
     Chief Police Officers to find out their position asking "If the law
     does provide for this, how on earth do you cover demonstrations in the
     future?" www.pressgazette.co.uk/
   * Our old friends the Countryside Alliance look set to use the Human
     Rights Act to defend their ‘sport’ if MPs vote for an outright ban on
     hunting. Their lawyers will claim that a ban would be in breach of the
     rights to enjoyment of property and respect for private life!

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In House

A new report by the local government ombudsmen has shown a 73% rise in
complaints about Housing Benefit over the past year. In London most of
these complaints are directed against the performance of 4 London boroughs
where Housing Benefit has been privatised: Southwark (CSL), Lambeth
(Capita), Hackney (IT net) and Islington (IT net).

In Newham things quickly started to go wrong for CSL, owned by Deloitte
Touche. Under new ‘private sector management practices’ claims lay
unprocessed , staff are bullied and victimised and not surprisingly leave
on a daily basis creating even more work for those left. Things finally
came to a head when three workers, UNISON shop stewards, were disciplined
simply for raising the issue. All three were suspended on a charge of
‘causing grave embarrassment’! Show support by targeting CSL and Deloitte &
Touche offices in your area! Contact : CSL3 Support Group, c/o PO Box 1681,
London N8 7LE; email: housingbenefit@hotmail.com

  ------------------------------------------------------------------------

SchNEWS in brief

   * The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has recently banned beauty contests,
     although the country is home to the current Miss World. The state’s
     chief minister, Rajnath Singh argued that beauty was God-given and
     therefore could not be judged.
   * As the Queen and Prince Phillip arrived to open part of the
     International Centre in Newcastle (a giant genetics showcase), they
     were upstaged by protestors dressed as a two headed queen, and clones
     of the queen mum. Protestors carried placards with the slogans - ‘stop
     interbreeding now’ and ‘clone the queen mum before it’s too late’!
   * 600 Dudley Hospital Workers are once again on strike, this time for 3
     weeks over the Christmas period. They’re on strike to stop their jobs
     being transferred to a private company (SchNEWS 278). Summit
     Healthcare want to build a new ‘superhospital’ under the Private
     Finance Initiative - so super that out of four hospitals, 170 jobs
     will be shed, 70 beds lost, one hospital will be closed and two
     hospitals will lose inpatient services. 01384 244350 www.labournet.net
   * Polish Nurses fed up with poor wages and corrupt politicians have been
     giving it some to get their point across. They have occupied the
     Ministry of Health hanging a banner reading "Restructure government
     and parliament: 100% downsizing."; also pelted police with eggs, and
     are threatening to blockade the border. www.op.pl/hosting
   * This week a gang of anti-GM turkeys invaded the Dartford distribution
     centre of supermarket giant ASDA, locking on to lorries and dropping
     banners to highlight the dangers of genetically modified animal feed
     in Britain. Around two thirds of all GM crops in the world are for
     animal feed and millions of tons are imported every year from the US.
     For more info on genetics actions contact Genetics Snowball 0161
     8340295 www.gn.apc.org/pmhp/gs
   * Newcastle-upon-Tyne council and incinerator company Combined Heat and
     Power are to be prosecuted by the Environment Agency due to the
     illegal dumping of 2,000 tonnes of toxic ash on allotments, parks and
     public bridleways. The council has currently banned children from
     playing in 27 allotments close to the incinerator, and the public have
     been warned not to eat eggs or poultry from the area.Communities
     Against Toxics, PO Box 29, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire,
     ralph@tcpublications.freeserve.co.uk
   * The newly established Surrey Anti Hunt Campaign, set up in response to
     the near-death of hunt saboteur Steve Christmas at the hands of Old
     Surrey and Burstow Hunt, has the ultimate aim of closing down this
     hunt permanently. Surrey Anti Hunt Campaign, BM Box 7099, London, WC1N
     3XX, 0771 9031066 www.sahc.org.uk
   * Mast Action UK, is a new campaign bringing together 100 local groups
     lobbying for planning controls over mobile telephone masts because of
     fears over health effects.
     http://freespace.virginet.co.uk/mast.action/
   * Keep up to date with the SchNEWS Party and Protest pages on our
     website.

  ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Positve SchNEWS

After crimbo as the interest starts to pile up on yer loans you might start
considering changing your faith. Converting to Islam might be worth
considering, not only will you not have to celebrate consumerism annually,
it’s also against Islamic law to charge interest. The highest court in
Pakistan has recently ruled that the country should adopt an interest-free
monetary system within twelve months. Malaysia, another Islamic country,
stuck two fingers up to the World Bank this year when it refused to pay any
more interest to them, or get involved in their structural adjustment
programme.

  ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hellafield

‘Because of reprocessing at Sellafield, in the area around the plant there
are 10 times more children with leukaemia than the British average. Because
of 50 years of reprocessing, the Irish Sea is now the most radioactively
contaminated sea in the world’ - Kent Against a Radioactive Environment
(K.A.R.E)

Last week the first shipment of plutonium nuclear waste left the defunct
power plant at Dodewaard, Holland, for Sellafield. Despite the best efforts
of protestors - two managed to infiltrate the police exclusion zone by
dinghy, while Greenpeace boarded the ship carrying the waste, had a boat
crushed and were hauled off to Court - the waste is on its way to
Sellafield. There will be consignments of nuclear waste leaving for
Sellafield from Dodewaard every month for the next year and a half.
Protests are planned both in Holland and over here. The next shipment will
be on January 25th, 2001. http://kare.enviorweb.org/

  ------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside SchNEWS

   * 20 people occupied the Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) offices in
     Sheffield this week to demand justice for Mark Barnsley. Unfortunately
     for them the police station was right next door, so it didn’t take the
     bizzies very long to get on the case and nick 16 people for "burglary
     with intent". They have been bailed to appear at Hull Magistrates on
     9th January. Mark Barnsley was sentanced to 12 years for defending
     himself against an attack by 12 students. (see SchNEWS 214). An
     excellent pamphlet about his case entitled "Beaten Up, Fitted Up,
     Locked Up" is available for from PO Box 381, Huddersfield, HD1 3XX for
     £2.00. www.appleonline.net/markbarnsley/mark.html
   * The naked protestor Vincent Bethall is due to stand trial at Southwark
     Crown Court beginning on January 4th and a starkers protest has been
     arranged outside the court. Letters of support to Vincent Bethall,
     DN9542, B-Segregation, H.M.P Brixton, SW2
     5XF.www.geocities.com/thehumanmind/
   * Jonathan Elliot, who was sentenced to six months for affray at the N30
     demonstration would really appreciate letters of support. Jonathan
     Elliot, FT10TT, H.M.P Petonville, Caledonian Road, London, N7 8TT
   * Support the two Trident Ploughshares activists who’ll be spending Xmas
     in the nick after for entering Wittering RAF base in Cambridgedshire
     to hammer on the dashboard of a Trident warhead carrier. Martin
     Newell, EM6780, HMP Bedford, St Loyes Street, Bedford MK40 IHG and
     Susan Van Der Hijden, EN5880, HMP Brockhill, Redditch, Worcs, B97 6RD.
   * For more on prisoner support check out the Anarchist Black Cross pages
     on the SchNEWS web site.

  ------------------------------------------------------------------------

...and finally...

Christmas, the season of goodwill, the season for buying presents for
children and watching their little faces light up. Not according to Crucial
Input Ltd, a debt collecting company based in Liverpool. They reckon this
is the time for ‘sending the boys round’ to people who owe them money
because, as their leaflet says, the debtor will be spending more on their
families when they should be paying off their debts. Some people are all
heart! SchNEWS advises all readers not to give these modern day scrooges a
call on 0870 700 4004 or 0870 700 4005 and pretend to be the ghost of
Christmas Past / Present/ Future or to send them a black fax on 0151 476
6661

  ------------------------------------------------------------------------

disclaimer
SchNews warns all readers who don’t put the brakes on the profit driven
road to ruin - get on yer bike! Honest.

  ------------------------------------------------------------------------
That’s all folks ! Next SchNEWS 12th January - Happy Holidays
  ------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cor-blimley-they’re-practically-giving-them-away book offer SchNEWS Round
issues 51 - 100 £5 inc SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 £5 inc. SchNEWS
Survival Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £6 + £1.20 postage (US
Postage £4.00 for individual books, £13 for all four). In the UK you can
get the fist three for £15 inc. postage. And finally.... The Schquall book
at only £8.00 inc postage. In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book
contains articles, photos, cartoons, a "yellow pages" list of contacts,
comedy etc. All the above books are available from the Brighton Peace
Centre, saving postage yer tight gits.

  ------------------------------------------------------------------------

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SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 2DX, England
Phone/Fax (call before faxing): 01273 685913
Email: schnews@brighton.co.uk Web: http://www.schnews.org.uk/
This is SchNEWS, the weekly direct action newsletter published by Justice?
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Write "SchNEWS Online" on the back of the cheque. Thanks!

This week's SchNEWS: http://www.schnews.org.uk/

  ------------------------------------------------------------------------


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