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(en) SchNEWS 246, Friday 3rd February 2000

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Sat, 5 Feb 2000 07:30:01 -0500


 ________________________________________________
      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E
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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WE'RE NOT LICKED YET!

SchNEWS

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

Issue 246, Friday 3rd February, 2000
SchNEWS needs independent financial advice.... urgently!

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POSTMAN SPLAT

"The government talks a lot about social exclusion and you don’t get much
more excluded than living in a village without any services."
David Mundell, Member of the Scottish Parliament

A new Post Office Bill announced in parliament last week could lead to the
closure of thousands of sub post offices, thanks to a decision to pay state
benefits directly into bank accounts. The government’s own figures show
that nearly 8,000 of the 19,000 Post Offices in Britain are at least 40%
reliant on income from dealing with benefits. The switch could sound the
death knell to thousands.

SchNEWS visited our local sub post office in Sutherland Road which like the
majority are small and independently owned. While we were there chatting to
Pheme and Rod, about 20 people popped in - one person paid some bills, a
couple bought stamps, the rest were all there to cash their benefits. But
it is more than just a post office, it is a focal point for the community.
Each person that came in was greeted by name, came to chat and exchange
news, to ask advice or help in filling out forms. Sutherland Road postie
also serves a large area where there is just one grocery store, a
newsagents and a pub. All these undoubtedly benefit from people cashing
pensions or unemployment cheques nearby.

The decision to use the new system will save the government around £400
million a year - if you don’t take into account the loss of some 30,000
counter jobs and the knock on affect to local communities and the fact that
even the government admit they might have to spend money subsidising post
offices to keep them open.

New Labour has even admitted that the country needs to maintain a wide
network of post offices, which is obviously why it has let around 200 sub
post offices close every year since it has been in office. Of course it’s
convenient for some people to get benefits paid into their bank account -
but what if you’re poor, old and frail; there’s no bank in your village,
you don’t have a car, and the bus service is non-existent?

While 60% of parishes still have post offices, only 5% have bank or
building society branches and the situation is set to get a lot worse.
Even a new report from the British Bankers Association admitted that the
elderly, people with mobility disabilities and women with young children
faced difficulties getting to their nearest bank. 4,000 branches have
closed since 1990, and the Campaign for Community Banking Services forecast
that another one thousand communities will be 'bankless' in the next five
years.

So what’s the answer. Well as Colin Baker, General Secretary of the
National Federation of Sub-postmasters said, "The Government could build on
sub post offices ...making it the place to get information, check
documents, pay for government services and find out about what you are
entitled to." And while SchNEWS would never be cynical about government
policy, all European Union mail services face a radical shake up in
readiness for ‘liberalisation’ of the European postal market in 2003.
That’s privitisation to you and me.


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

UP YER PRIVATES!

New Labour are busy privatising everything they just dress it up in fancy
jargon to try to pull the wool over our eyes. But no more! Yer nosy-parker
SchNEWS has decided to start a regular column, so if you know about dodgy
Private Finance Initiative Schemes, Best Value nonsense, or whatever else
let us know.

BIG MAC IN KIDS TAKEAWAY

"Head teachers are the key to the whole system-in the same way that a chief
executive can be at a well-run company."
Tony Blair

The biggest high-profile privatisation of education is happening in the
same secondary schools Blair rejected for his own children. He obviously
didn’t realise that a super hero of a company, a pioneer of specialist
needs education, a company that has worked in developing countries, is an
organisation so ethically minded it provides school inspectors to Ofsted.
(This is quite ironic considering this same bunch of hypocritical spell
checkers must not fail its Ofsted inspection in any of its schools.)

So,who are they you may well ask.

Step forward Cambridge Education Associates, part of the Mott MacDonald
Group,not to be confused with Ronald McDonald (one wears a clown’s suit).
Their vested interest in children’s education became apparent at the
McLibel Trial, where the Corporations Head of marketing from Chicago stated
"Children were virgin ground as far as marketing is concerned". In the same
way, C.E.A. obviously see the children of Tony Blair’s former home of
Islington as a developing market.

Estelle Morris,the School Standards Minister, managed to put parents’ minds
at rest by declaring "There will be no change of signs outside their
children’s schools". That’s a bloody relief!We thought they would have
gargantuan signs reading 'CHILD EXPLOITATION TAKING PLACE HERE'

When SchNEWS asked Brian Oakley Smith,the Managing Director of C.E.A. a
simple question - "What are you getting out of this?" the flustered reply
was "We care."
Yeah right! And I’m a pony’s uncle. He then squeaked "We only
get £600,000 a year,the other 15 million we just manage". Say what! C.E.A
stand to loose £75,000 on each target it misses. That is of course if their
own inspectors fail them. Mr Oakley was quick to point out "That’s if the
children don’t reach their targets." It’s the kid’s fault already.

Old McDonald had a farm now he’s got your kids. Now, what is Mott
MacDonald’s interest in children’s education? If we look at their past
record we can see how relevant it is,for instance they educated people at
the Newbury By Pass; Twyford Down; road building in Indonesia; rebuilding
Kosovo; various dam projects and a military hospital in Malaysia. Oh!
Nearly forgot, there has also been a rumour they were involved in the
Baghdad By Pass.Very educational.Their Head office by the way is in
Croydon, snuggled in next to SchNEWS’s old friends Nestle. How sweet!

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

Diary of Adrian Molesworth

February 6th is the 15th anniversary of the eviction of the 'Rainbow
Village' at Molesworth, Cambridgeshire.

The site was a proposed second base for 64 American cruise missiles. Under
the cover of darkness on 6th February 1985, a convoy containing 1,500 Royal
engineers, 600 MoD police and 1,000 civil police descended on the village
to evict 150 peace campers. The eviction took 5 months to plan, and was the
largest peacetime mobilisation of troops in this country. Those protesters
that refused to move their homes had to stand by and watch as their
caravans were bulldozed off site. At 10am when the eviction was nearly
over, Tarzan (Michael Heseltine) himself appeared from his helicopter
wearing an army combat jacket and was quoted as saying he was "Deeply
concerned for the children of the village". In order to keep the protesters
out a £3million security fence was constructed. Unfortunately, with the
ending of the ‘Cold War’ only a few missiles ever reached the base before

it was redundant. A permanent peace garden is being maintained at the base,
for more details contact Cambridge CND 01480 475284

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

POSITIVE AGREEMENT?

Don’t believe everything you read - even in SchNEWS! It appears that we may
have been too cynical in last week’s issue, when we doubted whether the
Montreal talks on genetic food would reach any positive outcome. However,
it seems miracles do happen as 130 government delegations came to an
agreement... hey presto... the Cartagena Protocol was born!

In plain English this means that big nasty genetic companies have to tell
governments what they are up to when they try to introduce their suspect
wares. Imports will also be subject to new guidelines, with warning labels
being introduced for GM products. And finally, ministers got rid of a
clause that would have given big businesses unrivalled power courtesy of
the World Trade Organisation (WTO)!

Sounding too good to be true? Maybe SchNEWS was right to be a little
scathing. On closer inspection, it appears that labels on GM food only have
to say 'may contain' GMOs, and in fact the US companies can still go the
WTO, if they believe that ‘free trade’ rules are being broken. Confused?
How do you think we feel writing this stuff!

ANARCHY ON THE ALPS

The hills were alive with the sound of protest in the small ski resort of
Davos, Switzerland last week, when the World Economic Forum held their
annunal conference. 1,000 chief executives of the world’s largest companies
and 30 heads of government gathered to pat themselves on the back about the
joys of globalisation.

Does this sound familiar? Yes, the WEF is not much different to the World
Trade Organisation who we all know and love, and, like the Seattle
Conference, the WEF met opposition. Swiss police, backed by Army units and
reinforced by officers from Germany, responded to snowball throwing
protestors by using metal grilled land cruisers, guns and tear gas.

Just a bit over the top? Of course not! We wouldn’t want anything to happen
to those 1,000 executives now, would we? Where would the world be without
them?!?

"After five days in Davos he understands that the masters of the markets
know as little about the likely movements of the global economy as the
waiters supplying them with plum brandy and cheese fondue."
Lewis Lapham, 'The Agony of Mammon' (Verso, 98). Don’t be put off by the
title!.

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

SchNEWS in brief

   * Sat 5th Feb the University of East London are running a ‘Political
     Activism and Social Movements’ Day School, a free one-day event aiming
     to bring activists and academics together. Including speakers from
     Exodus, Genetix Snowball, and Amnesty International, it takes place at
     University of East London, Docklands campus (nearest station Cyprus
     Station , Docklands light railway). Maps and further details
     www.uel.ac.uk/
   * May Day open meeting Sat 5th February to discuss action possibilities
     for May Day. At University of London Union, Malet Street, 1-5pm
   * And to raise funds for May Day, there’s a benefit 'evening of music
     and comedy with Atilla the Stockbroker, the Doleclaimer’s Robb
     Johnson, and North London Anarcho Syndicalist Choir', Sat 19th
     February the Arsenal Tavern, Blackstock Road (Nearest tube Finsbury
     Park) 7.30 ‘till late £4/£2.
   * Refugees at One World Week: Sunday 4th February Sir David Ramsbotham,
     Chief Inspector of Prisons will be speaking at the One World Week
     Fair, 2-4 pm Wadham College, Oxford. What a good opportunity for
     people to raise issues about the new practices at Campsfield...
     http://users.ox.ac.uk/~asylum
   * Another Chumbawumba Baby! Belated congratulations Danbert on the
     arrival of twins, Carson and Stella. Shall we make births, deaths and
     marriages a regular feature?
   * Direct action by the deaf. Members of Parents Against Childhood

     Experimentation were set to take direct action last night (thurs) at a
     talk at the Royal Society of Medicine about hearing implants for young
     children. "We do not want our children to be turned into Frankenstein
     monsters," said a spokesperson.
   * In a rare burst of honesty The World Bank has admitted it’s crap - its
     failure to implement policies is fucking up old forests and the poor.
     So you heard it from them first then, eh!
   * SOAS students occupying their school’s offices were evicted at 5.30 am
     saturday morning, but over 250 students at UCL went into occupation on
     Wednesday to protest against tuition fees.
   * Radio 4A takes to the skies of Brighton again on Sunday 13th Feb, from
     noon till the next day on 106.6FM, with its usual mix of speech-based
     programming, this time sharing the airwaves with other top
     broadcasters.
   * Don’t forget: SchNEWS Desk Top Publishing Training Day next Tuesday at
     11 a.m.. Ring office for more details

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

STOP THE SANCTIONS

Voices in the Wilderness, a campaign group for the people of Iraq, is
planning a day of action at the UN on 14th Feb to highlight the ongoing
humanitarian crisis. In case you’d forgotten, airstrikes by the US and UK
are still wreaking havoc across Iraq, with one US jet managing to hit a
primary school last November, injuring schoolchildren. Just to make you
feel even better, this war is costing you, the taxpayer, an estimated £1m a
week! Added to the constant bombardment are the economic santions imposed
upon Iraq in 1990, which have led to around 227,000 deaths in young
children owing to the imposed poverty and social ruin.

Voices in the wilderness is urging people to send postcards to Robin Cook,
the Foreign Secretary, asking him to help lift the sanctions. This is
planned alongside the day of action on 14 Feb. Voices in the Wilderness UK,
16b Cherwell Street, Oxford, OX4 1BG 01865 243232.

* If you’re in Brighton on 29th Feb, there’s a talk on the Iraq
sanctions at The Auditorium, Brighthelm Centre, North Road at 7.30pm.

Inside SchNEWS

There were riots in Turin on Monday after Silvano Pellissero was given 6
years and 8 months in prison. His crime? According to the state prosecuter,
Tatangelo, "Pellissero and those like him are dangerous for the democratic
state, not so much for the nature of their crimes, but for the popular
consensus which they create in a potentially explosive social situation."

3 people, Silvano, Soledad Maria Rosas and Edoardo Massari were the
scapegoats of a continued crackdown by the Italian authorities on people
labelled as ‘terrorists’. Despite no evidence they were accused of being
involved in the Grey Wolves, a so-called eco-terrorist group which
allegedly ‘sabotaged’ a building site for high speed trains in the Northern
Italian Alps.

The Italian state used special ‘terrorism laws’ to keep the three in prison
despite lack of evidence against them. This led to first Edoardo, then Sole
a month later to commit suicide (knowing the reputation of the Italian
police in causing ‘accidental deaths of anarchists’ some people seriously
question these suicides).

The terrorist laws were introduced in the 1970’s, against a background of
armed militant left wing activism. These laws are now being used, for
example, against people for simply belonging to an activist group, and a
special police force similar to the secret services, deal entirely with
political activists. As one Italian activist explained to SchNEWS "If you
are involved in direct action even to the most minimal extent you are
followed and spied on night and day; but what is most detrimental of this
‘terrorism legacy’ is the public image given to us. What the media calls us,
this is what people see us: people are now scared of those who fight on the
same side, popular support is no longer part of us, such laws have thrown
the entire population against us."


Show solidarity! Protest in front of the Italian Embassy, 12 noon,
Wednesday 23rd February (Bond Street tube) email: silosquat@tiscalinet.it

IN THE UK. The Terrorism Bill (See SchNews 242), as predicted, is being
rushed through the various Parliamentary stages at high speed. It is now
likely to become law by April.But this isn’t stopping groups around the
country from making some noise. See website for events around the country:
www.blagged.freeserve.co.uk/law.htm or join the on-line discussion list:
tb-campaigns@listbot.com or phone 01273 298192 for latest updates.

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

CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK

DJ GETS KNICKERED A Brighton DJ, who wishes to remain anonymous, was
arrested this week for being in possession of a pair of stolen Y Fronts. He
rang SchNews and panted "How can I afford underwear on DJ’s wages?" He is
now looking for a brief to cover his case. * Keep sending SchNEWS yer crap
arrests!

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

...and finally...

When yer public popularity drops, perhaps a name change is in order. Hence
after a nuclear accident Windscale changed its name to Sellafield (must be
up for another name change soon); The Special Patrol Group changed its name
to Teritorial Support Group (after the death of Blair Peach); the
unemployed became jobseekers; Compulsory Competitive Tendering, where
Councils have to buy the cheapest most crappy services, is now Best Value
in New Labour speak. Now the latest cosmetic change is everyone’s favourite
chemical company Monsanto, who are to be known as Pharmacia and Searle and
Upjohn, strangely the despised gene bending soya splicing section is still
being known as Monsanto. Monsanto have in the past also been known as
Globalstrike, Flextrex, Pantalone, Solutia and Flexsys.

disclaimer

SchNEWS apologises to all readers. This week’s disclaimer got lost in the
post. Honest

Don’t forget to keep sending SchNEWS yer crap arrests

Top

MURDOCH CLONED?
Well, not quite, but you could learn to Desk Top Publish for SchNEWS!

We need more local people to DTP the ever wonderfool SchNEWS on Thursdays.
The next training day is Tuesday, February 8th., 11 to 4'ish. We can handle
just 4 people and serious jobseekers should know how to find, open and save
file in Windows 95.... and the difference between a typeface and an ugly
one! If you can spare a couple of hours on a Thursday night, then phone now
and book your place. If you can't make it to this one........ call and tell
us you'd love to do it and we'll......

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

GOT A SPARE PC ? SchNEWS will take it to Las Vegas and marry it!

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

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 All
three yours for £15 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.

Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send us first class stamps (e.g. 20 for the next 20
issues) or donations (cheques payable to "Justice?"). Or £15 for a year's
subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for
"original" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to
prisoners. You can also pick SchNEWS up at the Brighton Peace and
Environment Centre at 43 Gardner Street, Brighton.

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/

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

No, John 'The Jag' Prescott isn't behind Schnews' crap email delivery system - we're just incompetent!


Last updated 3rd February, 2000
@nti copyright - information for action - copy and distribute!

SchNEWS Web Blaggers (webmaster@schnews.org.uk)






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