Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

7 December 2006 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

Fifth Column

100 cops in the dock

A hundred police officers in the English Home Counties have been disciplined after circulating an e-mail from the US showing a black man being decapitated after a police chase in Atlanta in 2003. At the end of the pursuit the suspected drug dealer was sliced in two as he tried to jump off a highway and onto the roof of a building. It's meant to be funny.

Hertfordshire police said that a five-month inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission resulted in 100 out of 400 staff who received the e-mail being disciplined for distributing the message. Of these, eight police sergeants were formally reprimanded and seven civilian supervisors received final written warnings. Another 85 people were disciplined with either a formal warning or "management advice".

After the announcement, there were no calls for "unconditional support" for the police.

I wonder why.


Proud of the Paras

Total support for the Parachute Regiment has been shown yet again by Prince Charles.

Carlos met Paras from the 3rd Battalion when they returned to Colchester from Afghanistan.

Doling out shiny medals to all and sundry, the British queen's 58-year-old son said that Britain is "incredibly lucky" to have them.

"Along with so many others in this old country of ours who share my sentiments, you have made your old Colonel-in-Chief of nearly 30 years now immensely proud."

Does that pride include the Paras' massacre of Civil Rights marchers in Derry in 1972 and the decades of denial or attempted cover-up ever since?


PDs punt for P Diddy's man

After Tory Party leader David Cameron urged his hang 'em and flog 'em brigade to "hug a hoodie" (rather than string them up), the PDs are trying to hire rap artist P. Diddy/Puff Daddy's campaign manager.

James Carville was the guru behind Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential victory and Puff Daddy's campaign to get more young people in the US to use their vote. Now Progressive Democrats leader Michael McDowell is trying to hire the campaign strategist to try and spin the PDs' record to the punters.

Puff Daddy was the founder of Bad Boy Records. There's a message there somewhere.


Party animals

A new "UK-wide" animal rights political party was launched in Britain at the weekend. It wants to ape the success of campaigners in Holland who have had two MPs elected.

The new party is called Animals Count.

Animals might count but they don't vote.


Jack in the Fine Gael box

One of the few keepers of the slightly socialist flame flickering within the 26-County Labour Party, party president Michael D. Higgins, isn't impressed with the Wife Swap-style, conference-hopping appearances of Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and his Pet Rabbitte.

"I thought that was a fairly daft adventure, to be honest," the wise old man of the west told Village Magazine. "We weren't exactly dealing with a schism in the Catholic Church with cardinals having to kiss one another's rings and make up."

And all of Rabbitte's kissing of Fine Gael's metaphorical ring is confusing the picture desk at the Irish Times.

Last Friday's photo of the Dáil debate about sports centres in Ireland carried the caption: "Fine Gael spokesman on sport Jack Wall..." Deputy Wall is Labour, not Fine Gael, but now that the Labour membership have been drafted in wholesale to boost the Blueshirts' bid to grab power, it's hard to tell the difference.


Poisonous thought

Newstalk 106 radio's Sunday morning show, The Wide Angle, did its customary round-up of the Sunday newspapers, including all the various theories about who poisoned the former KGB/FSB spy, Alexander Litvinenko.

Was it Premier Vladimir Putin (ex-KGB) and the renegade's old KGB spy-masters? Was it the Russian oligarchs and oil moguls up to their balalaikas in corruption who feared blackmail by the freelance operator trying a bit of capitalist free enterprise by blackmailing them with info from stolen KGB files? Or was it someone else not currently in the frame?

"I'm sure," chuckled one reviewer, "that Sinn Féin's position is that it was the Brits."

Now there's a thought.


Pick up a penguin pic

Right-wing commentators in the US are in a flap over the hit animation penguin pic, Happy Feet, out in Irish cinemas from this week.

Writer and radio host Michael Medved (a sort of senile Brendan O'Connor) has denounced the film's storyline for raising the effects of global warming and other man-made, negative environmental effects on wildlife in Antarctica.

Happy Feet features the voices of Robin Williams, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and Elijah Wood in a PG-rated tale about a tap-dancing penguin.

Medved and his mad mates in the media are squealing like harpooned whales about the scariness of the movie's messages in the land of drive-by shootings, the National Rifle Association and gas-guzzling beasts of vehicles.

"Unfortunately," Medved moans, "the marketing never acknowledged the movie's unmistakably alarming, discofiting and politically potent elements - enraging no small number of unprepared parents.

"The endearing creatures on screen face the deadly menace of leopard seals, killer whales and, most of all, human pollution, over-consumption and exploitation."

And Medved doesn't like that.

New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis describes Happy Feet as "a piercingly sad story about the devastation being visited on the natural world".

It sounds like one worth watching.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1