Vestas workers besieged by riot police

Vestas workers besieged by riot police

Workers staging a sit-in at the soon-to-close Vestas wind turbine plant on the Isle of Wight are being starved out by police.

The police, many inside the factory and dressed in riot gear, have denied food to the workers who took over the factory offices last night, to protest about the closure of their factory. The police, operating with highly questionable legal authority, have surrounded the offices, preventing supporters from joining the sit-in, and preventing food from being brought to the protestors.

Around 20 workers at the Vestas Plant in Newport, on the Isle of Wight, occupied the top floor of offices in their factory to protest against its closure which will result in over 500 job losses.

Acting without an injunction, on private property, the police have repeatedly tried to break into the office where the protesting workers have barricaded themselves, and have threatened the workers with arrest for aggravated trespass, despite the fact that no damage has been done to the property where the protest is taking place. Police have also forcibly removed people from private property, another action that is of very questionable legality in the absence of a formal injunction.

The officer involved in the latter action was number 3606. The officer who appears to be in charge is 3115. It may help to let the local police authorities know that we are unhappy with their handling of the situation – in this case the email address to bombard is professional.standards@hampshire.pnn.police.uk

This heavy handed response is the latest in a long line of over-reactions to protest by various UK police forces.

For more updates on the Vestas occupation please visit Save Vestas.

After Gay OK, Robertson Supports Episcopal Church’s Demise

After Gay OK, Robertson Supports Episcopal Church’s Demise

After the Episcopal Church OK’d the ordination of gay bishops, televangelist Pat Robertson said he supports the demise of the church.

Robertson’s latest anti-gay comments came Tuesday, the day after the Episcopal Church voted in favor of lifting their three-year moratorium on the consecration of gay bishops. The self-imposed pause was initiated after the church consecrated its first openly gay bishop, Rev. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, in 2003.

Robertson made his remarks while discussing the leadership of the Episcopal Church of America on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s 700 Club.

“They have lost their way. They were taken over by this controversy having to do with same-sex marriage and the ordination of homosexual bishops. Once they got into that morass and lost their way from scriptural teaching, they didn’t have much denomination left,” Robertson said.

“There is a very vibrant denomination coming along, it is called the American Anglican Church, and thousands of people are moving toward it. It’s amazing that their presiding bishop is from Rwanda. But nevertheless, they are filled with the flame of the Holy Spirit and we congratulate them.”

“And there will be no tears in my life if the Episcopal Church of America just quietly goes out of business,” Robertson added.

Turbine factory shuts over sit-in

Turbine factory shuts over sit-in

A sit-in protest by about 25 workers has closed the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight.

Danish company Vestas Windsystems plans to lay off 625 workers at the end of July, despite rising profits.

It said the Newport factory was being closed due to reduced demand for wind turbines in northern Europe.

Those inside the Newport offices say they will stay until “someone listens”. Vestas said a consultation on the site’s future was still on-going.

The workers began their protest at about 1930 BST on Monday.

Warning for firms that set up trade union blacklist

Warning for firms that set up trade union blacklist

Major companies which set up and funded a secret blacklist to deny work to thousands of trade unionists will escape prosecution, it emerged today.

A judge fined a private investigator who operated the covert blacklist but said he was not the only person responsible but was financed by big “high street” companies. Major firms in the construction industry will be officially warned that they will be prosecuted if they set up a new blacklist.

Affected trade unionists said they were disappointed that companies which had wrecked workers’ lives had appeared to get away with it. They angrily confronted the private investigator, Ian Kerr, who hid his face as he was driven away.

Kerr, 66, was fined £5,000 at Knutsford crown court, Cheshire after admitting keeping a clandestine database of 3,000 workers for the past 15 years.

The court heard that more than 40 construction companies had given £600,000 in the past five years to Kerr’s agency to record personal and employment details of allegedly troublesome workers.

UK unemployment hits 14-year high of 2.38m

UK unemployment hits 14-year high of 2.38m

Almost a million young people are out of work after the biggest increase in unemployment since Labour came to power.

Youth unemployment has soared to a 16-year high, with 17.3 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 out of work — up from 15 per cent in February. The Prince’s Trust said that a young person was losing a job almost every minute over the past three months.

Almost a third of those aged between 16 and 17 who left school after GCSEs are also out of work, amid fears that unemployment among the young is set to rise over the summer as a new generation of school leavers and graduates struggles to find work.

Unemployment increased by a record 281,000 between March and May, bringing the total to 2.38 million — the highest since October 1995.

Yesterday’s figures also revealed that the number of long-term unemployed — those out of work for more than a year — has risen by 46,000 to an 11-year high of 528,000, with almost half that total having been jobless for two years.

This lost generation has been betrayed by its elders

This lost generation has been betrayed by its elders

If you want the City to know your despair, there is no better place to declare it than on the roof garden of the Coq d’Argent. The designers emphasised the Square Mile’s historic function of allowing old money and new to meet and breed by laying out a lawn dotted with box hedges and giant stone balls that look as if they have come from the gateposts of a country estate.

Last Sunday, just before his 25th birthday, Anjool Malde, a stockbroker and organiser of “alpha parties” for his young and wealthy colleagues, walked past the Bank of England and took the private lift to the plutocratic playground. He ignored the offers of caviar, bought himself a glass of champagne, went to the edge and jumped. The last thing he saw was the offices of the financiers and regulators who destroyed Britain’s prosperity.

Only rarely can a journalist get away with speculating as to why a man committed suicide. An impenetrable darkness separates those who kill themselves from those who face identical burdens but carry on fighting. Nevertheless, we know that Deutsche Bank had sacked three of Malde’s close colleagues, and that personnel looked as if it wanted to fire him for a piffling crime against corporate correctness. It seems probable that, like hundreds of thousands of others, his road to perdition began with an email from some swine in human resources. More strikingly, Malde was a child of the long bubble, and could not cope with the notion that he must stop “living the dream”, as he called it.

His fatalism is everywhere. All the talk of green shoots misses the point that we are facing a social catastrophe that many in the British establishment lack the nerve to fight or even recognise.

Terrorist Neil Lewington wanted to rid country of non-Brits

Terrorist Neil Lewington wanted to rid country of non-Brits

A Tilehurst terrorist saw himself as ‘pure white’ and wanted to exterminate the UK of those he considered non-British.

Neil Lewington, 44, has been warned he faces a lengthy jail term after being convicted of seven out of eight offences at the Old Bailey yesterday.

He denied all eight charges but the jury took less than two days to come back with a verdict on charges including intent to endanger life and preparing for acts of terrorism.

The unemployed White Supremacist, of Church End Lane, was arrested by chance at Lowestoft railway station on October 30 last year after drunkenly urinating on the platform.

Police were amazed when they stumbled across two homemade explosive devices in his holdall and directed a search of his home, where a plethora of bomb making materials and neo-Nazi propaganda, including a handwritten Waffen SS UK members’ handbook, was found.

Lewington drunkenly told police on his arrest he was ‘Mr Bin Laden’ on his way for a ‘pyrotechnic weekend’ with his girlfriend who he had met on an internet chat room called Hot or Not.

Wiki and Gina and cops (oh my!)

Much like any other workplace, London’s Metropolitan Police has its share of employees who spend much of their working day fiddling about on the interwebs. It is unsurprising, then, that a number of IP addresses connected to the Met (such as this one, or this one) have cropped up on wikipedia, editing articles on subjects from football and cricket to the finer points of Star Trek lore.

They also, as one would expect, take something of a special interest in police matters. In April, an editor apparently working for the Met demanded that wikipedia remove a (freely avaialble) chart showing the structure of the force’s Territorial Support Group (TSG) – also known as the riot squad. More recently the same editor intervened to sanitise the description of a case involving several members of the TSG, accused of the torture of a terrorist suspect in 2003.

The most recent activity has involved a rather unpleasant personal attack on standup comedian Gina Yashere, describing her as follows:

Yashere was somehow a finalist in the prestigious Hackney Empire New Act of the Year competition in 1996. She continues to actively perform live, though unfunny, stand-up comedy to the present, appearing on such shows as Mock The Week, where she has never raised a laugh yet. She has released two live stand-up DVDs: one in 2006, and one in 2008. Amazingly, people bought them.

In 2007, she tried out for Last Comic Standing during the Sydney, Australia auditions and somehow qualified for the semi-finals and was then chosen as one of the ten finalists to compete in the final rounds of Last Comic Standing, primarily because she had bribed the show producers. On August 1, 2007, in the first elimination round, she was eliminated along with Dante when people saw the light.

Comedy is, admittedly, rather subjective in nature. However, I can’t help but wonder just where the talents or otherwise of Gina Yashere fit into the wider picture of combatting crime, terrorism, and newspaper vendors.

(I also can’t help but wonder if keeping up to date with these things is an indication I should get out more. All signs point to yes.)

The neo-Nazi ‘asylum seekers’

The neo-Nazi ‘asylum seekers’

They looked like a pair of cranks straight out of a Louis Theroux documentary.

One was an unrepentant woman hater whose racist and anti-Semitic views were too hard-line even for the British National Party.

The other, his long-haired sidekick, sought the protection of a pseudonym that he used to make extremist rants.

Their hunger to stir up controversy saw them flee from justice in the north of England and stage an unlikely claim for political asylum in Los Angeles.

But their journey has now ended with jail sentences in the UK.

Jurors at Leeds Crown Court decided neo-Nazis Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle were not just harmless oddballs, but dangerous propagandists dedicated to whipping up racism.

On Friday, Sheppard was jailed for four years, 10 months and Whittle for two years, four months.

In a landmark case, they have become the first Britons to be convicted of inciting racial hatred online, having printed leaflets and controlled websites featuring racist material.

That Mitchell and Webb Look: Homeopathic A&E