The writing on the wall

Submitted by Anon on 18 June, 2003 - 1:00
  • Something you won't read in the mainstream press...
  • Socialists and the "anti-war vote"
  • MAB and political parties

Something you won't read in the mainstream press...

I am a serving firefighter in Yorkshire and have watched and read much about the exercise held at Bank station in London which was supposed to simulate a large scale terrorist chemical or biological attack in the centre of London from a fire service point of view, we are not ready or equipped to deal with something like the staged incident on the Underground. The people of the UK have a right to know when they are being conned by this or any other government using any means possible to put a spin on any subject they choose.

For a start, the incident was staged on a Sunday morning when London probably has about 5% of the people who would normally be there during the working week which is when any terror attack would happen.

The whole area was prepared and cordoned off for hours before the start of the exercise, and not full of the every day hustle and bustle of one of the busiest cities in the world.

There were only 60 casualties (all walking wounded police cadets) and not the hundreds if not thousands of people who would actually be down there during Monday through Friday.

The depth of Bank station would mean that it would be simply impossible for crews to have enough breathing time to descend to the scene of operations, find the casualties, put them on stretchers, and then begin the very arduous task of carrying them all the way up to the surface. The maths is quite simple.

We can only wear a chemical protection (CP) suit for twenty minutes. This twenty minutes would involve approximately two minutes walking from the start point to top of the stair well, seven minutes of descending the stairs (a long way short of reaching the platform level let alone going further into the tunnels or getting unconscious casualties off a train), another seven minutes to ascend back up to street level, two further minutes to arrive back at the start point, just leaving two minutes left to be decontaminated by showers set up in the street.

So you see, regardless of the fantastic success story which will inevitably emerge from the politicians, councillors, the London Mayor, and senior emergency service officers, the truth is if an incident like this one were to actually happen in the centre of London tomorrow, hundreds if not thousands of people would die through lack of proper equipment being available to access the affected area and bring people out in order for them to be taken to hospitals for urgent treatment. The systems tested in the exercise no doubt worked to perfection after the casualties had been brought to the surface, but the fact remains that with the gear we have at the moment, they would never be able to be brought to the surface for the transportation to hospital and further treatment to take place.

The armed police were there to shoot people if necessary who will not stay within the cordoned off area.

Please don't take my word for the fire service aspects of this story, call in at any fire station and ask the firefighters for their take on this sham. Ask a senior officer about the working duration of a breathing apparatus set whilst wearing a CP suit.

Ask the police what they were told at their police federation conference when mentioning major terrorist attacks in the UK and their possible use of lethal force to control crowds of people in a mass panic. The public should not be kept in the dark about the way they are being duped into a very false sense of security by David Blunkett and his friends in the government. They have already been lied to about the reasons for our forces going to war and dying in Iraq. They have also been led up the garden path about the reasons behind the tragic suicide of Dr David Kelly. This sham in London must be one lie too many.

Socialists and the "anti-war vote"

The Lib-Dems won the Brent East by-election on 15 September, in a longtime Labour constituency where Ken Livingstone was once MP.

They have followed up suitably by emphasising that they are not to the left of even Blair's pink-Tory "New Labour", and trying to position themselves as a catch-all party for all the politically disaffected.

The Socialist Alliance stood a well-known local trade-unionist, but did poorly, with 361 votes. One prime lesson seems to be that socialist electioneering cannot be based on a dream of somehow corralling "the anti-war vote.

That "anti-war vote" obviously went mainly to the Lib-Dems or to the Greens (638 votes). There was also a long string of "independent" candidates, some left-wing, which got between 219 and 101 votes. Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour Party got 111.

MAB and political parties

Also instructive for socialists should be the activity and comments of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) in the by-election.

MAB has been hailed by some on the left as an embodiment of a shift to the left by Muslims in Britain, though in fact it is an offshoot of the Islamic-fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood. The Socialist Workers Party has even seemed to be toying with the idea that it might get an electoral alliance with MAB.

But MAB itself reports: "On Monday, 15 September, MAB called on the local Muslim community to support the Liberal Democrat candidate.... the Muslim community has once again proved its profound influence on the outcome of elections, as well as its agreement with the sentiments of the British people".

MAB explains that its stance is one of "not yet promoting one particular party to the Muslim community", but of trying to organise that "Muslim community" as a distinct, religiously and communally defined, voting bloc which at this stage can be deployed to one party or another depending on issues and tactics. Such efforts are the polar opposite to working-class politics, and nearer to the more sordid machinations of US "ethnic politics".

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