Alasdair Palmer says the charges against Railtrack’s Gerald Corbett are the cynical prelude to a law on corporate killingThe families of the four people who were killed in the Hatfield rail crash are reported to be ‘jubilant’ that a total of six managers from Railtrack and Balfour Beatty are to be charged with manslaughter. They are also said to be quite pleased that Railtrack and Balfour Beatty, the companies with responsibility for maintaining the Hatfield track, are to face charges of ‘corporate manslaughter’, and that five other executives will be tried.
It was those trips to the Balkans that started it. As we hard-core Europhobes know, one of the main joys of leaving EU Europe is that the food tastes incomparably better wherever the writ of Brussels does not extend. Although the hard-skinned, white-membraned Dutch tomato has already started to colonise the humble Skopje salad in Bulgaria — agriculture in the bread baskets of Eastern Europe is being comprehensively closed down in preparation for EU membership — there are still pockets of resistance south of the Danube, particularly in the former Yugoslavia, where a cucumber does not taste the same as a carrot.
During the past ten years, 34 out of the 128 Cabinet ministers to have served in the French government have been indicted, mostly for financial crimes. President Chirac himself has had to rig up an immunity law to protect him from charges that he treated his previous job, as mayor of Paris, as a cash-till to enrich himself, his party and his supporters. Among Western leaders, only Silvio Berlusconi has a murkier legal past.
Peter Kellner analyses the first systematic opinion poll of Iraq, and finds a population full of anxiety — but also convinced that war has made their future brighterBaghdad is on a knife edge. Three in four of its residents say the city is now more dangerous than when Saddam Hussein was in power. Two in three fear being attacked in the street. Most think that we went to war to grab Iraq’s oil and/or to help Israel.