Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2153

Expenses are our cash

I would like to start by saying that I am no political genius or great activist. I am just an everyday working class mother.

I am writing to air my utter disgust at the liars and thieves that have been given the privilege of running our country.

Surely if this level of mass daylight robbery had occurred in France in the 1700s then heads would indeed have rolled.

I suggest a guillotine should be erected in Parliament Square and the liars should be dealt with accordingly.

This scandal proves that our so called democracy has been rotten to the core.

We the people should gather together and show solidarity against this current parliament. After all, Members of Parliament are meant to serve and represent the people and not steal from them!

They are never to be trusted.

Angela Winstanley, by email

I laughed out loud when I heard Tory MP Nadine Dorries’ comments about the expenses scandal this week.

She claimed that the attacks on MPs now resemble the McCarthyite anti-communist witch-hunts in 1950s America.

According to Dorries, parliament has become “unbearable”, and MPs wander around with “terror in their eyes”.

“People are seriously beginning to crack,” the anti-abortion MP told the Today programme on Radio 4.

All this because MPs expenses have actually been put in the public domain and ordinary people have been able to see exactly what they are spending our money on.

The average person in Britain is having to deal with job losses, debt, poverty, crap housing, and cuts in health care and schools.

In this situation, it really beggars belief that MPs expect us to start feeling sorry for them just because they aren’t allowed to hide their expense claims any more.

Dorries said she was worried that MPs may commit suicide.

To her I say, I’m not too worried. I think we’d manage to cope without them.

Sharon Binns, Leicestershire

MPs should be paid a flat wage, get accommodated in a hall of residence, have secretaries provided and only receive four weeks holiday a year.

The fraudulent claims by some MPs must be investigated and dealt with and once those inquiries begin the MPs involved should be barred from drawing a wage until the inquiry has finished.

Oliver Healey, West Midlands

New Labour isn’t so new

It is the Labour Party that is primarily responsible for the grim situation now confronting the working class and British people generally.

When is Socialist Worker going to face this fact?

This week’s issue blames New Labour, whatever that is, for the corruption of MPs.

It also blames New Labour for selling off the Post Office, widening the gulf between rich and poor, the current assault on education, the decline in manufacturing, the oppression of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka and so on.

Are you suggesting that Old Labour, or some other type of Labour grouping, would be fundamentally different?

If so please advise your readers of the difference between Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling and the dominant figures in other post war Labour governments – James Callaghan and Denis Healey, Harold Wilson and George Brown, or Clement Attlee and Ernest Bevin.

In my opinion by continuing to blame New Labour as if it is something new in labour history you mislead your readers.

The Morning Star has stopped blaming New Labour for all the wrong, weak, inadequate policies of the Labour government.

Surely it’s time Socialist Worker did likewise.

Gordon McLennan, South London

No trust in politicians

The Guardian newspaper has found that over a quarter of all voters are not planning to vote for one of the main parties in the European elections this June.

It is no wonder. The politicians have only themselves to blame for the complete lack of trust that most people now have in them.

Maybe they can undo some of the damage if the worst of them lose their jobs.

But I think lots of people will still have little faith left in the system. It may be that a few heads rolling won’t stop people from demanding much more radical changes.

Bob Jackson, Scunthorpe

The West’s hypocrisy on Iran is sickening

I am angry about the walkout of the Western diplomats that occurred during the speech of president Ahmadinejad at the UN conference on racism. This is hypocritical.

President Ahmadinejad rightly referred to the Western role in the foundation of Israel, the racist character of Israel, as well as the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

The foundation of Israel is based on important Western support for UN Resolution 181, passed in 1947.

Palestine was divided into a Jewish and Arab part, without any consent of the original Palestinian population.

The racist character of Israel shows in the fact that anyone who is Jewish can move to Israel, while the right to return is denied to the victims of the ethnic cleansing in 1948, when 750.000 Palestinians were expelled from their homeland by Israeli troops.

Further, there is a historic and systematic discrimination against Palestinians and Bedouins.

The international community has a responsibility to end the suffering of the Palestinians.

Instead of showing their indignation against president Ahmadinejad, the Western countries should summon Israel to respect international law.

Any occupation in the world is illegal and there should not be any exceptions made for Israel.

Astrid Essed, Amsterdam

We should not debate the Nazis

Nick Grant asks why anti-fascists are not debating with the British National Party (BNP) in the mainstream media (» Letters, 23 May).

The BNP wants to smash democracy. It wants to use access to the electoral process and the media to win wider support and build a fascist organisation.

Achieving the status of a legitimate political player is a key element of this strategy.

Fascists in France and Italy have won this status and used it to shift the boundaries of public debate.

Only the fascists gain from becoming an accepted presence in the media – whoever debates them.

The BNP is not yet acknowledged as a fixture of mainstream political life. This is a major barrier to it translating votes into organisational strength.

Enforcing a policy of No Platform for the BNP therefore remains a powerful weapon.

The real question is not whether we should debate the Nazis on media platforms, but how we can stop them appearing on these platforms.

We urgently need a concerted campaign to pull the plug on the BNP. Debating them would give legitimacy to their presence in the media and undermine this campaign.

Jim Wolfreys, Central London

In solidarity with Palestine

Supporters of Palestine won a brilliant victory in London this week.

Posters had appeared on the London underground by the Israeli ministry of tourism and thinkisrael promoting tourism to Israel.

The map of “Israel” on the posters included the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights.

In fact these are areas that Israel has illegally occupied.

The posters were taken down after numerous complaints.

Thanks to everyone who campaigned and lobbied the Advertising Standards Agency, Transport for London and CBS Outdoor, the company that put up the ads.

Laura Bennett, South London

A history of racist royals

The fact that Nazi British National Party (BNP) leader wanted to have tea with the Queen is not as shocking as some may think.

The odious Nazi may want to be there to get some tips. Because, while Griffin has tried to cover up his fascism, members of the Royal family have been perfectly at home in full Nazi regalia.

During the inter-war period, British Nazis paraded their loyalty to the king. And Edward VIII responded in kind – being an open fascist sympathiser and friend of Hitler.

Gunther von Reibnitz, the father of Princess Michael of Kent, was a member of the Nazi party. Even the apparently loved Queen mother was a Hitler sympathiser.

The royals and the BNP deserve each other.

Steven Thomas, South London

Tamil Tigers and Muslims

I feel sorry for the many Tamil people who have been killed and maimed by the Sri Lankan government.

But I don’t see why you talk about the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as if they are a good organisation.

Your articles say nothing about the way they expelled 75,000 Tamil-speaking Muslims from the areas they controlled in 1990.

Many were killed. Don’t you care about these people too?

Salim Akhtar, East London

Defend public postal service

Earlier this month the CWU contacted its members asking them to email TNT, a firm considering buying Royal Mail, to urge them to drop the plans.

Thousands of people did so within just a few hours.

The BBC reported that TNT was “being put off bidding for a stake in running Royal Mail by the ferocity of the political and trade union opposition”.

The CWU has now extended its campaign and is urging people to send letters to TNT, CVC and Belgian Post, other companies looking into buying parts of Royal Mail.

Go to » to send a letter and to » to get others to do the same.

Richard Leyland, Worcestershire

Have no truck with the BNP

The Nazi British National Party (BNP) says it is opposed to academy schools because it claims academies lead to more integration.

This is untrue. And we don’t want the BNP involved in anti academy campaigns.

The Anti Academies Alliance has rightly said that the BNP has no place in such campaigns and activists should stop them gaining a foothold in localities.

Lisa Gupta, Manchester

Opportunity not to miss?

One sincerely hopes that there will be no tasteless pickets outside the gates of Buckingham Palace during one’s garden party.

Bill Ball, East Sussex

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Article information

Tue 26 May 2009, 18:19 BST
Issue No. 2153
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