Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2188

Climate sceptics don’t prove science wrong

Listening to the radio last week, I was told that recent revelations about climate change scientists must have “shaken my belief” in climate change.

The programme referred to mistakes in the International Panel on Climate Change data, and to scientists refusing to share some data with the sceptics.

It is as though the overwhelming scientific evidence is simply the fairy Tinker Bell, who can be damaged by lack of faith.

The truth is that the mistakes “uncovered” have all been about the impacts of climate change. This is perhaps one of the most difficult areas of research and one which is evolving rapidly.

Yet the key finding remains solid – “warming is unequivocal and very likely due to man’s activities”. The problem with this is that it’s not terribly newsworthy.

The media would prefer this to be an equal fight – between those who believe that climate change is real and those who do not.

But these are not the terms I’m willing to fight on. I am done trying to convince people that climate change is happening.

The only people who want to engage in this argument are short-sighted idiots and those who have a stake in the current system. The only debate we should be entering into is what needs to be done.

Across the globe world leaders are now in agreement that they really ought to be doing something. But they won’t, unless we make them.

We need urgent debates – on where to get our energy from, providing green jobs and improving public transport – and how we go about getting the concrete solutions we need.

Laura Fletcher, Southwark

Job cuts are higher at the SLC

I see you have reported on the 150 job losses at the Student Loans Company (SLC) (» Lovely recovery we’re having, 6 February).

That’s the figure that the SLC would like people to believe.

They are hiding the fact that another 50 people are being made redundant at its Hillington offices just outside Glasgow.

The cuts are nothing to do with funds being cut by the government. SLC’s board of directors has decided to move people’s jobs in Hillington to Darlington, England.

They are doing this at a reported cost of £500,000.

The move will not improve the poor service that students receive.

SLC management has failed to process students’ application forms.

This same management is throwing 200 workers out of a job because of mistakes it has made.

Meanwhile they still sit there picking up big salaries and bonuses.

Please spread the word about what is happening.

Student Loans Company worker, by email

No justice for Blair

When the Iraq inquiry was set up, one assumed that justice had arrived. Hurray! Tony Blair would finally get what was coming to him.

In reality what took place in this so-called inquiry was at best a joke. At worst it trampled over the countless graves of the Iraqis and British soldiers who have died in the war.

If the six panel members had been replaced by six secondary school pupils, this tyrant would no doubt have been grilled more appropriately.

Blair had no remorse. The panel did not present questions which would expose this obnoxious individual for who he really is.

Blair won’t receive the punishment he deserves because Britain protects tyrants who have the blood of many innocent civilians on their hands.

Manos, North London

When Blair finished his evidence to the Chilcot inquiry he was booed and called a liar.

It wasn’t clear who was doing the shouting.

Could it be that these were members of the panel who, at last, had found some guts to seriously challenge the millionaire war criminal?

Or is it just a fantasy that there should be some real accountability by the ruling establishment for their cynical, self-serving actions at home and abroad?

John Clossick, South London

Debate on defence?

Defence secretary Bob Ainsworth claims he wants a “debate” on the future of Britain’s armed forces.

Yet he has said there will be no “debate” on the new Trident weapons – which will cost £97 billion.

Nor will there be a “debate” on the soaring cost of the bloody war in Afghanistan.

What exactly can we have a “debate” about?

Sara Nixon, Dudley

Gaza charges invoke memory of Bradford

The sentencing of two anti-war protesters for 15 months each (Socialist Worker, 30 January) brings back memories of the punishment doled out to those convicted of rioting in Bradford in 2001.

Over 200 people, mainly Asian, were charged with violent crimes and many were imprisoned for between two and six years.

They had held protests to defend their community against the fascist British National Party (BNP) and the National Front (NF).

Heavy-handed police confronted them and it turned into a riot.

When judge Gullick sentenced the young Asian people he said, “It must be made crystal clear to everyone that on such tumultuous and riotous occasions, each individual who takes an active part... is guilty of an extremely grave offence simply by being in a public place and being engaged in a crime against the peace.

“It would be wholly unreal, therefore, for me to have regard to the specific acts which you committed.”

He failed to mention the provocation of the BNP and the NF in Bradford.

Our rulers see anybody who is prepared to stand up against the state as an “enemy within”.

We must stand with these campaigners.

Umit Yildiz, Bradford

Protest against reactionary Pope

I am sure I speak for many people who will be disgusted by the Pope’s homophobic comments last week.

I am pleased there has been a backlash after he urged Catholic bishops in Britain to fight the Equality Bill with “missionary zeal”.

His claim that the bill “violates natural law” due to the equality it offers LGBT people fuels the same ideas spread by the fascist British National Party.

The government remains silent.

In light of its fervent condemnation of Islam in the name of defending “equality” this is highly hypocritical.

That’s nothing new. But failing to defend a bill that you are presenting to parliament is laughable.

The Pope is an extreme fundamentalist and should be labelled as such.

He has made ignorant comments claiming that the use of condoms in Africa would “aggravate” the problem of Aids and HIV.

This is scientifically proven not to be the case.

I plan to join thousands of others to protest when he makes a visit to Birmingham, planned for later this year.

Watch this space.

Julie Bremner, Norwich

Remembering the Holocaust

A week of very successful events took place in Norwich to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day in January.

Norfolk County Council part funded the events.

The Norwich Pride Collective, the Traveller Education Service and disability rights workers all provided great support.

Events included an exhibition, assemblies and workshops in local schools, film showings and a Love Music Hate Racism and Homophobia gig.

Hugh Stanners, Norwich

Council cuts in Edinburgh

I read your article on council wage freezes (» Councils to impose wage freeze on the lowest paid, 30 January).

Here in Edinburgh we are to face a three-year wage freeze.

At the end of the three years we face a reduction in our earnings by a third.

We can reduce this deduction with training or by getting good reports from our managers.

There will be at least 9,000 other manual grades all trying to retrain at once – and no budget for retraining.

Paul French, Edinburgh

Why states collapsed

I read with admiration the article on Eastern Europe by Andreja Zivkovic (» Eastern Europe's exposure to crisis, 16 January).

Zivkovic says, “diverting expenditure from production to military spending laid the basis for later stagnation”.

But the problem really centres on the in-built dynamic of the capitalist mode of production.

Competition between capitals leads to increased productivity and lowers the living labour involved.

An economy that lacks this dynamic will stagnate and collapse in competition with dynamic economies – and this is what happened.

Jonathan Morton, West London

The wrong priorities

I’m shocked at the way that funding for people with serious diseases is decided.

There is a big fuss over the lack of funding for research into dementia while cancer research gets more.

There should be more money put into it. But whenever it’s talked about, it’s in terms of how much money the diseases “cost” the government – in terms of NHS treatment and so on.

People with diseases like Alzheimer’s suffer horribly.

Funding research for cures shouldn’t be based on the financial burden that these diseases put on the system.

Linda Ellis, Birmingham

Stop attack on students

The government has lost the plot.

It has sent special branch patrol officers into universities to monitor “extremist” students.

Over Christmas, there was a failed attempt to blow up a plane bound for Detroit.

The government is using this as an excuse to crack down on all students – because the so-called “bomber” went to a London university.

It seems that there is a generalised feeling that any students who are members of Islamic societies or who are anti-war are somehow suspect.

It’s a very worrying development that we should fight.

Nafisa Mistry, East London

Don’t believe energy hype

So once again we’re being told that an energy shortage is looming.

Britain can’t meet its own energy needs so it has to rely on imports.

Energy bosses use this to whine that they have no choice but to put up prices.

How long before we are told that this is why we need nuclear and coal-fired power stations?

Lisa Moore, Derbyshire

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Article information

Tue 9 Feb 2010, 18:13 GMT
Issue No. 2188
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