No such thing as a weekend racist
It is disgraceful that the Nazi BNP teacher, Adam Walker, will still be able to teach children following his hearing at the General Teaching Council (GTC) in Birmingham last week.
This is the same man who described immigrants as “filth” and “savage animals”. If this is not enough to show “intolerance” then what is?
Walker claims that he did not bring his views into the classroom. But there is no such thing as a weekend racist.
How can he show a duty of care to the children in his classroom when he clearly doesn’t believe that some of them should even be in this country?
It is unacceptable that this racism has been given such light treatment by the GTC.
The GTC’s code of conduct requires teachers to “demonstrate respect for diversity and promote equality”. Walker clearly doesn’t do this, and this finding by the GTC shows how useless this body is.
The BNP is a fascist organisation designed to smash diversity and dissent.
The only ray of light was the large and sustained protests by Unite Against Fascism which, unlike Walker and the BNP, exists to unite people against racism.
It shows us yet again that when it comes to fighting racism, we can only rely on ordinary people, campaigning together, to do it.
Doug Morgan, President, Birmingham Association of the National Union of Teachers
Baroness walks free but cleaner is jailed
Readers might remember the small-scale scandal of Labour’s attorney general Baroness Scotland employing a cleaner who was found to be an “illegal immigrant”.
At the time it was just a storm in a teacup.
But it got a lot more serious last week after the cleaner, Loloahi Tapui, was jailed for eight months for her “crimes”. She now faces possible deportation.
Meanwhile, what about the baroness? She was fined just £5,000 – an insignificant amount for someone of her wealth. She won’t spend one day in prison.
The mainstream press is full of rubbish about how Tapui, who is from Tonga, “tricked” and “duped” Baroness Scotland into hiring her.
The judge told Tapui, “You deceived her.”
We are led to believe that the real villain of the piece is an impoverished worker who had no option but to clean some posh pad for peanuts.
She was paid £6 an hour. Some “con”.
Yet again the bosses just get a slap on the wrist, while workers have their lives ruined by the vicious immigration system.
Gemma Morgan, Cardiff
I visited Greece last month to go to the Marxism weekend hosted by SEK, the Greek Socialist Workers Party.
Greece is in the limelight these days and it seems the future of the EU hangs on how events unfold there.
So far the government’s austerity measures have meant a 20 percent drop in living standards for ordinary people.
Unemployment is now 11 percent and among the young it’s a staggering 30 percent.
But the people of Greece are not taking the attacks lying down. A series of general strikes and protests have shaken the ruling class’ confidence.
At the conference many trade unionists spoke of their experiences in the workplace and the streets, and there were speakers from across the global anti-capitalist movement.
Recently there have been many calls at union meetings for an all-out general strike – not just from the anti-capitalist left but from many sections of the working class.
Socialists are formulating other demands as events unfold. One clear demand was the urgent need for banks to be nationalised under workers’ control.
And one recent poll showed that a third of people are in favour of stopping all loan repayments. People know they go into the pockets of the financiers who caused the crisis.
The left is rapidly gaining ground and influence, but the task ahead is huge.
If the struggles in Greece are successful it will be so much easier to argue that victory is possible across Europe. Victory to the workers of Greece.
Demetrios Hadjidemetriou, North London
A few things to add to your article about Greek workers’ living conditions (Socialist Worker, 22 May).
Young workers under 25 now face a lower minimum wage of 560 euros (£470) a month. And it is being made ever easier to sack more workers legally.
Workers’ rights in Greece are medieval. The austerity measures are class war by the rich against workers and the poor.
Manthos, Athens, Greece
Cameron’s big society means massive cuts
The Tories promise more power to local people and voluntary groups.
But this is nothing but privatisation under a veil of Dickensian philanthropy and aristocratic patronage.
The so-called “big society” is really a plan to cut jobs and smash public service unions.
Despite the government’s rhetoric, it is hostile to democracy. The gradual erosion of democracy since 1979 has been accelerated through the new government’s sweeping cuts and changes.
The coalition had no right to form a government, and the Lib Dems will pay for it at the next election.
Christopher Mills, South London
The new Tory-Lib Dem government may claim that the National Health Service is exempt from cuts.
But in Leeds, the trusts that run the hospitals have just slashed the budget by a massive £18 million.
This means that plans for a new kidney unit have been dropped – and staff numbers have started to fall.
Vacancies that come up are not being filled.
The cuts will also affect the replacement of equipment, as well as the level of spending on emergencies.
Ignore the Tory lies – the NHS is already being cut, right here and right now.
John Appleyard, Liversedge, West Yorkshire
Who is he to judge striking workers?
I learned something interesting from a lecturer on strike against devastating cuts at the University of Arts London when I visited the picket line.
The strike is over plans to make 100 staff redundant.
But there is an unexpected connection.
When the anti-union laws injunction stopping the strikes at BA was taken to the court of appeal, two out of three judges decided it had been a step too far and should be overturned.
The third judge voted to uphold the injunction.
His name is Right Hon Lord Justice Neuberger. He is the Master of the Rolls, and one of the most influential judges in the country.
When he is not in court, he moonlights as a governor pushing through devastating cuts at the University of Arts London.
In both cases, there is no mechanism whatsoever to keep Neuberger accountable to ordinary people, let alone to any idea of “justice”.
In the courts, just as on the board of governors, he is accountable only to his class – a class of bullying bosses and overgrown public school boys.
Dave Sewell, London
No secrets from workers
Unite leader Derek Simpson has come under fire for posting to Twitter during negotiations with BA bosses.
But Simpson did nothing wrong.
During the 1980s Solidarity strike at Poland’s Gdansk shipyard, strikers broadcast negotiations over the loudspeaker system for all workers to hear.
Maybe that wasn’t what Simpson intended – but still.
Fiona Thompson, Sheffield
Pay some tax you Tory toffs
David Cameron is the Eton and Oxford educated son of a grasping stockbroker and parasitic aristocrat.
He is slashing the benefits that the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in society rely upon.
Meanwhile the Tories’ fabulously rich friends are defrauding the country out of £16 billion a year by evading income and capital gains taxes.
Cameron wouldn’t have to make so many ”painful decisions” if he asked his wealthy pals if they wouldn’t mind paying some tax once in a while.
Brian Eggleston, South London
We can’t just say ‘no cuts’
I support protests against cuts in public services, pensions and benefits.
But shouldn’t we, as socialists, also be emphasising the call to tax the rich and take back bankers’ bonuses?
The mainstream media has sold to the public that cuts are inevitable.
But calling for the rich and the bankers to pay back the deficit could build our support.
Justin Cragen, Manchester
Robin Hood: an English rebel
Robin Hood (Socialist Worker, 22 May) was an Anglo Saxon whose downtrodden followers had little money, food or possessions.
The Anglo Saxon English were cruelly oppressed by the Normans. The Norman ruling class governed with an iron grip.
If there were any signs of rebellion they would burn whole villages to the ground. Dissenters like Robin Hood hid in the forests.
It is a classic tale of the lower classes being bullied by the ruling elite.
Korea: Why not pick a side?
I read Ian Birchall’s article about the Korean war (Socialist Worker, 22 May) with interest. However, I am confused.
He states that a small group of Trotskyists at the time argued that socialists should have been neutral in the war, arguing that it was a fight between two competing imperialisms.
However, twenty years later those same socialists would have been fully behind North Vietnam’s take-over of South Vietnam.
Wasn’t North Vietnam backed by the old Soviet Union and Mao’s China the same way North Korea was in the fifties?
Why one rule for one conflict and a different one for the other?
Pat, Richmond, Surrey
The grim cost of your iPad
This week thousands of overpaid middle class idiots finally got their hands on the latest life-affirming fad gadget – the Apple iPad.
But there’s one person who won’t be enjoying its shiny rounded corners. His name is Ma Xiangqian.
He was driven to suicide by conditions in the Foxconn factory in China where the iPads are made – the tenth to take his life this year.
Workers do minimum 12-hour days for 30p an hour. They have no life outside of work.
But managers have blamed the “immature mentality” of the young for the suicides – and put up nets to catch those who jump.
Jane Allen, Dundee