Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2207

Reject cuts consensus

Having cut the Child Care Trust Fund, the Con-Dem government has now axed plans to give free school meals to every primary school child across Bradford (Fight to stop the Tories’ savage cuts , 19 June). This was part of a pilot to tackle obesity and raise education standards.

The pilot scheme was to look at eating habits at home, and their impact on behaviour, academic performance, and health and well-being.

Hundreds of school building plans are also in limbo. There are worries about further cuts in the children’s budgets, which could effect disabled children, youth clubs and action to reduce teenage pregnancies.

These cuts are aimed at working class kids and they should be fought tooth and nail.

John Appleyard, Liversedge, West Yorkshire

The media consensus that there must be cuts is stultifying. Even the supposedly liberal Guardian newspaper had a web questionaire asking its readers to be the chancellor and swing the cuts axe.

This is all helping to create the unchallengable impression that the cuts are inevitable and needed. It is imperative that everyone on the left and in the union movement challenges these lies.

Katherine Branney, East London

David Cameron’s plans for cuts are obscene. It’s immoral that ordinary workers and the poor will face the brunt of the Con-Dem cuts because of a crisis caused by overpaid bankers.

That makes the alternatives to cuts proposed by Socialist Worker (See our poster) all the more important. The rich should be taxed more – their incomes increased most in recent decades.

And I agree that the Trident nuclear replacement system should be scrapped. It’s wasteful and immoral. We can’t afford to keep paying for this nasty weapon of mass destruction, or its successor.

Let’s use the millions of pounds saved from scapping nuclear weapons to reduce the deficit. That’s genuine morality.

Graeme Kemp, Wellington, Shropshire

Regulators open door for bigots

Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog, has ruled that the words “lezza”, “poof” and “queer” are all socially acceptable, and can be broadcast at any time of the day.

The ruling follows its survey of 130 people about what language they found acceptable.

It has also said that “homo” and “chick with a dick” are allowed to be used.

So the answers of an extremely small group of people mean that offensive words can be tolerated on TV and radio?

People with homophobic and discriminatory ideas can get away with expressing them live on air, as long as they claim it was all said as a joke.

This is just the latest example of a supposedly regulatory body opening the door to more discrimination.

Simone Murray, Carlisle

Labour’s deficiency

The opportunism of Labour leadership contenders Ed Balls and Ed Miliband was to be expected. Having said nothing over Iraq while in government they have declared they were opposed to the war all along.

The leadership race has been monopolised by former ministers to squeeze someone like left winger John McDonnell out of the contest.

They don’t appreciate that it was the New Labour project that lost them the election.

Now the four mainstream contenders realise they have to say something distinct to set themselves apart from each other.

There can only be one type of meaningful contest – this should be between a candidate from New Labour and one from the Labour side.

It would undoubtedly be far more interesting than what was staged between the three leaders during the general election campaign from which this pathetic hung parliament has emerged.

Nick Vinehill, Snettisham, Norfolk

There’s been a lot of talk by the candidates about the need to return the Labour Party to its traditions.

Perhaps they can learn something from Miliband – Ralph that is, not his sons.

In his classic book, Parliamentary Socialism, Miliband describes the entire history of Labour as that of a party wedded to capitalism.

Its leaders “do their best to demobilise their own supporters and, where occasion demanded, to turn against them”.

In other words, “There is a Tory way of carrying out Tory policies, and there is a Labour way of carrying out Tory policies”. Not much change there then.

Ken Montague, North London

Left wingers should not vote for Diane Abbott (Is there anyone left in Labour to vote for? , 19 June) for Labour leader.

She is Oxbridge educated and sent her son to private school. I think she would be another John Prescott or Peter Mandelson.

Richard Reid, Basingstoke

Let’s stand together for autistic rights

I would like to respond to anonymous from Chichester’s letter (Letters, 19 June) about how disabled people are treated in capitalist society.

The letter was spot on – and in particular it is people with invisible and fluctuating impairments such as autism who suffer.

Less than one in six autistic people are in full-time work.

I am a person with Aspergers Syndrome, an Aspie as we call ourselves, and a socialist.

I helped set up the London Autistic Rights Movement three years ago to campaign for the rights and interests of autistic people.

We are growing steadily and there are now other groups being set up in several other parts of Britain.

We also have a committee that is looking to create a national autism rights organisation.

It’s vital that as a group in society, being among the most excluded and isolated, we band together with each other and whatever allies we can find, to fight for that better world that we believe in.

So I’d like to invite the comrade from Chichester and other people to make contact with us.

You can phone the London Autistic Rights Movement on 07594 578 152 or email

Roderick Cobley, Chair, London Autistic Rights Movement

UN is hard on Iran and soft on Israel

Under US leadership, the United Nations (UN) Security Council has voted for a fourth round of sanctions that will increase financial and arms restrictions on Iran.

The US and Britain say Iran has failed to comply with UN demands over its nuclear enrichment programme.

This, of course, is the same Security Council which refused to condemn Israel for its murderous assault on the Freedom Flotilla taking aid to Gaza earlier this month.

There were no sanctions on Israel.

The fact that the Security Council refused specifically to blame Israel for killing nine members of the flotilla sent out a message.

This was that Israel, the Middle East’s only nuclear power, could continue to murder and oppress as it sees fit with absolutely no fear of UN reprisals.

The UN is the puppet of the world’s major powers, who use it to advance their own interests and agendas.

The UN is tough on Iran and gentle on Israel.

The Security Council’s reputation for double standards, cynicism and hypocrisy has plumbed new, sickening depths.

Sasha Simic, East London

Questioning in the workplace

A number of arguments are taking place at my workplace.

One colleague is arguing that the debt is such a huge amount that taxing the rich could not pay it off and they would all leave the country if this happened anyway.

Another colleague thinks that if we own the banks then, when the shares in the bank increase in value, the debt can be paid.

I don’t think anyone takes seriously the idea that we could scrap military spending.

People think that would leave the country vulnerable.

If someone is on fire then it’s a “crisis”.

Being in the red finanically, which most of us are used to, is not a crisis. I don’t see anyone on fire.

Although if Britain’s debt was downgraded it could be bad.

What do other people think?

Jenny, Nottingham

Too much work or none at all

I’ve just read an article on the BBC’s website that says that one in four people in Britain typically work all day without a lunch break.

Staff shortages and having too much work to do are cited as common reasons for doing this.

I’m wondering how there can be staff shortages while so many people are unemployed.

There obviously needs to be a radical shake-up somewhere!

Frances Smith, by email

SW dissipates the mists

When I read the news in the national press I feel as though I am looking at the world through some sort of mist. It’s like I am in a dream.

When I read about the same events in Socialist Worker the mist disappears and everything comes sharply into focus.

Thank you.

Andy Wood, Bristol

This fight is international

It was fantastic news to hear about the anti-racist protest in east London last Sunday.

Sunday 20 June was also the international day of the refugee. Here in Australia people mobilised against Kevin Rudd’s Labour government’s racist anti-refugee policies.

It is one struggle.

Owen Cosgriff, Melbourne

World Cup will change little

Socialist Worker (Not flying the flag for England in the World Cup , 19 June) is reading too much into the England flag and the World Cup.

For most people it’s just a sporting event where they can get together with a few friends and enjoy the games. They do not see it as an answer to their problems.

They also don’t accept politicians using the jingoism surrounding the national side as a chance to distract them from the ammoral practices of the ruling classes.

People who are being forced on to the dole won’t feel their problems are lessened just because England is winning football matches.

Dan Factor, East London

Power must be taken

David Cameron promises to drive power downwards, away from elites and bureaucracies.

Beware such blandishments, especially when enunciated slowly. Power, if given from above, can be taken away.

Only if workers struggle will they really gain power and be able to retain it.

The process of gaining power collectively develops their grasp of running things in their own interests.

Otherwise, “empowerment” will mean more pupils per teacher/assistant, more patients per ward, more streets per cleaner, more hours behind the wheel.

Nigel Coward, West London

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Article information

Tue 22 Jun 2010, 22:49 BST
Issue No. 2207
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