Socialist Worker

Letters

Issue No. 2261

Why Liverpool fans hate the Murdoch press

I can barely bring myself to write this letter as it brings up so much anger and bitterness towards Rupert Murdoch, the Sun, and its former editor Kelvin McKenzie.

We shouldn’t be surprised at the actions of the News of the World in the phone hacking scandal—and we should expect nothing less from Murdoch.

On 15 April 1989, 95 Liverpool football fans were killed through no fault of their own at the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough—one of them a mate of mine. Another died later in hospital.

Some 300 were hospitalised. Just a few days later, the Sun newspaper, rebranded the “Scum” ever since by the people of Liverpool, lied on its front page under a banner headline “THE TRUTH”.

It said: “Some fans picked pockets of victims,” “Some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life” and “Drunken Liverpool fans viciously attacked rescue workers as they tried to revive victims.” Most sickening of all they said a dead girl had been abused.

Despite Lord Justice Taylor’s report denouncing such reports as lies, the apologies were too little and too late many years later.

But we must remember that this was no accident or mere slip of the pen. The lies involved a Tory MP, a police superintendent and were faithfully repeated by the media. Sound familiar?

It was no coincidence that these lies came at the height of Thatcherism and after Merseyside had played an important part in the resistance to the Tories.

Such disgusting behaviour by the right wing press and politicians was nothing new then—and is nothing new now.

Class prejudice goes back a long way. In the 1850s the Times (now also owned by Murdoch) printed stories attacking the lifestyle of working class people in Liverpool.

THE TRUTH is that there is a long history of the rich and the powerful believing they can say what they want about the lives of working class people.

Many of us have still not recovered from the Hillsborough disaster. We will never be happy until the scum who circulated the lies are brought to justice along with those in authority who were responsible for the deaths of the Liverpool fans.

Yet, THE TRUTH is the Scum has been hated in Merseyside ever since. I am proud that the whole community has stood together to this day and has played its part in losing Murdoch over £55 million in lost sales.

THE TRUTH is we can beat them.

Peter Dwyer, Oxford
For more information on the campaign to boycott the Sun and for justice for those killed at Hillsborough, go to:
www.contrast.org/hillsborough
www.dontbuythesun.co.uk
www.spiritofshankly.com


Majority oppose Tory cuts

The government wants us to think that most people support cuts. But this is no longer true.

When the Tories were elected, it seemed that the majority of people were won to the argument that some cuts are necessary.

But that has changed dramatically over the last few months as the cuts begin to affect us.

A YouGov survey released this week shows that more and more people think the cuts are wrong.

In June, when chancellor George Osborne released his emergency budget, YouGov found that 45 percent of people thought the cuts were being implemented fairly.

Now 62 percent think they are being done unfairly. And that includes 25 percent of Tory supporters and the majority of what’s left of Lib Dem voters.

What is really interesting is that people are also starting to realise that cuts aren’t even helping the economy.

The survey found that 51 percent think they are having a negative impact.

That is a dramatic increase on the survey last autumn.

The deepening economic crisis across Europe, especially in places like Greece and Ireland where bailouts have happened, shows that cuts aren’t the answer.

It exposes the lie that if we “take the pain now” things will be better later.

We have to keep fighting cuts and build a movement that can smash this Tory government of thieves.

Rita Mcloughlin, East London


In 1976, the Manchester to London Right to Work march passed through Derby.

Orange-jacketed marchers doubled as flying pickets, collecting for strikes.

The Right to Work placards said “Occupy, nationalise, fight for the right to work”.

Given the predicament of the Bombardier workers in Derby under this vicious government, the slogans of 1976 are just as appropriate today.

Bob Bagnall, Leicester


Workers sacked and immigrants abandoned

When staff arrived for work at the Immigration Advisory Service (IAS) on Monday we were met by security guards.

They escorted us to collect our personal belongings. The majority of us were made redundant on the spot.

IAS is Britain’s biggest immigration and asylum legal advice charity. Workers include lawyers, receptionists, secretaries and paralegals—the vast majority are women.

The impact on the service’s clients has been even worse. The government says there will be “an orderly transfer of clients to new providers”. But files have lain untouched for two days.

Skeleton staff remain in a few offices but are told they can only work on urgent cases.

How can they identify urgent cases when the caseworkers have been kicked out? And some immigration judges are trying to persuade people to go ahead without a representative.

It was the government’s decision to remove legal aid from immigration work that precipitated IAS’s slide into administration.

The government must be forced by political pressure to come clean about what is happening—and stop it getting worse.

What has happened to IAS is part of the cuts agenda. There needs to be a concerted effort to save these services.

An ex-IAS worker,


Unions need to break Labour link

I agree with Pete Firmin (Socialist Worker, 16 July) that Ed Miliband’s intention to appoint shadow cabinet members rather than have them elected is an attack on democracy and should be resisted.

However, Pete suggests that the Parliamentary Labour Party should decide the shadow cabinet. I disagree.

Surely it would make more sense for Labour Party leaders to be accountable to the wider membership and affiliated unions, rather than those that have the “privilege” of being MPs.

There is a simple solution. Make Labour Party conferences sovereign with the ability to make party policy, rather than leaving it to the National Policy Forum.

And give constituent Labour Party groups the right to choose their own parliamentary candidates.

The Labour Party is not a socialist organisation.

We should use this attack on democracy to push the argument that the trade unions have no effective say in the Labour Party.

Union members benefit little, if at all, from affiliation to it. That’s why we need to break the Labour link.

Matt Hale, South Yorkshire


Anarchism is more radical

The answer to the question posed in your article “Is anarchism more radical than socialism?” (Socialist Worker, 16 July), is yes!

Marxism is socialism for the conservative, anarchism is the socialism of the liberal.

Although I cannot claim to be neutral—I fall more neatly into the anarchist category—I do not feel any need to favour one or the other.

One has to be a philistine not to recognise that all forms of socialism have something to say.

Theorists from both sides have made great contributions to our understanding of our society. Marxism and anarchism are two wings of the same emancipatory movement.

Dave, By email


Stop these pension lies

A “new” £1 trillion public pensions liability has been announced.

Pensions consultant John Ralph said on Radio 4’s Today Programme that “public sector liabilities are exactly the same as debt.” He did admit that the number isn’t new, just unacknowledged.

And he was not challenged on the pensions-are-debt nonsense.

In reality, future public pensions will be paid from future National Insurance and taxation payments. They are not “debt”.

But the mainstream media continues to peddle this propaganda.

The fight to prevent the working class being made to pay for a crisis created by the banks will be won on the picket lines and the streets, not in the media.

Dermot Smyth, Chesterfield


Workers pay more taxes

People opposed to public sector strikes often argue that public pensions are topped up by taxpayers’ money. That is true.

However, that argument appears to suggest that public sector workers do not pay tax. But they pay more tax as a proportion of their income than the owners of big corporations.

Cllr Paul Collins, Oxfordshire


Corrupt cops are not new

Why is there all this handwringing about the corrupt practices of newspapers, politicians and the police? We should expect nothing else—they are part of the problem, not part of the solution!

If an apple is bad you cannot reform it or make it better—you have to throw it away.

Capitalism is not fit for purpose. So people have to take their own action.

They can start by boycotting all of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers.

Journalists on the News Of The World claim they have won huge numbers of journalistic awards, but they have clearly been starting from a rock bottom base.

Ross Sutton, Reading


Murdoch’s evil empire links

Thanks to Socialist Worker for exposing the Murdoch empire, the Tories and capitalism.

Manchester Unemployed Workers Project, Manchester


Health versus social care

NHS Continuing Healthcare is a package of care funded in full by the NHS to meet the physical or mental health needs arising from illness.

Recently it was reported that stroke victim Elaine McDonald had her funding cut by her local council.

She needs help to go to the toilet.

Going to the toilet and washing yourself are necessary to maintaining personal health.

Support for this should be provided by healthcare professionals and not social services.

Classifying them as social care needs makes them more vulnerable to council funding cuts.

P Couch, Plymouth


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Article information

Letters
Tue 19 Jul 2011, 17:25 BST
Issue No. 2261
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