Landlords and the rich use Olympics to drive us out
The main Olympic legacy in east London is likely to be the “social cleansing” of its poorer residents (Socialist Worker, 5 May).
I live in east London and my landlord has given me notice to move because I cannot pay a 20 percent rent increase.
This is a rise not uncommon in the borough of Newham.
According to housing charity Shelter, inner London rents rose by 7 percent last year.
The average rent for a two-bedroom house in Stratford is now over £1,200 a month.
This is why Newham council wants to rid itself of 500 of its poorest families by sending them away to Stoke-on-Trent.
And the housing benefit cap, which has yet to take full effect, will make more Londoners homeless. Many will be elderly and disabled.
The main reason for all this is simple—decades of building fancy new apartment blocks for the rich while selling off council homes.
As for the election campaign promises of Tory mayor Boris Johnson, he built a grand total of 86 affordable homes in his four years in office.
The new Olympic village will supposedly include 1,400 “affordable” homes.
But it has already been sold to a Qatari-British consortium for £557 million.
I doubt that many of us will be able to afford to live there.
As with previous Olympics in locations around the world, the rich are using the opportunity to make the inner city their exclusive playground. Meanwhile the poor are booted out to the edges—or even further.
Daniela Manske, East London
A bosses’ trick to sack us
I read your article on employment tribunal reforms with interest (Socialist Worker, 5 February 2011).
I represent claimants as an unpaid and untrained lay rep.
You forgot to mention that employers can sack anybody as long as they use “process”.
Fairness has nothing at all to do with employment tribunals.
Large employers of “unskilled” workers are very much aware of process.
They can use coercive questioning to achieve their goals.
It’s a great pity workers are not aware of process.
Chris Law, Coventry
Test that will turn five year olds into failures
The government is introducing the Synthetic Phonics Test in June for all Year 1 children. This will see our five and six year olds tested on 40 words.
Some 20 of these will be nonsense words!
This is not a reading test—it is a decoding test.
It is a test our children will pass if they read 36 or more of the words.
Meanwhile, everyone else will fail.
This dark shadow is depressing infant school teachers who already know what children in their classes can and cannot read.
The test will destroy infant classrooms where all children’s progress is valued, no matter how small.
It will wreck classrooms that have a “can do” atmosphere.
We must organise to oppose the Year 1 phonics test.
Our children are readers, not failures.
Susan Aitouaziz, East London
Tony Blair, the sequel!
So Tony Blair is planning a “comeback” in British politics.
He seems to think Britain can’t survive without him.
Since he stopped being prime minister, Blair has been “intervening” in the Middle East.
Since then revolutions have broken out across the region. Let’s hope his comeback in Britain has the same effect!
Andrea Baines, Manchester
You’re wrong on racism
Racism precedes the segmentation of society into classes (Socialist Worker, 28 April).
It is used to ensure certain segments of the population are in a “lower” class.
Class is a convenient sidelining of the issue of race and its impact.
Struggles against apartheid, for example, were not class struggles.
Thabo Mophiring, Johannesburg, South Africa
No justice in the US
The Trial of black transgender woman Chrishaun McDonald exposes the racist and homophobic bias of the US justice system.
Chrishaun was physically attacked outside a bar in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last year by a group shouting racist and homophobic abuse.
This resulted in one of the group being stabbed with a pair of fabric scissors from Chrishaun’s bag.
The dead man had a swastika tattooed on his chest.
Chrishaun was the only person arrested.
She is now facing charges of second degree murder for defending herself against fascists.
As socialists we must fight side by side with black and LGBT people.
This means challenging the racism and homophobia of the state.
It also means confronting fascism wherever it rears its ugly head.
Jonny Pickering, Newcastle
Don’t fall for Dairylea lies
Your item about shrinking foods (Socialist Worker, 28 April) reminded me of something.
When Dairylea shrunk its spread it had been identified as high in fat.
Owner Kraft said it had shrunk the product to help children lead a healthy lifestyle!
Mitch Mitchell, Cambridgeshire
Show wrong on the 1970s
Thank you, Jonny Jones, for your incisive review of the 1970s TV series (Socialist Worker, 28 April). Presenter Dominic Sandbrook had a distorted perspective.
His snide comments about Arthur Scargill mean I won’t be watching any more.
Kathryn Rimmington, Portsmouth
Thumbs up for redesign
As an old, if not very old, member of the Socialist Workers Party, I want to say that the new paper is just wonderful.
It’s a bright new weapon in our struggle.
Roger Cox, by text
Pathetic slur on Tory Boris
Saying “Don’t vote for Johnson because he went to Eton and Oxford” is pathetic (Socialist Worker online, 29 April).
Paul Foot went to “posh” Shrewsbury school and “elitist” Oxford University.
Nick Gable, by email
Stuff Sarkozy May Day call
In his anti-May Day speech, French president Nicolas Sarkozy urged unions, “Put down your red flags, serve France.”
Message received—we took our flags to the streets by the thousands!
Fred Falzon, on Facebook
Leave missiles with banks
Why doesn’t the Ministry of Defence stick its missiles on Canary Wharf?
Sasha Simic, East London