Don’t believe the lies behind attack on disability benefits
The idea that there are hundreds of thousands of people who are fit to work but claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) benefits is absurd.
DLA has always been very difficult to get. You have to provide a lot of medical evidence—and even then there’s no guarantee they’ll accept it.
A lot of disability is invisible. I have ME so people can’t immediately see that I’m disabled, even though I experience a lot of mental and physical fatigue—and physical pain.
And if someone is at home ill—when they’re at their worst—you can’t see them. A lot of disability is individualised in that way.
For those “lucky” enough to get benefits, the amount of money is inadequate. I get the middle rate of care—that’s £51 a week.
It is not enough to pay for any realistic amount of care, though it does help. It means I can get someone round to do some cleaning and cover the basics.
But the vital thing is I get the higher rate of mobility benefit. That has changed my life.
I get a “motability” car. Repairs and tax are covered. It’s meant that I can take part in things—visit friends, get to meetings, go to the shops or go to the theatre.
If I lose it, that would be more disabling than ME. I’m not always well enough to drive, but if I didn’t have the car my life would be very small.
There are currently 290,000 people who get this benefit. The government wants to cut that by a third.
What the Tories are doing is insidious. It’s not about making sure that people are cared for—it’s about cutting, and demonising disabled people.
The sad thing is that there are lots of people who would like to be using their skills to contribute to society. But they can’t—because any interest they show in doing anything at all is taken as proof that they’re “fit to work”.
Melanie, South London
Protest for Palestine
Last Friday 60 people descended on Cowan’s Law near Falkirk for a militant protest against Zionist charity JNF.
It was holding a fund raising clay pigeon shoot.
An Early Day Motion from MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Gerald Kaufman last year called for its charitable status to be removed.
It said the organisation’s activity involves the “concealing of destroyed Palestinian villages beneath parks and forests”.
Ayesha Saleem, Edinburgh
Labour or SNP?
It is over-generous to describe Labour’s result in Glasgow council elections as “unexpected” (Socialist Worker, 12 May).
Nor should it be assumed that a Labour vote indicates dissatisfaction with the Scottish National Party (SNP). For all its faults, the SNP has largely resisted the Tories’ cuts. But Labour plans to run Aberdeen and Stirling councils in coalition with the Tories.
David Cumming, Glasgow
Allow me to welcome France’s socialist president Francois Hollande.
He should not hesitate to learn from Lenin’s theory of state and revolution.
The working class will wrest capital, by degrees, from the bourgeoisie.
Thabang Mokoena-Maseko, South African Communist Party, Mzala Nxumalo branch sec (pc)
Barnsley socialist struck a chord in election fight
It was exciting to read in Socialist Worker about the success of left candidates in the local elections.
We decided at the last minute to stand an independent socialist in Barnsley. Our candidate, Dave Gibson, has a good record as a militant trade unionist, campaigner and socialist. He got good support from local trade unionists.
We found we hit a chord with people who hated the Tories and were fed up with no fight from Labour.
Dave got over 17 percent in the vote and came second to Labour, defeating the Tory and the ex-BNP candidate standing as an English Democrat.
George Arthur, Barnsley
The Socialist Workers Party supported candidates in the elections from groups to the left of Labour. Could the SWP call for a federation of these groups before the general election?
J Manley, South east London
Relics of Europe’s lost revolutions
I was interested to read about how Churchill and the ruling class wanted to send troops to crush the Bolshevik revolution in Russia (1919—Britain in Revolt, 12 May).
Upstairs in a drawer I’ve got campaign medals awarded to my mum’s uncle for his service in the “Great War for Civilisation 1914–1919”.
We are taught today that the war ended at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.
But that’s not how the British ruling class viewed it at the time. They saw the armistice with Germany as a chance to spread the war to Russia and defeat communism.
I once met Wilhelm Necker of the Bauhaus art school (The German art school that revolutionised modern design, 12 May) in 1975.
He had been chairman of a soldiers and workers’ council in the German revolution of 1918.
The Bauhaus was a revolutionary school that banished class and sex distinctions in the art world.
It was based on freedom of expression among staff and students, whatever their country of origin.
Nick Howard, Sheffield
Will one be mucking in?
The government is imploring people to work harder to overcome the recession. I look forward to queen Elizabeth surviving on a £4,000 public sector pension.
Dave Putson, Greenwich and Bexley trades council, south east London
Taste of her own medicine
Charlie Brooks, husband of Rebekah, argues they are the victim of a “witch hunt”.
That’s Rebekah Brooks, former editor of the Sun. Now she knows how it feels.
Sasha Simic, East London
On Richard Branson buying up the NHS—does this mean we will soon be getting Virgin maternity wards?
Adam Di Chiara, by email
Cops don’t protect us
Anna Lansley (Letters, 19 May) writes that Socialist Worker’s analysis of the police is too black and white.
Officers’ views do vary. But policing is filled with racism and abuse.
The cops harass youth for no other reason than their race and class. They don’t protect us, but keep us in “our place”.
Sam Bogg, Southsea
Cutting Nazis down to size
Readers of Vidal Sassoon obituaries may have missed the fact that just after the Second World War he was a member of the 43 Group.
Learning the lesson of the rise of the Nazis, this group confronted Oswald Mosley’s fascist blackshirts on the streets of east London to stop them gathering support.
Miriam Scharf, East London
Tax dodgers take their toll
£120 billion avoided and evaded tax every year. So much for all in this together, eh?
Daniel Pitt, Mid Glamorgan