Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2307

Government of millionaires targets 'problem' families

David Cameron blames 120,000 “troubled” families for “a large amount of crime” and claims that £75,000 is spent on each family a year.

Now community secretary Eric Pickles says he’s going to sort them out—and that “Sometimes we’ve run away from laying blame.”

This will be news to everyone the Tories have attacked since at least 1979.

Only last month the BBC programme More or Less showed that the Tories are manipulating statistics and that the families described in the government study are extremely deprived.

These are people battered by unemployment—with shoddy housing and too little money to afford basic necessities. Not surprisingly they often have mental health needs.

The programme pointed out that there is no evidence that these families are any more disruptive than the rest of us.

Pickles says that these people are not “victims” and need to take responsibility.

But the government, which includes more than two dozen millionaires, is scapegoating the very poorest in society whose voices are least likely to be heard. They hope that anyone with a job will turn on the unemployed, poor or disabled.

There are plenty of scroungers in our society—the royal family and the tax dodging rich to name but a few.

Maybe we could even include MPs like Pickles who had to repay £300 he’d claimed as parliamentary expenses for cleaning. He says he needs a second home because it’s “no fun’ to commute across London and get in on time as millions of ordinary people do every day.

What is certain is that the Tory attacks will only get nastier and they’re not going to target rich people who leave their child in the pub.

Sarah Ensor

Olympic business

Militarisation is not the only aspect of the Olympics which should alarm us.

Capitalism hasn’t nodded off either. The Olympic site is of course a “business opportunity”. It just so happens that we bought it.

What could have been a fantastic public amenity in the heart of London’s East End is now flogged off to private investors who will create private space for profit.

The class struggle goes on at the point of production but “space” and the “built environment” are places where we win and lose control over our lives too.

More often than not, councils and other public bodies work hand in glove with the private property companies. This ensures that we have no say in how the places we live, work and play in are created and run.

Michael Rosen
Hackney, east London

The Olympic park sculpture is “fundamentally useless”, argues Douglas Murphy (Socialist Worker, 9 June).

But is it any more useless than, say, Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North? Perhaps what is fundamentally useless or at least a massive waste of our money is the Olympics itself, which will have cost us £12 billion pounds.

Art may be funded by the super-rich as a trinket to boost their egos. But this does not mean it can’t be interesting, even if we view it with less money in our pockets.

Terry Sullivan
North London

Socialist reporting is needed more than ever

It’s good to see Laurie Flynn back in Socialist Worker. In the 1970s (from the Pentonville Five to the Anti-Nazi League) he was one of the journalists who made Socialist Worker such an interesting paper to read.

We had differences—real differences, but not nearly so important as what unites us. And fascinating to hear how the Guardian tried to prevent investigation into the Met. Editor Alan Rusbridger must be hoping for a knighthood.

Some people still see the Guardian as “progressive” or “left-wing”.

Its behaviour just proves how much we need an independent socialist press.

Ian Birchall
North London

The new layout of Socialist Worker has really helped to bring the politics alive. I must admit I used to find the previous design harder to read, but now I read it cover-to-cover.

Shanon Rose

How can workers control currency?

I have some disagreements with your article on the euro (Socialist Worker 26 May).

An exit from the euro would only be a practical demand when returning to a national currency would enable measures to improve the condition of ordinary people.

But how would the voluntary exit of Greece from the eurozone affect the balance of class forces throughout the EU?

Is it possible that a Greek exit could limit the political symptoms of the crisis to Greece—particularly in terms of working class militancy—instead of spurring their spread across Europe?

Even at times of crisis, the economic does not automatically translate into workers’ action.

The proposition “No sacrifices for the Euro”, as put by the Syriza radical left coalition in Greece, is unambiguous enough.

It allows for the necessary space to strike maximum practical solidarity with workers across the EU and to better hit the enemy.

Of course one could argue that such a space could lead in other, unpleasant directions.

So there are currently no guarantees anywhere.

John Perentos
University of Cyprus

Tahrir Square changed me

Even though I was being pushed and shoved by thousands of other people it was amazing to see the struggle of ordinary people in Egypt first hand.

I want to see hundreds of thousands of people in the squares of Britain fighting for what’s right and what’s good.

I want a revolution! And I won’t stop until I have one.

Rosa Kincaid
by email

Pride is a protest

Bravo People on Birmingham Pride! Without protest no rights can be achieved. Great things can be achieved through great sacrifice.

Ziaul Haque Babloo
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Queen has superpowers?

Surely the construction of The Gloriana, the first Royal barge to be built in a 100 years, was an unnecessary extravagance?

If we are to believe the nauseating sycophancy of the British media Queen Elizabeth II was quite capable of making her progress up the Thames last Sunday on foot.

Sasha Simic

Unpaid, but still work

In your article on childcare (Socialist Worker, 2 June), you say that “most women with children work in Denmark”. Wouldn’t it be better to say that “most women with children do paid work in Denmark”?

We should not collude with the government by suggesting that if it’s not being paid it’s no longer work.

Gavin Edwards

Sad to see a comrade go

I was saddened to hear of Phil Cordell’s death. We struck together for eight weeks in 1980. It showed what is possible when people stand up and fight, something I will never forget.

Richard Cleverley

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Article information

Tue 12 Jun 2012, 19:45 BST
Issue No. 2307
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