Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2312

Don’t let government dismiss people like me

This government despises the working class and many of its “welfare reforms” are aimed at emasculating us. The ruling class know that if we stand together we are strong. But it’s difficult to feel strong when you are claiming state benefits.

Constantly the media vilifies those claiming benefits, running campaigns to encourage people to report “benefit cheats”.

Meanwhile the real cheats—those who fixed interest rates in the banks for years, MPs who claim inflated expenses—are ignored by the press. Only the working class are targeted.

I am a single parent with six children, currently unemployed. I am well educated but like many others I cannot find a job. Unfortunately mine is a very common story. Many, many people are applying for every job that is advertised in the Job Centre.

The government will trial universal credits in the autumn. Claimants will receive their benefits in one monthly lump sum. Inevitably it will be the most vulnerable that will lose out yet again.

The Department for Work and Pensions has admitted that those in work will be better off than those claiming benefits.

This does not mean they will be giving more help to those in low paid jobs, just that they will be reducing the amount of benefit given to those who most need it.

Katrina Cunliffe, Wigan

Gordon finds cheap labour behind bars

Chef Gordon Ramsey’s latest show, Gordon Behind Bars, utilises prison labour to make food for sale to the general public. On one level, it exposes the talent going to waste behind bars as the prisoners do a fantastic job.

There is a problem though, which becomes abundantly clear when Ramsey invites the “movers and shakers” of the food and coffee shop industry to a dinner made by prisoners.

Ramsey boasts about the “cheap labour costs” and how none of the prisoners “is going anywhere”. This is very lucrative for the food bosses, who will not have to pay the minimum wage, or deal with trade unions.

This is a massively exploitative operation which is bad news for all working class people as a new workforce with worse wages and conditions emerges behind bars.

If the enterprise takes off it will feed the “race to the bottom” and threaten jobs outside as the companies begin shedding their better paid workforce in a quest for profit.

Damon Skinner, Middlesbrough

‘John Terry, we still know what you said’

Three magistrates cleared Chelsea footballer John Terry of racist abuse. Terry had called QPR player Anton Ferdinand a “f—cking black c—t” during a football match. Terry admits doing so and the abuse was even caught on video.

The judges believed Terry when he said that he was “sarcastically” repeating what he claims Ferdinand had accused him of saying.

This is despite the fact Ferdinand denies making an accusation during the game, that no one heard Ferdinand make an accusation and that there wasn’t any video evidence of him doing so.

The British legal system cannot be relied upon to effectively challenge racism. I was at the game and ever since we QPR fans have sung “John Terry, we know what you said.”

We still know what you said and it has no place in football or in wider society.

Terry Sullivan, north London

Open up, it’s the Olympics

Little-noticed measures passed by the government will now allow police officers and Olympics officials to enter homes and shops near official venues to confiscate any protest material.

There is escalating police harassment in Stratford, east London, especially against black youth and prostitutes.

Now the police are being allowed to seize political material critical of the Olympics. The aim for the police, government and Olympic committee seems to be to exclude as many of us as possible.

Mette Hermansen, east London

School food shifts again

Education secretary Michael Gove has appointed two top end restaurateurs to prepare a report into school meals in state schools in England and Wales. Apparently this is in defiance of initiatives set up by Jamie Oliver for the previous government.

Gove’s elite chums waffle away about setting up a website “in the near future” where pupils can post their opinions of school food.

Oliver calls for at least £1 a day to be spent on each child on school dinners, a vast improvement on present spending.

Dean Scurlock, Penarth

Marxism 2012 does us proud

The depth of analysis at Marxism 2012 and inspiring examples of workers’ struggle make me swell with pride at what our class can do.

I’ve been coming each year since 1991 but now I feel that the fightback is really ramping up!

David Fagan, Liverpool

Thanks at Sainsbury’s

We occupied a central London Sainsbury’s against plans to run NHS pharmacies last week. I was surprised by the courtesy shown us by staff and security personnel. One of the latter thanked us for our visit!

Isabel Monk, via Facebook

Inspired by Arab Spring

I am a veteran socialist, who was in the old International Socialists in the 1970s. My wife Margaret is now blind and I am confined to bed with Parkinsons, so I can’t do much but think.

What a pity the party’s founder Tony Cliff didn’t live to see the Arab Spring and its aftermath!

Terry Stewart, Dumfries

Councillor against cuts

Dewsbury Labour councillor Paul Kane resigned from Kirklees and Wakefield joint health scrutiny board.

He has started a petition against reductions in A&E and maternity services at the local hospital. Visit to join the campaign.

John Appleyard, Liversedge, West Yorkshire

Bread and circuses

Social control in the Roman Empire (pre-Berlusconi) was kept up by bread and circuses. That was cheap food plus entertaining spectacles.

Now we’ve got the jubilee for Mrs Windsor, and a £10 billion-plus Olympics with no long term positives or useable facilities. That’s the circuses, what about the bread?

Nigel Coward, west London

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

Tue 17 Jul 2012, 16:42 BST
Issue No. 2312
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.