Remploy closures are the Tories’ most wicked cut yet
It gives no satisfaction to be able to rank the coalition’s cuts in terms of wickedness. But the proposed closure of the Remploy factories—and the loss of thousands of supported jobs for disabled workers—must be one of the most evil policies they’ve announced so far.
Remploy factories have been supporting thousands of disabled workers’ return to work since 1946. Initially set up to give disabled ex-service personnel employment, it was soon expanded to those born with complex disabilities.
People employed in Remploy factories do real work, using real skills and making real products which are used by others.
On March 7 the Tory-led coalition announced plans to close 36 of the 54 remaining Remploy sites, meaning compulsory redundancies for 1,752 people.
This decision was made just after the Welfare Reform Bill—which claimed to have, as one of its objectives, the aim to help people back into work.
But this decision will clearly make it harder for those with a disability to gain real and meaningful employment.
Imagine the experience that those with a disability get from being employed at a Remploy factory—confidence, dignity, comradeship, the knowledge that they are contributing towards society.
Now imagine ripping that away from them and replacing it with fear, uncertainly, isolation and hardship.
What sort of government makes policies like this and what type of MP votes them through? Heartless, unfeeling, out of touch, not living in the real world—all the characteristics of a typical Tory MP.
Here in Norwich the Remploy factory makes high quality, value for money educational furniture. It plans and designs future-proof learning environments for schools, universities and colleges. What a pity this government has wiped out the working future for its employees.
Joanne Rust, Norwich
Why attack the Syrian revolt?
As someone who first became politically active through working with the Stop the War Coalition, it’s very concerning to see the recent reports they have published on their website.
The website has recently posted articles attacking the mass movement of ordinary Syrians fighting for their lives against the Assad dictatorship.
The Stop the War Coalition remains important. At its height it brought together millions to protest against the invasion of Iraq. And it mobilised impressive numbers against Israel’s onslaught on the Gaza strip in 2009.
Strong anti-imperialist arguments are very much needed today, as Western intervention is threatened. But if Stop the War carries on attacking those protesting against the brutal dictatorship, it will end up alienating itself from the millions of people it has mobilised so well in the past.
Martin Percival, Sheffield
Riot cop out
What’s going on when a trial judge bans the BBC from broadcasting two documentaries about last summer’s riots, without having watched the films? He even stopped the media from identifying him.
Censoring television programmes will not help understand why the riots happened. But it shows our rulers are worried about revealing the real causes of the bitterness and rage.
Phil Turner, Rotherham
We’re not fans of Nato
In response to Sarah Cox’s letter on Amnesty International’s work on Afghanistan, I would like to make it clear that Amnesty does not argue that progress on women’s rights in Afghanistan is attributable to Nato’s presence in the country.
A small number of Amnesty campaign banners mistakenly made this connection but this does not represent our view. On the contrary, the very real gains in women’s rights in Afghanistan in recent years are largely the result of the hard work of Afghan campaigners themselves.
Amnesty’s role has been to echo the concerns of some of these brave individuals, specifically by warning of the dangers of trading away women’s rights in “reconciliation” deals with the Taliban. Socialist Worker readers can learn more about this work at amnesty.org.uk/afghanwomen
Kate Allen, director, Amnesty International UK
Spanish miners echo our fight
As an ex-miner, watching the Spanish miners’ strike brings back memories for me. I remember when we faced the same kind of attacks when we went on strike to save our jobs under Maggie Thatcher.
The lessons of history don’t go away. The miners strike in 1984–85 could have been won, but many of us are still here and we are still fighting.
It’s encouraging to see people still prepared to take their future in their own hands—and to see workers linking up with young people and the indignados. When the miners marched into Madrid they were cheered to the rafters. All power to their elbows. They need our solidarity.
Steve Hammill, Cheshire
Help me to defend Greeks
I’m finding that friends and co-workers often blame Greece’s woes on the workers, saying the crisis happened because Greek workers never paid their taxes.
Could someone perhaps write an article refuting that, so next time it comes up in discussion we all will have ammunition?
Nadine MacKinnon, Canada
Were they really rich?
You ran a picture on your front page captioned “rich rabble”. They may or may not be rich and/or a rabble. But since we have no information about them, other than their penchant for a posh jacket, can we really denounce them as the class enemy? Very silly!
John Lockwood, Leamington Spa
Greed, a new Olympic sport
Barefaced greed by corporations is clearly the driving force of the London 2012 Olympics. So why not make it an actual Olympic event?
The winner would be the Olympic sponsor which fleeces the most money from the Games. G4S would be a strong contender for the gold.
Sasha Simic, east London
Scum the world over
Andrea Fabra, a deputy of the ruling party (PP) in the Spanish parliament, was caught on video insulting unemployed people, saying “Fuck them all”. It goes to show, Tories are scum wherever they are—Spain or Britain.
Dave Fagan, Liverpool
One cut I’d like to see
If the government is so keen to reduce public spending, why don’t they look on their own doorstep? Why not reduce the amount of politicians by 20 percent? Surely we do not need so many doing nothing but causing chaos.
Geoffrey Mallon, Southampton