We need much more than nostalgia for old Labour
Ken Loach’s new film Spirit of ’45 celebrates Labour’s election victory in 1945 and the nationalisations that followed.
I was nine years old.
I remember the newspapers the day before predicting a landslide for Churchill. They said that he’d won the war and so on. They had to pretend they’d never said all that when the real results came in.
The landslide was for Labour, because people were fed up with war and poverty. They wanted things to go their way.
Nationalisation did make a difference. Before the NHS people couldn’t afford to go to the doctor. That all changed. They still haven’t quite taken that away from us.
Then there’s housing. Hundreds of thousands of council houses were built, even though the deficit was much more than it is today.
They nationalised transport and energy, which unfortunately we have now lost. Water was already nationalised.
Later I found out that all the old private owners had been paid compensation. It was only done under blackmail of private companies. That’s one reason why public services never worked as well as they should have.
Labour’s Clement Attlee seemed like he was on the side of workers more than the rich.
But the rich generally supported nationalisation, or he wouldn’t have gone along with it.
A lot of industries had been partly destroyed in the war, and nationalisation helped them recover.
And they wanted the NHS to provide fit and healthy workers.
I think if it had been a Tory government they’d have done the same thing.
Now we have to defend what we’ve got with all our might from the attacks of the government. We need to get the railways and the energy companies renationalised.
But what we really need is a truly socialist society run by the workers for the workers.
Tories rob the sick
I’ve just lost £200 a month of disability benefits.
I suffer hypoglycaemia due to diabetes.
In the past I’ve collapsed due to this condition. Although I still have hypos, now they say I should take preventative measures to stop the collapses.
I was on the middle rate for personal care on the disability living allowance.
The government’s austerity plans for sick and vulnerable people are wrong.
The banks and MPs who contributed to the financial crisis got their tax cut from 50 percent to 45 percent. But sick people who were not responsible are getting their benefits withdrawn.
Leveson will gag the left
So the result of Leveson’s inquiry into the press is to be a system of regulation.
It will be set up under the rubber stamp of our unelected monarch, after a behind the scenes deal. It won’t even be subjected to the scrutiny of parliament.
Call me paranoid, but I suspect the first papers who will be “called to account” will be papers like Socialist Worker, that expose the real scandals of our society.
It won’t be the right wing media owned by the friends of the political elite, that largely focus on the indiscretions of the rich and famous.
How dare they tell the poor not to go to A&E
Adverts are appearing around Tower Hamlets, east London, in a drive to cut “time wasting” attendance of A&E.
They patronise patients with “A&E won’t kiss it better”. And they throw in a dash of emotional blackmail—“A&E is for saving lives, not cuts and sprains”.
Tower Hamlets has one of the highest rates of ill health in Britain.
And figures show that cancers are more likely to be diagnosed after going to A&E. One in four bowel cancers are caught here.
Far from time wasting, people often tragically don’t go until it’s too late.
The strain on A&E is not from “cuts and sprains” but cuts to NHS services.
It’s perverse to deflect the blame onto patients in Britain’s poorest boroughs.
Across Britain 26 A&Es are at risk of closure.
To defend A&E we must campaign against cuts—not against their patients.
Jerry gives Unite members an alternative
Unite union members at the Ministry of Defence were angry to find out we couldn’t join the budget day strike last week.
Members demanded to know why we weren’t coming out to support our brothers and sisters in the PCS union, like they did for us last May.
It makes sense to stand together when industrial action is taken.
But unfortunately this decision is not in the hands of ordinary union members. That’s why the proposal by Jerry Hicks for rank and file organisation in each sector is welcomed by Unite members at my workplace.
I’ll be voting for Jerry, and so will many others.
Unite shop steward, Telford
The really interesting fact about your article on Jerry Hicks’ campaign in the Unite union’s general secretary election (Socialist Worker, 16 March) is that it doesn’t say anything.
Where are the lists of serious militants backing Jerry? What are his views about our great union?
Jerry has run a lacklustre campaign which has mouthed out of date clichés, but not put forward any serious strategies or policies to build the union.
Chair of Unite union London and Eastern region (personal capacity)
Schools out against Gove
I read your report of the teachers’ protest against Michael Gove (Socialist Worker online).
If only it had been a mass walkout!
Ain’t snow stopping us
The University of Sussex was hit by the worst snow in south east England for decades on Tuesday of last week.
Campus was closed and no lectures took place. But it didn’t stop students protesting against privatisation.
Around 100 protesters marched past the administrative block. It ended up pock-marked with snowballs.
No place for bedroom tax
I oppose the Tories’ bedroom tax.
Why are the rich not letting out their spare rooms or paying for their unneccessary space with a mansion tax?
Why uproot children from their schools, friends, family and neignbourhoods?
There are not enough smaller homes for people to move into. The answer is to build more homes.
We weren’t all born to run
The government says it will spend an extra £150 million encouraging sport in schools.
You can’t bulldoze children into sport. What about children who don’t like sport—are they going to be forced to play?
As a former chronic asthmatic I know what it’s like to be forced to play sports when you are sick and can’t breathe.
Money shouldn’t be wasted on trying to manipulate children into playing sport.
The only cut I’d support...
The times are coming when we are gonna need a true revolution... Robespierre style!