Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2372

Don't fall for politicians' hot air over the health service

MPs say that hospitals should put notices up to say how many nurses are working. 

I don’t know what the point of that is. It isn’t going to help. Rather than publicise the numbers, why not get the right numbers in?

I’m an agency nurse and I sometimes do hospital shifts. It’s horrible—I try to avoid it. I don’t know how people who work in hospitals all the time do it.

It’s a rotten job for them.

Lack of staffing is the main problem in the NHS. But it isn’t the only one. A hospital may have the full complement of staff but it may not have experienced workers.

You need the right skills mix and the right leadership in a hospital. But health workers are being dumbed down.

Bosses want more for less. They want us to do the work but they don’t want to pay us for it. So people are pushed into taking on responsibilities that they aren’t trained for.

They’re also demoting people to lower grades. And they look for short cuts by taking on agency workers who may not have the experience needed. 

Health workers are being hit from two angles. What we really need is proper funding, the right number of staff and the right skills. But the Tories won’t give us that.

Alison Mitchell

East London

Channel 4 News last week claimed that survival rates in Britain’s hospitals are poor compared to the US. This is outrageous as the two health systems have completely different funding structures. 

America’s private health insurance system is the Con Dem’s dream healthcare system. 

Of course survival rates may appear to be better under the US system. But this is because thousands of people there can’t afford to access health services in the first place.

Let’s hope that people don’t fall for this Tory propaganda spouted by C4 News.

Paul Collins


Socialist Worker is on our side

A letter last week disagreed with Socialist Worker’s coverage of arrests during a protest against the English Defence League earlier this month (Letters, 21 September).

The writers imply that the paper isn’t on the side of those arrested against the police. But it is pretty obvious who Socialist Worker and its readers side with.

We stand by anyone on our side who is arrested. But the paper was right to start with the success of the day.

I am particularly proud of the Socialist Workers Party’s (SWP) involvement on the day. It was at the centre of organising a 5,000-strong demo that dealt the fascists a massive defeat.

To criticise the SWP in that context seems over the top and sectarian.

The real tradition of the paper is to report and to unite with the oppressed. It is not to use it for petty squabbles. 

We want to build an alternative to the chaos of capitalism that creates fascism. Let’s carry on this tradition.

Natasha Munoz 

Dean Harris

East London

The idea that Socialist Worker does not support people who have been arrested is nonsense. 

Socialist Worker has a proud history of supporting arrestees even when it faced harsh criticism for doing so. Its coverage of the London riots is a recent example.

Adam Cochrane

Harlow, Essex

Our militant history is not about nationalism

Gordon Brown has tried to incorporate Scotland’s militant history into a tradition of British nationalism. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

The Glasgow rent strikes in the early 20th century were aimed at vicious pro-Tory governments.

These, combined with workplace militancy, led to intense class conflict. In 1919 Britain came close to revolution.

This militancy was never characterised by support for British nationalism. The history of “Red Clydeside” is one of workers’ self-activity.

For many people, supporting independence is a first step in understanding that workers’ self-activity is needed to bring about real social change. 

This is why socialists should back independence.

Carlo Morelli


Let's sell Say It Loud!

Congratulations to Bookmarks for the excellent new book, Say it Loud! It provides a highly readable overview of anti-racism in Britain over the past 40 years. 

I took my copy to work to show to a colleague. His enthusiasm encouraged me to try more people. 

Out of the eight people I approached, seven have now bought a copy. It made me realise that thousands of people have taken part in, or watched with interest, campaigns over Stephen Lawrence, the Nazis and more.

Two black colleagues bought it for their children because, as one said, “The young people need educating”. I think all Socialist Worker readers should make an effort to sell Say it Loud!

Simon Hester

North London

Let women wear a niqab

Piercings, tattoos, niqabs, royal hats and gloves—potential security issues?

It’s for the individual to choose or decline. 

Laurisa Fine

on Facebook

A student sitting in a lesson, listening to a teacher or lecturer, taking written notes, is not a security risk.

Hoodies, baseball caps and Muslim veils? 

This is just a—fairly dated—tabloid hate list of “underclass” stereotypes.

Stephen Williams

on Facebook

Muslim women will feel a lot angrier about this than someone being made to take off a baseball cap.

Yet as individuals there is nothing they can do about it.

The aim is to humiliate them in public. A demonstration is a good idea because it is a collective protest.

It also means you can show solidarity even if you are a man or if you are a woman who doesn’t wear niqab.

Jason Pike

on Facebook

Is Gove lying over schools?

The schools inspectorate Ofsted says schools are improving rapidly. More than three quarters of schools are now “outstanding” or “good”.

So will Michael Gove drop his mantra of bad teachers and failing schools?

Alice Leaper

North London

Support ban of sick song

I’m glad that the song Blurred Lines is being banned on student campuses.

The song basically implies that it’s ok to rape women because there are “blurred lines” in terms of sexual consent.

Several student unions have banned it from being played in union bars and clubs.

Perhaps surprisingly, lots of students are in favour of the ban.

It’s a sign that more people are sick of misogyny on campus.

Jenna Porter


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Article information

Tue 24 Sep 2013, 17:50 BST
Issue No. 2372
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