Want to work but no chance
I AM one of the many people who the government, first the Tories and now Labour, says does not want to work.
I am a single, disabled mother.
I went to the job centre to see what was available. I was told there was a basic admin job at the job centre, but they only take you on a 13 1/2 week contract.
This way they get round the industrial law about appointing people and not being able to sack them.
I went for the interview in Woolston, a small region in Southampton. It went well.
I didn't feel worried about prejudice over my disability and how my illness has affected my work record.
I knew they supported equal opportunities. I did not get the job. I phoned to ask why because I really expected the job centre to give me a chance.
They weren't gambling much on taking me on for only 131/2 weeks! But they said I had no experience in computers.
I was speechless. Previously the job centre title and badge made me feel safe. But they wouldn't give me a chance, an equal opportunity that they talk about so much, for even 13 1/2 weeks.
- UNEMPLOYED, Southampton
Warning - the property ladder brings snakes
I USED to work for a leading estate agency in Bedford.
As things are getting tighter we were expected to push for sales. We were told to say that the market will not crash, and that it is safe to buy as the government will not let a recession happen.
We said, "Borrow as much as you can, as you could turn it into profit-this is the best time to buy."
The bosses aren't bothered.
They do not care if people lose their homes. All they can say is that if they are repossessed they can sell them even easier.
The in-house mortgage adviser used to pay us 50 for each completed mortgage. He would get people to borrow up to five times their salary and say he was doing them a favour getting them on the housing ladder.
I left my job, as I do not like lying to people and basically conning them to get a sale.
Expose the nazi BNP
THE RECENT Anti Nazi League protest against the Nazi British National Party's festival was an inspiring example of the strength of black and white unity in opposing the Nazis.
We saw the real loyalties of the police. Anti-Nazis were arrested, jostled and prevented from marching while the Nazis were given freedom of movement in Welshpool.
This is a disgrace. We need to continue to fight the Nazis. As Julie Waterson from the ANL said, "When Nazis talk about building walls in communities, they mean the walls of Auschwitz."
If they try to march or meet we must organise to stop them. Let's rip away the mask of respectability from the BNP and National Front, and expose them for the Hitler-worshipping Nazis that they are.
- DEAN SCURLOCK, Cardiff
Blair's butcher friend
DAVE CROUCH'S article on Russia's dirty war in Chechnya (Socialist Worker, 11 August) rightly mentions the West's support for Putin.
Let's not forget that last year Blair specially visited Russia to demonstrate the West's support for Putin just two weeks before the presidential election.
A leading Russian daily (Nezavisimaia Gazeta) was amazed at the way Western correspondents suddenly shut up about Chechnya.
Let's not forget Putin's return visit to London either.
Putin came to London because the butcher of Chechnya was not welcome in any other major capital in Europe, according to the leading Russian business magazine Ekspert.
The magazine featured this prominent quote from KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky: "Theoretically, it is not the queen's habit to drink tea with murderers who turn up with their hands stained with blood. This invitation is a real miracle for Putin's reputation."
Blair abandoned Chechnya to its terrible fate. And he sold out every Russian who is fighting for real democracy and human rights.
- PETE GLATTER, London
Give peace a hearing
I LISTENED to the BBC World Service news on 5 August, where there was a lengthy report about the war in Palestine.
The Israelis were justifying their actions, and then I pricked up my ears. It was reported that Peace Now had got going again, and there had been a demonstration of 10,000 people in Tel Aviv.
These Israelis said it was an unnecessary war and the Israeli government were acting like terrorists.
I was really pleased and listened eagerly for more news. There was not another word about this important development, which the British public surely has the right to know about.
Censorship is alive and well, it seems!
- HAZEL SABEY, London
CANADIAN General John de Chastelain announced on 7 August that the IRA's proposals would "put IRA arms completely and verifiably beyond use".
British prime minister Tony Blair termed the IRA proposals "significant" and "historic".
Enter David Trimble. His real agenda is becoming more obvious with each passing day-the destruction of the Good Friday agreement.
He was not satisfied. He said he did not trust the general's judgement. Nor does Trimble even trust his ally Tony Blair.
The IRA has not engaged in any violence for four years. It is willing to accept the agreement because it promises to redress the legitimate grievances Catholics have.
It should not be forgotten that most of the violence committed since the Good Friday agreement was signed has been committed by Orange thugs.
It is time for the agreement to go forward without Orange anti-Catholic primadonnas such as David Trimble. It does not need the false support of sectarian bigotry.
- WILLIAM GARTLAND, United States
- DURING JULY I travelled around Europe and saw a few things which have hardened my beliefs.
Until you actually see it in action, globalisation really is just a term in a textbook.
At every station I travelled through the first thing I saw was a McDonald's or an advert for brands like Coke or Nike.
Budapest is now covered in adverts for US and other G8 multinationals, eroding local culture and dulling the bright diversity of the world.
- DANIEL THOMAS
COMRADES IN Sheffield were shocked to hear of the tragic death of Maureen Wall and her husband in a car crash.
Maureen was the senior administrator in the Sheffield UNISON branch, working for the union for 30 years.
When the national union suspended our branch they also disgracefully suspended Maureen and a colleague.
Although she would not describe herself as a socialist, she enjoyed debating the ideas and supported opening up union democracy.
Whenever there was a strike, and there were many over the years, she would make union members welcome in the branch office.
Maureen was never charged by the union but they never allowed her to return to work.
Her friendliness, integrity and principled stand will live with us and many others fortunate enough to have worked with Maureen.
- SHEFFIELD SWP UNISON MEMBERS
Unity on Cuba?
MOST communists want to heal the divisions which have existed within the British left over the last 50 years.
Most of the ones I have spoken to voted either for the Socialist Alliance or the Green Party at the general election, only voting for the Labour Party where a left winger was standing.
A small step can begin the process of building trust and increasing the level of working together.
For me, this step would be the participation of the Socialist Alliance in the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.
All communists regard the success of the Cuban Revolution as a key part of the struggle against globalisation and imperialism.
- DAVID LEAL, London