The Tories have made sure that work doesn’t pay for us
I am one of those single parent, fat cat, bloated pension scheme paying, full time public sector workers who supposedly brought about the economic downfall of this great nation.
I’m tired of being lumped into the skiver, shirker, irresponsible, category and told work must pay—it doesn’t.
According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation I live in genteel poverty.
No car, no lottery tickets, no cigarettes, no great huge Jamie Oliver style flat screen TV to grace my lounge. I’ve had no holiday for four years and no new clothes.
I have severely rationed visits to family and friends due to the escalating public transport costs, and escalating housing association rent and service charges.
Days of warm reverie spent over a pint in a pub with friends are long gone.
The years of public sector pay freeze and now a princely 1 percent rise has meant a belt tightening as never before.
This austerity model largely went undetected until it all unravelled when the bedroom tax or “under occupancy charge” arrived on the doormat.
There wasn’t actually a spare room in this two up two down because I occupied that “spare” room as an overnight carer—unpaid of course because I work full time.
Then a close family member in a rural location was sanctioned for not sending sufficient emails one week and got a food bank referral 19.8 miles from him.
He can’t commute using public transport as he has had a stroke.
To use the three food banks within a 2.5 mile radius of me I would have to take time off from work and lose money to get the three-day parcel for him.
David Cameron tweeted that the government is delivering for hardworking people.
No it isn’t. Just pay the labourer fairly and restore my dignity.
Esther Ball, Birmingham
Remember fighting the Nazis in Welling 20 years ago
On 16 October 1993 I went to Welling with my East London NUT union group and banner with thousands of others to take down the Nazi British National Party (BNP) headquarters.
In April 1993 Stephen Lawrence was murdered and BNP member Derek Beackon had been elected to Tower Hamlets council.
And with Nazi canvassers in the area, Quddus Ali was brutally attacked by a racist gang and left for dead.
Mounted police charged the demo and I was terrified but people stood firm with arms linked, protecting us.
The press called us rioters but we were 60,000, young and old, trade unionists and families.
Within a year Beackon was gone. Now we must mobilise the masses, get Nick Griffin out and smash the EDL.
Audrey Glover, Lancaster
Brent march takes on the letting agents
A BBC investigation recently found that a number of letting agents were prepared to operate a colour bar (Socialist Worker, 19 October).
This means they weren’t letting flats to African Caribbean people or “other troublesome people”.
Outraged, housing campaigners in Brent called a demonstration on Wednesday of last week.
It assembled outside one of the colour bar agencies, National Estates in Willesden High Road, and marched to another, A-Z Lettings.
Brent is the most diverse borough in Britain and faces a housing crisis.
The scarcity of council and other social housing has led to a massive increase in private renting.
Almost a third of the borough’s population has been forced into the private rented sector.
Some agencies openly discriminate against benefit claimants and have now been shown to operate a secret colour bar.
Sarah Cox, North West London
Stop cuts in Wales
I AM concerned that many Welsh councils will run out of money or will go bust due to next year’s Welsh government budget cuts.
I am really not sure how much further they can go before there is a detrimental impact on our communities.
We are struggling as it is and this will only make matters really much worse.
The Welsh finance minister Jane Hutt must think again and help save our Welsh councils.
Independent councillor Richard Bertin, Vale of Glamorgan
Miliband should set the agenda, not the Mail
The Daily Mail tried to smear both Ed and Ralph Miliband for “hating Britain”.
Ralph Miliband was a left wing theorist who analysed and criticised key institutions of the state and its defence policy.
Does someone “hate their country” merely because they analyse, think and question conventional wisdoms?
Since the financial crash in 2008 many people have criticised key economic institutions such as banks. Does that mean they hate their country?
Labour failed to oppose the Tory sell-off of Royal Mail. It’s an indictment of the way Labour has surrendered to neoliberal ideology.
If Labour advocated an alternative economic strategy papers like the Daily Mail might feel compelled to address the real issues rather than resort to petty smears.
Nick Vinehill, Norfolk
Solidarity - in stitch format
We stitched these messages of solidarity to send to teachers for last week’s strike.
Not a bad way to spend a rainy afternoon.
Jenny, East London
Protest over price hike
I hope that the SWP is going to organise protests regarding the hike in energy prices.
Our political leaders are unwilling to speak out and the watchdog is a waste of time.
I believe that the public want someone to show the political lot just how we feel.
I would be willing to volunteer in my area to organise protests.
Karen Byrne, by email
A great victory against the EDL
That Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll have quit the English Defence League (EDL) is a great victory for Unite Against Fascism and our allies.
We mobilised—year in, year out—against the EDL.
Contrary to the song’s lyrics, tomorrow doesn’t belong to them.
Sasha Simic, North London
Young parents face eviction
The Focus E15 mothers, mums or mums-to-be, are facing eviction due to Newham council’s £41,000 cut to services for young mums.
Yet somehow Newham council can afford to pay its chief executive, Kim Bromley-Derry £195,000 a year. That’s £50,000 more than the prime minister.
How can they possibly justify this cut?
Daniela Manske, East London