Students in Sussex want to ban Sun’s sexist page three
Up to 300 students joined a University of Sussex Debating Society discussion on “Should page three be banned?” last week.
Hilariously, a handful of private security guards were hired simply to turn students away after the lecture theatre had gone beyond capacity.
Green MP Caroline Lucas and Marina Pepper, ex-page three model turned political activist, stood in support of the meeting title.
They comprehensively opposed arguments put forward by Donna Edwards, Ukip councillor, and Summer St Clare, current page three model.
Edwards labelled those in favour of banning page three as “snobs” and “puritans”.
Caroline encouraged recognition of the link between the objectification of women and violence against women.
Marina suggested that page three models become poster girls for capitalism.
She argued, “It says, ‘it doesn’t matter about inequality, it doesn’t matter about misogyny, what matters is[…] us making a profit.’”
Page three represents only one small factor within a myriad of issues intrinsic to capitalism.
This is a society valuing profit over equality of class, of race, of gender.
It’s a society normalising exploitation in a million ways besides the daily explicit objectification of women in the country’s most widely read newspaper.
However, the “ban page three” campaign has its place in the fight against capitalism.
The number of attendees demonstrated the accessibility of the topic, a topic ideal as a springboard for engagement with broader issues.
The arguments from Ukip and St Clare lost any potential validity faced with Caroline and Marina’s succinct reasoning. And also the exasperated challenges from the audience.
After the debate concluded an overwhelming majority voted to ban page three.
Esme Waldron, Sussex
Appreciate NHS staff
I have just come out of Jimmy’s—St James Hospital—in Leeds after kidney surgery.
The level of care, compassion, empathy and treatment was of the very highest standard.
We should be very proud of the NHS in this country.
The personal and vindictive attacks on doctors and nurses should be strongly opposed and fought against.
The problems in the NHS are down to poor management, privatisation and huge cutbacks in staffing levels.
We all need to fight this and stop the Tories.
Stuart Campbell, Leeds
Fund better transport to end fatalities
As an avid cyclist, the deaths of six cyclists in London last week saddened and infuriated me.
Tory Boris Johnson hails himself as the “cycling mayor” yet has fought to protect private motorists and ramp up the cost of public transport.
London Underground fares rose 4.2 percent last year. Soaring costs and the impact of cuts will push more people to use their bike to save money.
Perhaps Johnson could invest in free public transport and a free cycle scheme, unlike his Barclays-sponsored scheme.
There is no doubt that clearer, safer streets and cheaper, better transport would save lives.
Emma Davis, North London
Eviction halt is our victory
There is wider anger building in the working class about the Tories’ attacks.
The shipyard job losses and the Grangemouth debacle only add to this.
People worry about the impact this is going to have on them.
In Motherwell last week we were out petitioning against the bedroom tax, and on the loudhailer about the eviction in Pollok (Socialist Worker, 23 November).
But when we relayed the news that the family’s eviction had been halted the high street erupted into cheers. One of the workers from a nearby pub even brought out some soup for us.
It was clear that people felt the victory in Pollok was a victory for everyone fighting against Tory austerity. Which it is.
Tom Gallacher, Motherwell
Cuts protests need clarity
I used to live in London before moving back to Italy. Austerity is hitting us quite hard over here too.
However, it upsets me that many anti-austerity protests—in England, Italy or Greece—have no clear goal to unite them.
Some people demand a reduction in high up politicians’ pension schemes.
Others are against NHS cuts, others still are against bizarre taxes like the bedroom tax.
It is difficult to unite people if there is not enough clarity in what you are protesting against.
P Morra, Italy
A Tory’s experience
Simon Reevell, Tory MP for Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, also makes a living as a barrister.
Yet it was revealed recently that he claimed £469 in MPs’ energy expenses over 12 months for his second home in London.
Reevell supports the closure of Dewsbury and District Hospital A&E department—against the wishes of local people.
He recently wrote on Twitter, “Yesterday evening was an amazing experience.
“To represent Dewsbury at Buckingham Palace and be able to chat to HM The Queen—just amazing!”
Pass the sick bucket.
John Appleyard, Liversedge, West Yorkshire
Lib Dem’s conservative plan to sack workers
Norman Lamb, Lib Dem MP for North Norfolk, says savings can be made “by cutting bureaucracy with just one administration running the county”.
He means cutting vital support that enables front line professionals to do their work.
In Cambridgeshire, where they are currently discussing such a unitary model, it was acknowledged that “turkeys don’t vote for Christmas”.
However, Norman wants all elected representatives to retain their seats.
This is known as having your cake and eating it.
Workers can lose their jobs while councillors retain their seats.
With an attitude like this Norman should really come out and be more honest—stop wearing yellow and admit you’re a Conservative as your beliefs clearly demonstrate.
Jo Rust, Norfolk
Defend Roma from racism
It’s difficult to credit the hostility and mis-information that’s been circulating about Roma people recently.
How sad that the people with the least get all the blame.
Alex Simpson, on Facebook
Scapegoating is the name of the game—Roma, claimants, disabled, migrants...
Tom Joad, on Facebook