Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2384

Fighting back is the way to stop Tory austerity misery  

Britain’s first “social supermarket” opened in Goldthorpe near Barnsley recently. It provides food and damaged goods to poor people at around one third of the normal cost. Goldthorpe lies in the Dearne Valley where the poorest parts of Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster join. 

The village has a depressed air with many houses boarded up and whole streets being demolished. But Goldthorpe was not always a depressed area. In the 1980s there were three pits around the village. Miners’ wages boosted a thriving local community. 

Thatcher’s vicious attack on the miners’ NUM union, sparking a year-long strike, created hardships but increased community solidarity. Soup kitchens and donations from unions and workplaces enabled miners to fight for a year.

What broke Goldthorpe and many other villages was the Tory slaughter of the pits in the 1990s. Communities were broken up, drug use soared, crime became a serious issue and poor health a major concern.

However Goldthorpe rediscovered its sense of community when it organised its own funeral for Thatcher. Well over 1,000 people turned out to march behind the “hearse”. And when the funeral pyre was lit everyone remembered the fighting spirit that had given hope when the NUM was a force to be reckoned with. 

Already some are planning for a repeat Thatcher funeral as part of the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Great Strike. For the 500 people who have been signed up as members to use the new shop its cheap food will be a help. 

As winter starts they are wondering whether they can heat their houses or feed their children. Goldthorpe desperately needs to see the union fightback that gave so much hope in the 1980s.

George Arthur


Merry Christmas—you’re facing eviction

Sheffield council is reported to be sending Christmas cards to tenants affected by the bedroom tax, warning them to pay or face losing their homes. I think it’s absolutely disgusting. I’m affected by the bedroom tax myself —on rooms that are falling to bits.

They sent me a letter saying I could be evicted, even though they know I’ve been ill and I’ve been bereaved. They’ve since apologised and agreed to pay me discretionary housing payment—but that has to be renewed in January.

I’ve been in a right state worried that I’m going to be kicked out of my home. I campaigned a lot against the bedroom tax this year, before I became too ill. I helped get 5,000 signatures calling on the council to have a no eviction policy but they just dismissed it.

How can they treat us like this—we’re human beings? And then they expect us to vote Labour. The whole bedroom tax should be abolished.Hopefully I’ll be back on my feet again in the new year and campaigning to get rid of it.

Helen Askew


Cost of nuclear power is less democracy

The last Labour government decided we will pay the cost of reprocessing spent nuclear fuel, decommissioning reactors and long term waste storage. 

Constructing a deep underground repository for waste is estimated to cost upwards of £30 billion. There is a push to build this in the most politically convenient location in Britain but not the most geologically suitable. 

It must last for 100,000 years and hold nuclear waste safely for that time. Attempts to build it in Cumbria have failed three times. Now the government proposes removing anyone from the process who has voted against it.

This means excluding local parish and county councils and leaving the decision to just a handful of councillors—a blatant attack on democracy. The Lake District’s geology is unsuitable, as confirmed in the work of geologists. Read more at


by email

A letter to Amazon...

Dear Amazon. The best Christmas gift you could deliver would be all the unpaid avoided tax that you continue to dodge in Britain. 

That way there would be no need to sack so many public sector workers and cut so many services.

You could also recognise trade unions to ensure your staff are treated with dignity and respect and rewarded with decent wages and working conditions. May the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future haunt your consciences until you deliver the above gifts. 

Tony Barnsley

Black Country

Keep the cops out

Manchester joined the “cops off campus” day of action called after London students were attacked for using their democratic right to protest. 

The day started with people chalking messages on the pavement in solidarity with students in London, and with the staff whose fight for better pay continues. 

We blocked the road before a rally that was supported by the Salford anti-fracking camp. We unanimously voted to occupy for one night, and received lots of solidarity.

Overall the message was clear—it’s our campus and we will not be intimated by police or management. Students are ready to fight.

Socialist Worker Student Society

Manchester University

Where’s our 11% pay rise? 

Hearing the head of parliament’s spending watchdog Ipsa defending the MPs’ pay rise makes me sick. Civil service workers have had five years of below inflation pay increases—three at 1 percent after two years at 0 percent.

That’s a 17 percent real terms cut in pay and living standards. We’ve also had massive job losses and attacks on our terms and conditions. And we’re now expected to pay more into our pensions and work longer.

We need a fightback across the whole public sector and wipe the smug smile off the greedy pigs’ faces.

Marianne Owens


Pity the MPs’ plush pension

MPs getting a pay rise is OK, they tell us, because their pensions will get worse. What a shame for them, having to slum it on £74,000 annually, and no longer sitting on a pension pot worth double that of the average public sector worker.

In April 2011 MPs’ average pension payment was £18,400 a year.

T McCarthy


Let’s see how IDS likes it

With the further delay of Universal Credit I can’t understand how Iain Duncan Smith is still in post.  In any other line of work he would have been sacked long ago for being an unproductive chucklehead. 

Maybe he needs to be assigned a job coach from his own Work Programme. 

Ian Jobson


Will Scotland boost Tories?

Why are only Scottish people getting a vote on independence for Scotland? The rest of the Britain should get a vote as well as this vote affects us all. 

If Scotland votes yes, the rest of the Britain will be stuck with Tory rule forever and a day.

Barry Salvage 


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Article information

Tue 17 Dec 2013, 16:16 GMT
Issue No. 2384
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