Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2401

Parents and staff are angry at the racist scare in Birmingham's schools

We now have three investigations into 17 schools in Birmingham.

First is Tory education secretary Michael Gove’s investigation, led by ex-counter-terrorism head Peter Clarke. Next is an Ofsted inquiry headed by Sir Michael Wilshaw and a third is a Birmingham Local Education Authority inquiry. 

Teachers, parents and governors are shocked at the Islamophobic witch hunt that has been unleashed.

Since launching the open letter, No to the racist witch hunt, over 1,700 people have signed online. Their comments show the level of anger and upset caused.

One read, “I work for a school that has been targeted, what the media has shown is completely incorrect”. Another said, “My children shouldn’t be observed by anti-terrorism officers”.

One teacher wondered whether he will ever get promotion as a Muslim. There are reports of some staff discussing shaving their beards off in an effort to appear “less extremist”.

Wherever we take the petition we get a good response and lots of discussion. 

People ask how can schools deemed “outstanding” a short while ago now be thrown into special measures? Why is no one talking about a Christian plot to take over schools? What about the Tory plot to destroy state, multicultural education?

Three people met and talked at our stall while signing the petition last week. 

They were an elderly Muslim governor from one of the schools under investigation, a young female Muslim governor and a lesbian teacher who had taught at a Muslim faith school in Birmingham and loved it. 

They were all passionate about improving education in our city. 

All anti-racists need to stand together against this attempt to divide us.

Bridget ParsonsBirmingham

Stop the seafaring bosses setting sail for danger

MP Samuel Plimsoll’s 1876 law put an end to the overloading of ships by shipowners hoping to collect insurance on them when they sank. 

People have trusted governments to enforce safety at sea ever since.  

The tragic disaster in South Korea that drowned hundreds of school children shows how governments can’t be depended on. 

Owners find ways to profit from unsafe ships, regardless of regulations. Registering them in countries with inadequate state controls which don’t recognise seafarers’ unions is common.

Outrage at shipping disasters has forced some regulation to be restored.

But governments passed the enforcement of safety of lives at sea (SOLAS) over to an agency of the United Nations. 

The powers of the International Maritime Organisation do not have statute law behind them and are seen by shipowners as guidelines only.  

Coastguards have been subject to cuts while neoliberals demanded the privatisation of the ports. Enforcement officers lost many of their powers—or corruptly failed to exercise them.

Ships still sail the seas in an unstable, unseaworthy condition.

It will require the power of organised workers to put an end to shipowners’ irresponsibility and the grievous loss of life it leads to. 

Nick HowardSheffield

The truth about the royals' Australian holiday

The royals came to visit on holiday last week—and made the Australian public foot the bill. Their trip cost the Australian government an estimated £1.1 million. 

The scroungers stayed at mansions and even charged us for presents they gave out. Meanwhile Tory prime minister Tony Abbott is gearing up to slash pensions and health care.

The royal visit sent the media mad. But not everyone had the same reaction.

Aboriginal people protested when the couple arrived in Brisbane demanding the royals “give back what you stole” through the theft of land.

Most people chose to leave town during the royal trip and take advantage of public holidays.

At an estimated cost of £5,500 an hour for their holidaying, it’s a good thing we only had to put up with them for ten days.

James SuppleSydney, Australia

Online videos keep up the struggle in Saudi Arabia

“I am a Saudi citizen and I make...” This is the introduction to several YouTube videos criticising King Abdullah that have gone viral in Saudi Arabia.

Mentioning the king by first name is a punishable sign of disrespect, let alone addressing criticism towards him.

Mohammed Fahd al-Doussari, who started this trend, addressed the king directly in his video. “I am a Saudi citizen and I make 1900 Riyals a month,” he said. 

That’s £305. 

“For God’s sake, tell me, Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz—is such a salary enough to get married, to buy a car, or to pay rent? And you reproach people for going and blowing themselves up. Give us our share. How long must we beg for the oil money that you and your kids play with?” 

Then he shows his identity card.

The House of Saud rules with Sharia law. But in reality this only applies to the working class and poorest section of the population.

Collective struggle has always faced brutal policing, so such small trends can be seen as continuing resistance to the Saudi ruling class.

Hamza SharifWest London

Cuts mean a worse diet

Your front page on people being unable to buy food (Socialist Worker, 26 April) is spot on.

The British Heart Foundation has shown that a third of adults aren’t buying healthy food because it’s expensive.

Austerity is going to have a long-term impact.

Nikki GloverManchester

March for the health service

Dear fellow NHS activists—we are marching to save the NHS!

The demonstration will start at the Westwood Lane car park in Welling at 11.30am on Saturday 17 May and march to Bexleyheath Clock Tower.

We encourage you all to come along.

Gerry SeamanKent

Stop the Tory welfare war

This government’s only stance is to reduce the welfare bill.

But 42 percent of the welfare bill is spent on pensions. With increasing old age we will only see this percentage rise.

The people they are hitting are people with disabilities, unemployed and hardworking people.

When is this going to stop!

Les Thurlowon Facebook

No cash for flood scheme?

Now that shock at floods has died down, David Cameron has come out with his real views.

He has said the government is “looking very carefully” at the Lower Thames floodplain scheme—because it is “expensive”.

Angela DeneGloucestershire

Don’t believe Tory pay hype

Recent reports of wage rises fall somewhat short of the truth. 

Weekly wages have risen at the same rate as inflation only if bonuses are included.

Self employed people are excluded too.

Jo RustNorfolk

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

Tue 29 Apr 2014, 17:48 BST
Issue No. 2401
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.