Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2408

Losing my disability benefits means losing control of my life

I am 28 years old and have had Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis for more than 14 years. 

The condition varies from day to day with good days and bad. On bad days I need support to do the most basic tasks.

I’ve been told that once the Independent Living Fund (ILF) closes my care package will be reassessed.

I was also informed that my husband and family members will be expected to help meet my care needs as I may not qualify for care.

Losing ILF will put a massive strain on my marriage and my family relationships.

My husband works away a lot. It will mean he will have to change jobs to meet my care needs in a time when unemployment is a real problem. 

We had started planning for children in the near future but without ILF support I will not be able to do that. 

I have found it extremely upsetting having to tell my personal assistant of six years I will no longer be able to employ her. 

She knows my routine as well as understanding my illness. 

I hate the fact that this is not in my control. By removing ILF I am being stripped of my independence, choice and control. 

Justine JonesSouth London

My younger brother has just had his 58th birthday, and looks like he is 80. He has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for decades.

I was shocked when I recently found out he had been declared fit to work and lost his right to claim Employment Support Allowance.

His condition had deteriorated quite markedly. When I hugged him I could feel how skeletal he was, down to skin and bone.

His physical and mental condition are deteriorating rapidly.

It beggars belief that an employee of Atos healthcare has passed such judgement on a man in his physical condition.

Mikeby email

Fight Islamophobia and support Muslims

The religious right is alive and kicking in many state schools, and it’s not Muslims I’m talking about. 

I don’t oppose the study of the world’s major religions. I do object to the skewing of Religious Education towards Christianity. 

When I taught in south London our school recognised different religious needs. For example, a prayer room was arranged for students observing Ramadan.

Islamophobia was not a term I knew then.

The 11 September attack and the 7 July 2005 bombings in London gave media and politicians the opportunity to go on the offensive against Muslims.

The wars waged on Afghanistan and Iraq have angered many Muslims. Now the “Prevent” strategy means any Muslim child who might be susceptible to “radicalisation” can be targeted.

The current events in Birmingham are part of the same attack via the “permanent war on terror”.

Anti-Islamic racism has to be challenged, not least in the febrile atmosphere of the period leading to the general election next May.

Muslims need our support.

Dave ClinchDevon

The real plot is coming from Tory racists

Michael Gove wants schools to teach “British values”, chief of which is supposedly tolerance, while leading a witch hunt against Muslims. 

There is a call to stop Muslim “extremism” in schools. Yet free schools can teach creationism, an “extreme” ideology that explains the origins of life in purely biblical terms.

The debate emerging about faith schools is being conducted against an Islamophobic background.

All the hype is against Islamic schools. Yet out of 6,844 faith schools, only 18 are Muslim ones.

Our position as socialists is to prefer secular state education for all children.

However, we also fight for equality for all. So if there are Jewish and Christian faith schools, Muslims must have the right to set them up as well.

There is a Tory plot to try and demonise all Muslims. We cannot stand by and let this happen.

Anna GlucksteinNorth London

Carers are at the sharp end of the system

As a workforce we carers are highly invisible. It’s difficult to get organised or unionised as we don’t share a workplace.

The care we provide is worth billions of pounds a year. But an adult carers’ income is around £60 a week. Children get nothing.

Some of us met MPs and other carers during Carers’ Week last week.

We heard carers describe being stretched to breaking point at the sharp end of a system geared away from meeting human needs.

The assumption is that family members, especially women, will cope.

Our rulers see nothing more in the capacity of people to love and care than the chance to abuse it.

Those at the top of society never have to be carers. Even their children are looked after by others.

Living in poverty drains people the most.

But billions of pounds of benefits go unclaimed because carers don’t know they are entitled to them.

But there is always money for wars, royal carriages and bankers. 

My mother, on respite in a council-run care home, was well looked after and smiling whenever I called. 

They did art therapy with her. Staff had training and time to use their skills.

Now she needs nursing care but all nursing homes are privatised. They didn’t even get her medication right.

Carers’ Week has ended—but the need to organise continues.

Julia RobertsonSwansea

Podemos can give us hope

All can be achieved but only with the strength of a united working class movement (Socialist Worker, 14 June).

Spain needs a real socialist movement to fight against the mass political and union corruption.

Hopefully Podemos can unite the people and create a new Spain.

Ian Connonon Facebook

Referendum on the royals

I wish we could have a referendum on the right of the Royal family to rule and an informed debate about their money and power (Socialist Worker, 14 June).

I hate being a subject rather than a citizen.

Linda da Villierson Facebook

I don’t give a shit how much they own. 

Let’s ask them how they feel about the monarchy while they’re swinging from the end of a lamp post.

Ted Longbeardon Facebook

Join a picket for Palestine

We are maintaining weekly pickets to close the Ecostream shop in Brighton. 

Sodastream, an Israeli firm that manufactures its products in an illegal settlement on the West Bank, owns the shop.

On Saturday 28 June we are calling on as many activists as possible to join us at 1pm at the shop in Western Road, Brighton.

Mike WatermanChair, Brighton & Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign

No titles for rich parasites

As a regular reader of Socialist Worker I am continually dismayed at the use of “honorary” titles in references to our class enemies.

The use of titles such as Sir, Lord or queen dignifies these patronising parasites.

I believe socialists must foster deep disrespect and loathing of the system and those who propagate it.

Mike Mooreby email

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Article information

Tue 17 Jun 2014, 17:14 BST
Issue No. 2408
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