Farage’s racism may seem far fetched—but he’s no fool
Some people might think Nigel Farage, leader of the racist Ukip party, is stupid after he said last month that immigrants make the M4 motorway busier.
Road traffic has increased—but not because of immigrants.
The centralisation of workplaces and services, the fragmentation of families, and the need to commute further to work, college or school makes all our roads overused.
The oil and car industry have too much influence over many government decisions.
This has led to the decimation of the public transport system, increasing use of roads for freight rather than trains. But Farage is no fool.
He knows that every anti-immigrant claim that is made, no matter how far fetched or ridiculous, helps create a wallpaper of racism.
Ukip and all the mainstream parties hope to cover the political horizon with it.
When the police arrest, imprison or even kill innocent people there are many who say “they must have done something”.
It’s easier to say this, rather than acknowledge the inhumanity and corruption of our justice system, which can be just too frightening and painful to bear.
It is easier to deny this and think the victims to be somehow deserving of their fate.
I’m glad the Socialist Workers Party is clear that victims of the police and the justice system are innocent, not just a bit innocent.
And immigrants are innocent of causing any of the problems they are commonly accused of.
These aren’t just Farage’s more wild accusations but the more “sane sounding” ones too.
It was good to see the anti-Ukip demo towards the end of last year in Port Talbot to protest Ukip’s conference in Wales.
We didn’t have any trouble getting there on time!
Julia Robertson, Swansea
Let’s use Engels’ beard to grow the resistance
As Rachel pointed out (Letters, 20 December), Salford University has commissioned a climbable five metre-high statue of Frederick Engels’ beard.
The artists say the project is “in the language of regeneration”.
Engels was a 19th century revolutionary who worked in a business he hated in Salford to keep his fellow revolutionary Karl Marx financially afloat.
I think he might have seen the funny side of being turned into an icon by people with no idea of his politics in an area ravaged by austerity.
In Salford regeneration means mostly building tiny expensive houses. The plan is to cut almost everything and sell off remaining social housing.
So we’ll have to make sure that everyone knows who Engels really was and what revolution means today. And they’re building us a really high platform to do it from.
Sarah Ensor, Manchester
Support our Independent Living Fund, Ed
The Disabled People Against Cuts (Dpac) group has written an open letter to Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, Rachel Reeves and Kate Green.
Reeves is shadow secretary of state for work and pensions, and Green is shadow spokesperson for disabled people.
We want Labour to pledge to save the Independent Living Fund (ILF).
On 8 December last year a High Court ruled against our challenge to the government’s closure of ILF. We weren’t given leave to appeal. The ILF was not perfect. But it helped thousands of disabled people enjoy their lives more and contribute to society.
It closed to new applicants in December 2010, leaving many disabled people without their most basic needs being met.
To severely disabled people, the ILF represents the difference between existing and living.
We are continuing to fight the closure of the ILF and refuse to be pushed to the margins of society.
Please support us by signing our open letter, as an individual or a group, at bit.ly/1zbLaY3
Debbie Jolly, Dpac
The cost of academies
In the run-up to the 2010 general election David Cameron and Michael Gove visited Birkenshaw in West Yorkshire.
They came to support local Tories who wanted to set up an academy—against much local opposition.
The school became an academy in 2012.
It has now been labelled inadequate and placed into special measures by Ofsted.
While some schools are saddled with debt, others take on academy status and have the tab covered by taxpayers. This has cost councils millions of pounds.
John Appleyard, West Yorkshire
Tory torture in Ireland
The Tories are excited at the prospect of Tony Blair being hauled before parliament over his alleged role in CIA torture. But they may soon have to account for their own actions.
In 1971, 14 Irish men—known as the Hooded Men—were illegally detained by British security forces and subjected to torture.
In 2002 the US Attorney General’s office prepared legal advice on interrogation. It quoted Britain’s argument that their interrogations didn’t have a lasting effect on the men.
Within months the CIA was using torture techniques. Amnesty International has called for the case of the Hooded Men to be reopened.
Anna Owens, Central London
Don’t blame us for hunger
Report after report has shown that poverty is driving people to food banks.
But coincidentally we also keep hearing about how many tonnes of food is wasted.
It’s not good to throw away food. But it isn’t the cause of people going to food banks.
Lindsey Tassel, Bristol
Cops’ action was sickening
The Westfield Mall glitters in Shepherd’s Bush, not unlike some galactic spaceship full of showy extraterrestrials determined to display their wealth.
Meanwhile the local borough remains one of grey poverty.
The protest there against police brutality in the US at the end of last year appears justified.
The police crackdown was sickening.
Zekria Ibrahimi, West London
Let’s take on racist poison
The centre page spread of interviews with migrant workers was great (Socialist Worker, 13 December).
I was moved when a quietly-spoken Polish work colleague recently told me he and his wife are often challenged on where they come from.
This is unlike several years ago when they first came to Britain.
Racist poison is being spread in society and we must challenge it.
Mike Killian, Manchester
A fightback in Trumpton?
Socialist Worker readers on Twitter may be aware of a parody account, Ukip Trumpton.
It was set up as Trumpton, a village in an old children’s TV programme, resembled a Britain Ukip would like to see. It has only one immigrant—an ice cream seller.
A tradition of political satire shows the inventiveness of ordinary people.
But sadly Ukip can’t be mocked into non-existence. We need to build Stand Up to Ukip.
Margaret Woods, Glasgow