Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2451

Firefighters challenge Tory 'profit before people' policies

Dear voters, the coalition government led by David Cameron’s Conservative Party has been nothing but detrimental to the effectiveness of the Fire Service that you have every right to expect. 

They have continued a sustained and vicious attack on all frontline emergency services for five years. The lowering of fire service budgets across the country by 20 percent has caused a heightened risk to firefighters and the public they serve. 

This along with attacks on the NHS, the police and coastguard has been a key part of their “profit before people” economic plan. 

Since 2010, 39 fire stations have closed, 145 fire engines have been scrapped and over 5,000 firefighter positions have been axed. 

This has raised response time to the point that some brigades have dropped the five minute maximum response times that we were once so proud of and that has saved thousands of lives. 

People’s lives are at very serious risk of being lost completely unnecessarily. We are convinced that this has put all members of the public at serious risk.

We believe that a serious change of course is desperately needed in order for us to do our jobs effectively and to prevent losing saveable lives.

The Utopian Firefighter, also signed by over 250 other firefighters

On behalf of the Essex FBU Brigade Committee and all Essex FBU members I would like to extend our sincerest gratitude for the recent donation made by Socialist Workers Party members to our hardship fund and for the solidarity shown to picket lines. 

Such acts of solidarity allow us to fight on in our battle to defend against unnecessary and unjust attacks on firefighters, control staff and fire cover in Essex. 

The support you have shown will go far in strengthening Essex FBU members’ strength and resolve as we go forward and reminds us all of what a great movement we are a part of. 

Riccardo la TorreEssex FBU Brigade Chair

Australia's militarised response to migrants

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott’s policy has been to militarise the handling of asylum seekers.

The interception of their boats, once the responsibility of Customs, has been handed over to Navy Border Protection Command. 

All information is now handled by the Defence Department and is effectively a military secret.

Consequently there is simply no information about the “success” or otherwise of Abbott’s policy. 

Very few asylum seekers make it as far as Australian territory now. But for all we know, there might still be dozens of boats attempting to make the crossing. 

Occasionally refugees’ relatives in Australia learn that a boat left Indonesia and was never seen again. 

So mass drownings are still occurring, but they’re now out of sight.

The conservatives in government cloak themselves in fake concern about boat tragedies but they are utterly ruthless enemies of human rights and human dignity.

Adrian BaddeleyAustralia

Green 'music video' is no inspiration to vote

I feel pangs of guilt that I still haven’t decided who to back in this election. 

My guilt was assuaged when faced with the Greens’ downright weird electoral broadcast. This is supposed to be a left alternative party, but it doesn’t take the role too seriously.

The Greens are neither willing or able to empower or take power. 

There has never been more need for the left. A third of our children in poverty, prison riots up four fold, doctors clearly stating (screaming?) that this system isn’t working—and we get a music video. 

The surge in support for non mainstream parties shows there are millions of people looking for change and to be inspired. I am one of them. We are not surfing YouTube looking for a laugh or a gimmicky video. 

Sinead MartinSouth London

Mistaken attack

When George Galloway was elected in Bradford in March 2012, many people had high hopes. He was one of the few MPs to oppose the war, Islamophobia and austerity.

But not long after his election he made appalling comments about rape in relation to Julian Assange. 

This angered many, and caused a number of people to resign from his party Respect.

Now he has alleged that Naz Shah, the Labour candidate standing against him, misled people about the age at which she was forced to marry. 

Many people will still vote for Galloway because they are angry at the toxic racism that many MPs pander to. But it is a problem that his own actions have repelled many of his supporters. 

People look to a contradictory figure like him precisely because of the weakness of the left. 

This is all the more reason to build a real alternative.


Working for nothing

Hermes, the company that has run Larnaca and Paphos airports in Cyprus since they were privatised, is advertising for volunteer staff. 

It wants “customer care ambassadors” to work without pay.

Is this a belated April Fools joke? No—I’ve seen the advert in the paper.

Tim DraytonCyprus

We can realise our potential

The struggle for socialism is, ultimately, a moral project. 

Our task is to raise living standards for all, subjugating no one in the process. But it is also to rid ourselves of the moral apathy and intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy brought about by capitalist alienation. 

Then everyone can realise their potential to become an Epicurus, a Leonardo, an Einstein, or a Picasso. 

Vote TUSC. Forward to socialism, where every life counts equally. 

Mark A Murphy, homeless

Tainted Ukip donation

Come on National Union of Journalists (NUJ), we must challenge Richard Desmond’s £1 million donation to Ukip.

His staff at Express Newspapers have not had a pay rise for seven years. 

What entitles Ukip to in effect take money from the pockets of the working people Nigel Farage claims to represent?

Barry Fitzpatrick, deputy general secretary NUJ (until Dec 2013)

Aboriginal children stolen

we’re asked to admire Australia’s immigration policies. But the racist ancestors of Australia’s rulers invaded displacing the indigenous people.

A third of Aboriginal children were removed from their families between 1910 and 1970. At least 100,000 stolen children were placed in missions, institutions and foster homes.

Many were forced into a form of slavery, physically and sexually abused.

John AppleyardLiversedge

Betraying the working class

Your article on the Labour Party and socialism (Socialist Worker, 25 April) is not as simple as that. It’s about Labour’s massive swing to the right.

Labour have been betraying the working class since Harold Wilson. 

Eric Purvison Facebook

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Article information

Tue 28 Apr 2015, 15:56 BST
Issue No. 2451
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