Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2458

Sheku Bayoh’s case shows why we need a law change

I took part in the funeral procession for Sheku Bayoh, who recently died after coming into contact with police in Fife. I was also at a public meeting later in the afternoon.

I came away deeply saddened by the death of this young man and the torment his family is suffering. 

They are still in the dark about what happened to Sheku.

I am also very angry at the way the local police and their federation have treated them.

Nine police officers who were at the scene have refused to give even the basic operational details of what happened to Sheku.

In what other walk of life, where someone dies in your care, would you be allowed to refuse to cooperate by providing details?

There was a very poignant moment at the meeting. 

A family member said he would like to know what the last words of his cousin were before he died.

The family has been given five different accounts of what happened.

The first was that Sheku had been found dead on the pavement by a member of the public. We know this to be a lie.

At the public meeting we heard that gas and batons were used on Sheku and that he needed CPR in the street.

He was put into an ambulance with handcuffs restraining his arms at his back and with his legs shackled. I think we were all horrified to hear of the lack of humanity displayed by the police.

We are reputed to have one of the best justice systems in the world. How can it be that we have a police service that seems to have no accountability?

There needs to be a change in the rule that allows officers to confer and refuse to give evidence.

I would like to see local politicians put pressure on our national government to bring about new legislation.

It looks like this will be a long, arduous and expensive road for the family. I hope we can all be there to offer support to them. My heart is with them.

Maureen ClossKirkcaldy

Supporting the EU reflects a pessimism

Is it ultra-left to argue for a Brexit (Socialist Worker, 13 June)?

We should have no illusions whatsoever in the European Union (EU) and engage in an act of “bad faith” with its logical conclusion.

The EU project has always been for a bosses’ club.

Whatever fringe benefits do exist—such as free movement of labour or trade union rights—are only there to sweeten the pill. And even these are regularly struck down by the European Court of Justice.

All the arguments for the pro-EU camp are based on pessimism and a patronising attitude for ordinary workers, including migrants.

They are also based on a misunderstanding and misplaced faith in Podemos and Syriza.

Recent developments within Syriza point the way towards a break with the EU and to a workers’ Europe.

We should organise independently from the racists and xenophobes, and articulate a clear socialist alternative.

David MicallefBrighton

Abstain on an EU vote

Clare Fermont and John Charlton were right to say that the anti European Union (EU) campaign will be dominated by right wing racists (Socialist Worker, 13 June).

They were also right that it will be difficult to get a socialist case against the EU heard.

But, as they both acknowledge, the EU is a bosses’ club. So I couldn’t go along with the idea of campaigning for staying in the EU.

It might seem a bit of a cop out but I think we should say, “A plague on both your houses,” and call for abstention.

Phil WebsterLancashire

A no vote will  help racists 

My head and heart says that I will not vote no in a European Union (EU) referendum. The no campaign will be racist.

For decades as a solicitor I have defended migrants and asylum applicants. I have seen many deported.

What are we, as socialists, to say to our brothers and sisters if we campaign for a no vote?

What do we say to those who have to confront outright racists and the soft, anti-foreigner millions who voted Ukip? No to Ukip—vote no? That would be absurd.

We have to be unequivocally on the side of migrants and asylum seekers. 

If that means we vote yes, so be it.

Jim NicholNorth London

Morris Beckman, a lion in the anti-fascist fight 

We have lost a real fighter in Morris Beckman (Socialist Worker, 13 June).

It was my privilege to call him a friend. Popping round to his flat was always educative, informative, funny and illuminating. 

His last great quest was to get the classic 43 Group book republished. 

Its re-release was a tribute to his writing and energy.

I was lucky enough to interview him twice. He always spoke of others’ deeds in the 43 Group, such as Len Sherman and Gerry Flamberg. 

I knew from both, though, that Morris was a lion in battling fascists and always one of the first “in”.

When times were hard for Unite Against Fascism he would quickly support us. My heart goes out to his family and all who knew him.

Paul SillettEast London

Burnham is not left wing

Socialist Worker's article on the Labour leadership contest, (Socialist Worker, 13 June) was spot on. 

It is particularly vital that we challenge the idea that Andy Burnham is left wing.

Burnham has made much of winning over Tory and Ukip voters. 

He abstained from the vote on gay marriage and voted against the right of same sex couples to fertility treatment.

Richard SunderlandWest Yorkshire

Labour lets us down - again

Shame no Labour leadership candidate is talking about making secondary picketing legal again (Socialist Worker, 13 June).

Or even opposing the legislation that demands a 50 percent turnout to be able to strike without abstention.

Mike HeenemanOn Facebook

Churchill gave poor a kicking

It’s a great quote they’ve put on Winston Churchill’s medal—“Never, never, never give up!”

I think he meant brandy, cigars and pies. And hammering poor people.

Julie RicharsonSwansea

TV show may boost workers

I don’t doubt that the TV show Running the Shop may be a gimmick (Socialist Worker, 13 June).

But it might give some workers a flavour of what’s possible.

If you give people a bit of power in their workplace they might want more.

Graeme KempShropshire

Stop college funding cuts

Why isn’t the rest of the media talking about the college funding cuts (Socialist Worker, 13 June)?

They are going to cause long term damage to millions of people’s lives. We have to stop them before it’s too late.

Sandra CarnellSouth London

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Article information

Tue 16 Jun 2015, 16:36 BST
Issue No. 2458
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