Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2469

There’s nothing ‘complex’ about Sheku Bayoh’s death

At last, Stephen House—head of Scotland’s police—is going. 

He was author of stop-and-search for children in the west, and defender of violent, racist police in the east. 

House resigned soon after a meeting between the Lord Advocate and the family of Sheku Bayoh, who died in police custody on 3 May in Kirkcaldy, Fife. 

Sheku’s family has lost all confidence in the police review, which has focused on everything except what the police did to restrain him. 

The Lord Advocate said it’s “complex” and before anyone can be prosecuted it has to be clear there has been a crime. 

But what’s complex about a 12-stone man dying of asphyxiation after being pepper-sprayed and jumped on by police with a combined weight of around 45 stone? 

And if it isn’t legal for police to kill, how can there not be a crime? 

Against regulations, the nine officers involved were put in a room together for hours after the killing. They said nothing for a month. 

The misinformation campaign started the day of the killing.

The morning he died, Colette, mother of Sheku’s baby son, was interrogated at the police station—before they told her he was dead! 

Meanwhile, the police had her house keys—ironically, because it was a “crime scene”. 

Police gave the family five different stories about the death, then last week added a sixth—they thought he was a terrorist. Is that because he was black? 

Colette was to be at a meeting of the Justice for Sheku Bayoh campaign last week—but found her tyres had been slashed. 

All the family wants is the truth, but there are legal costs for that. 

Please contribute to the campaign. Come to the rally and march on Sunday 6 September at 2pm from the Town House in Kirkcaldy.

Lici KopiejKirkcaldy, Fife

Best £3 that I ever spent

Socialist Worker is right to say that the campaign for Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader could create the illusion that the Labour Party is the way to win change. 

That said, I registered to vote, and voted Corbyn.  

One of my favourite movie quotes—from Young Guns II—is when William H “Billy The Kid” Bonney loaded his shotgun with coins, blew Fat Bob away then laughed and said “Best one dollar eighty I ever spent”.

I hopefully get to blow £3 away, and it will be the  best £3 quid I ever spent. 

But I’m under no illusions.

GantyEx-Frickley NUM rank and file

Gentrification creates heartless dull suburbs 

Your article about the police crackdown ahead of Carnival (Socialist Worker, 29 August) was good and made very valid points about the loss of space for community activities. 

If you turn the whole area into a gentrified ghetto, there’s no space for creativity and Notting Hill will become just another dull suburb without a heart. Many would say that has already happened.

It’s frustrating when the media report the wrong story. 

For instance, they talk about crime instead of the effort that goes into creating Carnival and the fact that 99 percent of people who take part or watch the event have a great time. 

Stephen Spark, south London

Another reason to march on cruel Tories

I care for elderly and disabled people in their homes in some of the poorer areas of Newcastle.

One faces eviction due to the bedroom tax. It forced her rent up £100 a month. 

She’s on disability benefits, in debt and can’t afford to pay. 

If she moves, she’d need to find a one-bedroom flat in sheltered accommodation. She’d like to move and thinks her house would be perfect for a family.

But the council hasn’t given her anywhere else. Her benefits can’t pay the rent, but she can’t get off benefits—with no way out.

Tory minister Iain Duncan Smith wants to attack disabled people even more with new plans to remove their benefits and force them into work.

That’s one reason to join the protests against the Tories in Manchester.

A care workerNewcastle

Israel prisoner release exposes regime

Socialist Worker readers may be aware that the Israeli Supreme Court recently ordered the release of hunger striking lawyer Mohammed Allan. 

Whilst this is positive news for him and his family, we must be very clear about what this shows about the Israeli regime. 

We must vigorously resist attempts from Israel’s apologists to argue that this shows their liberal democracy in action. 

Mohammed Allan was detained in November without charge or trial. 

And he had to go on hunger strike for 65 days to secure his release, nearly dying in the process. 

Perhaps most telling, the Israeli Supreme Court only released him because he had irreversible brain damage due to his hunger strike. 

Apparently “he no longer constituted a risk”. 

This decision was in fact a cynical fudge. If Mohammed dies in hospital he won’t be counted as a death in custody and if his condition improves Israel can always re-detain him. 

That’s “democracy” in Israel.

Adam CochraneEssex

How to stop the fascists?

Alan Gibbons made a great contribution to the demonstration against the fascist “White Man March” in Liverpool. 

But I’d like to respond to his letter (29 August).

Anti Fascist Network (AFN) mobilised nationally in opposition to the small number of Nazis. The Unite Against Fascism (UAF) demonstration brought together 1,000 mainly local people—with a significant turnout from Merseyside’s trade union and labour movement. 

With the Nazis now threatening to return on 12 September we need a mobilisation rooted in local trade unions, the labour movement and community groups.

This approach means that, while also backing appropriate militant action, the unions, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and others support UAF. 

Dave BridgeLiverpool

More reasons to fight WCA

news that over 2,500 people died within two weeks of being found fit for work, shows that the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) should be abolished now. 

It is designed to harass, bully and torment sick and disabled people. 

Getting rid of Atos who ran the assessments was a victory for grassroots campaigning. 

We can do the same to the new company Maximus that the Tories have now appointed. 

Duncan BrownGlasgow

New Tory raid on budgets

The Tories are taking back £200 million from the public health budgets of local councils.This will lead to job losses and attack the means to tackle health issues, school nursing, drug and alcohol abuse and sexual health. 

John AppleyardWest Yorkshire

A right good read

@socialistworker Good read, better than the Morning Star by far!

@artboy_70 on Twitter


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Tue 1 Sep 2015, 17:31 BST
Issue No. 2469
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