Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2488

A lesson in Tory hypocrisy as Esol provision is slashed

The lecturers’ union UCU and the Action for Esol campaign are horrified and angry at David Cameron’s announcement about language tests for some immigrants (Socialist Worker, 23 January).

He’s scapegoating Muslim women who don’t speak English.

But the Tories cut English for Speakers of Other Languages (Esol) funding by 24 percent last February then cut another £45 million in the summer.

Lambeth College, where I teach, has gone from 65 to 31 Esol teachers in the last year and a half.

We don’t keep waiting lists anymore, we’re just turning people away.

Cameron’s government is responsible for any migrant who can’t speak English.

Mandy Brown, Lambeth College UCU and UCU national exective (personal capacity)

David Cameron’s latest speech links Muslim women having limited English language skills to “extremism”.

But there is absolutely no basis for his comments. He talks about the importance of social cohesion and speaking English as it allows people to “integrate” and contribute to society.

But his announcement of £20 million towards a language fund for Muslim women is hypocritical.

It was the Tory-led coalition government that cut funding for Esol courses by £45 million in 2011. And the Tories have continued to cut funding.

This massive cut to Esol funding has directly impacted on the women targeted in his speech, as well as asylum seekers, refugees and migrants.

Since 2011, only those who can afford to pay course fees have been able to access Esol provision.

This just another attack on Muslims—and Muslim women in particular.

The following day Cameron said he would back schools and courts that stop Muslim women wearing headscarves.

Andrea Armitage, Esol teacher, Barnsley

Restore Funding to ESOL: Don’t Scapegoat Migrants!
Join the demonstration, Wednesday 27th January, 6pm, Downing Street
Supported by Action For EsolStand Up to Racism and others

Tory prison cuts will drive more to suicide

Legal cuts are sending the prison system backwards.

It’s in danger of seeing prison disturbances, much like the Gartree and Strangeways riots.

Even sadder is that these conditions are the perfect ingredient for suicides.

Although Britain abolished capital punishment, the system acts as the hangman for many prisoners.

It’s closer to psychological torture, where the prisoners put the noose around their own necks.

Trust me, I’ve been there—only the strong will survive.

What’s the solution to this? God knows, but I do have sympathy for the prisoners left in such a horrid situation.

That’s why I continue to share my story and highlight the flaws.

Leroy Skeete, Former prisoner

The US should release its torture files

the US is trying to block the release of tapes showing a hunger-striking prisoner being force fed in Guantanamo Bay.

President Barack Obama’s administration has fought hard to prevent details coming to light.

And the US military has long shrouded its illegal and disturbing practices in secrecy.

Obama has said he will close Guantanamo Bay.

But he only intends to close this facility, not end indefinite detention for dozens of prisoners whom he plans to transfer elsewhere.

The London Guantanamo Campaign is strongly opposed to indefinite detention. It will continue to hold regular protests until all of the prisoners have been released.

Aisha Maniar, Organiser of the London Guantanamo Campaign

Don’t jail the Heathrow protesters

it’s outrageous that 13 protesters who chained themselves to railings at Heathrow airport have been told it’s almost inevitable they will be jailed.

Members of the Plane Stupid campaign group protested in July over climate change and the role of the aviation industry.

They were found guilty of “aggravated trespass” this week and lawyers say they may well be jailed for three months each.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett supported the protesters on the first day of the trial, but shadow chancellor John McDonnell was barred from being a defence witness.

All of us should support the 13 and join protests on 24 February when the sentences will be passed.

Jane Wilkinson, East London

Academies shun control

Turning schools into academies strips away any hint of democratic control.

This was highlighted last week when academy chain E-ACT decided to replace governors with “academy ambassadorial advisory bodies” with no say over budgets or standards.

E-ACT had ten schools taken away from it due to poor performance.

No wonder the Tories and academies don’t want local governors to oversee them.

We need to defend our schools and accountability.

Pete Jackson, Birmingham

Stand up to union leaders

We now have the stupid idea of having a nuclear submarine fleet without any nuclear weapons.

That’s because Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t got the balls to tell the union leaders to piss off.

John Bossano, on Facebook

Sock it to Cameron

I was collecting clothes for Calais refugees.

The late actor Alan Rickman sent a message asking if he could include an odd sock.

He proposed stuffing the other one down David Cameron’s throat.

Jim Nichol, East London

No welcome for new Israeli ambassador

Let’s welcome Israel’s incoming ambassador Mark Regev by escalating the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement in March.

Regev was an Israeli spokesperson, well known for his attempted justifications on television of the bloody bombings of Gaza.

He presented atrocities and war crimes as Israel’s search for “peace”.

Now no doubt Regev will use his new post to increase Israeli/British arms deals.

We have to stop him.

Miriam Scharf, East London

DUP is still a sexist party

Arlene foster may be the Democratic Unionist Party’s first woman leader.

But her colleague Edwin Poots reminded her that her most important jobs were as a “wife, mother and daughter”.

John Shemeld, Nottingham

Fight cuts to GP services

We’ve launched a campaign against our local GP practice in Huddersfield being cut by 44 percent over the next three years.

Over 40 percent of surgeries nationally also face cuts. There is the potential for a national campaign.

Martin Jones, Huddersfield

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Article information

Tue 26 Jan 2016, 16:32 GMT
Issue No. 2488
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