Socialist Worker

LETTERS: Celebrate Jeremy Corbyn’s win and build the fight against Tories

Issue No. 2524

Workers protesting against the Tory Party conference in Birmingham last Sunday

Workers protesting against the Tory Party conference in Birmingham last Sunday (Pic: Guy Smallman)

In the past when the Labour right has not been able to rely on the trade union bureaucracy to bolster its position, it has tacked left.

The best example of this is the period from 1917 through to 1920.

But the current parliamentary party is so right wing they either don’t know how to talk left or can’t bring themselves to.

It will be interesting to see how many of them decide to make the effort after Corbyn’s victory.

John Newsinger, Portslade

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood claims Labour’s leadership election result will lead to “a decade of decline under Tory rule in Westminster”. Wood has put herself in the same camp as the Labour right.

The Blairites believed they were all-powerful. They thought that Tony Blair’s rebranding of Labour won a landslide in 1997.

But Blair didn’t win the election—the Tories were broken by the poll tax movement, their splits and sleaze. Wood should remember that.

Des Mannay, Cardiff

The US socialist Daniel De Leon once described bourgeois agents in the labour movement as “labour lieutenants of capitalism”.

Labour Party shadow defence spokesperson Clive Lewis, an ex-army officer, announced his support for Trident replacement and strong support for Nato.

I have the feeling he has taken De Leon a bit too literally.

John Curtis, Ipswich

Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong campaigner against nuclear weapons, has agreed not to challenge Labour’s existing support for renewing Trident nuclear weapons.

This is a serious mistake and shows the limits of the Labour Party as a vehicle of radical change.

The Trident decision shows what the “broad church” of Labour means in practice.

Sasha Simic, North London

The truth behind the TA pay scam

I read with interest your article on the Durham teaching assistants (TAs) (Socialist Worker, 28 September). The attack on our pay goes back to 2012.

“Single status” was meant to bring in equal pay. But the regrading system was not explained to most people.

One group of workers appealed their low grade of a 1 and were raised to a level 3.

However, to counteract this scores were reduced in other areas.

Durham’s equality impact assessment stated only 16 percent of female staff would see a pay cut.

Why didn’t they include TAs in this? And why did Unison union officials sign the document? They surely knew other areas did things differently.

Guidelines state that school and nursery staff are employed on a sessional basis or for 32.5 hours per week for 195 days per year.

Staff are currently paid the salary quoted at the time of job applications.

In 2012 TAs were issued with an hourly rate for the first time.

No one knew to question it at the time, but it allowed the council to now claim that TAs are paid for more hours than they work.

They now want to cut away some of our salary classed as “holiday pay” and reduce the annual rate given to us in black and white in 2012.

Sam, County Durham teaching assistant

Stop racist language school tests

Many schools have started collecting data on pupils’ country of birth, nationality and level of English proficiency to fulfil requirements for the Department for Education.

At present, schools record if a pupil speaks English as an additional language (EAL) or not, worked out on the basis of the language spoken at home rather than a pupil’s acquisition of the English language.

Parents are asked “what language is spoken at home” rather than “what is the child’s first language”.

From September, schools will assess each EAL pupil’s “proficiency level”. I am very concerned that the politics of immigration is hitting our schools.

Husain Akhtar, West London

DWP employee deal means more pressure

The PCS union negotiated a deal at the Department for Work and Pensions that means some people now have to work evenings and Saturdays.

I opted out because I didn’t want to change my contract and I don’t want to work late evenings and Saturdays.

Paying different amounts to people is discrimination.

Where I work the place is in chaos due to the high volumes of workload and the lack of workers.

Priority is being given to those who call by phone, while it seems that people who write in are being neglected.

I and many other people who opted out are bracing ourselves for the bullying and harassment that will surely take place when areas are short of evening cover.

But we will hold firm.

Paul Hetherington, North Shields

Private eye for public school

Private Eye poses as a neutral satirical magazine. But its attacks on the left indicate it too has an agenda.

Perhaps Private Eye is run by ex-public school boys to circulate gossip about their own establishment world.

Satire is useless when not objective and in the European Union referendum Private Eye did not equally criticise both sides. It backed one faction against the other.

Private Eye does have bias, and is not always favourable to the left.

Zekria Ibrahimi, West London

Comeuppance for Allardyce

It seems poor old Sam Allardyce has been truly caught with his fingers in football’s whopping money pie.

Not content with his £3 million a year England salary, Sam just couldn’t resist that little bit more. Maybe he was just trying to make ends meet?

Pleading “entrapment” is a bit rich Sam, especially when you never had to be in the May Fair Hotel in the first place. It doesn’t really come as a big surprise, the corruption within world football is just a sad reflection on the greed capitalism breeds.

Stevie Rae, Chester

BMA sold out fight for NHS

It was extremely dissapointing when the BMA called off the junior doctors’ strikes.

But it was not overly suprising after the September wobble.

The timing with Jeremy Corbyn’s win was morally bankrupt.

Andrew Duff, on Facebook

Lula eclipsed by right’s plot?

Sara Vivacqua is right to condemn the attack against Lula, leader of the Workers’ Party leader in Brazil (Letters, 28 September).

However, uncritical support of Lula disguises the truth. While the right wing that attacked him for corruption were just as guilty, it’s a mistake to say that he was not.

Heather Reynolds, Spalding

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