Socialist Worker

Letters—The football abuse scandal shows up class prejudices

Issue No. 2535

The long overdue spotlight on the horrendous sexual abuse of youngsters in football has shocked millions.

Ex-players, notably Andy Woodward and Steve Walters, have shown immense bravery by waiving their anonymity to tell of their abuse by an ex-coach at Crewe Alexandra.

Notorious paedophile Barry Bennell also worked at other, senior clubs. Since the scandal broke last November, over 80 suspected abusers at a staggering 98 teams are being investigated.

Some alleged victims were as young as seven. Equally sickening has been the news that top clubs such as Chelsea recently paid a former player £50,000 not to go public with allegations that he was sexually abused. The investigation into Crewe Alexandra director Dario Gradi hints at a wider cover-up by senior figures.

This speaks volumes about how players were seen by some at the top of clubs.

Numerous ex-players have recalled how the “Blazer brigade” in charge often saw players as lucky to be playing and treated them as working class oiks.

Apprentices, and often players, were viewed as wage slaves.

A few were glorified, such as George Best, but most were expected to know their place.

A climate of machismo and not questioning those in charge added to a world where powerful figures preyed on children.

Vicious “tackles” and drunkeness by players was often tolerated if games were won.

Premier League executives claim that youngsters are safe in the top flight soccer academies. This flies in the face of those such as former player Pat Nevin who said he “wouldn’t be surprised” to discover young footballers still being abused.

Only a public inquiry into the allegations, not by the Football Association, can get to the truth. 

Paul Sillett

East London

How I got the DWP sanctioned

This is the story of a “career seeker” (preferred over job seeker). He used a debt collection agency to gain money that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said was rightfully his.

The story starts in November 2015, when his claim began. A letter on

5 January 2016 gave a monthly payment of £160.04.

Another letter the following day said the payment would be

£717.82. Meanwhile our “career seeker” wrote to the DWP stating that payment between 21 November and 20 December was somewhat lacking.

On 2 May a letter arrived stating that £320.35 owed from December 2015 would be paid within five days.

No money appears.

His regular payment from DWP arrives. He writes to them on 27 May stating that the £320.35 had not yet appeared.

As autumn approaches a more aggressive letter gives them 14 days to cough up.

Faced with unending silence, a debt collection agency was engaged on

26 October to chase the sum. On 2 December £307.78 arrives in the bank account.

It takes nearly a year for a government agency to correct an error. It had to be “sanctioned” into correcting what it admitted was an error on its part.

I, as an unemployed person, had to pay someone to get what was due. I could have done without the expense.

Name and address supplied

It’s wrong not to fight Labour’s council cuts

Marvin Rees’ election as Labour mayor for Bristol last year was welcomed as a break from austerity.

But in response to central government cuts, Rees has announced huge cuts to the council workforce and services.

He wants around

£120 million worth of cuts over the next four years—and has already demanded 1,000 council jobs go.

It’s thought that

80 Bristol schools will no longer have school crossing patrols and that charges for dementia care will rise.

This will be the tip of the iceberg and the impact of the cuts will be devastating.

At present the left within the Labour Party has, by and large, remained silent.

Labour probably has over 10,000 members in the city and Momentum is a significant force.

Not confronting

Labour-implemented cuts is a fatal error. It opens up the possibility of the right taking advantage.

Huw Williams


NUT figures show strikes built the union

It’s now completely irrefutable—the national teachers’ strike last summer caused the NUT union to increase its membership.

The numbers are rough and approximate.

Some 8,000 teachers joined the NUT in the run-up to the strike.

No comparable spike in membership numbers has happened in previous years at the same time in the year.

The strike made the difference.

In the past when the NUT struck nationally, some would say that new members quickly leave and never start paying subs.

Some 2,500 of the 8,000 did leave. But 5,500 have remained and are now paying subs.

They have not been taken off the national database.

A “clean up” of the database has occurred, which was reported at an NUT national executive commitee meeting.

The point is that workers join a union when a union fights.

Any socialist or union rep instinctively or empirically knows this.

And if we had carried on fighting, perhaps even more would have joined and stayed.

Stefan Simms

West London

The West is inappropriate

Theresa May saying US Secretary of State John Kerry’s comments on Israeli settlements were “inappropriate” was cringeworthy.

What is inappropriate is the West’s constant support for war criminal Binyamin Netanyahu.

Steven McNamara


Scandal of arms exports

Britain exports £7.7 billion worth of weaponry every year.

The government allows military exports under Open Individual Export Licences, which reduce transparency.

How much do our arms exports contribute to the displacement of people due to war?

Jo Rust


Life sucks for agency staff

John’s life really sucks. He works for an agency where he has no rights.

Days, hours, shifts, pay and role are not set and can change without a word of notice.

Thousands like our John are employed but have no “job”. This employer terrorism is completely legal.

Michael Coward


Hypocrisy is a ‘British Value’

In 2014 Sajid Javid said Britain was great because “far from being ruled by central diktats, our culture is based on freedom.”

Now Javid wants every new public sector worker to swear an oath to “British Values”.

What a wonderful example of one British value—political hypocrisy.

Sasha Simic

North London

What about the veterans?

I was a bit disappointed about your article on the victory of the Sioux Native Americans.

A crucial turnaround was when they were joined by thousands of military veterans. This is really inspiring.

David Paenson

Frankfurt, Germany

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