In Geneva, Switzerland, last week, the United Nations (UN) disability committee told Britain’s government that its cuts have led to “human catastrophe”.
It was the final session of Britain’s first public examination under the Convention of the Rights of Disabled People (CRPD) since ratification in 2009.
The process had been delayed due to an unprecedented UN investigation under the CRPD triggered by Disabled People Against Cuts. It found evidence of grave and systematic violations of rights due to welfare reform.
The government maintained its dismissal of the inquiry findings, putting it down to a “difference of opinion”. Its large delegation of representatives tried to rest on Britain’s previous record in advancing disabled people’s rights and obscure the dramatic and active regression since 2010.
However, deaf and disabled people had our own team there, working to deconstruct the government’s claims and present robust counter-evidence to expose the reality. I was part of it.
The UN disability rapporteur said it was the most challenging exercise ever undertaken by the committee.
They were damning in their criticisms, telling Britain it can no longer call itself a world leader in disability.
They praised the efforts of grassroots deaf and disabled people to challenge the situation.
One committee member commented that the Mental Health Act is being used as a “tool of state oppression” against black people.
However, the disability committee has no power to do anything and the CRPD is not enshrined in domestic legislation.
Nevertheless deaf and disabled campaigners are feeling satisfied that the government has once again been publicly shamed. For people in desperate situations it matters a great deal just to feel listened to and to have your suffering acknowledged.
When we come home from Geneva it is to continue the fight.
Ellen Clifford, South London
Appeal court upholds police racism claims
Bianca Durrant has waged an eight-year battle against racism by Avon and Somerset police.
Durrant claimed she was wrongly arrested in Bristol in 2009 and ill-treated by officers due to the colour of her skin. She brought charges in October 2014.
These were partially upheld. She was awarded £4,950 damages.
Durrant continued the battle at the Court of Appeal, seeking findings of further discrimination and an increase in the damages.
The case was heard this year and the decision handed down this month.
The judge upheld one of her additional allegations. The cops’ delay in allowing Durrant to use a toilet “was the result of unconscious racial stereotyping by the police officer concerned”.
He granted permission to appeal for further damages.
John O, Birmingham
Vote Labour even though it’s doomed
Alan Wilson asks why Socialist Worker supports Jeremy Corbyn, since he is “a politician, not a revolutionary” (Letters, 16 August).
Of course we realise that Labour never wins power—it can only win office. Parliamentary democracy is a sham.
Above parliament there is an unelected elite. But we can only show that to those who believe otherwise by electing Labour. Even with a left wing government Labour can’t deliver.
In the words of the late Tony Benn, Labour isn’t a socialist party but there have always been socialists in the party.
And in the words of Karl Marx, the emancipation of the working class must be the act of the working class.
Mike Archer, Cambourne, Cornwall
Catch out the racist Boycott
Geoffrey Boycott was caught making racist remarks in public about West Indian cricketers last weekend. He should be dropped now from the BBC’s Test Match Special commentary team.
He said he would have to “black his face” to get a knighthood.
It’s not as if he doesn’t have form.
He went on a “rebel” tour to South Africa at the time of the anti-aparthied boycott. That saw him banned from Test cricket.
Later he was a supporter of Ukip.
There should be no place for racism in sport and there should be no place for commentators like Boycott who can’t put their love of outdated imperial attitudes to cricket behind them.
Cricket has moved on and so must the commentating on it.
Keith Flett, North London
No better time to read Karl Marx
You are right to say that Karl Marx’s Capital retains its relevance 150 years after the publication of the first volume (Socialist Worker, 15 August).
Indeed, as he wrote at the outset of the third volume, his critique will only become truly relevant once there is fully developed global capitalism.
Dr James Luchte, On Twitter
Labour’s dead to Scotland
You ask if Jeremy Corbyn can revive hope for Labour in Scotland (Socialist Worker online, 21 August).
A team of paramedics couldn’t revive hope for Labour in Scotland.
@PatronisingBT, On Twitter
Labour should vacate Scotland.
Corbyn is way too old to face down the much younger Tory leader Ruth Davidson.
Aaron Aalborg, On Facebook
Private rent is just too high
You report that the Tory national living wage is too low to live on (Socialist Worker online, 21 August).
Is it really that wages are too low, or is it the cost of living is too high?
For example, most people are now forced into private renting, which just lines the pockets of a few people.
Corin Lye, On Facebook
Outnumber the Nazi scum
You report that Nazis were outnumbered by counter-protests across the US (Socialist Worker online, 20 August).
Good. Let’s outnumber these fascist little shits. They are a scourge on our society.
Aine Foley, On Facebook
Reporting on workers’ fight
Thank you Socialist Worker for sharing the story of the British Airways strike and some of the struggles of our members.
Mixed Fleet Unite, On Twitter
You report that the Birmingham bin workers have won their dispute (Socialist Worker online, 17 August). It will be the first of many such victories, let’s hope.
@EHreIsland, On Twitter
lWhy is Socialist Worker newspaper not on sale in every supermarket?
People must have the choice of reading left wing ideas.
@WinderDeyan, On Twitter