Socialist Worker

LETTERS - We can build a campaign to make life in Scarborough fair

Issue No. 2587

Scarborough - Britains low-pay capital

Scarborough - Britain's low-pay capital (Pic: Jack Cousin/Flickr)


As a resident of Scarborough—Britain’s low-pay capital—I was uplifted to learn of Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to get Labour campaigning in “left behind” communities.

People here have had enough of trying to live on fresh air.

Scarborough is a town cut to the bone and made ugly by the “flog it cheap and knock it down” mentality of the Tory council.

The local Labour Party has already initiated two low-pay rallies outside the town hall to force the living wage for council workers onto council meeting agendas.

I was on both, and we’ve talked with Labour Party comrades about building among unions, low-pay workplaces and on the street.

With the racist Ukip posing as local “corruption busters” and the Nazi National Front campaiging on the high street, how we campaign matters.

Our movement needs to be more than an opportunity to explain Labour policies to potential voters.

Uncompromising

We need to start from the needs of our class. We have to be uncompromising on racism and immigration and have no truck with the anti-establishment posing of the populist right.

We need to give people confidence to take action themselves. We need debate among the various political forces involved—and then build united campaigning.

As Corbyn put it at a Bfawu union meeting in Scarborough, “The rich have never handed us anything on a plate. Everything we’ve got we’ve had to fight for.”

We need to fight together. The right try to batter Corbyn into fudging his principles and watering down his policies to become “respectable” enough for office. If we build fighting campaigns, we can pressure him from the left.

We don’t want respectable. We want change.

It’s not just pockets of geography that have been left behind—It’s the working class. I’m looking forward to the fight.

Kim Hunter, Scarborough


It's right to fight sexism

The French actor Catherine Deneuve, along with around 100 other women, claimed recently that the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment was excessive.

Their letter said the campaign had become an attack on “sexual freedom”.

It even said the campaign had become a “witch hunt”, and is meant to “intimidate people into speaking correctly”.

It is quite sad that Deneuve has fallen prey to liberalism’s empty promises.

Liberals assume that all individuals have “liberty” just because they are formally entitled to it. It is hard not to take their claims with a pinch of salt.

Statistics from charity Rape Crisis show that women are much more likely then men to get raped—12 men for every 85 women.

Misogyny and subordination of women is rooted in the fabric of society.

Without socialists and feminists challenging such implicit structures, marital rape wouldn’t be seen as rape in our current society.

Sexual harassment should be addressed by looking at implicit forms of oppression—not just glaringly obvious ones. There is no good or bad rape victim.

Deneuve thinks that sexual urge is naturally wild and aggressive and that the campaign is stifling men’s liberty to “seduce”.

Let me make it clear, women do not owe anything to men and accosting us against our wishes is blatant harassment.

Prarthana Krishnan, Bristol


No more delays to trans rights changes

Like many trans people, I was sceptical but pleased when Theresa May announced that the government would change the Gender Recognition Act. The changes would allow trans people to legally change their gender without medical checks.

But I was not surprised when all discussion for proposed changes was pushed back amid Tory concerns of “men in drag” attacking women in toilets.

The Republic of Ireland has had self-declaration since 2015. There have been no cases of attacks on women in toilets by trans women.

Trans people’s existence is already plagued with long wait times for treatment and gatekeeping for legal recognition. Failure to make the necessary changes can only have negative effects on us.

Anna Pope, Manchester


Neave Brown built high quality homes for us

The architect who built the council estate where I live in Camden died last week. Neave Brown built three major estates in London during the 1960s and 70s. Uniquely, all of his work in Britain has listed status.

A life-long socialist, he often complained about Thatcher’s Right to Buy scheme and the effect it had on the estates he built.

And last year he raged about the Grenfell fire, saying that housing now is all about profit.

Neave fought for high quality homes for working class people. “We have to ask if it is building a new generation of nuclear missiles we can never use, or a good standard of new housing for the people of Britain,” he said.

We need more like Neave.

Andrea Butcher, Central London


Grayling plays blame game

A report from the National Audit Office last week says Southern Thameslink and Great Northern rail companies are not providing value for money.

What a surprise that transport secretary Chris ‘Failing’ Grayling blamed trade unions.

It sums up the “not me guv” attitude of this rotten government.

David Hart, Essex


Is it really censorship?

I see right wingers accused Virgin Trains of censorship for not stocking the Daily Mail newspaper.

I’m sure they’ll be leading the charge to get Virgin to stock Socialist Worker.

Daniel Hadfield, On Twitter


Sivanandan is a great loss

Sad to hear that A Sivanandan of the Race Relations Institute passed away this month.

Sivanandan was an activist intellectual.

His death is a great loss.

Michael Lavalette, Liverpool


Free meals for all children

Shocking that means testing will mean some children will lose their free school meals (Socialist Worker online, 11 January).

Every school child should be given a free lunch.

Ms Galahad, On Twitter


Yes—it is hitting the most vulnerable in society and could damage children’s health.

And what message does it send out to the kids?

Maurice Hugh Walker, On Twitter


Hands off soft Labour left

Your article “Beware the soft left” (Socialist Worker, 3 January) warns us about the people who actually deliver Labour victories.

Get your hands off our party, scumbags.

Councillor Jon Burke, Hackney, east London


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Article information

Letters
Mon 15 Jan 2018, 15:12 GMT
Issue No. 2587
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