Spare a thought for John McDonnell this week. He’ll be abandoning his comfort zone to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
It is reassuring that his summons to this invite-only shindig of the world’s elite suggests that they consider him a likely contender for chancellor.
But I am left wondering what sort of reception “Labour’s vision for an alternative economic approach to replace the current model of capitalism” will get?
Of the attendees, some 1,500 will be business leaders. Of the remaining 1,000 just 11 will be union leaders.
Journalists covering the event are divided by a badge system, which ensures that only those considered worthy by the organisers get full access.
Meanwhile those documenting the events outside will get to see the democratic aims of the WEF in action.
This event has understandably attracted its fair share of protests over the years. Donald Trump’s decision to attend—so much for his anti-establishment “swamp draining” credentials—will probably see the protests increase in size. And masses of Swiss riot cops will be drafted in to ensure that no one spoils the party.
The Swiss police are not well known for their restraint, as I discovered in Geneva in 2003 during the G8 summit. I was photographing them attacking peaceful demonstrators when I was blown off my feet by one of their ‘flashbang’ grenades.
I was hospitalised for three weeks. It took nine years and three court cases to win any compensation, which was only possible with the support of my trade union. Unsurprisingly the cops got away with their actions.
The WEF states its mission as being “committed to improving the state of the world”.
This seems ironic when you consider who makes up most of the guest list and the behaviour of those tasked with providing security.
Churchill didn’t bully
Whats the point to your article on Churchill? (Socialist Worker, 17 January).Who did he “bully”, by the way? He didn’t even “bully” his way into office.
If you’re talking about his support for the British Empire, the word is “imperialist”. But even that doesn’t fit since Churchill was instrumental in destroying the empire—and he knew it.
If you want perfection, light a candle to a saint.
No politician is a paragon of virtue and most have blood on their hands in some way, even Gandhi.
Churchill was a racist
One of my earliest memories is Churchill’s funeral on television and my grandmother laughing and shouting, “He’s dead! He’s dead! The bloody old warmongering bastard is dead!”
Years later when I watched Thatcher’s funeral on telly I knew just how she had felt.
Churchill committed genocide in Bengal, was a rampant racist and vocal about it.
He wanted the striking Welsh miners to be machine gunned.
During the war he ordered annihilation bombing of German cities, specifically targeting civilians.
Treatment of racist DJ shows campaigns work
DJ Mistabishi’s racist comments about London mayor Sadiq Khan are disgusting.
He posted an awful Facebook post after Donald Trump cancelled his visit to Britain.
Even in the creative industry, racism and homophobia are rife.
Drum and bass is a really diverse scene.
It’s great that industry websites like Mixmag are talking about it.
And his record label has handled it really well—they’ve dropped him and have said they’ll give the royalties to Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR)
The reaction to his comments show that campaigns like LMHR work.
We can fight racism in the music industry by having no tolerance for it, and calling it out at every opportunity.
Love Music Hate Racism
Programme challenged stereotypes
I disagree with aspects of the review of Working Class White Men (Socialist Worker, 17 January). Despite the title, I welcomed the programme challenging some stereotypes about young working class men.
One man said that people felt intimidated by him and his friends hanging around in a group in the park. But he explained they just wanted a job and somewhere decent to live like anybody else.
Fascist groups take advantage of the vulnerable and jobless. However it ended on a hopeful note and the presenter said, “It’s not colour that matters, it’s class”. He urged people to direct their anger to the top in society. Well said!
Do plastic charges work?
Am I being unduly cynical at the support from retailers for compulsory plastic bag charging?
Apart from the few companies that claim to donate this income to charity, the rest will be laughing their way to the bank.
Corrupt Tories have got to go
Carillion has to be the one to bring down the Tories (Carillion’s collapse puts thousands of workers’ jobs and pensions at risk, Socialist Worker, 17 January).
They are corrupt to the core, and handed out milions in contracts to a company that went under.
Martin Sean Beck
Here’s a thought—the last Carillion chief financial officer earned £460,000 a year, before bonuses, when he was sacked in September 2017.
Cyrille opened up the sport
I was shocked to read Cyrille Regis had died.
He was a pioneer who opened the sport up to thousands of black kids that wanted to be footballers. Players like Cyrille played a huge part in challenging racism in the game.
I support the guard strikes
The rail strikes have my support for what it’s worth (Socialist Worker, 17 January). I would support a general strike tomorrow!
No room for redevelopers
great to read the good news about the Elephant and Castle housing demo (Socialist Worker online, 17 January).
The council voted the proposals down—at least for now! We need to keep pressure on. Homes for people, not for profit.