Socialist Worker

LETTERS - Tories have some nerve over Skripal poisoning hypocrisy

Issue No. 2596

A statue of Winston Churchill - who wasnt averse to using biological weapons

A statue of Winston Churchill - who wasn't averse to using biological weapons (Pic: Tammy Lo/Flickr)

The hypocrisy around the gruesome attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal is sickening. As if the Russian secret service dreamt up the practice of poisoning civilians all on its own.

The British state has never had a problem with using toxic chemicals against civilians who might get in the way of its foreign policy.

The only reason there’s a “research establishment” at Porton Down is because Britain was tooling up to use chemical and nerve agents which would inevitably kill many.

In fact a large number of British service personnel were poisoned after being tricked into taking part in experiments there.

Winston Churchill was prepared to use biological warfare against civilians during the Second World War.

His senior advisor Viscount Alanbrooke was vocally in favour of drenching the southern shores of Britain with chlorine and phosgene gases if it looked like the Germans might invade. He didn’t give much thought to British civilians living there who may have been exposed to the chemicals.

Britain’s ally the US used toxic chemicals such as Agent Orange against millions of civilians in Vietnam, without a whimper of opposition from the British state.

Mike Killian, Manchester

It is estimated that there have been 120,000 excess deaths in Britain as a result of Tory health and social care cuts.

Between 2010 and 2013 nearly 600 suicides in England were linked to the government’s Work Capability Assessments.

The people who died in Grenfell Tower were the victims of years of Tory deregulation.

And Britain has one of the highest levels of child hunger among rich countries.

So naturally Theresa May is angry at the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Harming people on British soil is her job, after all.

Sasha Simic, East London

West Ham fight back

Last week’s West Ham game saw pitch invasions and a crowd demonstration against the board.

This shouldn’t be dismissed simply as hooliganism. It is an expression of the massive resentment West Ham fans feel at the way in which our club is being run.

West Ham bosses told fans the new stadium would be as good as the old one.

But now spectators are further away from the action on the pitch.

It’s not fit for football, but it’s a cheap deal for West Ham’s owners.

Unfortunately, the legitimate anger of West Ham fans is being partly mobilised by ex-Inter City Firm (ICF) members with links to the far right racist Football Lads Alliance (FLA).

The ICF was a hooligan firm which revelled in football violence in the late 1970s and 1980s. Since then massive progress has been made in combatting racism.

The FLA is seeking to turn this back by organising marches ostensibly against “terrorism” but which scapegoat Muslims and provide a grouping for fascist organisations to grow within.

Football fans need to oppose racism and fascism in all its forms and fight for inclusive football for all.

This means demanding the removal of FLA banners at football grounds, mobilising counter demonstrations against them and demanding supporters groups disassociate themselves from FLA involvement.

Neale Williams, South London

Free movement not free markets, please

Jeremy Corbyn called for the prevention of “employers being able to import cheap agency labour to undercut existing pay and conditions” in a speech to the Scottish Labour conference.

He has given a boost to those on the right wing of the party who want full access to the European single market.

It is the bosses, with their insistence on free market economics, who have caused misery and hardship across the world, not migrants and refugees.

The best way to defend wages and conditions is to organise a common struggle of immigrant and other workers against the bosses.

Socialists should oppose the free market and support the free movement of workers. Open the borders.

Bob Fotheringham, Glasgow

Street art named a liar

I’m fed up of so-called street art. It is nothing but a council-funded con-trick.

Estate agents and property spivs use the gentrification of public space to hype areas, and then jack up house prices and rents.

Local authorities are playing along with it because they want poor people driven out of their boroughs—and replaced with young, upwardly mobile people with plenty of cash to spend, and little need for services.

If genuine community art is to mean anything, it means being part of the fight against social cleansing.

The only art that matters is that which shocks and challenges people, not that which reinforces developers’ egos.

Jan Gardner, East London

Universal Income scam

Some on the left have taken up the idea of Universal Income as a solution to automation and the resulting lack of jobs. It would mean all social security benefits being replaced by a single “one size fits all” payment paid to everyone in work or not.

But how is dismantling the welfare state in any way progressive?

Far from being some kind of liberating alternative, it’s more like a Tory wet dream. It really should be opposed.

Duncan Brown, Glasgow

Universities are revolting

University workers rejected the deal by 161 votes to eight in a mass meeting outside Heslington Hall at the University of York, a clear message carried by our delegate to London to vote no.

Jon Fanning, On Facebook

Racism in the health service

Albert Thompson has been refused treatment on the NHS. He has lived in Britain for 44 years but could have to pay £54,000 for his prostate cancer treatment.

He was effectively given a death sentence due to the creeping privatisation of the NHS.

There are few more shocking examples of the racism which lies at the heart of the British state.

Theresa May has promised to take action over his case after Jeremy Corbyn brought it up in parliament.

There must be thousands of stories similar to his. The Tories can’t be trusted with the health service.

May Dunlop, Worthing

Javid doesn’t speak for me

Sajid Javid said there are 770,000 people in England who have trouble speaking English.So what?

He says a new green paper will address the “problem”. I doubt it will do anything of the kind—expect yet another racist attack.

Denise Richards, Milton Keynes

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Article information

Tue 20 Mar 2018, 09:06 GMT
Issue No. 2596
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