A report on economic justice from the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) calls for reforms to the UK economy. It claims these are on a par with those introduced by the 1945 Clement Atlee Labour government.
It’s clear something drastic needs to happen.
The top 10 percent of households have income 6.8 times greater than the lowest 10 percent.
And the richest 10 percent of households’ wealth is 315 times that of the lowest. This shows the extent of inequality in 2018.
The report makes many fine-sounding suggestions—raising the minimum wage to the real Living Wage of £10.20 an hour in London and £8.75 an hour outside London, for instance.
Also included is the old demand for workers’ representation on the boards of companies.
All this is window dressing.
Fundamentally its suggestions are about making British capitalism more competitive through increasing productivity and attracting overseas investment.
And the report’s authors—including the Archbishop of Canterbury, the TUC trades union congress and business leaders—give no indication about how the Tories might be convinced of their programme.
Much has been made of the fact that New Labour based many of its policies on proposals from the IPPR. The implication is the next Labour government could do the same.
Nowhere in the report is any consideration of the structural reasons for such vast inequality in society.
And the authors’ proposals seek to preserve the current system, managing the terms of our exploitation.
The process can be made a bit more palatable, but it fundamentally remains the same.
Only a total overhaul of the system will allow us to organise society in a way which benefits the majority rather than the elite few.
Claire Chandler, north London
Israel is a racist state
It’s been said that a lie flies half way round the world while the truth is still putting on its boots. And that is certainly true of the lie which claims that Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic.
Right wingers have latched on to the antisemitism accusation as a way of getting at Corbyn.
Like any decent socialist, and unlike many of his critics, Corbyn has always opposed all forms of racism, and he has always supported the oppressed against their oppressors.
His main fault has been that he has been too defensive.
We should be able to call the formation of the state of Israel a racist endeavour.
How else can you describe a state which was founded on the basis of the ethnic cleansing of 850,000 Palestinians?
Former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown claims that adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) examples of antisemitism would still allow people to criticise the Israeli government.
But he doesn’t mention that it would not allow someone to call for the replacement of the apartheid Israeli state by a secular state.
This would be a state which gives equal rights to all its citizens and in which Palestinians and Jews could live peacefully side-by-side.
And all this is happening at a time when there is a real danger of antisemitism from the growth of the racist and outright fascist extreme right all across the world.
Phil Webster, Lancashire
Big capital muscling in on the live music scene
As the festival season draws to a close, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has claimed 25.3 percent of the British festival market is owned by US-based company Live Nation. AIF events make up just 20 percent.
Live Nation—which also owns the vast Ticketmaster ticket sales company—runs some of the biggest and well known festivals on the British music scene, including Reading and Leeds.
The festival market—said to be worth over £2 billion, with over 3.5 million people attending a festival each year—is big business.
In 2017 live music ticket sales rose by 12 percent. Alongside this sales of physical music products such as CDs are generally falling, and have been for some time.
Big capital will go anywhere there are profits to be made. Live music is increasingly one of those areas.
Alan Kenny, east London
Nike protests reveal deep racism in US
Nike’s decision to partner with American footballer Colin Kaepernick for an advertising campaign has been met with a mass campaign of burning the brand’s products.
It shows just how deeply rooted racism still is in US society.
The scale of the boycott was revealed when Nike’s shares fell by 3 percent on Tuesday of last week. It shows just how divided the US is.
Donald Trump has used the opportunity to push the nationalism and racism his political base feeds off.
His assertion that Kaepernick’s protests against police brutality attack the national anthem deliberately ignores the wider issues of racism in his country.
But it’s hard to see how Nike can claim to be a bastion of anti-racism.
Back in 2007 the firm settled out of court with 400 former workers at its Chicago shop amid allegations of systemic racial abuse from management.
The fight against the racism being pushed out from the White House must not be left to the self-proclaimed leaders of “the resistance”.
Gabby Thorpe, Norwich
Ta ta to the racist Field
What good news Frank Field MP, a racist and a big fan of Enoch Powell, has resigned from Labour.
Good riddance. Tories in disguise are the ones I despise.
Mike Archer, Cornwall
Good to see the racist Frank Field go.
Now let’s see the rest of the racists kicked out of the Labour Party, from supporters of Israel to those who oppose freedom of movement.
Heather Knowles, by email
150 years of easy TUC jobs
Union Leaders are privileged and so many are in cushy jobs.
They need to do more to help workers who cannot afford to live these days.
Unions need to stop sitting on the fence and help the working class
They are complacent these days.
Sometimes I think the leaders are far too comfortable in their roles to actually make a sacrifice to help the workers.
Melanie Powell, on Twitter
The tuc sold the miners out. All they’re bothered about is the fat pensions and their knighthoods. It’s about time the workers took control of these demigods.
Paddy Hanrahan, on Facebook
Australia’s PM and the Bible
There is an addition to make to James Supple’s account of Australia’s new prime minister Scott Morrison.
The man is a born-again Christian right reactionary.
He shares the same beliefs and prejudices as the US Christian right.
His hostility to LGBT+ people derives from the Christian right’s reading of the Bible.
His lack of concern for global warming is partly a rejection of science in favour of the Bible. Of course, like all the Christian right, while he talks religion he walks corporate.
John Newsinger, Brighton