Socialist Worker

LETTERS - Tory hypocrisy over barracks, Grenfell and housing crisis

Issue No. 2636

Campaigning for justice over the Grenfell Tower fire - Tory policies continue to put people at risk

Campaigning for justice over the Grenfell Tower fire - Tory policies continue to put people at risk (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Tory MP Johnny Mercer has attacked the Ministry of Defence for housing soldiers in unsafe barracks. “Animals would not be housed in such dangerous conditions,” he said.

His comments came after a Defence Safety Authority report found that cuts had led to an “unacceptable degradation” of the buildings.

The fact is, people across Britain live in unsafe housing and are at risk every day. Where was Mercer’s concern 18 months ago when at least 72 people lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire?

Three hundred tower blocks have been found to have unsafe cladding on them and yet only three of these towers have had the cladding replaced.

Maybe Mercer could remind Theresa May of her promise to people living in tower blocks that unsafe cladding would be removed and paid for by the government?

The problem is systemic. Housing has been in crisis for many years. Cuts and privatisation have put people at risk. And the bottom line is the government is not building safe council housing.

This means that behind the headlines people are being made homeless, pushed into totally inadequate temporary accommodation.

There has been a 62 percent increase in the number of children living in temporary accommodation since 2010.

Children living in temporary accommodation cannot develop and are being held back.

Relationships are at breaking point when kids and their parents have to share the same room.

Roughly 900 children become homeless every month.

The Tories’ main solution is to talk up their “affordable housing” but it won’t solve the crisis as it’s really totally unaffordable.

Mercer is a hypocrite. He only cares about people’s housing if they’re soldiers doing the British state’s dirty work.

Janice Sweeney, North Kensington


Asylum system has treated me unfairly

Thank you for your article drawing attention to the case of Otis Bolamu (Socialist Worker, 2 January 2019).

The way Congolese asylum seekers are being treated right now is extremely unfair.

On the Home Office website was a notice that British nationals should leave the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the situation was worsening as the election came near.

Europeans nationals are being moved to neighbouring countries. Yet Congolese asylum seekers are being threatened with deportation back to a country from which European states are evacuating their citizens.

As an asylum seeker from DRC, I have received nothing but complications with my case, although there is clear evidence I’m in danger.

One judge even insinuated that I could be a spy for the government of then president Joseph Kabila.

It is crucial to raise awareness about such unfairness.

It is quite evil to remove one group from a dangerous environment and yet forcefully send others to that same dangerous environment.

Chris Kafunda


How to kick racism out of the terraces for good

Senegalese football player Kalidou Koulibaly was racially abused at a match between Inter Milan and his Napoli team in December.

In response Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti has demanded games be suspended when players are racially abused.

Football needs to get a grip, and he is giving a lead.

Disgracefully Koulibaly was sent off for his reaction. But he has refused to be silent, responding on Twitter, “I’m disappointed by the defeat and above all to have left my brothers. But I am proud of the colour of my skin.”

Teams should abandon a game where any player is racially abused, either on the pitch or from elsewhere in the stadium.

It’s happened before in Britain. At clubs such as Leeds, Exeter and Charlton fans have organised against racism and fascism.

No permission is needed to break down barriers to equality.

Dave Clinch, Torrington


Thatcher the racist

Newly released material from the National Archives give a fresh insight into the xenophobic world view of Margaret Thatcher and her continued influence on today’s Tory Party.

The archives reveal Thatcher’s “disappointment” with Nelson Mandela, then only recently freed after serving 27 years in South Africa’s prisons for fighting apartheid.

There is a clear continuity between the Thatcher who spoke of immigrants “swamping” the UK in 1979 and the Thatcher who dismissed the valiant anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela as “disappointing”.

Sasha Simic, East London


Spreading solidarity in Scarborough

Frack Free Scarborough voted unanimously to send solidarity to the Stansted 15 and to back the General Election Now demonstration on 12 January.

The state has used the same lot of anti-terror laws against the Stansted 15 that will face protesters at fracking wells in full production.

I hope the Stansted 15 campaign grows big enough to force the most lenient possible sentence and a swift and successful appeal.

Their success is not only morally right—it will give confidence to campaigners across the country.

Kim, Scarborough


Don’t trust the Bureau

I am sure I am not the only person to express concern that Citizens Advice has accepted funding from, and is working with, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The DWP is toxic.

Remember what happened to the disgraced programme provider A4E, or to the Shaw Trust.

The trust issued a booklet for jobseekers whose title was in extremely poor taste and caused offence to many.

Those who choose to dance with the devil may end up paying a very high price.

John Costello, Wolverhampton


Is SW soft on Theresa May?

Theresa May did not say she wanted a “hostile environment”.

She said she wanted a “really hostile environment”. And plenty of collateral damage to go with it, no doubt.

A hostile environment is a pub where regulars glare at you when you walk in.

In a really hostile environment they glass you in the face.

That is the level of hostitlity that Theresa May wants. Don’t let her off the hook.

Name and address provided


Unfare rail hike infuriates

The only thing you can rely upon the privatised railway to provide on time is the annual fare increases above inflation.

Brian Eggleston, On Facebook


Refugees are welcome here

Your front page about refugees crossing the English Channel (Socialist Worker, 2 January) makes an important point.

This is an island of 60 million yet five more people is “too much”.

They should have come dressed as hedge fund bankers or arms dealers.

They’d have been welcomed with open arms.

Gareth Taylor, On Facebook


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