Socialist Worker

LETTERS—Poverty means much more than not having lots of cash

Issue No. 2649

It is a terrible indictment of the system we live under

It is a terrible indictment of the system we live under

Government statistics published last week showed a sharp increase in disabled people living in poverty.

The number of disabled people living in absolute poverty before housing costs rose by 200,000 within just one year.

For those of us living with the day to day reality of Tory cuts, this isn’t a surprise.

But it is a terrible indictment of the system we live under.

Wealthy people running the government think poverty means not having much money.

They don’t understand poverty. It means bleakness, fear, misery, hopelessness, no rest and no remission, stretching into a degrading future. It means hunger, it means cold in winter, it means worsening mental health and it means bad living conditions and fear of being on the streets.

It means putting cardboard in your shoes to cover the holes and hoping it doesn’t rain.

It means going around feeling that you’re worth less than other people and feeling disempowered.

It means looking at what other people are buying and thinking,

“I can’t have that”.

And for some people it means death by suicide, starvation or some other means.

There are now 5 million disabled people in absolute poverty living terrible, degrading, miserable, half-lives.

It’s a slow, unrelenting, living nightmare.

We must fight to get the Tories out and to reverse the brutal policies that have brought such misery.

Bob Ellard

Disabled People Against the Cuts

  • Tory minister Justin Tomlinson was made to apologise last week for “inadvertent factual errors” over how much disability benefits would go up.

It’s shows how little the Tories care about ordinary people.

Julia Ryder


The Paras are thugs of empire

The video of British soldiers in Afghanistan using a picture of Jeremy Corbyn for target practice is shocking.

But the fact that these troops are from the Parachute Regiment (Paras) is not surprising.

The Paras have a reputation for being one of the most brutal and thuggish units in the British army.

They won one of their first regimental “battle honours” for their part in the Allied invasion of Greece in 1944.

The British army attacked left wingers who had been fighting the German occupation.

They even armed former Nazi collaborators to hold back the rise of the Communist Party.

And in 1972, it was the Paras who opened fire on a Civil Rights march in Derry in Northern Ireland.

They killed 14 people in a day that has gone down in history as Bloody Sunday.

The Corbyn video is a reflection of their dark colonial past in Greece and Ireland as well as their role in the continued British military operations in Afghanistan.

Corbyn was a prominent voice in the opposition to George Bush and Tony Blair’s invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Eighteen years on, it‘s time to end that war, bring the Paras home, and disband one of the most notorious units in the British army.

Richard Donnelly

South London

Toffs want to keep poor people off public space

I read Socialist Worker’s feature on how developers are segregating playgrounds between rich and poor (Socialist Worker, 2 April).

The current scandal focuses on the Wren Mews estate in Lambeth, south London. A similar one took place in nearby Battersea a few years ago. The council proposed introducing an entry fee to access the playgrounds.

It would have excluded children from poorer backgrounds and created a space where middle class children could play together without encountering working class ones.

Thankfully, the proposal was dropped.

This isn’t anything new. Originally only “gentlefolk” were granted entrance to London’s parks—the masses were actively excluded.

It seems there are many toffs and snobs in the capital who would welcome the return of such a policy.

Brian Eggleston

On Facebook

Mogg’s got a history of far right friends

Just when you thought Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg couldn’t sink any lower, he manages to plumb new depths.

He approvingly retweeted a video of a speech by the leader of the far right Alternative for Germany Deutschland (AfD) party last week.

One former leader, Frauke Petry, resigned in September 2017 because of the growing influence of Nazis in the party.

Petry herself had called for cops to shoot refugees at the German border.

And one candidate for the AfD described Islam as “worse than the plague”.

Not that any of this bothers Rees-Mogg.

He was challenged about retweeting the AfD on the BBC Today Programme by Mishal Husain. Rees-Mogg claimed that the backlash was down to “leftie obsession” at the broadcaster.

And why would it bother him?

In 2013 Rees-Mogg spoke at an event organised by the far right Traditional Britain group.

Its vice president Gregory Lauder-Frost called for “assisted voluntary repatriation” for black people.

Bethan Turner

East London

Good news in health service

It’s wonderful news that the Tories backed down from closing two accident and emergency units in west London (Socialist Worker, 27 March).

There have been great local campaigns to save services at Charing Cross and Ealing hospitals. It’s a real victory, but the fight goes on because the cuts continue.

Congratulations to all the campaigners.

Sarah Cox

West London

  • This is really good news. Well done to Anne Drinkell, chair of the Save Our Hospitals at Charing Cross.

Padraic Finn

On Facebook

May’s trap for Corbyn

The Brexit talks between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn won’t work. And the right wing press are going to lynch Corbyn for messing it up.

Kevin Fischer

On Facebook

Lexit is still a fantasy

The left has its hands full dealing with the racists emboldened by the Brexit success.

Trying to make it Lexit—a left wing exit from the European Union—is currently a fantasy.

And in the meantime my European friends and colleagues face an uncertain future here.

Many of those who do protest against racism are also against Brexit.

You might want to win all progressives to your position.

But the reality is that most of those on the left are Remainers and most racists voted for Brexit.

Andy Towle

On Facebook

Rich women suffer too

It doesn’t surprise me at all that presenter Fiona Bruce has experienced sexism at the BBC.

When asking for a pay rise, she was told she didn’t need one because she had a boyfriend.

Women at every level of society experience oppression.

Caroline Payne

On Facebook

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Article information

Tue 9 Apr 2019, 12:52 BST
Issue No. 2649
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