Socialist Worker

Letters - Donations are not getting to flood victims most in need

Issue No. 2695

Porthcrawl in Wales when Storm Dennis hit

Porthcrawl in Wales when Storm Dennis hit (Pic: Ben Salter/Flickr)


I was disappointed to learn this week that a crowdfunder set up by actor Michael Sheen for the Storm Dennis flood victims in Wales won’t go directly to the victims.

You can only apply for money from it if you are a charity, community organisation, a community interest company or a social enterprise.

Many small businesses say they won’t be able to benefit.

Neither will the uninsured pensioners or families renting from uninsured landlords, who are now facing bills for thousands of pounds of repairs and replacement goods.

An organisation providing services in an affected area can apply for up to £5,000 which they could use for carpets for their premises.

Meanwhile residents have to make do with a £500 payout.

I doubt very much that people donating to this crowdfunder envisaged that they would be furnishing an office.

When I queried the logic, The Wales Council for Voluntary Action told me that the proceeds from Sheen’s crowdfunder will those who are supporting people most affected by the storm.

I was told this money was “designed for the groups and organisations working on the ground to help those in need”.

The logic is that this will make the money spread further into the community than if it were shared between individuals.

While I agree that this makes the bureaucracy easier, carpets for nurseries and equipment for day centres wasn’t what anyone had in mind when they donated.

I’m sure this issue has happened with other crowdfunding campaigns intended to support victims of tragedies such as Grenfell.

Those directly affected suffer the financial burden while NGOs flourish in their wake.

I only hope that the community centres that did such amazing work after the floods are successful in their bids for the funding.

Angela Gerrard, Pontypridd 


Mental distress is complex

Sarah Bates (Socialist Worker, 19 February) is right to point out that placing the blame for Caroline Flack’s suicide solely on the media obscures the wide range of complex factors affecting mental health.

Reducing this tragedy to just one angle creates the impression it was a relatively exceptional occurrence.

Of course the majority of people will never face the intensity of being in the public spotlight that Flack experienced.

But still, it must be considered for what it was—just one example of an everyday reality of what happens when women do not receive the support we need to manage mental distress.

For people given my diagnosis—who are predominantly women—the suicide rate is one in ten.

Up to 80 percent are estimated to engage in self-injury as the most effective form of relieving emotional distress that we know.

Recent developments mean there is now more understanding of how to better support those who live with or experience mental distress.

But many people who desperately need care do not know what is available. And many more are not able to afford it.

We must fight for a society where support is freely available to all those suffering mental distress.

Ellen Clifford, South London


Italian right use racism in coronavirus outbreak

This month Luca Zaia, the president of Italy’s Veneto region, summed up the coronavirus crisis as only a Lega Nord ­politician could have done.

“Thankfully the Veneto inhabitants care about personal hygiene and therefore we only have 116 people who tested positive,” he said.

“Chinese people? We have all seen them eating rats!”

This is the hostile environment that the far right is fomenting. People are reasonably scared and worried not only for their health but also for their economic conditions.

There are now entire villages in lockdown and schools shut across Italy until at least 15 March.

Unsurprisingly, scapegoating is the best answer that the Lega Nord can offer.

This is the climate that we all have to reject and stand up against.

Olivia Alessi, East London


Councils must stand firm against cuts

In response to Mike Hakata’s letter, (26 February) about council cuts, Labour-led councils did and still do have options to fight back.

If they simultaneously defied this vicious government using the combined £4.5 billion they hold in reserves, there would be very little the Tories could do about it.

And we should not accept the defeatist refrain that if Labour councils refuse to make the cuts then the Department for Communities and Local Government will send in their commissioners to do it for them.

If Labour councils stood firm, there wouldn’t be enough commissioners to carry out the cuts.

We all know there were principled councillors in the past who courageously resisted such attacks.

This year marks the 99th anniversary of the struggle of councillors in Poplar, east London, against government cuts.

This was at a time when councillors paid dearly for taking such action.

That culminated in their going to prison with the slogan “better to break the law than break the poor”.

Today’s fainthearted councillors will never face such pressures.

Kenneth Toulson, Sheffield


Greed’s better than review

I didn’t recognise the film Greed from the second half of Richard Donnelly’s review (Socialist Worker, 26 February).

He seemed to be seeking some sort of socialist formula where the ordinary folk come out on top.

Humour can’t always be packaged in that box.

Greed is both funny and powerful in sending up the vulgarity of the super rich.

Lesley McGorrigan, Shipley


Hope for new generation

This new generation of children are losing sleep over climate change.

They no doubt see their elders sunk in apathetic indifference to saving the planet—which should be the universal interest of all.

It excites me to think that they could turn socialism into the new hope.

Tony Pill, Blackpool 


We need more UCU solidarity

There was a good atmosphere on the UCU union picket line at Huddersfield university last week.

It would be good to see support from the general public, from students and from other trade unions.

June Jones, On Facebook


Greta must be defended

I am disgusted at the attacks and smears thrown at Greta Thunberg saying she isn’t a leader.

She represents my grandchildren and great grandchildren.

We must get behind the climate strike movement.

Michael Bentley, On Facebook 


Biden is a weak candidate

there is no chance that Joe Biden will ever be able to win against Donald Trump.

This is a man who has lied his way through his political career.

@jesslyjones, On Twitter


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