Socialist Worker

Letters—The Met fails again over the Stephen Lawrence murder

Issue No. 2718

Stephen Lawrence (left) and his brother

Stephen Lawrence (left) and his brother


The Metropolitan Police are closing the investigation into the 1993 racist murder of Stephen Lawrence. 

At least three suspects still remain at large. 

From the outset police showed scant concern for black life. 

Arriving at the scene of the knife attack they treated Stephen’s companion Dwayne Brooks as a suspect. 

They refused to apply first aid to Stephen as he bled. Police claimed there was a conspiracy of silence but in fact the suspects’ names were quickly and repeatedly supplied. 

And to add insult to injury the Met planted undercover cops to spy on the Lawrence family as they campaigned for justice for their dead son. It took the intervention of Nelson Mandela to shame the authorities into launching a murder investigation. This itself was overshadowed by allegations of corrupt police links to the criminal underworld.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick has never come to terms with Judge Macpherson’s damning inquiry conclusion that the organisation was “institutionally racist”. 

Closure of the murder investigation is an attempt to erase that chapter of racist policing. Further, it’s also a strategic move by Dick to press ahead with continued over-policing of black people from stop and search, to racial profiling and the  use of tasers. 

The statistics are alarming. The equivalent of 25 percent of young black men in May in London were subject to stop and search during lockdown. 

Some 80 percent of stop and search resulted in no further action. 

Such levels of oppression cannot continue indefinitely without stoking a reaction. Twenty seven years after the murder of Stephen Lawrence the Met police are still rotten. They’re still racist. 

Harold Wilson
South east London


Let’s keep up the NHS pay fight 

Nurses and healthcare workers have been undervalued, underpaid, understaffed and overworked for years (Socialist Worker, 5 August).  

We are demoralised. The past ten years of Tory rule have decimated the NHS.

It became clear to me that it needed to be nurses who stepped up to defend their profession as nobody else was going to. 

I felt an overwhelming need for direct action so I started organising in Sheffield as part of last Saturday’s protests across Britain.

I am part of the “NHS Workers say NO” movement, which is  grassroots-led and has over 70,000 members now. 

We are not against pay rises for the rest of the public sector. But to be missed out deliberately was a big insult to us, especially off the back of the recognition for the work done during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This is the first protest I have organised. It has been a little hectic, but more than worth it. 

I’ve already connected with a number of interesting, passionate people from organisations such as the Sheffield Save our NHS campaign and the GMB union. 

The level of support has been incredible. Now is the time and we need to get our voices heard

Holly
Nursing sister at a cancer hospital in Sheffield


We can still unionise if working from home

Hannah Reynolds raises important questions about how unions can organise people who work from home (Letters, 29 July). 

I’m not convinced there will be a huge shift to working from home. 

But it could definitely make it harder to organise collectively, with people feeling more atomised and lacking confidence to challenge their boss. 

But it’s not impossible.During the last few months of coronavirus and lockdown, many workers have had to organise while at home. This included the campaign by the NEU education union and parents against wholescale reopening of schools back in June.

And over the last few years, we have seen strikes, protests and a growth of union membership among workers who aren’t in a workplace. Think of the Uber delivery drivers or taxi drivers, who work alone on their job. 

Nina Fenwick 
North London


Bodger Boris should badger bad bosses 

Your report on XPO Logistics highlights a serious issue that the Tories are failing to tackle (Socialist Worker, 5 August).  

In Sandwell, bad bosses are to blame for recent spikes in coronavirus. In West Bromwich, bosses at CBS packaging failed to make their workplace Covid-19 secure, resulting in a third of the workforce testing positive. 

Other outbreaks originated from a meat processing plant and from workers being bussed to a farm in Evesham. With the government only collecting data on home postcodes, a racist narrative has developed about “Asian areas”. 

It would be interesting to investigate whether rogue employers are also at fault in the north west of England. 

But will the Tories overcome their political instincts and tackle the bad bosses? 

What is needed fast is mass inspections of workplaces, with the power to shut them down if they are not Covid-19 secure.

Or will bodger Boris and the Tories once again fail to do the right thing and mess up another aspect of the pandemic?

Tony Barnsley 
Sandwell General Unison union branch secretary (pc)


Blame Tories, not migrants

What are Boris Johnson and the Tories trying to cover up or keep off the front pages by suddenly putting the refugees in the forefront of the news?

These refugee boats have been crossing the channel for years and suddenly they have become the most important subject for the government to discuss.  

Home secretary Priti Patel wants these boats pushed back to sea, which would result in great danger for the poor occupants. 

It is all smoke and mirrors with this corrupt government. They are certainly trying to divert our attention from other issue. 

Lorna Thomson
On Facebook

The government is trying to distract from their recent apparent “success” over coronavirus. Cynical. 

Rick Owen
On Facebook


Johnson lies over testing 

Every coronavirus test that is done is noted as one person.

I know I have had two tests and colleagues I know have had three, which is classed as five persons. 

If you are not a sheep you can see where this is going. The numbers don’t match the true cases. 

Lea Gaf
On Facebook


Blocked by the Guardian

I recently put a comment on the Guardian newspaper’s website in response to an opinion piece on Keir Starmer. I said, “If you want a Labour leader who looks “respectable” to the media, Starmer is the one.

“If you want a Labour leader who surrenders to those who falsely claim it’s antisemitic to criticise of Israel, Starmer is the one.” 

After a few minutes my comment was removed for violating community standards. 

I can only assume the Guardian is now banning any comments which say it’s not antisemitic to criticise Israel or support the Palestinians. 

Phil Webster, 
Lancashire 


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