Socialist Worker

Letters - Don’t be fooled by the false promise of nuclear jobs

Issue No. 2731

The Sizewell plant in Suffolk

The Sizewell plant in Suffolk (Pic: John Fielding/flickr)


Socialists and environmental campaigners should have no illusions in nuclear power.

It is a technology that is dirty, dangerous, economically and environmentally unsustainable.

Green technologies such as solar and wave are cheaper to produce and maintain, and produce less C02 emissions in their production.

The challenge of the safe disposal of radioactive nuclear waste has still to be solved. 

And the scale of deadly contamination of land, sea and air in the event of accidents such as in Chernobyl and Fukushima is so vast as to defy the imagination.

So why is the British government announcing support for the outrageously expensive Sizewell plant in Suffolk? In addition there are 16 “mini‑nuclear plants” proposed by Rolls-Royce and funded by taxpayers. 

This promise is especially insulting considering that Unite union members are currently on strike at the Barnoldswick Rolls-Royce engine plant in Lancashire after 350 jobs were put at risk. 

Each mini-plant would cost £2 billion to build and deploy, and won’t be ready for at least ten years. 

This is way too late for the level of global heating emissions reduction essential to prevent climate catastrophe.

Small nuclear power stations pose similar risks of radioactive gas releases and weapons proliferation as big ones. 

The idea of “nuclear” as “safe green energy” maintains the political propaganda support for nuclear weapons as a “deterrent.”

Nuclear has made big profits for private businesses because of the massive subsidies from taxpayers and the high price of electricity compared with renewables. Now even that is not assured.

Trade unionists should not believe in the promise of 6,000 new construction and maintenance jobs in this filthy nuclear industry.

We should fight for the creation of a million green jobs to transfer production from the carbon industries to sustainable production of green energy and carbon-zero infrastructure.

Tony Staunton

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, national council member, Plymouth


Police ­advert was racist

The Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) group in Dorset, recently found a racially discriminatory Facebook post shown on the Weymouth and Portland Police website. 

The image was a photo of a young black teenager alongside the caption, “County Lines—We Need Your Help to Stop It”.

This implies that black men are the ones responsible for drug trafficking. SUTR quickly put out a statement that this image was unacceptable and racist. 

The deputy chief constable of Dorset Police was then forced to issue an apology to “those who felt offended” and the image was withdrawn.

The deputy chief constable’s remark, “to those who felt offended” implies that some, not all people may find the image offensive.  

This is disgraceful and very worrying when we all need to be working hard to eradicate racial prejudice, including in public bodies.  

The attitude of the police explains why Dorset is one of the most racially prejudiced forces in England and Wales according to their stop and search practices.  

This serious problem in Dorset will not be challenged by central government as it was the home office that made the image that Dorset police used.

And that begs the question, how many more police forces are using it?  

Mary Mullett

Dorset 


The politics of antisemitism

The Labour Party suspended Jeremy Corbyn following the EHRC report on antisemitism within the party. Recently the US administration tweeted that president Donald Trump is considering branding Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch as antisemitic.

Then the same gimmick came to Britain. Or could it really because of Corbyn’s statements? He has said that unfortunately, we can find antisemitism everywhere, even in the Labour Party.

It is clear to me that Corbyn has been blamed because of his position against war—whether in Afghanistan or Iraq or anywhere, and because he supports justice for Palestine.

As a Palestinian and as someone who is against antisemitism because it calls for hatred against people solely on an ethnic basis because they are Jews.

I am against Holocaust denial.

But today if you criticise Israel, you are accused of antisemitism. I think that anyone who blames Corbyn needs to understand what antisemitism really is. If you criticise occupation, siege, apartheid, and to stop a war, you are not being antisemitic.

Once George W. Bush’s policy was “either you are with us or against us” as he announced the war on terror. Today it is “either you are with us or you are antisemitic”.

Unfortunately, we can say that the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn is an attempt to suspend anti-war campaigns, of working for justice for Palestine and a victory for wars, capitalism and colonialism.                 

Yousef

by email


Climate tax puts blame in the wrong place 

As someone who has been vegan for the past three and a half years, I understand the idea that reducing meat consumption can benefit the environment. 

What infuriates me, however, are the calls for a tax on meat by the UK Alliance on Climate. This puts the burden on us.

This climate tax would compound the struggle working class people have trying to feed their families.

Veganism is a choice not available to all. But the responsibility for the destruction of the environment must be placed on corporate interests. It is their exploitation of natural resources that is destructive to our climate.

What is needed now is education on the consequences of meat consumption on the environment. 

But we also need provision of alternative, affordable products, rather than penalising those who cannot afford veganism. 

Luke

Cambridge


‘Unity’ call won’t end the witch hunt

The suspension of Jeremy Corbyn for his response to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) inquiry into antisemitism in the Labour Party has thrown attacks on Labour’s left into sharp relief.

This is an attack that extends beyond Labour. 

Roger McKenzie, one of Britain’s leading black, anti-racist, trade union voices—and a candidate in the current election for Unison general secretary is the latest prominent target of the witch hunt.

Labour’s left finds themselves in a vice. They face a ban on constituency parties (CLPs) discussing the EHRC report. Defiance risks suspension and expulsion.

Left statements and CLP motions avoid defending Corbyn’s assertion of political motivation behind the exaggerated claims of the scale of antisemitism. But this is what his suspension hinges upon.

Instead they are framed as appeals to democracy and “unity”. 

Meanwhile suspensions are contested on a case by case basis or legal action rather than through an open collective campaign.  

This will not stop the political witch hunt. And it allows further space for the right to extend its attack.

Rob Ferguson

east London


Trump’s not a fascist 

As Socialist Worker has argued, Donald Trump is a racist but not a fascist.

Trump welcomed the appearance of right wing militias on the streets to counter the Black Lives Matter movement. 

But he did not come to power as a fascist at the head of such an organised gang of thugs.  

The US ruling class has no need at the moment to look to such forces outside of liberal democracy to save itself. 

But that may not always be the case.

John Shemeld

Nottingham


Tory failures inevitable

Maybe if the Tories hadn’t spent more than a decade decimating health, social and community care.

Maybe if they’d pumped billions into the NHS things with the virus would be very different. But what would I know? I never went to Eton

Jo Hudson 

On Facebook 


Unelected have influence  

Green projects apparently advocated for by Boris Johnson’s partner Carrie Symonds have been approved.

New green policy is welcome of course.

But I’m again uncomfortable with unelected figures having such sway over the government. 

Samira R

east London


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