Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker —council votes to review construction of Margaret Thatcher statue

Issue No. 2737

Barack Obama and John Bercow in front of the statue of Thatcher in Westminster (Pic: Number 10/flickr)

A council committee has voted for a review of plans to underwrite a £100,000 unveiling ceremony for a statue of former Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Previously, South Kesteven district council had agreed to fund the event, due to be held in Grantham, Lincolnshire, this year.

At a public meeting recently held to discuss the ceremony, one person logged in with the name Arthur Scargill.

More than 70,000 households have been made homeless during the coronavirus pandemic.The figures, compiled by the Observer newspaper, show the weakness of Tory pledges to prevent evictions. Some 207,543 households approached their local council for help with homelessness between the start of April and end of November 2020.

Saudi law breaches left out of secret log

Air strikes in Yemen, many involving civilian casualties, have not been recorded in the government’s secret log of alleged breaches of international humanitarian law.

The log was revealed only when the government faced a legal challenge over its decision to grant British arms manufacturers export licences to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.

By last July more than 500 possible breaches had been recorded.

But in a conflict in which Saudi-led forces have conducted over 20,000 air strikes, the real figure must be much higher.

In January 2018 an air strike on a bridge and a market in Al-Mufdhah area, Qaflah Athr district, killed 17 people.

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed this attack is not on the database.

A September 2015 air strike on a funeral gathering in Khabb wa ash Sha’af district, in which 30 people died, isn’t on it either.

Travelodge backs down after threat to worker

Hotel giant Travelodge refused to put a single mother on furlough after her daughter’s primary school was shut.

Schools were closed across the country last week as part of a new lockdown.

But the Tories have left parents and children without support.

Bosses told a housekeeper she would be marked as “absent without pay” if she did not turn up for work.

The housekeeper, who asked not to be named, feared being left penniless after being snubbed by her employers.

She said, “They’ve put a gun to my head—it’s either starve or resign.

“I can’t just wait with no wages for however long it is until the school reopens.”

Travelodge, which runs 560 hotels, U-turned after pressure from the Sunday Mirror newspaper.

Covid-19 helps private health

The vultures are gathering to feed off the health crisis.

Britain’s private healthcare providers hope for a “coronavirus bounce” over the next four years driven by a potential £10 billion worth of contracts with the NHS.

More than 90 providers, including two of the biggest, Spire Healthcare and privately-owned Circle Healthcare, have signed up to the four-year deal with NHS England.

It starts in March and they are expecting big profits.

Shares of Spire have tripled since the start of the pandemic.

Charles Weston, an analyst at RBC Wealth Management, said that the coronavirus crisis “should drive more NHS work into the independent hospital sector”.

Last March, the NHS agreed to pay the operating costs of the private providers to help them survive the pandemic. This includes rent, interest payments and staffing.

The government has so far refused to reveal the cost of the deal.

The crisis in the NHS, and its inability to carry out many procedures, have also boosted private firms.

HCA healthcare said it was performing double the number of self-pay procedures in hip surgeries, cataracts and abdominal operations during the pandemic.

Free speech for the right

A group of students who thought they had joined a group to defend free speech say they were censored if they weren’t right wing enough.

They say the Free Speech Youth Advisory Board is actually a front for right wing Tory Toby Young’s Free Speech Union (FSU) group.

Graduate Charlotte Nurnberg said, “The group started with quite diverse viewpoints. But very quickly that got shut down.”

The FSU appears to be particularly irked by “anti-racism” initiatives in workplaces and by people who fight for trans rights.

The FSU says it could support people who are “targeted by a digital outrage mob”.

‘Wonderful news’

Labour leader Keir Starmer celebrates the vaccinations of royal parasites

‘I am deeply afraid for the future of freedom in my country’

Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday journalist, says he is censored for opposing Covid restrictions

‘The new Red Guards’

How Hitchens describes those who challenge right wing views

‘The world is laughing at America & Mao, Lenin, & Stalin are smiling’

Donald Trump Jr reacts to the closing down of President Trump’s Twitter account

‘Almost breathless’

Former Commons speaker John Bercow on Theresa May’s praise for Donald Trump

‘The National Union of Mineworkers of this generation’

What one Tory MP called the NEU union after it said workers should refuse to attend unsafe schools

‘Too weak’

How two senior Tories view education secretary Gavin Williamson

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