Socialist Worker

Letters—Starmer will snatch influence away from Labour members

Issue No. 2774

Keir Starrmer

Keir Starrmer


Sir Keir Starmer is not satisfied with just purging large numbers of Labour Party members for having the audacity to be critical of him.

He has now set his sights on massively reducing the influence of all members.

He wants to remove the current electoral system—One Member One Vote—for choosing the party leader.

He wants to give a cast-iron guarantee that no future leader will ever again come from the left.

It will increase the power of the Parliamentary Labour Party as well as the union officials.

These are conservative forces within the party.

They have always been the real power brokers inside the party while the mass membership is treated as canon fodder to wage election campaigns.

As I wrote this letter, it remained to be seen how the unions would vote on Starmer’s newest proposal.

He dangles the carrot of more power for them to cut out any kind of influence and power held by the membership.

Anyone who is against Starmer’s pro-business policies should oppose this latest move.

But the problem for those on the Labour left, is that many are so utterly focused on the destructive warfare inside the party.

And it has become their main activity. There is no hope of transforming Labour. And so the battles plough on with no effective strategy.

The devastation of climate change, the failure of the market in energy and food and cuts to Universal Credit all open up possibilities for struggle.

But Labour’s focus is not on building resistance—but the next internal battle.

We should welcome it if the move to scrap One Member One Vote is defeated.

But building a serious fight over pay and massive demonstrations demanding radical action over climate change would be a much bigger step forward.

That is where the future lies.

Huw Williams

Bristol


Trend exposes sexism

A shocking new trend on social media app TikTok sees women, mainly in the US, giving tips about how to remove your IUD birth control from your body.

There are even videos where women discuss how to give themselves abortions. All of this is rightly worrying health officials. But it’s not the doctors who we should be angry at, and certainly not women themselves.

The US government is entirely responsible for the lack of access to reproductive healthcare.

Those without medical insurance or the ability to pay for IUD removal— which can cost up to £189— are left with little choice but to engage in dangerous self-removal techniques.

Self-removal can make already existing problems much worse and even lead to fatal uterine damage.

This worrying trend is just one part of an overall larger rollback on women’s and reproductive rights in the US.

The Women’s March group gets to the heart of the matter. It said. “The authoritarian agenda of reproductive control is fuelled by misogyny and racism—and we must challenge it, together”.

We need to show solidarity to women in the US and anyone who stands up for bodily autonomy. Join us on 2 October outside the US embassy in London to defend reproductive choice.

Elisa Rowland

East London


How workplaces can be hostile for Muslim women

I was shocked to hear that a Muslim woman was sent home twice from her job at Fox’s Biscuit factory in Batley, West Yorkshire, for wearing her headscarf.

First and foremost it’s ridiculous to ask her to take it off.

If the issue was that a headscarf wouldn’t adhere to health a safety measures, surely a compromise could be found?

It makes me angry that Fox’s Biscuits is a profitable business, which was bought last year for £246 million. There’s evidently money to develop a head covering that can suit Muslim women.

This case is another example of the Islamophobia Muslim women face in the workplace.

But workers don’t have to sit around and let it happen.

Protests, strikes and campaigning can put a stop to racist treatment and create a stronger anti-racist workplace.

Naima Omar

East London


Nationalisation could fix gas chaos

This year British Gas bosses forced a fire and rehire policy on their workforce.

And now we can see them taking on the customers of smaller energy firms that have collapsed.

These smaller energy companies don’t have the luxury of legacy state infrastructure.They are struggling in a market where the government sets price caps as the cost of gas rises.

This encapsulates everything wrong with neoliberalism.

In a better run economy, the government would not reward businesses that can’t keep their own houses in order to sustain the myth of competition.

Unlike most goods and services, there is no true competition in the energy market. When you change supplier, other than getting a different energy rate, nothing changes.

The gas in your meter is always the same no matter who supplies it.

The private sector fat cats are ruthless.

And its a busted myth that privatising natural monopolies means a better service for consumers

The only solution out of the looming energy supply crisis is to renationalise state utilities.

Clearly the private sector isn’t up for the job.

Dan

Former British Gas worker


Stand with climate fight

The right wing press has been stepping up attempts to demonise climate activists recently.

They are much more interested in sensationalizing certain types of action, trials and arrests.

But they ignore the message behind their actions.

Instead of shifting the focus onto these activists and condemning them, let’s remember what their central message is—we are in a code red scenario.

Emily Dawson

Essex

  • Showing solidarity with Insulate Britain activists who have been blocking motorways is absolutely essential.

A lot of people are more interested in their choice of direct action rather than what they are saying.

The group draws links between fuel poverty, bad housing and the climate crisis they should be listened to.

We should build big protests to support them.

Anne Hooper

Dorset


Nuclear legacy is dangerous

Nuclear power is the easy option because it is the lazy option.

Dealing with the consequences of debt, fuel recycling and storage, and the huge costs of decommissioning nuclear plants will be a legacy problem for generations to come.

Rob Taylor

Facebook


End pointless conferences

There have been so many of these global conferences this year—G7 to Cop26. And now we have the UN General Assembly.

I haven’t heard one smart idea come out of any of them, yet world leaders return again and again to these conferences of inaction.

I’m starting to think they just go for the free breakfast.

Ben Morgan

Twitter


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