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Greedy energy bosses are trying to hold us to ransom

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Issue 2373

Ed Miliband announced that he will secure affordable energy for Britain’s households. This has caused an uproar from the rich companies who currently sell it to us at rip-off prices.  

Their reaction presents the real picture of our country today. 

Wealthy companies expect to get let off tax bills and are supported to pay poor wages through tax credits. And they bank on customers accepting that they have to pay through the nose.  

These companies desperately try to keep their profits as high as they can and will bully us to do so.  

Their loud cries of outrage and protest are a diversionary tactic to cover their greed. Their claims that price fixing will lead to energy blackouts are designed to scare us.

The right wing media supports their arguments because when it comes to keeping profits up and wages down they really are all in this together. 

Imagine what would happen if one sector was forced to set prices at a level we could all afford and were seen to still make a profit— albeit a slightly smaller one? 

There would be no justification for any of the others to charge outrageous prices, would there?

Don’t be fooled by their arguments. They can provide affordable energy, they just choose not to. 

Jo Rust

King’s Lynn

Ian Peters, CEO of British Gas Energy and Managing Director of Energy First at Centrica, fears for “energy security” if Ed Miliband keeps his promise to cap their prices. 

He predicts blackouts as a result. This is blackmail. The energy bosses are really worried about “profit security”.

It’s time to take the profit motive out of energy. It’s time to re-nationalise. 

The dividend obsessed private companies can’t guarantee “energy security”. 

A nationally planned energy provider, free from the insatiable greed of shareholders, could.

Sasha Simic

North London

Sikhs fought racism for right to turbans

When I came to this country in 1963 I was 16, deeply religious and wore long hair, covered by a turban.

Thousands of Sikhs arrived in the 1960s to do hard, dangerous and dirty jobs. We were constantly told that we had to remove our “hats” to fit in.

I found it very difficult to get a job until I had my hair cut and turban removed. The experience was very painful and humiliating. 

As Sikh workers gained confidence they began to resist having to cut their hair and remove their turbans. After hesitation and even hostility, the trade unions began to support Sikh workers. The T&G union supported Sikh bus conductors in 1969 in Wolverhampton who won the right to wear turbans.

Today some countries still force Sikh travellers to remove their turbans at immigration controls. 

It is the same fight that some niqab-wearing Muslim women face. 

I am now an atheist but I defend the rights of Sikhs to wear turbans and Muslim women to wear a niqab.

Balwinder Rana

West London

Politicians scapegoat Muslims for own ends

They say that Muslim women wearing veils can cause a breakdown in communication. Oh really?

Well a major factor in the Bristol Hospital scandal was that people were unable to challenge the decisions or actions of people who had power over their jobs.

Many children died. No one was wearing a veil. But it is difficult to communicate when there isn’t anyone there—to empty a bedpan, notice a change in your condition or feed you. 

Cuts replaced trained, properly supported staff with temporary workers, causing many deaths. None of this has anything to do with veils.

This disgusting Tory government—trailed pathetically by Labour—is scapegoating Muslims to cover its own crimes. 

Name withheld 


Hovis had big impact 

Socialist Worker’s coverage of the Hovis dispute has had an immense impact both locally and nationally. 

Last week the centre spread (Socialist Worker, 28 September) was a real talking point among people who never usually read the paper. 

Socialist Worker has given strikers a platform to speak for themselves and for the rest of us to understand that the Hovis dispute isn’t just a Hovis issue. 

Zero hours contracts affect millions of working class people. Hopefully this dispute will be the spark that lights the fuse.

 Katrina Lawrie


Tory benefit cuts killed

The real cost of the Tories’ assault on welfare has been highlighted by the suicide of Lee Robinson.  

Lee was an unemployed electrician and fighting depression. 

When the DWP stopped his Employment Support Allowance, the council withdrew his housing and council tax benefit. That was the final straw, and he took his own life.

At a protest outside Crawley town hall, Lee’s friend Richard Symonds said, “Lee was hounded to death by the people who were supposed to help him live.” 

Fighting back against these vicious policies is the best way to stand up for people like Lee and ultimately save lives.

Phil Mellows 


Eccles is not for fracking

At the first Stop Fracking Barton Moss meeting last week at least 70 people came from the local community and all over Greater Manchester. 

Working groups are being set up, technical and legal research is already underway and we’re networking.

If IGas thought they would get it easy in the “desolate north” they have a big shock coming.

Rachel Thompson


Strike for our pensions now 

It’s great to see the firefighters on strike to defend their pensions.

I’m 22 and I don’t want to have to work till I’m 70 or even longer—I might be dead by then. 

We need more strikes like this or we’ll never get to see the money we pay in.

Andy Jenkins

By email

Does poverty  help Tesco?

Recently Tesco ran a full page advert thanking people in Manchester for donating to food banks. 

It said, “together we gave 80,000 meals” and “Tesco have topped up donations by 30 percent”. 

Tesco’s profit on the 50,000 meals bought and donated must have helped too. So what has Tesco donated? 

Let’s not forget that Tesco supported Welfare to Work expecting people to work for nothing. 

And asylum seekers are issued an Azure card to use at Tesco instead of cash—giving Tesco a monopoly on asylum seekers’ money.

June Smith


Was Scotland rally smaller?

Your report on the march for Scottish independence (Socialist Worker, 28 September) says it was attended by a monster crowd of 25,000 which was double last years attendance. 

But the official police report stated there was 8,300 there. I was there and would confirm there was no more than 10,000 attending.

Name Withheld

By email

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