Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2831

Letters—Bully Williamson was acting like management everywhere

This article is over 1 years, 5 months old
Williamson only resigned because the reality of his whip role was made public
Issue 2831
Gavin Williamson

Gavin Williamson has resigned following accusations of bullying (Picture: Amber I. Smith)

Rishi Sunak claims he had no idea that Gavin Williamson was a foul-mouthed bully when he appointed him back to his Cabinet after he had been sacked twice before. As just about everyone else who had ever come into contact with him knew him for what he was, Sunak’s words are likely nonsense. 

Moreover, Williamson had been in the whips’ office, where being able to bully reluctant MPs into voting for the party is a condition of appointment. As seen in the final stages of Liz Truss’ rule, it’s sometimes violent.

In fact, Sunak clearly understimated the reaction against Williamson when his bullying was exposed in the press and more complaints were about to be made. That reaction reflects the fact that we are rightly increasingly intolerant of bullying wherever it occurs.

Keir Starmer correctly claimed that “everyone in the country knows someone like (Williamson), a sad middle manager getting off on intimidating those beneath him”. He’s right, bullying sadly remains very widespread throughout the world of work and beyond.

This is not just a psychological aberration though. It is built into a system in which we are pawns from whom the system demands the maximum effort and sacrifice in order to profit the few. That is why we need the strength of collective organisation to call bullying managers out.

Bullying isn’t confined to just foul-mouthed abuse. It occurs wherever the power of some over others is used unjustly in order to intimidate and coerce.

Starmer in fact has institutionalised bullying within his own Labour PartyHis Labour MPs and members who disagree with his determination to try and make Labour little different from the Tories, face immediate suspension from the party in order to shut them up.

Bullying can make life utterly miserable. Whether foul-mouthed or not, bullying has to be called out and collectively fought wherever it occurs.

Rob Hoveman


Climate horror in new report 

Climate change is forcing mass migration and making young people across the world despair of ever having children. A Unicef poll of almost a quarter of a million young people found two in five globally saying climate change had made them reconsider starting a family. In the Middle East and North Africa it was 44 percent.

It also found one in four globally had experienced extreme drought or heat, with similar percentages for flooding and air pollution. Climate change dramatically worsens hunger and thirst—40 percent of people globally had less food, rising to 51 percent among Sub‑Saharan Africans. 

And over a third in the Middle East and North Africa experienced reduced access to clean water. Some 60 percent had considered migrating because of climate change.

Unicef’s report should be a wake up call for governments and businesses to cut emissions now and invest in adaptation measures like flood and drought-resistant water systems. But the pledge by rich nations to invest £86 billion yearly in climate adaptation measures has never been met.  

Such figures should fuel the climate movement, where the hope for change lies. The world’s young—mostly in the Global South—with some of the smallest carbon footprints are paying a terrible price.

Lin Clark


Bushtucker bombshell 

After breaking his own Covid rules, we thought Matt Hancock was done, but now he’s entered the “I’m A Celebrity” jungle. In his time as health secretary his reckless policies claimed thousands of lives. And now the families of the deceased have to watch him making a desperate attempt to sanitise his image. 

His appearance on the show is supposed to prove to us that he is a “normal person” but in reality, it allows him to chase the status of celebrity. 

When politicians clamour for fame over their supposed job of representing their constituents, they change the way they are perceived by the public. They focus instead on their individual image, which distracts from any scrutiny of their policies. 

We need to hold Hancock and all the Tories to account.


East London

Has Elon Musk shot himself in the foot?  

Many Twitter users access the social media site to spread ideas and find news that’s relevant to themselves. It is a useful tool.

However users now have a new overlord—Tesla and SpaceX billionaire, Elon Musk. But has he shot himself in the foot?

His initial moves as owner were to announce a monthly charge for a verified account. Let’s be clear, this will make it much harder to gather information from trusted sources. But many people are asking why.

The truth is social media isn’t as profitable as it once was. Musk spending £37.4 billion but having to introduce charges and having “no choice” but to sack workers is evidence of this. He isn’t alone, Facebook owner Mark Zuckerburg is cutting 11,000 jobs—more than one in eight.

We are way beyond the dot-com bubble. We are also beyond the exciting era of social media being new and shiny—something that everyone must simply be involved in. Musk begging for money will not change that. But he will use the platform to boost his own assets and cull free speech.



Lessons from Canada strike

As Canadian workers unofficially walked out the real push came from the ranks. A 97 percent strike vote, with an 80 percent turnout is almost unheard of. This led to our education workers taking a stance against Tory anti-union legislation (Socialist Worker, 8 November). 

I’m a Canadian Union of Public Employees retiree who was able to join picket lines in Peterborough, Canada. There were close to 1,000 workers there on the first day of illegal action. 

There was mass solidarity throughout the public and private sector unions. And there was also mass support expressed by passers-by and a resolute rank and file on the line. 

Peter Votsch


SWP is the party for me

I have just joined the Socialist Workers Party. The Labour Party is in cahoots with the multinationals and billionaires—they’re no friend of the working class. 

It’s time to chuck bosses out of their chateaus.


On Twitter

The arrogance of Braverman

Suella Braverman landed in a Chinook helicopter at Manston detention centreThink of that. A machine of war descending on a camp filled with refugees from countries facing conflict and packed with children. 

Has anyone ever heard a Chinook land or take off? What was she thinking? She’s arrogant and an extremist.

Leo Cacciatore

On Facebook 

Tory policy hits hard

The Tories are starving and freezing us. I’m so worried about Christmas, we have nothing. 

I’m sure a lot of people are in the same boat. It’s disgusting.

Emma Wheeldon

On Facebook

Sign up for our daily email update ‘Breakfast in Red’

Latest News

Make a donation to Socialist Worker

Help fund the resistance