Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2912

Letters—Don’t trust Keir Starmer to clean up Tory poverty mess

Socialist Worker readers share their thoughts on the crises that will remain under new government
Issue 2912
Child poverty will stay
 in crisis under a Labour government (Picture: Jeffrey L. Meyer)

Child poverty will stay in crisis under a Labour government (Picture: Jeffrey L. Meyer)

Five successive Tory governments oversaw an unparalleled rise in child poverty. The Institute for Fiscal Studies thinktank said last week that 30 percent of children now live in households below the official poverty line.

The poverty is mainly caused by rising prices, housing costs, stagnating wages and cuts to benefits.

Most of the children living in poverty have at least one parent that works. A Trades Union Congress report said that an additional 1,350 children a week in households with at least one parent working have been dragged into poverty over the last 14 years.

This demonstrates the impact that the failure to gain decent pay rises has had. It’s a disgrace that a country that creates new billionaires year on year is leaving children hungry.

The new Labour government should be doing everything to eradicate this but it has different priorities under the banner of fiscal responsibility.

Labour is not even going to get rid of the two-child benefit cap that cruelly penalises children from larger families. But for war, there is an open cheque book.

So while we scrabble over the crumbs offered to fund our public services there is an abundance to finance weapons designed to slaughter.

I work as a teaching assistant in a primary school and see that schools increasingly play a role in trying to feed hungry children.

But even here the outsourcing of school catering and the severe funding cuts our schools are facing has seen a deterioration in the standard and quantity of food we offer our children.

Labour is not talking about ending academisation or outsourcing or even promising schools more funding.

We need to hold Starmer’s new government to account and push for change that is actually meaningful and can stop children or anyone else having to live in poverty.

Julie Forgan


Fight for safe work for all

A fire in a lithium battery factory in Hwaseong, South Korea, recently killed 23 workers including 17 migrant workers from China and one from Laos.

Despite repeated warnings to improve workplace safety, reports like this are far too common in Korea.

Korea is a leading producer of lithium batteries, which power technology exports such as Samsung smartphones.

Government policies make it difficult for migrant workers to oppose unsafe working conditions.

There are also regular reports of racist or xenophobic discrimination. Conditions are unlikely to improve under the ruling People Power Party led by president Yoon Suk Yeol.

He recently proposed tackling the low birthrate by removing the minimum wage requirement for foreign domestic workers such as nannies—prompting accusations of modern-day slavery.

Aricell—the company that owns the factory in Hwaseong has claimed to have followed safety regulations but is still under investigation.

It may have been outsourcing inspection and packaging duties to temporary workers, which is illegal.

Members of the migrant worker community in South Korea describe this as the most devastating incident of workplace fatality in recent memory.

It must lead to greater protections and equal rights for all workers.

Ruby James

East London

East London students’ protest needs support

Management at Queen Mary University in east London last year deducted 100 percent of pay from staff boycotting exam marking.

Earlier last month university management filed a possession order against our pro-Palestine encampment and took us to High Court the next morning.

The university’s case called Muslim students’ Friday prayers potentially dangerous “unauthorised events” and ridiculously warned about flags and signs falling and hurting passers-by.

Managers suggested we were threatening, despite having not retaliated when we were attacked by Zionists who threw a bottle of urine at some students.

The threat failed to crush students’ free expression and the case was suspended until next Wednesday. 

As that date approaches, we ask for your support. While we will keep fighting for Palestine in any way we can, this hearing could determine our encampment’s fate.

 It could also set a standard for courts criminalising other student camps across Britain.

Please consider donating to and sharing our fundraiser and look out for updates on Instagram and other channels.

The university has money and establishment-backing, but we have a global solidarity movement that is hundreds of millions strong.

Together we can win a free Palestine, and a higher education system run by and for workers and students, not profiteering and genocide.

Donate to our fundraiser at

QMUL Action For Palestine

Doctors push BMA for Palestine support

Members of the BMA doctors’ union should be applauded for protesting at their union HQ on 21 June, to demand a debate on Palestine at their upcoming conference.

The protest resulted in a pro-Palestine motion being passed on Monday last week at the BMA’s annual representative meeting.

The new composite motion calls for the BMA to review its position in the light of the United Nations special rapporteur’s report and the International Court of Justice case.

But it did not mention the word genocide nor did it call for a ceasefire.

The composite calls on the BMA leadership to give greater support to members combatting antisemitism and anti- Muslim hatred.

Crucially it must also protect the freedom of speech for members on these matters.

The motion calls on the BMA to lobby for aid to Gaza and investigations into the destruction of hospitals and the death of health workers.

Many members remain angry that other disallowed motions were seen as being antisemitic. Nonetheless, the composite is a small but significant step forward.

Kambiz Boomla

East London

Essential left alliance built in French election

With much urgency, New Popular Front (NPF) meetings are taking place in France against the real threat of the fascist Rassemblement National (RN).

Activists here in Ariege in south west France from across a spectrum of six parties are mobilising against the extreme right.

Their anger is also focused on the two Socialist Party (PS) MPs who are standing for re-election.

These MPs refuse to support the NPF’s programme and openly stated they would rather be a part of the RN.

Fortunately at last week’s Ariege meeting this shameless treachery was utterly condemned by rank and file PS members who were present.

It is essential this alliance holds both for now and after the election. Good riddance too to those so called leaders who have more in common with the fascists than the NPF.

Richard Payne


More than just a shower

I am shocked that James Cracknell, the Conservative candidate for Colchester in the general election, described the Tory party as a “shower of shit”. A Tory finally telling the truth. Who’d have thought it?

Sasha Simic

East London

‘Traffickers’ not key issue

The BBC’s recent investigations to track down and uncover the identities of men who smuggle migrants across the English channel entirely misses the point.

The reality is that “Fortress Europe” is to blame for the graveyard of the English Channel and the Mediterranean Sea.

If there were just safe and legal routes for migrants to enter Britain or even open borders, so-called “traffickers” would be out of business.

Sally Kincaid


U-turns on the climate ahead

No surprise, but I am enraged about the new BP boss Murray Auchincloss’s reversal of the company’s move away from fossil fuels.

He’s dropped plans for new offshore wind farms. We should expect more of these U-turns on renewable energy projects under Keir Starmer’s rule.

There can be no delay in the climate movement. We’ve got to fight the new fossil fuel government immediately.

Jenny Deane


You can bet on Met cops

At least seven Metropolitan police officers stand accused of having their noses in the gambling trough.

They’ve rushed to join their Tory masters in the feeding frenzy that was kicked off by leaks from Number 10 about the date of the general election.

Meanwhile some Tory MPs have found another safe bet—gambling on losing! The Gambling Commission faces a bulging workload.

Alan Gibson

East London

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

Latest News

Make a donation to Socialist Worker

Help fund the resistance