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Letters—It’s time for a new squatters’ movement to win us housing

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Issue 2721
There is a shortage of council housing
There is a shortage of council housing

The horrendous situation facing renters during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in the private sector, is going to get much worse after 21 September (Socialist Worker, 26 August).

This is the date when the temporary ban on evictions ends.

The root cause of the problem is the drastic shortage of council housing.

Historically, local authorities have been the best provider of decent, genuinely affordable and secure rental housing.

Coronavirus has now dramatically intensified the housing crisis.

It had already blighted the lives of thousands of private tenants and homeless people. But the pandemic means jobs and incomes are threatened.

And landlords are poised ready to threaten to evict those with unavoidable arrears during the lockdowns.

Poorer families abandoned during pandemic
Poorer families abandoned during pandemic
  Read More

The Jeremy Corbyn leadership of the Labour Party had an excellent policy in place to deal with the housing crisis.

Their programme included the building of 100,000 homes by councils for social rent a year.

But, so far, there has been no sign from the current leadership under Sir Keir Starmer that it will wholeheartedly continue with this policy.

Labour’s new shadow housing, communities and local government secretary, Thangam Debonnaire, has scarcely made any specific reference to council housing at all.

Perhaps the time is ripe for a repeat of the widespread squatting movement that sprung up after the end of the Second World War?

At the time many families without housing occupied empty military establishments and other public buildings.

This movement helped to kick-start a massive council house building programme.

Council housing is the only real solution to our completely dysfunctional housing system.

John Marais


Strictly takes step forward

Olympic boxer Nicola Adams will have a same sex partner on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing show.

This is huge for LGBT+ people, many of whom such as myself watch Strictly every year.

When she appeared on BBC Breakfast, Adams herself talked about the importance of representation.

This comes at difficult time for LGBT+ people in Britain and globally.

In Poland, LGBT+ people are fighting for their basic rights against a hard right homophobic government.

The BBC itself has faced a backlash for featuring LGBT+ people.

In November, the broadcaster received 189 complaints when Johannes Radabe and Graziano Di Prima danced together on Strictly.

And earlier this year the BBC came in for more criticism for featuring a same-sex kiss on children’s show The Next Step.

Adams dancing with a same sex partner is a small victory for LGBT+ people, but a hard fought one and a long time coming.

Increasing our appearance in mainstream television helps to beat back reactionary attempts to drive us back into the closet.

We now must remain loud and proud and keep fighting for full LGBT+ liberation.

Nathan Johnston


Coronavirus has shown up the outsourcing con

Tories have given out at least £2.5 billion in NHS contracts since coronavirus began.

It show that, for all their protestations to the contrary, they are forging ahead with privatisation.

And the contracts show they don’t give a monkey’s about efficiency and cost—it’s ideological.

Billions for bosses—job losses for us
Billions for bosses—job losses for us
  Read More

All we have to do is look at the test and trace system, run by multinational Serco.

Boris Johnson thinks that if he keeps saying it’s “world beating” it will make it world beating, but it’s been shocking. If they had investment money into local public health instead, test and trace would be working by now.

The Tories have been handing out contracts without a proper bidding process, meaning there’s been no transparency.

With or without bidding, outsourcing is the problem.

It takes money out of the NHS and is about making profit.

Jackie Applebee

GP in east London

No end to Tory Gavin Williamson’s lies

Tory education secretary Gavin Williamson moves from one disaster to another.

He has been responsible for the failed attempt to widen the opening of schools in June and the debacle over the exam results.

All this while being been exposed as lying about when he knew of the disastrous algorithm affair.

The market has come to dominate every aspect of education.

People should know, for example, that last year cash starved schools paid out approximately £300 million pounds to privately owned exam boards.

This is money that should be spent on our children not friends of the Tories. The silence from the Labour Party, who have not even called for his resignation, is deafening.

Williamson, like his boss Boris Johnson, perfectly sums up everything that is wrong about this Tory government—ignorant, arrogant and self-serving.

If the Labour Party are not up to the job of effectively opposing them then it’s down to teachers, students and parents to finish them off.

Jan Nielsen

North London

Karl Marx was green and red

In response to your article on Extinction Rebellion, Steve Oram asks what has climate got to do with socialism (Socialist Worker, 2 September).

Environmentalism has everything to do with socialism.

The revolutionary Karl Marx recognised that capitalism was not only damaging to the individual and society, but it was damaging to nature ant the environment as well.

Marx wrote in his great work Capital that societies or nations were “not owners of the earth. They are simply its possessors, its beneficiaries, and have to bequeath it in an improved state to succeeding generations”.

So protecting the environment is one of the hallmarks of a true and functional socialist society.

Nic Murphy

On Facebook

Teach Britain’s imperial past

I read your article on Cruel Britannia (Socialist Worker, 2 September).

The truth is we are—and always were —a cruel and genocidal country.

And the truth should be taught in every school, in fact at every opportunity in any circumstance.

Pam Thompson

On Facebook

It’s telling how Britain’s rulers can’t let go of their imperial past.

They’re desperate to keep up the racist divide and rule that came with the empire.

Julia Ryder


Shame of our asylum rules

The death of Mercy Baguma, an asylum seeker living in poverty, is an outrage (Socialist Worker, 26 August). 

It reflects badly on all of us in Britain. 

Jon Hancock

On Facebook

What a disgrace to see Britain First attacking asylum seekers.

Refugees and migrants add to our society. Nazis cheapen it.

Nina Fenwick

Central London

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