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Letters—Leeds refugee case shows that campaigning can work

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Issue 2634
Sally and Hossein campaigning for his appeal
Sally and Hossein campaigning for his appeal (Pic: Sally Kincaid/Facebook)

We have been foster carers for a young refugee, Hossein Ahmadi, who arrived in Britain on the back of a freezer truck in the summer of 2016. He had spent ten months in the misery of the Dunkirk camp.

In October this year, Hossein received his 20-page letter of rejection from the Home Office.

We contacted his teachers to ask them to write letters of support to help his appeal.

One of his teachers started a petition which got to thousands of signatures within days.

They used an article that the NEU union magazine had printed about Hossein’s story to help spread the word.

The college marketing department was also on the case, producing a short film about Hossein.

A week before the appeal date over 60 teenagers and their teachers marched around Leeds City Centre, handing out Stand up to Racism flyers and chanting “Hossein Must Stay”.

The local press started covering the story very sympathetically.

On the day of the hearing, apart from his close supporters, two coaches full of students and staff arrived. They had diverted their trip to see a Panto.

The G4S security said they had seen protests outside this court, but never this big.

The Appeal Court judge upheld the appeal. He took the unusual step of announcing the result at the end of the hearing.

We believe the reason was because of the magnificent campaign that staff and students at Leeds City College ran.

We want to thank every Socialist Worker reader who signed the petition or sent a message of support to us during the #HosseinMustStay campaign.

Staff and students at the college are now talking about doing more refugee solidarity work. They said this has never just been about Hossein but others who have the same journey and battles.

Sally Kincaid and Steve Johnston


Let’s spoil our ballots in a ‘people’s vote’

Socialists can only confront the EU on class grounds. This means anti-austerity, renationalisation and open borders.

We can have nothing to do with Article 50, which is part of the corrupt European Union (EU).

We want to confront the EU on those class grounds, and defy them to attack us—what might be called “Lexit by means of expulsion.”

Today Leave has been swallowed up by an alliance of ultra ­free-marketeers and imperialist nostalgics. In a “people’s vote” none of the options will be acceptable.

Any non-Leave option will be tailored to the needs of business. Any of them will tie a Corbyn government to the EU’s competition rules.

Even worse, the parliamentary leaderships of the “people’s vote” and “Norway+” are promising curbs on free movement either through existing rules or the “Emergency Brake”.

This will be a fatal concession to racists. Our only effective option is opposing the entire process, preferably by spoiling the ballots.

These must be counted and show the extent of opposition to the whole rotten show.

Barry Pavier


Boris Johnson is example of sick system

Churchill-wannabee Boris Johnson has been ordered to apologise to parliament for failing to register nine payments totalling £52,722.80 within a 28-day deadline.

This sum amounts to 70 percent of Johnson’s salary as an MP.

Some £22,916.66 of the figure is Johnson’s monthly fee for writing four articles for the Daily Telegraph—a task which supposedly takes up ten hours of his valuable time.

The House of Commons committee on standards found Johnson’s failure to register his extra payments was “neither inadvertent nor minor”.

Johnson has form on salaries paid for extracurricular activities.

In 2009 he found time in his busy schedule as Mayor of London to hold down a second job as a columnist with the Daily Telegraph.

When criticised, he argued it was “wholly reasonable” because “I happen to write extremely fast”.

He dismissed the £250,000-a-year he received for his musings as “chicken feed”.

Johnson’s chastisement comes a day after the Tory benches hooted in derision at Jeremy Corbyn when he attacked the government for the misery that Universal Credit is creating.

The Tories laugh at the poor and consider £250,000 “chicken feed”.

In the words of Johnson’s hero Churchill, “Some chicken. Some neck.”

Sasha Simic

East London

We are fighting cuts to mental health services

Our campaign has been fighting for six years to stop severe cuts to mental health services in Norfolk.

We are sick of constant talk about mental illnesses by MPs and celebrities, and still no real funding.

Last month we held a public meeting in Cromer, a small seaside town which in the last year has suffered the loss of many young people through suicide.

Over 100 people turned up. While capitalism survives it is hard to imagine a society without mental distress. Similarly it’s hard to imagine a helpful mental health service.

We’ve had enough of chief executives whose aim is just to impose more cuts.

Congratulations to striking care workers in Birmingham.

Perhaps if mental health workers in Norfolk had taken action, we would not have lost so many to imposed redundancy and many patients would have been saved from suicide.

Terry Skyrme


Unions should fight over pay

How long are the unions going to sit back and let our pay go down?

Workers’ pay is worth less now in real terms than it was when the Tories got in.

In the north of England it’s fallen by £21 a week since 2008.

If unions called more action, we could get some of it back.

Gill Deane


A rebellion against more?

Is Extinction Rebellion solely a climate change movement as the media are framing it?

Because the current extinction event is as much about habitat loss, water overuse and pollution, agriculture and over-fishing as it is about climate change.


On Twitter

Trump golf costs a joke

Trump Can’t afford Medicare for all, but he can waste £65 million on golf (£65,000,000 for Trump to play golf watched by cops, Socialist Worker, 5 December)?

Mark Wardell

On Facebook

Borrowing to afford food

A report last week said a third of families with disabled children had to borrow money to buy food in the last year.

It’s unbelievable.

People with disabled children or family members have extra costs. They may find it harder to work because of their caring responsibilities.

But instead of giving support, the Tories are just making life harder.

Janet Sadler

South Yorkshire

Mainstream media biased

Many great links from socialists on Twitter.

Channel 4 News often shows unprofessional bias against Labour.

The BBC doesn’t even pretend to provide balanced, unbiased coverage of events anymore.

Tony Lowe

On Twitter


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