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Letters — right to roam and equal access to the countryside

Actions took place 90 years since the mass trespass of Kinder Scout in the Peak District.
Issue 2803
Hundreds march the Peak District

Hundreds took part in celebrations marking the 90th anniversary of Kinder Scout Mass Trespass at Edale, Derbyshire. (Maxwell A. Ayamba)

On Sunday 24 April I along with friends participated in some of the organised and more spontaneous events to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the 1932 Mass Trespass of Kinder ScoutAfter planting a red flag in the ground high up on the slopes of Ashop Head, Derbyshire where the young trespassers held their victory rally all those years ago, I experienced mixed emotions. 

The first one was pride in the progress made thus far in the ongoing campaign for the right to roamThe second was anger as reports emerged during the previous week that the government had quashed a review into the right to roam in England’s countryside. The Tories are defending the status quo in which legal restrictions still prevent people from walking freely across 92 percent of  land. 

Tory MP Mark Spencer described the countryside as a “place for business”. This, alongside the new policing bill which makes trespass a criminal rather than a civil offence, will make people fear walking in places they don’t know particularly well.

My last emotion of the day, however, was optimism. When returning from Hayfield to Edale we came across the event “Kinder in Colour”. 

It was a mass gathering of people from diverse backgrounds highlighting the issues surrounding equal access to green space. Currently only 39 percent of people from black backgrounds live within a five minute walk of green space compared to 58 percent of white people. It is also estimated that people from black backgrounds account for just one percent of all visits to National Parks.

This event added a new dimension to the ramblers’ movement. Working in unity we have the potential to rekindle the spirit of the Mass Trespass. Demanding equal access to the countryside while simultaneously furthering the cause for the right to roam is a fight we must continue to support.

Mick Mulcahy

Preston


We need to start cost of living fightback   

I completely agree with the person featured in the story in last week’s paper who wants to fight against the energy bosses (Socialist Worker, 27 April). I am bloody furious at the situation we are in with the cost of living crisis. My energy bill has more than doubled in months. 

First, my provider went bust and I was transferred to British Gas. Now my bills are over £200 a month. British Gas is muttering about “vampire devices”—the cost of leaving appliances on standby—and quoting a saving of £147 a year. This figure is disputed but my costs have gone up £100 a month.

With increases in shopping, council tax, national insurance and inflation at a 30-year high, these vampire “savings” are irrelevant.

We can’t afford to wait for the unions or the Labour Party, who seem to be red Tories at the moment. It’s a question of heat or eat so we should be getting out on the streets and doing a poll tax mark two. We need protests that say, “Can’t pay, won’t pay”.

Capitalism doesn’t have a solution to this crisis. It only prioritises profits for the bosses and firms’ shareholders. Workers must fight for a pay rise and also give the Tories a bloody nose in elections.

Chris Atherton

Wolverhampton 


The dangers of Elon Musk owning Twitter   

Elon Musk is a dangerous man. He wants to control the items we buy and services we use.

He has a particular philosophy which he claims is tied to freedom of speech and against the traditional nature of bosses. But all billionaires—even if they have dated popular singers, have an army of masculine supporters and go to space—are dangerous. 

Musk has lots of dodgy ideas, including Covid denial, and said stupid things about the cave diver who rescued 12 children in Vietnam in 2018. I suppose that fits his free speech narrative.

He also wants to own a vital communication service, TwitterHis free speech ideas clearly mean allowing himself to set the terms of political debate. Money is power, using it to control social media is a danger to everyone.

Emily Lloyd

Staffordshire


Alternative provision report falls short

The government’s Green Paper on special educational needs and disabilities (Send) and alternative provision (AP) has been published following a long-awaited review. 

Increased early intervention for children with Send features highly in the plans. Ministers’ vision is for all AP to be part of a “strong Multi Academy Trust”.

The paper focuses on providing targeted support for challenging behaviour within mainstream settings with all alternative provision being part of multi academy trusts. Apparently this approach will “transform the sector” and fix everything. Seven new free schools for AP are already approved to open in areas where new provision is most needed. Great, you may say, but there is a flaw to this.

We welcome more AP settings. But why are we building new schools when current ones are closing, or are having to reduce their staffing? The paper’s vision for AP is out of touch and does not understand the role AP has within the education system.

Leigh Seedhouse 

Oxford 


Le Pen shows fascism on the rise

Marine Le Pen may have lost the French presidential election but her huge vote share shows the appetite for reactionary, racist ideas and fascism.

Le Pen will undoubtedly give confidence to the vile racists who roam our streets. We can’t give the fascists an inch, they’ll take a mile. Anti-fascism is a fight on the streets and in the ballot box.

Kevin Miles

On Facebook


Unions must act to tackle long Covid

Outstanding article on Long Covid—a wave of sickness the Tories want to hide (Socialist Worker, 27 April), covering so many issues from work, to benefits, to the government. 

We agree, “It’s vital that our trade unions mount a serious campaign to win a better deal for those affected.”

Long Covid nurses and midwives

On Twitter


Take over could benefit the bosses

Renationalising energy is a great idea. But maybe not so much under this government that will just cream off any money into their own bank accounts.

John Long

On Facebook


Arms boost risks a nuclear war

When Russia sees all the weapons going into Ukraine the war is going to get worse. And if Russia opens up to a wider war and sees its soldiers getting killed by weapons from around Europe I shudder to think what will happen next.

If a nuclear war kicks off we have less than ten minutes to live. Everyone should be fighting for peace.

George Baker

On Facebook

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