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Letters—Tory policies risk the health of migrants and black people

Issue 2765
Campaigners in east London oppose ID checks in the NHS in 2018
Campaigners in east London oppose ID checks in the NHS in 2018 (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Everyone is entitled to sign up with a GP regardless of immigration status.

But as a survey for Channel 4 News revealed, the majority of GP surgeries in England and Wales refused to register an undocumented migrant.

When a member of its congregation was unable to register to access the coronavirus vaccine, St Barnabas Church in Walthamstow, east London, took matters into its own hands.

It organised two pop up clinics that explicitly welcomed people without status, were homeless, or without secure accommodation.

The clinics were booked up immediately, with people coming from across London and beyond.

Campaigners are calling on the government to give meaningful support to GPs to register undocumented patients.

Many migrants, though, still fear accessing the NHS, having their status checked and facing huge bills for hospital treatment.

If bills are not paid in quite a short time, this is reported to the Home Office and can be grounds for deportation.

Although treatment for coronavirus is free, additional complications can be subject to charges.

We should all campaign for the ending of NHS hostile environment regulations.

They are damaging to both individual and public health, and normalise the idea of charging for NHS care, which fits the Tories privatisation plans.

Jim Fagan, East London

But I find it incredibly sad that other public transport systems—mostly buses—will not be enforcing a mask policy.

This decision gives renewed meaning to the old phrase, living “on the wrong side of the tracks.”

In Manchester, that’s areas such as Moss Side, Hulme, Whalley Range and large parts of Wythenshawe.

All of these have no Metrolink system in place.

The Wythenshawe Hospital has the Metrolink.

But the absence of tram facilities at other NHS sites such as the Manchester Royal Infirmary means that a lot of workers rely on bus services to get to and from work.

There are also racial and class dimensions to this.

Moss Side, Hulme and Whalley Range are known to have high percentages of black and Asian residents.

Along with Wythenshawe, they are also predominantly working class.

Anyone who has done nursing training will be familiar with the basic principles of cross-infection, cross-contamination and infection control.

These are all principles where risk can be remedied with measures such as mask wearing.

The government’s decision to lift restrictions and mask-wearing requirements means these are no longer anyone’s responsibility.

Hussein Al-alak, Manchester


Welcome the Big Ride

It is always good to see the detailed reporting on Palestine in Socialist Worker.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is the British partner of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign launched in Palestine, and all of our actions are informed by these links.

Earlier this month we had a BDS day against sportswear company Puma, but also a large student demo in London, and a day of lobbying MPs.

We are pushing the best MPs to start using the term apartheid to describe Israel.

On Sunday of this week, the Big Ride for Palestine is set to end in a park in Tower Hamlets, east London.

This is a major victory because two years ago Tower Hamlets council refused us permission to use a park.

The council deemed the event possibly antisemitic under the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition. The definition is often used to claim that calling Israel racist, or calling for a boycott, is antisemitic

Socialists should join PSC and get involved in local actions. There has been a big upsurge in membership since the May atrocities by Israel.

Sybil Cock, East London PSC

Greet the Big Ride for ­Palestine, 5pm, Mile End Park Wennington Green, London E3 5SN.

Labour’s limitations

The Labour Party’s expulsion of four left wing groups last week is clearly a continuation of Keir Starmer’s ruthless attack on the left within the party.

But these purges raise questions about the viability of the political tactic of trying to enter and transform Labour.

Socialism is not about electing left wingers to office, it is about building a genuine working class movement from below.

This task requires revolutionaries to work with labour party members in the struggle and prove to them in practice that we can win.

Patrick Wakefield, Sheffield


Tories owe Keir Starmer

In the light of the Labour Party’s financial difficulties perhaps Keir Starmer could go cap in hand to the Tories.

After all Starmer has been the Tories’ biggest asset to date and could continue to be so with an agreed fee.

Lynda Baldwin, on Facebook

  • Talk about drab. Labour hasn’t a chance with Starmer at the helm and I say that as a party member.

Chris Smith, on Twitter


Say yes to vaccine pass

You say we should oppose vaccine passports.

But making the decision not to be vaccinated—medical reasons excepted—is surely an antisocial act.

The virus has been around long enough for all to be aware of the issues at stake.

Please tell me why a covid passport for crowded inside gatherings is a bad idea.

Nigel Whitten, on Facebook

  • Your article is slightly missing the point. It is criminal to jettison the protections we have. There should be no opening of nightclubs, any other indoor gatherings, or large-scale outdoor events.

Instead Socialist Worker joins with Starmer and the Tory right. It’s about Covid guys, not your “rights.”

Philip Foxe, on Facebook


Protests that led to Genoa

I enjoyed your feature on the Genoa protest. Wasn’t there a similar incident earlier in Gothenburg? The police shot a protester there too. That in turn followed the Jubilee 2000 demonstrations in Britain.

The churches actaully started the whole thing. They didn’t intend it to become a platform for revolutionary politics.

But it shows you never know what will be the spark that causes the explosion.

Jason Pike, on Facebook

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