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Letters: We shouldn’t pay—fight for right of EU migrants to stay

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Issue 2637
We can fight to have freedom of movement at the centre of the Brexit debate
We can fight to have freedom of movement at the centre of the Brexit debate (Pic: Danny Howard / Flickr)

We have a Tory government that takes any opportunity to make racist policies.

We saw it in the Windrush scandal, and we’re getting it again with their disgusting treatment of European Union (EU) nationals living in Britain.

EU nationals who want to stay in their homes, jobs, communities and with their families are now going to have to register with the state.

For the privilege of registering, we will have to pay £65.

The registration will act as a test —based on proof of identity, length of stay and criminal record.

It is crucial that we expose and fight against this anti-migrant policy, and that we support those EU nationals that are feeling scared, angry and confused. Life under austerity is hard enough—being placed on a register and having to pay for it is both humiliating and alarming.

Our unions, the Labour Party and all anti-racist campaigners need to take this issue seriously and work together to stop this racist policy.



The British government has given assurances to EU citizens living in Britain that our rights will be guaranteed after Brexit.

There is one catch—we need to apply for “settled status” and receive a kind of ID document which British citizens don’t need. That pleasure costs us £65 per person. And if we don’t pay and receive the document, we will be deported to our countries of origin after the two-year Brexit transition period

Before that, those without settled status would experience the full force of the Tories’ “hostile environment”. Among other things, we would be denied health care and the right to rent property.

The British government is behaving like a thug demanding “protection money”. We have to stop that anti-migrant drive in its tracks.

We should fight together against the settled status scheme.

Jacek Szymanski

North London

Be aware of abusive behaviour

Your review of An Impossible Love was fascinating and chilling. (Socialist Worker, 2 January).

The film came out in the same week as the third anniversary the Serious Crime Act 2015.

It designated controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship as a serious crime.

Prosecutors in domestic abuse cases now have to take into account financial and psychological abuse and controlling behaviours in everyday life. These could include influencing friendships, hobbies, clothing and food.

These behaviours are now emerging into public awareness.

However, out of 7034 arrests under the 2015 law, there were only 235 successful convictions.

It shows how hard it is to fight oppression through the courts, though anyone who tries should be given as much support as possible.

Capitalism’s distortions of humanity mean that people attempt to control intimate others, and victims feel they’ve no alternative than to live with abuse.

These are hidden horrors of capitalist society that need to be brought to light.

Such experiences will not end until we get rid of the whole system which fosters insecurity, inequality, competition and dependency. But, in the meantime, we do need to raise our awareness.

Nicola Field

South London

Don’t back Tory deal or Remain in referendum

A second referendum on Brexit would be very divisive for the working class.

And whatever the result of such a vote, there is a real danger of it strengthening the extreme right.

The options in the referendum could be between staying in the racist, neoliberal bosses’ club that is the European Union and a right wing, racist Tory Brexit.

If we are faced with that referendum choice, I don’t see how we could vote for either.

So the Socialist Workers Party is right to consider the option of a campaign of “active abstention” in a second referendum.

Let’s say, “A plague on both your houses”.

And let’s try to win over both Leave and Remain supporters to a fight against racism and austerity and for international working class unity and socialism.

Phil Webster

Whalley, Lancashire

Winter of Discontent was prolonged

The Winter of Discontent in 1978-79 did show workers’ power (Socialist Worker, 2 January). But your article underestimates the scale and length of resistance.

After the 22 January one-day strike, manual workers’ unions in local government and health used “guerrilla tactics” of selective and lightning strikes.

Local government settled in early March while hospital strikes continued until the end of March.

Separately, groups of water workers were on unofficial strike for weeks, despite a pay offer much higher than the 5 percent norm.

Groups of ambulance staff were on unofficial strike or providing emergency cover only, some until late March.

Selective official strikes in the civil service ran from late February until May. And in the private sector, lorry drivers’ strikes early in January were initially unofficial.

Under the TGWU union’s guidance strike committees permitted movement of essential supplies—which had Tories frothing at the mouth.

By early February most regions had settled.

Dave Lyddon

Keele, Staffordshire

You’re soft on Jim Callaghan

Sadie Robinson’s excellent article on The Winter of Discontent forty years ago is too soft on Jim Callaghan’s Labour government (Socialist Worker, 2 January).

The bosses certainly did demand vicious cuts.

But it was Labour chancellor Denis Healey who used the forecasts of doom provided by Treasury bureaucrats to justify bringing in the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

These forecasts were later shown to be to be quite wrong.

It was quite unnecessary to bring in the IMF.

It was a convenient cover for a Labour government that had decided to make workers pay for the crisis.

Geoff Brown


Lenin lives on in Islington

I wonder whether your readers know that there’s a wonderful archive on the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin in London.

It’s at the local history archive at St John Street Library in Islington, north London.

There is plenty of material there to work up a set of articles.

Ann Vinall

North London

We need to learn French

We need more French Yellow Vest like resistance here in Britain to bring this dreadful Tory government into the real world.

Paul Harris

On Facebook

You can’t stop the refugees

There’ aren’t enough fences in world to stop desperate people. We should always start with compassion.

Kaylee Brown

On Facebook

Ticket price rises on time

The only thing you can rely upon the privatised railway to provide on time is the annual above?inflation fare rise.

Brian Eggleston

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