In Austria and elsewhere, the far right is using the anger and frustration many people feel against new Covid restrictions to increase its influence.
Those who run small businesses are particularly vulnerable to this threat.
In Swansea the owner of a small independent cinema, who has struggled to keep her business afloat, received a closure notice from the council.
This was after she allegedly failed to comply with several regulations, including requiring Covid passes.
The far right sect Voice of Wales—thrown off YouTube for racism and Islamophobia—is using the situation to promote the cinema on social media. In addition a crowdfunder set up by a former Brexit Party and Abolish the Welsh Assembly candidate has raised over £60,000 so far in support.
Swansea Stand Up To Racism immediately put out an open letter.
It was signed within 24 hours by over 200 musicians, performers, poets and activists who have used the cinema for many years as a venue.
The letter calls on the owner to unambiguously tell her far right supporters they are not welcome—something which many feel she has not yet done.
Stand Up To Racism’s intervention was crucial. Many people are opposed to Covid passports. But with far right groups hijacking the issue, many previous and current users of the cinema were confused as to the correct position to take.
Our local Stand Up To Racism group exposed the racist politics of those who were exploiting the situation.
It made clear that the main issue was not Covid passports but the attempts of the far right to muscle in.
This unholy alliance of the far right and the anti-vaccination groups is a real danger.
It must be confronted in order to keep racists on the fringes of British politics.
Tim Evans, Swansea
It’s ten years since more than two million public sector workers all struck together over an attack on pensions by the government then led by David Cameron.
It feels like such a different time. The year began with the student revolt, and saw huge demonstrations against austerity. There really was a sense that our strikes could beat the government.
Instead, leaders of major trade unions quickly accepted a repackaged version of the same attack.
The 30 November strike was the high point—we never got back to that scale of resistance again.
Now there are a new public sector fights brewing over pay in the NHS and local government.
It would be good to win that level of united action again—and not let union leaders sell us all out.
Lucy Holland, Carlisle
Since Margaret Thatcher, the Tory Party has been on a mission to shrink the state. Privatisation has been the name of the game.
Now, cuts to welfare and a national insurance increase will punish a population that is still reeling from the pandemic.
The free market agenda has meant austerity for the poor and giant handouts, for the rich. As the Tories champion business, people may well ask how business will help them.
Karen Burns, by email
I enjoyed your article on cricket’s history, rooted in imperialism.
Racism has been in cricket for years. Why was Basil D’Oliveira not originally selected for the tour to South Africa in 1968?
Most selectors—Gubby Allen, Freddie Brown, SC Griffith, Peter May—had connections to the apartheid regime in South Africa. Only Don Kenyon, D’Oliveira’s County Captain stood up for the inclusion of D’Oliveira.
Later in 1970 when a tour from South Africa was coming to Britain, Bishop David Sheppard stood up against racism and was vilified by most MCC members.
Times sadly never change, and it all starts from the top downwards.
Stephen Coke, Shoreham
The crackdown on Insulate Britain is an assault on civil liberties by the police, the government and the courts.
Essex police has issued an appeal to drivers who were “significantly inconvenienced” by the road occupations on the M11 and M25.
This is an example of the police acting in a partisan manner in order to secure stiffer sentences.
All sorts of groups such as fox hunters, or the recent fuel protest by farmers caused similar inconvenience to drivers and break the law. But I have yet to see the police issue similar appeals.
The state’s objective is to break Insulate Britain not uphold the law—which it frequently ignores.
John Sinha, North London
Your front page headline last week was very nasty towards pigs (Dump this pig, 24 November).
Please don’t associate Boris Johnson with pigs—he makes them look very smart by comparison.
Anthony Wright, on Facebook
What if we do dump Boris Johnson?
Then who do we get next? Priti Patel or Dominic Raab?
Tony Speck, on Facebook
I say we leave the pig where he is.
With any luck the voters will get all the vermin out.
Allan Williams, on Facebook
The government and its supporters often say there’s no money or space to house refuges.
But helping refugees might be a better way to spend, say, the £37 billion “spaffed up the wall” on Serco’s failed test and trace system.
I once walked along Embankment in central London on a sunny Saturday. Every balcony on the blocks of flats across the river was empty, because they’d been bought as investments, not homes.
Meanwhile refugees are housed in hovels, forced to live on just £5 a day.
Declan Maguire, on Facebook
Priti Patel really does have blood on her hands after last week’s migrant deaths in the Channel.
She is a soundbite politician, devoid of sympathy and utterly incompetent.
Tones, on Twitter
Time to scrap student debt
A freedom of information request last week revealed that one person owes nearly £200,000 in student loans.
Many other graduates came forward about their own debts of tens of thousands.
Time to scrap fees, loans and debts.
Lisa Muir, Penrith
Complicit companies shamed off Liverpool campus
The hypocrisy of our ruling class
Escalating tactics are needed in this years' strikes