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Socialist Worker readers write in on Iain Duncan Smith's resignation, Tory plans for academisation, international war crimes, the German elections, and more
Issue 2497

We had to fight IDS and we’ll have to fight his replacement

Disabled People Against the Cuts (Dpac) protested in the central lobby of parliament during Prime Ministers Questions last week. We say the government’s U-turn over Personal Independence Payments does not go far enough.

Research shows that disabled people are hit nine times harder than other people by cuts, and people with high support needs 19 times harder.

Tory MPs voted to cut the Employment and Support Allowance at the beginning of the month despite two rebellions in the House of Lords.

The measure will reduce the incomes of people found not fit for work by a third.

The cut will affect people with conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s and MS. The justification that cutting benefits will “incentivise” people flies in the face of all available evidence.

Members of Dpac and allied campaigns had to wait in the cold for an hour and a half before being allowed to enter parliament.

Once the protest started the live BBC broadcast was stopped on air by parliamentary staff.

The footage showing the intervention has the twitter tagline “this is what democracy looks like”.

Ellen Paige, South London

News of Iain Duncan Smith’s (IDS) resignation was met with celebration by disability activists across Britain. IDS’ claim that he resigned in protest at the attack on disabled people in Osborne’s budget is laughable.

IDS has presided over the biggest attack on disabled people that disabled people have ever experienced.

The loss of benefits under IDS is linked to the deaths of thousands of disabled people over the past six years.

Smith resigned for his own opportunistic reasons but every disabled person in Britain is glad to see the back of him.

Let’s hope that George Osborne and the rest of this government of the rich will join him soon.

Rob Murthwaite, North London

Residents bulldozed by Lambeth council 

Lambeth council, a Labour council, last week met and reaffirmed its decision to demolish rather than repair Cressingham Gardens estate.

A private company will take it over.

Despite multiple requests for a full inquiry into the financial facts, the council refused.

The council’s financial model assumes that the planned buildings will need no maintenance for 60 years. Residents along with experts put together an alternative People’s Plan which is completely financially viable. The council dismissed it.

We’ve begun to question their motivations.

They’ve now appointed Savills estate agents to manage the redevelopment project. This appears to be the result of a secret tender process.

They said they did not inform or consult residents about the process because it was “too technical”.

This is a council that can’t even produce a 60-year financial report with maintenance costs included in it.

The project manager for Savills has been working on behalf of the leaseholders.

This is not a Labour Party in charge here.

Gerlinde Gniewocz, South London

Academies plan is bad for your diet and health

There didn’t seem to be much opposition in parliament to the chancellor’s plan for a sugar tax on soft drinks.

However, there is opposition to the call for all schools to be made into academies.

Some academies are exempt from signing up to school food standards which ensures children are eating healthy dinners.

Around a million youngsters attending schools in England have yet to be signed up to rules introduced in January last year.

These standards put restrictions on sugary, fried and fatty foods to help ensure pupils eat a healthy diet and apply to all council-run schools.

The government should close the loophole which exempts academies from strict food standards.

John Appleyard, Liversedge, West Yorkshire

Who goes to The Hague?

No socialist should shed a tear for Bosnian-Serbian leader Radovan Karadzic following his sentencing to 40 years imprisonment at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Nevertheless, Karadzic’s trial highlights the illegitimacy of the court.

The major powers, particularly the US and its allies, decide who will and who will not be brought to trial at The Hague.

This is ironic as the US, like its ally Israel, is not a participant in the court. It withdrew from it in 2002.

If the court was to have any legitimacy it would charge George W Bush and Tony Blair with war crimes in Iraq.

The same goes for Binyamin Netanyahu for war crimes in the occupied territories of Palestine.

Mark Brown, Glasgow

Corbyn needs our support

Socialist Workers Party members should ask themselves, how exactly will you help Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn become prime minister?

Will you campaign on the doorstep? Will you vote for a left slate on the Labour Party NEC or… fart about selling papers?

Chris Mckenzie on Facebook

Etonian toffs keep stealing

Etonian economics: “Keep with one hand while taking with the other”.

John Smith on Facebook

Sanders victim of BBC bias

BERNIE Sanders won two out of three states last week (see Socialist Worker online report at

But the BBC Breakfast News only reported on the one he lost. Biased against Sanders, biased against Corbyn.

John Dow on Facebook

Far right gains in Germany

Your article about the German regional elections (Socialist Worker, 16 March) contained an error.

In Baden-Wurttemberg it wasn’t the Green Party that did surprisingly well, but its leader.

This was on the basis of support for Merkel’s critic, the racist Horst Seehofer of the Bavarian Social Christians.

There is a Stand Up to Racism conference in Germany on 23 and 24 April. Over 13,000 individuals and organisations have so far signed up to the platform.

David Paenson, Frankfurt, Germany

Ukip hypocrite warmongers

Nigel Farage has claimed that the “free movement of people has led to the free movement of Kalashnikovs”.

It’s the free market in weapons that has led “to the free movement of Kalashnikovs”.

Sasha Simic, east London

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