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Sunday, 9 August 2015

Tory Budget Letter

Letter published in News and Star

If you liked the Bedroom Tax you'll love the new £30 a week tax on the sick and disabled. George Osborne is slashing the ESA WRAG group to almost the level of the very miserly JSA.

One wonders what the advantage of jumping through the immense hoops to claim the benefit are, perhaps immunity from the rip-off "work for your benefit" schemes that the government says will help claimants fill out their CVs (can't paid work fill out a CV too?) although some on the WRAG have been hastled to join just such schemes.

People will wonder what they paid national insurance for all their life. Of course, unlike the rich that evade and avoid £120bn a year in tax, taxes on working people can't be ducked.

Other attacks include rent hikes for those in social housing, reductions in the benefit cap and unprecedented attacks on in-work benefits that subsidise employers who pay scandalously low wages.

If they really want to save the benefits bill they should raise wages to £10 an hour and introduce a rent cap, funny how austerity always seems to redistribute money upwards. The Sheriff of Nottingham would have been proud.

A £10 an hour minimum wage and co-ordinated strike action are official TUC policy so the unions should step up and initiate a serious fightback against the failed program of austerity.

Daniel Thorburn, Upperby

SYRIZA letter

Letter published in News and Star.

Well done Hazel and Stephen Grahame for showing solidarity from Carlisle in Athens, and well done the Greek people for rejecting austerity misery, despite Tsipras’s capitulation to EU blackmail. Greek debt wasn’t caused by lazy workers drinking ouzo and smashing plates – even before the world banking crash and mass unemployment (26%, over 50% for youth) they worked the longest hours in Europe for little pay. It was created by European banks recklessly lending corrupt Greek Tory and Labour governments money, for example to buy submarines, planes and weapon systems from Siemens, Mannesman etc, for what was the world’s fourth costliest military, International banks, corporations and EU politicians colluded in the corruption by the rich and powerful. Goldman Sachs helped the Greek conservative PM, Samaras, to fiddle the books to join the Euro, with the knowledge of the Eurozone leaders.

There was no bailout for the impoverished Greek people but for the European banks, offloading their unpayable loans onto state institutions. Now they are making Eurozone taxpayers and the Greek working and middle classes, especially pensioners, pay the bill. But the Thatcherite economics of austerity have resulted in 5 years of depression, crashing the  economy by 25%, halving living standards, throwing millions into destitution and despair  – yet worsening the debt level even further. Now even the IMF admits the country will be pushed deeper into permanent debt and decline without a partial write-off, yet they and the EU/ECB still oppose this demand from Syriza.

Why? Because they are using their unelected power to blackmail and sabotage the democratically elected Syriza government, force regime change and impose their bureaucratic will firstly on the Greek voters and, by example, on the coming elections in Spain, Portugal and Ireland. Anyone in the Labour Party or trade unions here who thinks the EU is somehow “social” needs to check this brutal reality.

Carlisle Socialist Party believes that Syriza must now cancel the debt and determinedly lead the people out of the undemocratic EU and Euro. The constitution, which exempts the billionaire owners of the world’s biggest shipping fleet from paying taxes, must be scrapped and the fleet, along with the banks and corrupt corporations, nationalised. Democratic control and planning by the Greek workers would then allow the economy to be rebuilt in their interests.

Brent Kennedy

Carlisle Socialist Party

Corbyn campaign

Letter published in News and Star

The Labour party establishment just can’t understand the enthusiasm for Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist policies. They claim that the British people support globalisation, cuts to jobs, services and living standards, privatisation and attacking the welfare state. They say that Labour lost the election because it was too different from the Tories, therefore it has to become even more like the Tories.

They ignore their wipeout in their traditional heartlands of Scotland, where their working class bedrock shifted to a party claiming to be anti-cuts, anti-Trident and further left. But a poll published in the Independent this week shows that the public are much farther left than Labour, with a majority agreeing with Corbyn on the following issues (figures exclude “don’t knows”): rail nationalisation (60% for, 20% against); for a 75% tax rate on incomes over £1m (56-31);  banning nuclear weapons (64-21); rent controls on landlords (59-7); for a legal (real) living wage (60-31); scrap tuition fees (49-31); condemn the Iraq war (43-37); and to oppose bombing Syria (60-24).

In other words, it’s not the public that are subservient to the rich and powerful, it’s Burnham, Cooper and Kendal. But now Blair has shown the true face of the Labour machine, admitting “I wouldn’t want to win [a general election] on an old-fashioned leftist platform. Even if I thought it was the route to victory, I wouldn’t take it.” How disloyal is that? This traitor would rather see the Tories win again than his own party! Why shouldn’t he be expelled instead of real socialists?

The Socialist Party wishes Jeremy Corbyn well. But win or lose, he’ll need to unite the whole left and the unions against inevitable attacks by the Labour right, to build a real socialist party for workers. Anyone interested in this is welcome to attend our meetings every Monday at 7pm in Club Britannia, Lowther St.

Brent Kennedy,

Carlisle Socialist Party