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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 January 2017
Pollution kills 600: fight for clean air!
Pollution kills 600: fight for clean air, photo Jeff Pardoen (Creative Commons) (Click to enlarge)
Tanis Belsham-Wray, Leeds Socialist Party
For ten days between March and April 2014, levels of poisonous particulates caused an extra 300 premature deaths in the UK, according to a recent government estimate.
This is on top of the expected 300 deaths from air pollution, making a total of 600 deaths that spring.
This is not a one-off incident. This December we had potentially the worst air pollution the UK has ever seen.
In France this spike led to emergency procedures including offering citizens free public transport and implementing restrictions on car usage. The rising levels of cardiovascular and respiratory problems are causing a lot of additional pressure on an already stretched NHS.
The Labour right's solution to this: punish commuters. London's Blairite mayor Sadiq Khan is proposing an additional £10 levy in certain areas of the city. Even Transport for London predicts this will have little to no effect on rising pollution in the area.
And yet the Green Alliance think-tank calculates there will be a 95% decline in investment in renewable energy between 2017 and 2020. Despite growing awareness of the issue, priority is given to the protection of profits for big business.
Only a socialist society, one that isn't dominated by the need for profit and exploitation, can organise the mass investment and integration needed to plan for the future.
Nationalise the energy companies and use the money to invest in safe, renewable energy. Nationalise public transport to create an affordable and reliable system that is a genuine option for commuters.
Run them under the democratic control of workers and service users, in the interests of the many, not the super-rich few.
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
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In The Socialist 18 January 2017:
What we think
Labour's civil war continues - build a mass workers' party
Tories torn in two on single market
Inaugurate the resistance
We can stop Trump's sexist agenda in its tracks
International socialist news and analysis
Mexico: Mass movement against "gasolinazo"
USA: Seattle activists win housebuilding programme
1917revolution.org website to launch
Socialist Party news and analysis
'Black alert' NHS: Demonstrate 4 March
Eight billionaires own as much as half humanity!
Pollution kills 600: fight for clean air!
Northern Ireland calls snap election: back Labour Alternative
Millwall FC move threat: Defend the Den - 'wall not Renewal
Workplace news and analysis
Billions in profit for Tesco, cuts and job losses for workers
Liverpool dockers and drivers protest "appalling lack of facilities"
Manchester: BA cabin crew pay strike
London: Taxi drivers gridlock City of London
Southern Rail strike continues
Unite the Union elections
PCS union national executive elections
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
The Socialist: read it, write it, sell it
Protesters surround Sheffield's cutting council
Fracking protest in Sherwood Forest
Residents protest at plans to close nine community centres
Anger at south east Kent Momentum meeting
Socialist Party national committee agrees document for congress
Socialist readers' comments and reviews
Why I joined the Socialist Party
Theatre review: high art and savage poverty in Bootle
John Berger: remarkable art of a contradictory socialist
Socialist artists invite others to exhibit work
The Socialist inbox
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