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From The Socialist newspaper, 23 October 2019

The Socialist Inbox

Do you have something to say?

The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors, photo Suzanne Beishon

The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

Send your news, views and criticism in not more than 150 words to Socialist Postbox, PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD, phone 020 8988 8771 or email [email protected]

We reserve the right to shorten and edit letters. Don't forget to give your name, address and phone number. Confidentiality will be respected if requested.

Views of letter writers do not necessarily match those of the Socialist Party.

It's OK to talk. But what if the service I need to talk to has been cut?

The acceptance of mental health issues in society is a huge positive. I think the national and local campaigns - encouraging, in particular, young men to open up about their mental health issues - is a massive progression from years gone by.

The concept of 'it's OK to talk' and such ideas are important. They open up the possibility of being open about mental health and I applaud and encourage them.

That being said, talking to your mate often isn't enough. The disgraceful state of professional mental health services in Britain is a scandal that needs shouting about on Mental Health Day and every day.

I've seen friends, family and loved ones ignored, discharged and put on waiting lists due to a crisis in resources.

I've sat with someone who's openly admitted they're close to killing themselves, tried to find a safe place for someone admitting to me they've been self-harming and had to wait hours for the professional help these people needed.

That's just me, I'm sure everyone has a personal story about the mental health crisis. It's a national scandal.

I could go on about the general impact of austerity - its impact of low wages, poverty and service cuts on mental health - but that's a separate point. I'll stick to mental health services.

The NHS, and in particular mental health, is at breaking point. We need proper full funding for all our health needs.

And we need to oppose a capitalist system that profits off the woes of the masses and fight for a socialist society that can deal with the root causes of mental health problems.

Matt Whale, Hull, nurse

"Equal"? Equal exploitation!

photo Paul Mattsson

photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

The High Court decision - that the government's handling of the rise in the state pension age for women was not unfair - is yet another perfect example of how workers cannot trust the legal system to defend their interests!

The High Court is made out to be an impartial and fair system, above politics to defend people. After the recent ruling that Boris Johnson acted unlawfully in the suspension of parliament, some trade union leaders and left activists praised the court as a 'defender of the people'.

This is not true, and dangerous for left figures to declare! Most laws are created by the capitalist establishment to defend their power, positions and interests.

When workers have been able to win changes in the law, it's only been through collective struggle, like the mass mobilisation of workers in trade union movements.

If the current legal system was truly on the side of justice - it would be for workers' justice!

The government raised women's state pension age from 60 to 65 to make it 'equal' with men - now both sexes suffer the same 'equal' exploitation and have to work longer!

If there was actually any justice, the pension age for men would have been reduced to 60 so all workers have more time to enjoy their lives.

If it were up to the capitalists, they would have us work until we die and the idea of retirement becomes a fairy tale. However, if history teaches us anything, it's that workers have fought to better their living standards, so I'm sure the story will not end here.

Corinthia Ward, Birmingham

Deselecting 'Blairites' for 40 years

Dave Nellist's article was most welcome. (See '40 years on: Mandatory reselection more vital for Labour than ever')

Dave states: "The conference decisions (agreeing to mandatory reselection) became a key trigger for the formation of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in March 1981 and split the Labour vote in the 1983 election, allowing the Tories to be re-elected."

This may have impacted on the scale and implementation of mandatory reselection because those local parties that embarked upon replacing MPs like Reg Prentice were subject to enormous media pressure.

"Mandatory reselection lasted only a decade." And so did the SDP who merged with the Liberals to form the Liberal Democrats in 1988.

The 'Gang of Four', who set up the SDP, claimed their objective was to "break the mould" of British politics. In that they failed.

But their real objective was to prevent a left-wing Labour government, led by Michael Foot, being elected in 1983. In that regard it was 'job done', even though it paved the way for a decade of Thatcherism!

This year we had a repeat. Blairite MPs, led by Chuka Umunna and Luciana Berger, split off with disenchanted Tory MPs to form Change UK. According to the Times newspaper, "Change UK was born at the Labour Party conference of 2018" where the reform of the trigger ballot system made it slightly easier to get rid of MPs.

The SDP took seven years to merge with the Liberals. These Blairite MPs took less than seven months to join the Lib Dems.

How ironic that the Lib Dems, who in coalition with the Tories implemented their programme of austerity, have now become a refuge for 'homeless' MPs.

Dave rightly says: "The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader in September 2015 fundamentally altered politics in the party." But four years on, the struggle for control and leadership of the party continues.

If Jeremy Corbyn leads the party to victory in the next general election that will be an important battle won, but the undeclared war against capitalism inside and outside the party will have only just begun.

John Merrell, Leicester

Climate profit

I thought it was a really good article by Ben Robinson in the Socialist, (see 'Climate change: what's socialism got to do with it?'). But unfortunately one paragraph let it down!

He talks about the profit motive and says: "The results of our work are transformed by employers into capital, of which we receive a fraction as wages. The bulk is claimed by businesses as profit".

I'm not sure this is correct in that it is surplus value that is created, out of which a profit is made but certainly not the amount that the article puts forward. Could an explanation be provided on this so that readers don't get confused?

Ruthie McNally, Worcester

Health profit

Above the Daily Mirror NHS poll is a list of 70 Tories and Liberals who have been, or are currently, connected financially to private health companies. The list of shame would make for a good poster.

Mike, Southampton

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Finance appeal

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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
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In The Socialist 23 October 2019:

What we think

General election is the real 'people's vote'

CWU vote for strike will boost confidence to fight back


Boot out Boris and his bosses' deal. General election now!

"I need to get to work! I need to feed my kids!"

Rail report into death of Cardiff Socialist Party member

Boot racism out of football - reclaim the game!

Enfield North Labour Party: Defend local democracy

Minimum wage

Minimum wage: What should we be demanding?

Workplace news

Uniting workers and public to fight the cuts: Interview with Jared Wood - candidate for RMT union executive

Marion Lloyd for PCS union general secretary

Asda contracts: Vital that GMB mobilises for industrial action

NEU members strike against sixth-form funding cuts

Bradford: Workers walk out over council cuts

Workplace news in brief

Chinese revolution

China at the crossroads: 70 years since the declaration of the People's Republic of China

International socialist news and analysis

Catalonia: Draconian prison sentences of independence leaders provokes mass protests and strikes

Chile: An outpouring of rage against the capitalist system

Solidarity with the Kurdish people

Massive protests against Lebanon's corrupt elite

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Join the party that dares to fight for socialism

Packed labour movement service a fitting farewell to Tony Mulhearn

Socialism 2019: Join us for a festival of ideas

Burnt-out Barking residents picket builders' sales day

Which way forward for the working people and youth of Nigeria?

Posties speak at Basingstoke Socialist Party public meeting

Socialists attract support at first Newton Abbot meeting


The Socialist Inbox


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