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Recent research from the London School of Economics shows life expectancy in the UK is at its lowest for 16 years! In fact, in the fifth largest economy in the world, life expectancy is one of the lowest in Europe.
This is a daunting, morbid perspective that won't worry the wealthiest in society. Avoidable deaths are mainly on the rise among people under 50 and from economically deprived, working-class communities.
On average, a woman from a deprived area would be expected to live for 78 years and eight months, whereas a woman from a wealthier area can look forward to 86 years and two months. For most of us, Tory plans to have us retire at 75 aren't looking too appealing!
Given the evidence presented by the research it is quite clear that austerity kills! The Health Foundation commissioned the research and commented that housing, employment and education, along with the NHS and social care, were the main factors influencing life expectancy.
Unfortunately, the Health Foundation's recommendation of setting up a new independent body to scrutinise mortality data and government policy is hardly good enough.
We need to collect the billions evaded or avoided in taxes by the richest individuals and companies each year, like Amazon which paid £1.8 million in 2011 despite raking in £3.35bn.
The top companies that control the commanding heights of the economy should be brought into democratic public ownership with compensation only on the basis of proven need.
Let's fight for a future that is worth living and isn't being cut short by austerity and the greed of the capitalist class.
Caerphilly Socialist Party member
Defend free trade unions
So, an unelected Tory judge denies the democratic will of 140,000 postal workers to take industrial action in defence of 40,000 jobs which Royal Mail plan to axe, on the spurious grounds of irregular ballot procedures - with not a scrap of evidence.
It's despicable. It's class hatred and class fear from a rotten Tory government which has been propped up by the reactionary 'Democratic' Unionist Party for the past two years. They don't know the meaning of democracy.
If the vote had been not to strike, you'd not have heard a peep from them. What right does this or any other government have in interfering with the democratic procedure of a free trade union?
I would urge people who wish to defend democratic rights and public services like the NHS, to vote this lot out of office in the forthcoming general election.
Defend free trade unions!
Bill Buchanan, Nottingham
No rape justice
It was reported last week that the number of people charged with rape fell last year by 38% and the number of prosecutions fell by 32%.
It would be naive to imagine that this has happened because fewer rapes have occurred, or even because fewer rapes had been reported to the police.
In reality, what has been happening is that fewer cases have resulted in suspects being charged. The Guardian reported that the CPS has been operating a 60% 'level of ambition' as regards rape cases.
This means that the CPS are aiming to secure convictions in 60% of the cases it brings to court, in an effort to make the public believe that more rapists are being brought to justice.
The easiest way to do that, of course, is to drop any cases which it is not sure will result in conviction.
The Guardian notes that this change will most strongly affect women who are not seen as 'perfect victims'. By this they mean that some women are less likely to receive justice than others.
Young women, poor women, ethnic minorities and those who were 'provocatively' dressed or suffering from mental health conditions at the time are likely to be particularly badly served.
Ruth Mason, East London
With regards to the minimum wage debate launched in the Socialist (see 'How can we end the scandal of low pay?' at socialistparty.org.uk) we at Disability Campaigners have always believed in the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and have for a long time referred to ourselves as poor.
This is because the benefit levels paid by both Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) leave a single person some £6,800 below the Minimum Income Standard.
We campaign upon the basis set down by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, as we cannot call upon a union or the Trade Union Congress to offer us any form of research.
In terms of a worker, taking the example shown, the benefit is equal to working 35 hours a week for the minimum wage.
This reflects very badly upon the disabled and even more so upon a worker so poorly paid.
We are in frequent contact with the Labour MPs in our area, as we expect nothing from the Tories.
Clearly the debate illustrates just how much the working class needs to pressure capitalism in order for our people to merely survive!
Adrian B Rimington, chair, Disability Campaigners Chesterfield
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Coronavirus crisis - 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.
- Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
- 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.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.
- Click here to read our full appeal statement
- Click here for our coronavirus articles and reports
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In The Socialist 20 November 2019:
What we think
Violence against women
Socialist Party news and analysis
Workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
International socialist news and analysis