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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 June 2020

News in brief

Flammable cladding can act as a chimney, spreading flames throughout a tower, photo Jim Linwood (CC)

Flammable cladding can act as a chimney, spreading flames throughout a tower, photo Jim Linwood (CC)   (Click to enlarge)

Cladding off now!

On the third anniversary of the fatal Grenfell Tower disaster, a tower block fire in Canning Town on 22 June was controlled with no deaths - because the cladding was finally removed last year. However, the Tory government has reportedly spent less than a quarter of what it promised to replace remaining Grenfell-style cladding, leaving 300 high-rise buildings still vulnerable.

And the suggestion from property developer Berkeley Group that the government relax restrictions on the use of flammable cladding has been slammed by the Fire Brigades Union. The FBU rightly says it's a "shameless attempt" to protect profits over public safety, and calls for "unscrupulous housebuilders" like Berkeley Group to be nationalised.

Failure app

Health Secretary Matt Hancock - a byword for failure - has ditched the government's planned mobile phone contact tracing app in England in favour of a system operated by tax-dodging tech giants Google and Apple. But this new app won't be up and running until "winter".

The app underwent three months' trial in the Isle of Wight before being abandoned. Apparently, it wouldn't work with Apple's phone operating system.

The centralised system was also condemned by many scientists and tech experts as a Trojan horse for government surveillance. How much the doomed app has cost the public purse has not been revealed.

Labour untogether

A belated post-mortem on Labour's 2019 election defeat by 'Labour Together' has added weight to the Socialist Party's earlier conclusions (see 'Stand firm for socialist policies to stop Tory attacks' on socialistparty.org.uk, and 'Lessons from the Corbyn experience' in the June issue of Socialism Today).

Many of Labour's organisational failings can be laid at the door of the "toxic culture created by years of infighting" says the report - ie, Labour's right wing systematically attempting to remove Corbyn and rubbish his programme. Labour's right, along with Momentum, did, however, push Corbyn into adopting a confused position on Brexit.

Significantly, the report points to "two decades of demographic and political change that hit the party's traditional base." In other words, Blairite capitalist policies, especially savage austerity measures in Labour-run councils, have politically alienated working-class voters.

Dave Carr

Shopping scandal

The coronavirus-prevention measures at JD Sports in Romford include a customer capacity of 116!

It's not a massive shop. The store limits for other similarly sized shops was 20 to 32. Although, like the supermarkets, they'll probably start low then increase numbers to increase profits - regardless of how infectious the virus is.

Postscript: In fact, the store capacity for Next in Romford was 20 on 15 June, but 27 on 19 June!

Ian Pattison

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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.
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In The Socialist 24 June 2020:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Lifting the lockdown: workers must not pay the price

Victory for Royal Glamorgan A&E!

Housing: act now to cancel Covid crisis rents and debt

Over 30% of children living in poverty

Fight back to stop Tories scrapping protections for children in care

International aid: Johnson's pie in the sky

Reading workers' movement responds to knife attack

News in brief

Them & us


Black Lives Matter

Young people fighting back: Jobs and homes, not racism

Lessons from the Black Panthers: "We're not going to fight capitalism with black capitalism - we're going to fight capitalism with socialism"

Towards an anti-racist school curriculum

Black Lives Matter protests: week three


International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: Building jobs and living wage campaign


Wales

Tories sinking in Wales but no enthusiasm for Welsh Labour


Workplace news and analysis

Why you should come to NSSN conference

Fully fund schools - stand firm on safety

P&O: defend every job - nationalise the ferries

Workers need a 'new deal' - at least 12 an hour now!

Renationalisation of the probation service


Campaigns

It's time to join the Socialist Party

Selling the Socialist: we're back!

Fighting fund: help us smash our target!

Call for an increase in PIP due to Covid-19


Readers' opinion

A timely read about a pandemic that overwhelms society

The Socialist inbox


 

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