Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/746/15851
Them & Us
United Socialists of America
A recent poll by Gallup in the US has shown that 39% of Americans now view socialism positively. This comes less than a month after Kshama Sawant, member of Socialist Alternative (CWI US) won 30% of the vote in her challenge for the House of Representatives in Seattle.
In 2010 when the coalition government voted to increase university tuition fees to a maximum of £9,000 a year, hundreds of thousands protested in opposition.
The thought of having to spend £27,000 on a three year degree is more than enough to put off many working class students. But now it turns out even that is an under-estimate.
Government figures show that the real cost of a degree, taking into account the interest paid on loans could be £100,000.
So much for universities minister David Willetts claiming the £9,000 a year would be worth it because graduates would earn an extra £100,000 over their lifetimes.
There is a growing crisis of unemployment among some sections of ethnic minority women, a group of MPs has shown.
Some groups are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as their white counterparts. The politicians say that at least a quarter of this is due to prejudice and discrimination.
Many women have taken drastic action to try and overcome these attitudes - some going as far as changing their names or removing their hijabs to 'appear more white'.
The coffin of Michael Gething was carried through Totnes in a procession of local people after he died of hypothermia.
He was homeless in a town with no homeless shelter and it was -2 degrees outside. People who attended the funeral spoke of their shame that this had been allowed to happen in their town.
But in reality it's not just in Totnes. People like Michael die all around the country, every week. A study last year showed that, on average, homeless people die 30 years younger than the rest of the population.
And it's not the working class people 'lucky' enough to have a home who should feel guilty - it's the politicians who are slashing jobs, housing benefit and social services.
The Autumn Statement outlined plans for a new-look Private Finance Initiative. One difference from the old PFI (introduced by New Labour) is that the government will increase equity stakes to improve investors' credit ratings and try to entice more pension funds and insurance companies to invest.
But this could raise the price paid by us over the 20-30 year lifetimes of the projects - and the price was plenty high enough with the old type!
In the bustle around the Autumn Statement and its outlining more cuts to welfare, you might have missed news of one of the accompanying documents which showed that there is an estimated £40 billion of UK taxpayers' money being held in Swiss bank accounts.
While the Swiss government is now taking limited steps to open up their banking systems, for years these huge sums have been hidden in these accounts to avoid paying tax in the UK.
Happy new year!
Wondering what 2013 holds? A couple of predictions have been made already:
One in six charities say they may have to close next year because of a combination of cuts to public funding and falling donations from the public, according to the Charities Aid Foundation. One in three are worried about having to cut services. So much for the 'big society'.
And at the same time, the IPPR think tank tells us unemployment could rise by 200,000 over the next 12 months.
This is expected to include 86,000 16-24 year olds joining the dole queue bringing youth unemployment well over a million again.
In The Socialist 12 December 2012:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaigning
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news