Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/770/16925
Them & Us
A façade, literally
In preparation for the G8 meeting in Northern Ireland, £2 million was spent on tackling dereliction. Not by building or renovating new houses or services, but, in the main, by covering any undesirable looking buildings with painted boards to hide the effects of the recession away for the duration of the meeting.
Stickers and paintings showing bustling and booming shops cover the empty ones that now litter most streets across Northern Ireland.
We're constantly told that life is getting easier and easier for young people - these days everyone can go to university if they work hard enough, no matter what background they're from.
But a new study shows that the top Russell Group universities are getting more rather than less elitist.
They're letting in fewer state school students now than they were a decade ago. This is despite a separate piece of research recently showing that, on average, state school students do better at university than private school ones.
The government's social mobility tsar Alan Milburn was quoted as saying that the increase in the cap in tuition fees to £9,000 a year might have something to do with it, but not necessarily. Hmmm.
It has been widely reported that desperate eastern European migrants are living in sheds and even in old fridges across the country.
Now it has been revealed that one group have taken up residence in a squalid network of caves near Stockport.
The caves, used as shelter during air raids in World War Two, are thought to 'house' possibly hundreds of people who came to Britain hoping for a better life than was on offer in their home countries.
Shortages of midwives and maternity beds lead to maternity wards closing 1,000 times each year. Thousands of women in labour have to travel miles to find an open ward.
The Royal College of Midwives estimates that an extra 5,000 midwives are needed to cope with the rising birth rate - the "efficiency savings" being squeezed from the NHS won't allow for that.
Tory MP Sir Gerald Howarth has recently taken up a part time (paid at least £15,000) consultancy job with QuickQuid - the payday loan racket infamous for charging up to 1,734% annual interest rates.
The company was recently named by the Office of Fair Trading as being responsible for widespread irresponsible lending.
Not to mention that most of the people forced to use payday lenders are there because of the cuts carried out by Howarth's party in government.
The public sector pay freeze in place since 2010 has caused misery for millions. But it's just not enough for the government - pay needs to be more frozen, it seems.
Some public sector workers have seen pay progression in that time as it was contractually obliged. In the upcoming spending review this will be ended, with an extra £1.5 billion cut from wages. And the government has told workers to expect more pay cuts from 2015 too.
In The Socialist 19 June 2013:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Fighting the bedroom tax
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reviews