Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/775/17162
Them & Us
One big blur
Senior civil servants, politicians, business people - they often seem to be just one big ugly blur swirling round parliament. Take Lord O'Donnell for example. He used to be the head of the civil service. Then he entered the House of Lords, speaking up loudly for big business-friendly policies.
And now he's bagged himself a one-day-a-week job as chair of Frontiers Economics. He will be attempting to use his knowledge from both his previous and existing roles to influence policy in favour of the company's corporate clients.
Not a single penny
Margaret Thatcher's funeral cost a whopping £1.2 million - mainly covered by the tax payer. We're supposed to be pleased though as this is less than the upper estimates that were given at the time of £1.6 million. And the ceremonial funeral with military honours was nothing compared to the state funeral that she could have been granted.
But given the misery she brought on the working class we hope we'll be forgiven for not feeling too happy about a single penny being spent on her send off!
The effects of austerity are making thousands of people scared about losing their homes because they can't afford their rent or mortage. A recent survey by Age UK showed that nearly a quarter of those in their early 50s are worried about losing homes they have often lived in for decades as a result of redundancy, pensions reductions, the bedroom tax and lower savings rates.
Not for profit
From the first moves towards academy schools (under the last New Labour government) we've been assured that they won't lead to schools being run for profit. But the Socialist Party warned that opening the door would lead the way for sneaking privatisation.
The latest step is that academies are to be encouraged to open branches abroad and charge fees to foreign students. Yet another motivation for profit-hungry companies to grab a piece of the academy pie - and yet again nothing to do with providing a good quality education for all.
Minimum wage failure
Professor Sir George Bain - the first chairman of the Low Pay Commission which established the minimum wage - has pointed out what has been obvious to many of us for a long time - the minimum wage isn't doing its job.
The minimum wage is currently £6.19 an hour while the living wage (i.e. what's actually necessary to live on) is at least £7.45 an hour. A minimum below the minimum becomes pointless rather quickly. 3.6 million workers are paid over the legal minimum but below the living wage.
What we heard
Endorsement for Ty Moore, Socialist Alternative (US sister section of the Socialist Party), in the Minneapolis city council elections:
"I want to live in a city where every resident lives in prosperity, has access to good-paying jobs, enjoys safe neighborhoods, great quality schooling, and is part of building our democracy. We need someone who will elevate the conversation about our city's role in our lives and our neighborhoods. As a Council member, Ty will support raising the minimum wage in the city, allowing all residents to vote, call for a moratorium in deportations, improve and enforce our city's "Separation Ordinance" so families are not broken due to deportation, and support immediate and unconditional citizenship rights.
Even more importantly, Ty will use his position to move forward Ward 9 residents' vision for the good in common for us all. I am supporting Ty because I know he is committed to racial, economic, and environmental justice, and is committed to bringing ALL of us together to participate in our democracy."
Juve Meza, Ward 9 resident and DREAM Act organizer
Socialist Alternative is also standing candidates in Seattle and Boston. See socialistalternative.org
In The Socialist 31 July 2013:
Socialist Party NHS news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party review