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From The Socialist newspaper, 31 July 2013

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!

Housing fears

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

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In The Socialist 31 July 2013:

Socialist Party NHS news and analysis

NHS: cuts ration care

National Health Service in crisis!

Socialist Party news and analysis

Miliband's 'Clause Four moment'

Unite "at a turning point"

Benefits shock: London family on state handouts avoids the benefit cap and bedroom tax

Them & Us

Climate change

Climate change accelerates... but capitalism sets the agenda

International socialist news and analysis

The capitalist world in turmoil

Tunisia: Political assassination provokes renewed workers' struggles

Neither the military nor Morsi... for a workers' government

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Anti-bedroom tax campaigning

Lambeth byelection: TUSC beats Ukip and Tories

Zero hours contract scandal

Atos misery: scrap work capability assessments!

Tamil Solidarity links with RMT

Building the Socialist Party

The Socialist summer schedule

Socialist Party workplace news

Strike to stop Royal Mail sell-off

Two weeks of strike action by Churchill cleaners

One Housing support workers - more determined than ever!

Workplace In brief

Socialist Party review

Book review: Karl Marx - How to change the world


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