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Poverty is pricey
I need a rant. The fifth car in two years has just broken down on me as I try to drive to Dawlish to pick up my stepson.
This is a journey I always fear, in cars where I've scraped the barrel to replace the last piece of machinery. So I've had to cancel work appointments - again - losing vital wages, so I can stumble somewhere close and call out the RAC in the faint hope it will be a small problem they can fix.
It's always something massive like the head gasket. I'm just the unlucky sod whose job it is it to get his hopes up, drive about for two or three months and then have to scrap it, falling into another period of crippling anxiety and feeling low because I'm failing my family, even though I really am trying my best with what I have.
So now, as always, it's a choice between throwing £200 at a potentially bad car - or paying the council tax.
It's been almost impossible to ever get properly on top of money on a zero-hour contract - in a job I love, but which is grossly underpaid. I am a socialist - not for intellectually lofty reasons, wanting to know more about Marx or Lenin - but because capitalism costs poorer people far more than super-wealthy people. The way the game is rigged all in their favour is a fact I just can't stomach.
I could have taken a better-paid work route, into something like advertising, but chose working with families and children who struggle as it's all I can really do. But this kind of career isn't valued by a heartless government, so I'm still just the schmuck sat waiting for the RAC mechanic over and over.
Poorer people, often very good people, are being forced down into horrible situations simply because they can't afford to escape them. There need to be decent jobs and decent pay available for everyone.
Nick Slater, Torquay
Sue Lee hit the nail on the head with her view on taking kids out of school in term time (Liverpool Echo, 8 April) which is in the main driven by the pressure on household expenditure.
It's obvious that the practice disrupts the educational rhythm of the classroom, but I can't recall a single criticism in the media debate of the rip-off being perpetrated by the travel companies who charge top bat during the school holiday period. This drives parents to look for options - particularly during a period of Tory cuts and wage freezes - which they can afford.
Sue poses the question: shouldn't action be taken against the travel companies to stop this profit-driven rip-off? The answer is a resounding yes.
Instead of government ministers riding their high horses and talking about parental irresponsibility, they should be tackling the irresponsibility of the travel companies and introduce immediate legislation to outlaw the excessive charges of the school holiday period.
The operators will claim it would result in the bankruptcy of the industry. In that case, a future socialist government should promise to take the operators into public ownership.
Tony Mulhearn, Liverpool
The Blairites Labour MPs have once again confirmed their true warmongering colours by speaking out in support of bombing Syria.
Clearly they have learned nothing from previous disastrous military interventions. This conflict, which has been raging since 2011, has already claimed the lives of over 300,000 Syrians, and caused the displacement of more than ten million - over half of the country's population.
How will more bombs solve the problem?
But this time the Blairites are not just supporting the Tories, who are themselves reprehensible. They are supporting the racist, sexist billionaire Donald Trump - a man so volatile and unpredictable that even the Republican establishment blushes whenever he opens his mouth.
What clearer indictment of the Blairites' political views could there be?
Among those supporting Trump's attack are Hilary Benn, Tom Watson, Michael Dugher, Mary Creagh, Angela Eagle, Wes Streeting, and Stella Creasy.
This is the same crowd who were leading calls to bomb Syria back in December 2015. It is also the same crowd who have been itching to remove their democratically elected left leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Calls for reselection contests should begin with those who have, once again, spoken in favour of bombing Syria. Hundreds of thousands are already dead. Millions have been displaced. This cannot go unpunished!
The stakes are high and time is running out for Corbyn. Labour needs to be transformed into a party fit for the 99%.
If the Corbyn project fails and the capitalist warmongers are allowed to remain in control of the party machine, Labour will be cast into the dustbin of history, like Pasok in Greece, Psoe in Spain, Labour in Ireland, and the Parti Socialiste in France.
Workers will be forced to look elsewhere for political representation.
Tom Barker, Leicester
In The Socialist 19 April 2017:
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