The Socialist 17 May 2017 |
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The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors, image by Suzanne Beishon (Click to enlarge)
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Property fat cats
The radical waves from Jeremy Corbyn's election campaign seem to have accidentally lapped over into the Guardian (motto 'we are the Corbyn haters'). A Guardian article on 10 May takes a look at the individuals and organisations who have made it big in capitalist Britain.
Journalist Alice Martin analyses that 'fatcatometer', the Sunday Times Rich List 2017. As the Socialist commented in issue 948, the list showed how the total wealth of the richest thousand had risen by 14% to no less than £658 billion in the last year!
But who are these millionaires and billionaires? Martin says that 26 of the top hundred list property ownership - land, bricks and concrete - as a major source of their wealth. In Britain, which capitalism has largely de-industrialised, only six of them listed industry, seven retail. Even finance and investment trailed behind on ten fat cats.
There are 164 property moguls in the top 1,000. The value of such property in the UK is now more than £5 trillion, estimated to be almost 60% of the country's entire wealth. Even from a capitalist viewpoint , this has all the sustainability of bubble gum.
Workers' wages are being slashed so that the ruling class, that depends on profit - the unpaid labour of the working class - can live lives of luxury. Meanwhile housing is in deep crisis with homes only available at huge and upwardly spiralling costs.
This is intolerable. Obviously we fight for decent housing and to tax the super-rich but the anti-democratic stranglehold of the property giants must be ended.
If a Corbyn government is elected, its problems will be huge unless it takes the top 150 companies, the banking and finance system and property companies into public ownership. We need a democratic socialist plan of production based on people's needs not on the profits of property magnates.
Roger Shrives, Lewisham, south London
Food bank users, photo James (Creative Commons) (Click to enlarge)
There are complex reasons why
People go to foodbanks,
It's really not as simple
As you may foolishly think!
The foodbank's located nearer
Than your local supermarket,
Which means many people
Avoid the risk of sore feet!
Some prefer the restricted variety
The foodbank conveniently offers,
Saves being bewildered
By unnecessary choice!
The foodbank is really handy
When you're out and about in town
And you seem to have forgotten
Your wallet or your purse!
The foodbank's great at avoiding
Workplace conflict over low pay,
Now there's no need to bother
Your greedy boss for a raise!
Foodbanks can take the sting
Out of cruel benefit sanctions,
Making life on the dole
So much more bearable!
And when you fancy being
Humiliated, reminded you are poor,
The foodbank's there just for you,
Your convenient pauper store.
There are complex reasons why
People go to foodbanks,
But simple reasons why
We must end capitalism!
Jim Horton, London
Aire Valley Against Incineration (AVAI) group held a public meeting on 25 April 2017 in Keighley, west Yorkshire. This was to give an update on their efforts to stop the toxic 'clean fuel' waste incinerator planned for Keighley, in the pretty but polluted residential River Aire valley in West Yorkshire. Bradford Socialist Part have been active in this campaign - attending a march, petitioning and writing letters of complaint to the local authority.
There was widespread criticism in the audience against the local Conservative MP Kris Hopkins who is in favour of the incinerator.
AVAI told us that that the next step in protesting the construction of the incinerator would be to seek a judicial review as the communities and local government minister, Sajid Javid refused to stop the Bradford council planning approval.
AVAI are planning events to raise funds as the cost of hiring a barrister is expensive. Donations are being sought through the group's Facebook page: 'Aire Valley Against Incineration'.
Nick Bradshaw, Bradford
I have received a letter from Theresa May urging me to vote Tory in the general election. It looks like this is being sent to presumably non-Tory voters in marginal constituencies. In it, she says that the opinion polls got the 2015 general election and EU referendum results wrong and in effect contradicts the press predictions of a guaranteed huge Tory majority!
She also said that well paid jobs, affordable housing and a strong NHS can only be guaranteed by her brand of Brexit negotiations. It is patently obvious that large sections of the population haven't had these things for years. May is saying that if she gets Brexit right we will get all of these things. Yet she was a Remain supporter! The Tories don't give a monkey's about well paid jobs, affordable housing and a strong NHS.
Clive Walder, Birmingham