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7 March 2018

The Socialist inbox

Do you have something to say?

Send your news, views and criticism in not more than 150 words to Socialist Postbox, PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD, phone 020 8988 8771 or email

We reserve the right to shorten and edit letters. Don't forget to give your name, address and phone number. Confidentiality will be respected if requested.

Views of letter writers do not necessarily match those of the Socialist Party.

Snow chaos

Hearing stories of rail workers going above and beyond their duties during the recent disruption, only to find that their efforts are not appreciated.

Minimal preparation despite the clear warnings, lack of coordination between companies, when decisions were made they were not communicated clearly and fully.

Lack of clear decision-making from managers - although it must be said there is a dire shortage of managers; train crew stranded, contacting their company but calls remaining unanswered for over an hour; train crew instructed to terminate service short of home depot and informed staff would be on hand to assist passengers; on arrival no assistance for passengers and train crew pay for taxi to home depot.

Driver rings to say roads dangerous, so will not be in; supervisor offers to send a taxi, informed again that that would be equally dangerous. Driver stranded far from home depot, had to be assisted by a manager from another firm. Driver stranded in Reading unable to get contact with supervisor, pays for taxi to London.

An Aslef member, Worcestershire

Jailed TUSC agent writes

Last month, TUSC activist Chris Fernandez began a 15-month prison sentence. His alleged crime was 'misleading' local residents who chose to sign papers allowing TUSC candidates to stand in local elections.

The prosecution attacked Chris for showing nominators a petition against closing a local pool to explain TUSC's anti-cuts approach. As TUSC national election agent Clive Heemskerk put it, this was a "vindictive political prosecution" aimed at subduing anti-establishment voices.

After the Socialist's article explaining the case and appeal for messages of support, Chris has written back. Read more at, 'Outrageous sentence for TUSC agent in "misleading electors" court case'.

Number: A5447ED
Name: Chris Fernandez
Wing: E 216

I would just like to thank your paper for its article of support and for all your readers' letters which really lift me. I cannot reply to all of them, but over time I will try.

I have never been in trouble with the police in my life. It was my first time in court and my first time in prison.

It is tough in here. I get one and a half hours out of my cell. However, I have put down for education, work and use of gym which are outside of association time. The prison officers are OK, but I think under a lot of pressure.

I was proud of TUSC's campaign against the closure of Moorways swimming pool and took a petition along with me to show it as an example of what we had done. I never asked people to sign it. I do think this is political, but I will not be broken by this and I will still campaign for a socialist society.

I have been discussing the ideas of socialism with different inmates. I had to tell them my side of the story as they thought I was an MP done for fiddling taxes, but not now they say they see me as a political prisoner.

Also thanks to the TUSC national steering committee and the Socialist Party for their support.

This has also affected my wife Magdalena as she is now on her own. Socialist Party members and friends are helping her. She has been a bedrock of support to me.

Yours in solidarity, Chris Fernandez

P.S. I have now been moved to E wing. If letters have been sent to B wing I should still get them.

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