Socialist Party
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11 July 2018

Them & Us

New peer 'elected'...

The House of Lords has a new legislator, 'elected' with a crushing total of... 12 votes.

Charles Peregrine Courtenay, 19th Earl of Devon, was duly elected by his peers: 31 hereditary aristocrats. He will now hold office till he dies.

Lord Courtenay lives in a castle with a 3,000-acre estate including a deer park. He is a graduate of Eton and Cambridge and works as a barrister.

He will now be entitled to 300 a day just for signing in. And a vote on every law the Commons tries to pass. The Socialist says: abolish the Lords!

... union votes restricted

Meanwhile, civil service workers in the PCS union are voting on strikes to end years of pay cuts. They must hit big, undemocratic thresholds.

The Tories' anti-union laws mean all votes for industrial action have to happen by post instead of in the workplace. And now they are invalid unless there's a turnout above 50%. In effect, workers who miss the letter, or choose to let everyone else decide, are counted as voting against!

Determined organising can break these anti-democratic shackles. The Communication Workers Union and the University and College Union have both done it for national action.

But the people who agree these laws face no such minimum thresholds. And some of them can get seats - for life - on 12 votes! It's one law for the bosses, and another for workers.

Bosses' Brexit ransom...

Jaguar Land Rover has threatened 40,000 jobs if Britain leaves the EU's neoliberal single market and customs union.

The car maker made 1.5 billion profit before tax last year. Like the majority of big business, it is desperate to keep rules which help it shunt money, jobs and goods around the EU on capitalist terms. They are part of maximising the bosses' exploitation of workers.

BMW and Airbus have made similar threats. Using workers' livelihoods this way is a scandal.

But giving in to big business bullying won't work. Experience shows they'll take your handouts - and move anyway as soon as it suits them.

Jeremy Corbyn has rightly argued for a new customs union which protects such jobs without blocking nationalisation and state investment.

He must also tell bosses who hold workers to ransom they can expect summary nationalisation - with compensation only paid out to those who can prove they need it, not fat cats.

... migrant kids' ransom

And while the bosses hold workers to ransom by threatening to move factories, migrant children must pay the bosses' government a ransom to be allowed to stay.

The Home Office makes over 51,600 a day from charging the kids to register as British citizens, says immigration lawyer Colin Yeo.

The cost of applying is 1,102 - out of range for many destitute and persecuted refugee or migrant families. But the administrative costs are just 372!

Children not registered as British citizens risk detention and deportation, often facilitated by the EU. They can even be denied school trips and college places.

Of course, if you're a Hollywood actor marrying into the royal family, there's plenty of money for the fees. And you'll be fast-tracked. And get a free mansion in Kensington.