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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 June 2013

Them & Us

A façade, literally

In preparation for the G8 meeting in Northern Ireland, £2 million was spent on tackling dereliction. Not by building or renovating new houses or services, but, in the main, by covering any undesirable looking buildings with painted boards to hide the effects of the recession away for the duration of the meeting.

Stickers and paintings showing bustling and booming shops cover the empty ones that now litter most streets across Northern Ireland.


We're constantly told that life is getting easier and easier for young people - these days everyone can go to university if they work hard enough, no matter what background they're from.

But a new study shows that the top Russell Group universities are getting more rather than less elitist.

They're letting in fewer state school students now than they were a decade ago. This is despite a separate piece of research recently showing that, on average, state school students do better at university than private school ones.

The government's social mobility tsar Alan Milburn was quoted as saying that the increase in the cap in tuition fees to £9,000 a year might have something to do with it, but not necessarily. Hmmm.

Cave living

It has been widely reported that desperate eastern European migrants are living in sheds and even in old fridges across the country.

Now it has been revealed that one group have taken up residence in a squalid network of caves near Stockport.

The caves, used as shelter during air raids in World War Two, are thought to 'house' possibly hundreds of people who came to Britain hoping for a better life than was on offer in their home countries.

Maternity shortages

Shortages of midwives and maternity beds lead to maternity wards closing 1,000 times each year. Thousands of women in labour have to travel miles to find an open ward.

The Royal College of Midwives estimates that an extra 5,000 midwives are needed to cope with the rising birth rate - the "efficiency savings" being squeezed from the NHS won't allow for that.


Tory MP Sir Gerald Howarth has recently taken up a part time (paid at least £15,000) consultancy job with QuickQuid - the payday loan racket infamous for charging up to 1,734% annual interest rates.

The company was recently named by the Office of Fair Trading as being responsible for widespread irresponsible lending.

Not to mention that most of the people forced to use payday lenders are there because of the cuts carried out by Howarth's party in government.

Deep freeze

The public sector pay freeze in place since 2010 has caused misery for millions. But it's just not enough for the government - pay needs to be more frozen, it seems.

Some public sector workers have seen pay progression in that time as it was contractually obliged. In the upcoming spending review this will be ended, with an extra £1.5 billion cut from wages. And the government has told workers to expect more pay cuts from 2015 too.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 19 June 2013:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Cuts can be beaten!

Why we're going to the NSSN conference: Coventry communications workers

Fight the Tories for right to a decent education system

Student loans threat: Action needed on student debt mountain

Lowest living standards in a decade

Sir 'sell-out' Brendan

Them & Us

Fighting the bedroom tax

We can beat the bedroom tax - Supplement to the Socialist

Let's axe the bedroom tax

International socialist news and analysis

Turkey: Eyewitness to Erdogan's state terror

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Southampton byelection: Labour vote halved

Fire cuts - public will support strike action

Stopping the BNP from meeting

Home care: Cuts and outsourcing equal abuse

Wales campaigners fight for NHS

Socialist Party news

Socialist Party workplace news

Bin workers strike for seven days

NUT members strike to defend teaching assistant posts

Housing support workers say 'enough is enough'

Unison Local Government conference: Leadership faces delegates' anger

Support for socialist alternative to pro-cuts New Labour at GMB conference

Wales Shop Stewards' Network conference

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reviews

Budding trade unionists and passionate Chartists

BBC 'unbalanced' on Liverpool 47


Home   |   The Socialist 19 June 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

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Related links:


triangleG8 Summit - what were the decisions?

triangleNo to G8 austerity

triangleMarch against the G8


triangleWaltham Forest: mobilisation needed to defend abortion rights

triangleNHS: Mass fightback is needed

triangleWeakened Tories forced into Northern Ireland abortion u-turn

triangleInternational Women's Day


triangleBristol jobs protest: We want 100% pay

triangleWe won't pay with our futures

triangleBacking Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary


triangle"We need a leadership that comes from the movement"

triangleNigeria protests shake regime


triangleReverse the GP cuts


triangleWe need union action, not platitudes!

Northern Ireland:

triangleCovid pandemic and Northern Ireland - workers must resist the bosses' offensive

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