Socialist postbag

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 [email protected].

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.

Socialist gran

“Capitalism is in crisis. Your generation cannot live under the conditions it perpetuates. You are being stripped of any chance of a decent standard of living.

“It’s time you all stood up together and demanded a better way of life. I can’t march with you but I’ll back you. I’ll back you every step of the way.”

My gran, Christina McAllister, 2016. She may have just made me cry a little.

Jac Green, Lincoln

EU gravy train

In or out of the EU? That, as they say, is the question. Here are some reasons for exit.

MEPs are of course elected, but are basically toothless. All major decisions, which affect 500 million people, are taken by an unelected ‘Council of Ministers’ – heads of the 28 states.

We are being clobbered by neoliberal austerity. Look at the gravy train – all those parasites board it for their inflated salaries, while we take cuts and job losses.

If Obama, Cameron and big business say stay, that’s another reason to exit. The EU is just a bosses’ club in competition with the USA, Japan and China – or to batter workers with.

They say thousands of jobs will be lost. A red herring. Capitalism will trade whatever it can to make a quick buck. What did we do before we joined the EU 40 years ago?

It’s all scaremongering. Socialists say exit, not on a petty nationalist basis, but by offering people an alternative to austerity.

A society based on a democratically planned economy, as opposed to blind market forces. Where the billions who create the wealth run society, instead of the billionaires who leech off the rest of us.

Bill Buchanan, Nottingham

EU train gravy

Readers of the Socialist may know that the train drivers’ union, Aslef, has called for a vote to leave the EU in the referendum.

This is due to opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the EU ‘Fourth Railway Package’ which seeks to extend rail privatisation, franchising and the associated waste and lack of coordination from the UK to the whole of Europe.

The Aslef website also contains reports of the annual assembly of delegates taking place. There could be no better time to find out where and when Aslef branches meet, get in contact and go along.

Pete McNally, Chair, Aslef Worcester branch (personal capacity)

Scouse sell-offs

Last May, a BBC reporter was about to interview me on Liverpool’s Exchange Flags landmark when a security guard approached saying “You can’t do that there ‘ere, this is private property,” or words to that effect.

The reporter accepted this directive, while assuaging my indignation at being moved from an area that has been publicly owned for centuries.

A recent report confirms the trend appears to be seeping insidiously into large areas of the city. Take the L1 postcode: the entire estate is built on private land, owned by a corporation called Grosvenor.

Having sold off the land to the private developer – or rather, technically speaking, having granted it a 250-year leasehold of the site – Liverpool City Council has essentially relinquished all control. The bins, street lighting, round-the-clock security – all are under corporate control. The city centre has effectively been privatised.

Liverpool’s citizens need to be vigilant lest we wake up one morning to find our public spaces owned and controlled by an unholy alliance of Peel Holdings and Grosvenor.

Tony Mulhearn, Liverpool

Hospital hoo-hah

Can Huddersfield move to Huntingdon?

Regarding the once-privately managed Hinchingbrooke Hospital at Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, suddenly reports of downgrading facilities and a part-merger with Peterborough City Hospital around 20 miles away are appearing in the local press.

But no firm proposals have been made public. It seems the local Tory MP may be privy to some details, as he is apparently supporting the march. This situation is a result of the massive PFI debt at Peterborough – and other debt at Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge – rather than problems with the clinical staff at Hinchingbrooke.

We say the county is not “over-hospitalised” – to quote a Blairite ex-minister. It’s just the debt the Blairites and Tories have hung round the neck of the NHS. Keep all facilities at Hinchingbrooke – cancel the debt!

Steve Cawley, Peterborough

City suffers

Monday morning, 11 April; join the crowds from west London rushing for the Central line tube; grab a copy of the freesheet ‘City AM’ from the guy paid to hand them out.

What a cheerful start to the week for workers, particularly those at the bottom of City firms. The headline in this right-wing paper is “CITY FACING STARK GROWTH WARNING”.

It starts: “Workers in the Square Mile should brace for deep cuts to both bonuses and jobs with economists warning that faltering deals, stalled IPOs and market difficulties will take an extreme toll on the City over the coming months.”

They pour off the Tube at Holborn, Chancery Lane, Bank and Liverpool Street, to extravagant prestige office buildings, to routine, mostly boring jobs: organising the multimillions of the 1% of money-grubbers, including how they can avoid taxes.

The same paper warns, however, “chief execs are feeling the heat”. BP oil boss Bob Dudley had proposed he get a £13.9 million pay packet. Reckitt Benckiser chief Rakesh Kapoor wanted a £23 million package. And Sir Martin Sorrell of advertising giant WPP wanted £62.8 million.

Even the big City shareholder organisations are extremely embarrassed by these amounts, and there will be revolts at the annual general meetings. While Cameron, Osborne and all governments could act on these obscenities, they will continue to argue that, as with their own finances, this is ‘within the law’.

The fact they also make the law is not to be mentioned. It can be clearly seen who they are really “all in this together with” – and it’s not City workers, or any other workers.

Keith Dickinson, Acton, west London