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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 November 2018

The Socialist inbox

The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors

The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors   (Click to enlarge)

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Send your news, views and criticism in not more than 150 words to, or if you're not online, to Socialist Postbox, PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD.

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

"A cathedral to nature"

The grand front entrance to the Natural History Museum, photo by Nancy Taaffe

The grand front entrance to the Natural History Museum, photo by Nancy Taaffe   (Click to enlarge)

The Natural History Museum was built as "a cathedral to natural history". It's a great example of architecture that is not dedicated to religion but the natural sciences.

Half of the facade has living wildlife depicted in the stone, climbing the pillars and framing the windows. The other half of the building has fossils and animals long since gone.

Recently, I saw the wildlife photographer of the year exhibition here. The exhibition is rather beautiful, but heavy in the air is the struggle by animals against the ravages of capitalism.

Many of the photographers are environmentalists trying to stop wildlife extinction.

One photograph actually made me cry, it was of a chimpanzee holding her dead baby. The caption said she walked around with it for days on her back. Eventually she ate it.

It's not good that the exhibition charges so much to get in and is corporately sponsored. But these places are great examples of what culture could be in a socialist society.

Nancy Taaffe, Waltham Forest, London

Packed trains are unsafe

London's packed trains and tubes are unsafe. On an overground train recently I found myself having to push my way to the door to try and get out at Canada Water.

I couldn't help but be annoyed at the passenger in front who was going so slowly the doors were closing. Guiltily, I then realised the young woman was (a) close to collapse and (b) very partially sighted.

Another commuter managed to keep doors open as I guided her the last few yards through door then along platform until she could sit down. Another young man was already sat beside her with other commuters assisting because he too had fainted in the crush.

We need decently funded, non-privatised public transport, schools and services. We need a general election. And teachers should vote Yes in the National Education Union strike ballot too!

Martin Powell-Davies, Lewisham, London

Universal credit - universal poverty

We held a great Socialist Party stall recently against Universal Credit, now being rolled out in Salford. There were plenty of gut-wrenching stories.

I came home to listen to a Radio 4 programme about the subject. It's even worse than I thought.

The programme gave the example of a couple, both were NHS workers, paid monthly on fixed hours. If their wages are paid into the bank early because the payment date falls at a weekend, they are deemed to have had two payments in one month and Universal Credit payments are stopped!

So Universal Credit turns a couple working for the UK's biggest employer into zero-hour workers! Two things: the NHS should pay them both a living wage so they don't need to claim, and we need to get Universal Credit scrapped!

Paul Gerrard, Salford

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 21 November 2018:

What we think

Tories Out! General election Now!

May's government limps on... Corbyn and unions must call urgent, mass action

International socialist news and analysis

How can Trump be defeated?

Spanish state: Over one million students strike against sexism and for inclusive sex education

Political turmoil in Sri Lanka


Even UN slams Tory poorhouse Britain

Housing arrears double, suicide risk soars - scrap Universal Credit!

75,000 kids in foster care - and counting: end cuts and for-profit care

Them & Us

What we saw

Workplace news

Save the high street: public ownership, not ghost malls

'Worker's death could happen again' at Leicester plastic factory

Arriva Rail North under pressure after nineteenth Saturday strike

Indefinite dinner ladies' and teaching assistants' strike

Hamilton posties walk out against bullying

Tube strike solid against victimisation

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Save our NHS - oust the Tory wreckers!

Solidarity with Irish rape trial protests

Thousands march against racism - now Corbyn and unions must take lead

Mansfield council must step in to save miners' park

Stop Nottingham Labour's cuts to disabled travel!

Step up fundraising for the Xmas Collectathon!


Nothing to offer from the Blairites

The Socialist inbox


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