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Views of letter writers do not necessarily match those of the Socialist Party.
Racism in football
The Merseyside Pensioners Association has deplored the abuse being levelled at black footballers, disgustingly displayed at the England v Montenegro match on 25 March.
We believe this abuse should be stamped out immediately. If it is not dealt with in a serious way, it could embolden the far right – whose presence continues to pose a threat and act as a diversion from the real causes of society’s problems.
We also condemn the racist language aimed at an Asian family at the Liverpool v AC Milan ‘Legends’ game on 23 March, reported in the Liverpool Echo.
We reaffirm our belief that shortages in housing and social provision are caused, not by people whose religion or origins are perceived as ‘different’, which is the message of the far right, but by an economic system which gives priority to the maximisation of profit irrespective of the social consequences. This is exemplified by the relentless Tory cuts. This situation can start to be remedied when a Corbyn-led government is elected.
We support the statement of the both the Liverpool supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly and the Everton fans’ organisation which condemned the racist behaviour.
We believe that the minister for sport and her shadow, and the Professional Footballers Association, should work together with the Trade Union Congress to stamp out this obscene presence in the ‘beautiful game’.
Tony Mulhearn, Merseyside Pensioners Association
The following letter was printed in the Liverpool Echo on 26 March
Implement a no-cuts budget!
Those of us urging Liverpool’s Labour council to use its reserves and borrowing powers to implement a legal no-cuts budget don’t “fully understand the gravity of the situation we, as a city, have been put in” by Tory cuts, writes Bernie Hunt (‘Not enough in fund’, Liverpool Echo, March 20).
In fact, it is precisely because we understand the gravity of the situation that we advocate such action.
Bernie, on the other hand, cautions that the council’s reserves can be used only in “emergency situations” – as if we’re not currently in one.
Yet, since Mayor Anderson’s 2012 prediction that “people will die” due to his council’s cuts, more than 60 homeless people have died in the city. If this is not an emergency, what is?
And in any case, Bernie’s claim that reserves can be used only in “emergency situations” is itself debatable.
For example, in 2008 two Lewisham Socialist Party councillors proposed that ‘general’ reserves be used to avoid cuts. The borough’s chief financial officer accepted – without reference to the supposed need for an ’emergency situation’ – that the funds could in principle be used “on a once-off basis to support service provision.”
Moreover, Liverpool Council documents state that ‘controllable earmarked’ reserves can be “used on a short-term temporary basis for other purposes” – like avoiding current cuts – “provided the funding is replaced in future years”.
Taken together, the above points suggest that Liverpool’s council could use its ‘general’ and ‘controllable earmarked’ reserves – which total £51 million – to reverse its recent council tax hike and avoid the up to £21 million of cuts it reportedly plans to make by April 2020. The time bought could be used to launch a mass campaign to win the money back from central government.
As for Bernie’s question about what will happen if this strategy is adopted: the answer, in my opinion, is that it will force this weak Tory government to retreat.
The alternative is the council’s current approach of carrying out the Tories’ dirty work. Over time this is virtually guaranteed to completely destroy vital council services, as Samih Kalakeche, the council’s former adult social care director, warned.
Alex Smith, Liverpool
Sydney climate change march
The 15 March climate change demo in Sydney city centre was very big, lively and well informed. Lots of ‘old-uns’ like me were there cheering and clapping the youth on.
Young people are well-informed on the environment, which is higher up the political agenda than in the UK.
Australia’s many extreme weather events are bringing home what environmental destruction and climate change really means long term. The political class is under real pressure over this issue and the youth on the move are rattling many cages.
The Greens and independents like the Animal Justice Party may make electoral gains but neither directly challenges capitalism.
Australia hasn’t had a recession like in the UK but many people haven’t had a wage rise for years and it’s expensive to live here.
The environment is the touchstone for many issues affecting the youth and working class here.
Honda and Lucas
The terrible situation at Honda in Swindon has got me wondering on the future of workforces in particular industries throughout the UK.
In 1978, the Lucas Aerospace shop stewards committee came up with an alternative plan that advocated the production of socially useful products.
Shouldn’t we be talking to the workforces at Honda, BAE Systems and Trident, for example, to see how their skills could be used in a more positive way – rather than for manufacturing weapons of mass destruction or making cars that can damage the climate?
Alongside these conversations we should act proactively – fully supporting the workers in the fight to save jobs – while encouraging and participating in the development of ideas of how the skills these workers have can be used for the benefit of all and not just in the pursuit of their bosses’ profit. I believe this is important enough to warrant serious discussion and planning.
Harry Gammon, Hull
Oxford uni imperialist?
The i newspaper reported on 22 March that Oxford University, the educator of British imperialists and the establishment for generations, is hiring a researcher to study whether the university had a role in colonialism and British imperialism.
This follows the campaign against the statue of arch-imperialist Cecil Rhodes and his links to the university by students. They are clearly in denial! They could just admit their role and spend the money on something else!