Do you have something to say?

The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors, photo Suzanne Beishon

The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

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.

Capitalism- a rigged system

“You cannot have capitalism without racism” as Malcolm X explained. Nor can you have capitalism without fraud.

In the UK the Serious Fraud Office has 41 cases on its books. The most well known is London Capital and Finance (LCF).

LCF used advertisements which purported to offer Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) with a return of up to 8%. There is now an investigation into the collapse of LCF and the supervision of the firm by the Financial Conduct Authority – if there was any!

Thousands of first time investors put pension pots and savings into LCF unaware that the core activity of the firm, issuing mini-bonds, is not a protected activity, though other activities may lead to compensation claims.

The administrators of LCF have asked the four people mainly involved to return £236 million. No joy so far.

Promoted as low-risk ISAs investing in hundreds of firms, the products were not ISAs and only invested in 12 firms, ten of which were “not independent” of LCF. The administrators have found “highly suspicious transactions”. A quarter of all the money invested went straight to the marketing firm Surge.

Money invested was loaned to firms which appear to have no prospect of repaying the money. The expectation is that only 20% of investors’ money will be recovered.

The whole structure of the capitalist system is rigged to allow the fraudsters and financial crooks to get away. If you are on benefits and are overpaid the state wants the money back, yesterday. If you miss a job interview the state is onto you straight away. If you commit a massive fraud you will get your day in court.

It is of course impossible that no one in the City of London knew of the outrageous scam of LCF.

We cannot leave our financial future in the hands of these crooks. A socialist society would eliminate the chance of people losing their hard-earned savings in these dodgy investments and use the wealth we have created for the benefit of all.

Pete McNally, Worcester Socialist Party
photo Diliff (Creative Commons)

photo Diliff (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Public sector outsourcing disaster

Fund guru Neil Woodford announced at the beginning of the month that he was suspending his flagship portfolio of funds – ie banning withdrawals by investors.

With an estimated value of nearly £10.2 billion, the Woodford Equity Income Fund experienced serious turbulence trading as public sector outsourcing contractor Kier announced a profit warning which saw its shares lose 41% of their value.

Among the fund’s investors ‘redeeming’ their investment – making a run on the fund – was Kent County Council, seeking its £250 million stake. KCC and other local authorities invest in funds like Woodford’s as part of their local government pension scheme mixtures.

This means that the very local authorities which send public services out to tender have been gambling the success of their pension fund performances on the very privateers marauding jobs and services from councils!

Kier, like other entities among the Blairites’ private-public partnership racket, appears to be running on borrowed time, and lots of public money. Labour and Conservative councils are equally responsible for feeding the private sector Leviathan, failing to bring services back in-house.

The twisted irony is that this time local authority workers may be punished twice – firstly by having their employment transferred to the failing privateers, and now by potentially taking massive hits to their pension pots because reckless councils twice bet on the private sector to deliver instead of providing quality services themselves.

William Jarrett, North Tyneside Socialist Party

Woodford is reportedly still making up to £100,000 a day charging trapped investors management fees – Editors.

TV licence fee – over 75s don’t pay!

The Liverpool Merseyside Pensioners’ Association condemns the decision by the BBC to charge over 75s the TV licence fee.

During the last ten years in excess of £50 billion has been transferred from the working class into the pockets of the Tories’ already very rich friends. The neediest in society have suffered while the top 10% have seen their wealth grow year on year, as shown by the Sunday Times Rich List. They should pay, not the pensioners.

This government has cynically turned over responsibility to the BBC for their own funding knowing that that organisation would claw back any expenditure they could, even it meant attacking the most vulnerable to satisfy their political masters. Of course, the BBC’s ‘star’ performers would still receive their mega-salaries.

The generation that survived World War Two will be among those attacked.

We will call for all pensioners to refuse to pay this further imposition and join us in a campaign similar to the great Militant-inspired campaign against the Poll Tax when 18 million refused to pay. That successful campaign ultimately led to the removal of Margaret Thatcher as prime minister.

We aim to seek the same fate for the present government, to be replaced by a Corbyn-led socialist government committed to ending all austerity.

Tony Mulhearn, Merseyside Pensioners’ Association Media Officer

Lords divide and rule

I read with interest Terry Pearce’s article regarding the House of Lords proposed changes to pensioners’ benefits (Young and Old Unite and Fight – the Socialist, 9 May). The Socialist may be interested in what I wrote to the Yorkshire Evening Post on the subject, but wasn’t published.

It is absolutely outrageous and disgusting that these greedy Peers with their £305 a day allowance are suggesting cutting benefits for pensioners including; Winter Payments, free TV licences for over 75s, free bus passes and ending the triple lock on pensions.

This is another attempt to divide and rule by these disgusting, greedy and most of all unelected individuals. Blaming pensioners and making them pay for the austerity measures imposed by this government on the young is not acceptable.

The British state pension is among the lowest in Europe with some pensioners taking less than £160 a week. I’m all for helping the younger generation but not at the expense of pensioners while at the same time we have tax cuts for millionaires and low corporation tax.

These Lords and Ladies are very good at cutting the benefits of the poorest in society but not so good at cutting their own pay and allowances (not to mention their subsidised bars and restaurants).

Hopefully the next Labour government under Mr Corbyn will set about cutting their Lordships’ allowances with a view to scrapping the ignorant and arrogant House of Lords.

Kevin Wilson, Leeds