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Fat cats on the line
Sometimes the combination of greed and incompetence makes capitalism look bad. Northern Rail - branded the worst rail operator in the country (that will be a surprise to those who use Southern Rail!) paid out £83 million in shareholder dividends between 2013-14 and 2017-2018.
If your train is late there's probably a fat cat on the line. It's time they were kicked out of public transport as even the mild-mannered TUC has observed.
Transport minister Grant Shapps has indicated that Northern will be taken into public ownership.
Grant Shapps is an ideological Conservative, sworn to oppose nationalisation. As a Tory he loves three-word slogans. How about "I was wrong"?
Derek McMillan, East Grinstead
For ten years I've been campaigning for socialism in Southampton. And for eight or nine of those years we've said to the right-wing Labour council "use the reserves and borrowing facilities to halt the cuts. Use this stop-gap to launch a campaign to fight to get the money back from the government."
And now, having been obliterated by Tory cuts and doing nothing, that same Labour council is borrowing £200 million - but to speculate on the property market!
How about some council houses? Reinstating youth services? Restoring council-run elderly care?...
Josh Asker, Southampton
The article in the Socialist - 'Why Johnson's juggernaut is set to jackknife', by Robin Clapp - is the best news this year, and given the support from the Institute of Fiscal Studies, it is most likely to come true.
Clearly those who voted Boris into power, through force of circumstances, need to have the same Boris address them.
If all that Robin writes about comes to pass, there can only be one outcome - a mass move to socialist values.
I say to Boris, bring it on! - and work for your own eviction from power.
Adrian B Rimington, Chesterfield
A day in the life
In the last two weeks I have had to help two friends facing disciplinaries at work on spurious grounds. One got off with a warning, the other was incredulously let go.
Last night I had to move a homeless person's tent out of my workplace's sheltered fire exit or risk serious disciplinary action for not securing my store.
Job uncertainty has been driven home in the last month as more shops announce cuts in working hours, closures and redundancies.
Meanwhile, the Tories have already scrapped their supposed 'end of austerity'; Trump gets away with outright corruption and assassination; Australia smoulders; France and Iran erupt in mass movements, and China battles a new viral outbreak.
Is there anyone, outside of the arms trade, a bank or corporate boardroom, who still believes in capitalism?
A shopworker, Plymouth
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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.
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- 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.
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In The Socialist 5 February 2020:
What we think