Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1093/31006
No trust in Google to control our news
On 25 June, Google announced a "new licencing programme to support the news industry". The programme pays publishers for high-quality content in an effort to remove paywalls. A "new news experience" will be released later this year for users to consume.
While the programme is starting in Germany, Australia and Brazil, its implications may eventually also affect us here in the UK. The concept is grand: no more paywalls, so news can be accessed by anyone and anywhere. But who determines what is high-quality content and verifies these publishers? I suspect it's not the workers who walked-out in a stand against Google's culture of sexual harassment in 2018.
The programme has been launched against the background of the recent pandemic, and the Black Lives Matter protests which have erupted across the globe. Local news journalists and publishers have been strained financially, and Google is offering them "access to new markets and... additional commercial benefits."
To boost Google's reputation, it funded the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund, and supported a $15 million Support Local News Campaign.
Working-class people, however, do not want a large corporation paying for news on their behalf. We need a state-funded, democratically controlled workers' news broadcaster which is not manipulated by the Tories.
While not state-funded, the Socialist Party produces the paper you're reading right now. It is financed by those who pay for it, and welcomes contributions, including from non-party members.
My question to Google is: "If we put a paywall on our website, would you deem us a trusted publisher which produces high-quality content, and pay us to remove it for your new experience?"
I think we all know the answer.
Joshua Allerton, Wolverhampton
How many more humiliations should socialists in the Labour Party have to endure? Rebecca Long-Bailey tried to accommodate the right wing, and she was purged at the first opportunity. Who is next? Join us in a party with a socialist programme and no career prospects!
Sean Brogan, Exeter
A party for the 99%
Since Keir Starmer sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey, I have never had so many positive responses to my Facebook posts about the need to build a new workers' party.
The trade unions need to call a conference of all interested trade unionists, campaigners, and working-class people to democratically discuss how a party can be built.
The working class has suffered long enough. Young people coming into political action for the first time in the anti-racist protests deserve it. The post-Covid world of economic crisis, precarious and unsafe work, and unemployment needs it.
The working class cannot be made to pay for this crisis as it paid with austerity for the banking crisis of 2007-8. Working-class people need a party that fights to improve their lives. A party for the 99% not the 1%!
Clare Wilkins, Nottingham
Child poverty; holiday hunger; an epidemic of job losses and closures; lack of PPE for key workers; a shambolic response to the pandemic; council budgets strained to breaking point; care homes in crisis; crocodile tears about racism from the people who gave us Grenfell Tower; Windrush and all manner of racist legislation... and a Labour Party seeking co-operation... surely now is the time for a real alternative!
Sue Powell, Gloucester
Campaigning party needed
Ironically, Rebecca Long-Bailey went out of her way to appease the Jewish Board of Deputies during her uninspiring Labour Party leadership campaign. The cold truth must be dawning on all by now. The ruling class unleased major forces to stop Corybn from coming to power. The opposition front bench is now just another wing of capitalist executive management. Starmer welcomes the reckless Tory lifting of the lockdown. Labour-run local councils routinely pass on central government cuts, with barely a whimper. Yet, in the midst of a public health and economic crisis, a mass campaigning party of the working class and youth with socialist policies is urgently needed.
Niall Mulholland, Newham, London
All this nonsense about selfish people on the beach in Bournemouth. We used to have five lidos just in my area of London alone, along with numerous public swimming pools, on top of loads of paddling pools in parks. Virtually all of them have gone.
When it's 35 degrees in the city, where are working-class people meant to swim but the beach? A day at the beach for a family of four can be a much cheaper option than anything else.
Nancy Taaffe, Waltham Forest, London
Civil servants attacked
Civil servants are regularly described in negative terms. We're bureaucrats, we're a drain on the state, we live in ivory towers.
As austerity was implemented, we were rewarded for our hard work with ten years of pay restraint. Last year I compared my pay slip with one from January 2014, and my net pay over five years had increased by £20.
I saw so many colleagues made redundant, and many offices in the West Midlands were closed to implement budget cuts. In the next 12 months the offices in Brierley Hill, Coventry, Solihull and Wolverhampton will be closed. This was demanded to pay for the bailout of the banks.
Now it seems civil servants are needed to revive the High Street. Well it's ten years and innumerable attacks too late.
John-Paul Rosser, Coventry
Defend the triple lock
State pensions are far too low at present, yet the Tories are planning to scrap the triple lock that at least gives some protection to the value of the pension.
If we allow the Tories to scrap the triple lock they will next come for our free bus passes and winter fuel allowances.
As the virus recedes, the Tories will intensify their attacks on workers and their families, Remember, the workers of today are the pensioners of tomorrow.
We need a united working-class fight against any attacks on state pensions. In our area pensioners have been in the forefront of campaigning against cuts to local services such as libraries and community centres. We cannot allow the Tories to divide us along age lines, workers' pensions are a class issue.
Terry Pearce, Thames Valley National Pensioners Convention
Tax the rich
Benefit fraud costs the UK around £1.2 billion annually. Tax avoidance costs the UK around £120 billion annually (Tax justice and PCS estimate). There are 54 billionaires in the UK not paying their fair share, yet we are led to believe the folks on welfare are costing us.
Neil Adshead, Rotherham
In The Socialist 1 July 2020:
No going back
What we think
Lessons from history