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From The Socialist newspaper, 1 July 2020

Readers' opinion

No trust in Google to control our news

Google HQ, California, United States, photo Robbie Shade (Creative Commons)

Google HQ, California, United States, photo Robbie Shade (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

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

Join us

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

Real alternative

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

Bournemouth beach

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

Donate to the Socialist Party

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.
  • 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 Fighting Fund.

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In The Socialist 1 July 2020:

No going back

A socialist NHS fit for heroes

Workplace news

PCS: Change in leadership needed to secure union's future

Come to the NSSN conference

Sunday trading: Government blinks first

Trade unionists stand in solidarity with Maxine Peake

Equity union president elections

Tower Hamlets council strike

MoJ cleaners' covid outbreak

What we think

Workers need a new mass party to defend their interests


Tories put profit before lives

Boris's new big deal

Tory full return to school plans gamble with lives

Yes to self-identity: Fight for trans rights

Benefits system being used to force return to unsafe workplaces

Leeds City Council in danger of bankruptcy

Capitalism and corruption go hand in hand

Plastic waste ignored

News in brief


I left Labour and want to end capitalism - join us in Socialist Party

Cardiff community fights nursery closure: Council must step in

Fighting Fund: Target smashed by half time

Black Lives Matter has not stopped - protesters flock to Socialists

Selling the Socialist

Red flags line road for Ken Douglas

Lessons from history

75th anniversary of the Attlee Labour government

Readers' opinion

From slavery to Black Lives Matter - racism and capitalist injustice exposed

Readers' opinion


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