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From: The Socialist issue 955, 5 July 2017: Public sector wages - pay up!

Search site for keywords: The Socialist - Socialist - Qatar - Labour - Tories - Labour Party - Jarrow - Grenfell Tower - Trade unions - Jeremy Corbyn - British Airways - Housing

The socialist inbox

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

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

Do you have something to say?

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

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.

Grenfell Fire demonsrators, 17.6.17, photo Mary Finch

Grenfell Fire demonsrators, 17.6.17, photo Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

Justice for Grenfell - safety for all

Nothing can quite prepare you for the sheer physical shock of seeing Grenfell Tower. It is burnt through and has the surreal air of looking as if it has been placed there by a film director.

But it is not Hollywood it is Latimer Road, and for the families and community affected it is a living nightmare. A hell on earth.

The pictures of the missing on walls make you cry, especially those of the children.

Young Londoners with a life ahead of them - of study, work, love, ups and downs, trips to the coast and just sitting in parks with those they care about. All gone because the family home they lived in was refurbished on the cheap.

We now have to build a movement across the country to get sprinklers and alarms fitted in all the 4,000 tower blocks that do not have them. Build all the genuinely affordable homes needed to solve the housing crisis. Call for rent strikes where landlords cannot guarantee safety or provide the information to allow tower block-dwellers to sleep easy.

I have lived most of my life in tower blocks. They can be decent places to live, but now many are death traps. This must end. Now.

Steve Nally, Oval, south London

My grandfather was civil defence officer for Jarrow in World War Two. Jarrow was one of the first towns to be bombed.

No one had planned for survivors. Grandad was faced with people who were bombed out. They were homeless and they had lost everything.

Grandad sent someone on a bicycle to all the local estate agents with instructions to collect all the keys to vacant houses. He dished out the keys to homeless people.

Grandad ordered Woolworths to open on Sunday morning. All the bombed-out people could have anything they needed. Woolworths sent the bill to the council.

Grandad had all the people bombed out on Friday night rehoused and re-equipped by Sunday lunchtime.

People came from London the following week, saw what Grandad had done, and approved it. They made it standard practice.

Surprising really that in 2017 the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea cannot do as well as my grandad did in 1940. Of course, my grandad was a socialist.

Charles James, Portugal

The old saying 'a lie can travel halfway around the world before truth can get its boots on' is inadequate to describe the lies about the achievements of the Militant-led Liverpool council in the 1980s.

This is because the lies originated in the labour movement: Neil Kinnock's infamous speech at Labour Party conference in 1985.

I was a Constituency Labour Party delegate and vividly remember its reception. Immediate applause from those pre-warned. Disbelief and confusion from those not expecting treachery from the leader of the Labour Party.

In the 30 years since, that lie has completed many 'world tours' - but just occasionally truth catches up. In the Guardian on 15 June, a Simon Jenkins article about Grenfell Tower stated: "In the 1980s Liverpool's Militant movement asked Everton's inhabitants what should be done with their towers, the reply was pull them down and give us back the streets. It was done."

John Merrell, Leicester

Debate desirable

As a relatively new member of the Socialist Party, I was recently initiated to the order of branch meetings.

I was pleasantly surprised to find my fears unfounded. What I did find is how well the right to freedom of speech is exercised! Each and every participant is allowed - more so, encouraged - to speak up.

The platform welcomed all views. I found this apparent not only at branch meetings, also public meetings.

In my opinion, this is what sets the Socialist Party out against any other party: the right to freedom of speech and healthy debate.

Walter Allsop, Coventry

Magic money tree

During the election, the Tories kept on attacking Labour with the mantra that there is no "magic money tree." However, the DUP deal disproves this.

They got ten MPs elected, who the Tories have done a deal with to keep themselves in power by promising 1 billion of extra funding.

What I want to know is: where does this 1 billion come from suddenly if there is no magic money tree?

The Tories also went on about terrorism and Jeremy Corbyn. However they are quite content to be propped up by the DUP, which historically has links with Protestant paramilitary organisations.

The Tories have more faces than Big Ben.

Chris Fernandez, Derby

Qatar's crimes

An interesting piece of news is that during the British Airways cabin crew strike which began on 1 July, the airline has applied to lease in aircraft and crews for cover. What is particularly of note is that 20 of these aircraft are to come from state-owned Qatar Airways.

It is fitting that a state which is being openly criticised for apparent banking corruption and links to terrorist finance is helping a major British company try to break a strike.

Clearly, for the bosses, there are no morals when it comes to who they deal with for profit.

Mark Andrews, Birmingham

Corbyn confidence

The June election was a big victory for working class people over an establishment that doesn't get us.

It's not usually the brightest who enter mainstream politics, but more often the most self-confident, the most well-connected. These types don't represent most of us.

For many, Corbyn is the antidote to the big-headed Westminster sons and daughters of gentry who act and speak like 'experts' on everything, yet cannot see past their own fat ambition.

Times are a-changing. People were disconnected from something not worth being connected to before. But when a real positive ally gives alternatives, people are more than ready to step up with ideas, passion and drive.

This applies everywhere from student unions to trade unions and local Labour Party branches, wherever arrogant right-wing types shut out anyone who disagrees with them.

I can never remember a more exciting time for so many to start to thrive and help destroy a crumbling capitalist establishment, and fight for socialist change. For the many and not the few in action.

Nick Slater, Torquay

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