The Socialist 24 June 2020 |
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News in brief
Flammable cladding can act as a chimney, spreading flames throughout a tower, photo Jim Linwood (CC) (Click to enlarge)
Cladding off now!
On the third anniversary of the fatal Grenfell Tower disaster, a tower block fire in Canning Town on 22 June was controlled with no deaths - because the cladding was finally removed last year. However, the Tory government has reportedly spent less than a quarter of what it promised to replace remaining Grenfell-style cladding, leaving 300 high-rise buildings still vulnerable.
And the suggestion from property developer Berkeley Group that the government relax restrictions on the use of flammable cladding has been slammed by the Fire Brigades Union. The FBU rightly says it's a "shameless attempt" to protect profits over public safety, and calls for "unscrupulous housebuilders" like Berkeley Group to be nationalised.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock - a byword for failure - has ditched the government's planned mobile phone contact tracing app in England in favour of a system operated by tax-dodging tech giants Google and Apple. But this new app won't be up and running until "winter".
The app underwent three months' trial in the Isle of Wight before being abandoned. Apparently, it wouldn't work with Apple's phone operating system.
The centralised system was also condemned by many scientists and tech experts as a Trojan horse for government surveillance. How much the doomed app has cost the public purse has not been revealed.
A belated post-mortem on Labour's 2019 election defeat by 'Labour Together' has added weight to the Socialist Party's earlier conclusions (see 'Stand firm for socialist policies to stop Tory attacks' on socialistparty.org.uk, and 'Lessons from the Corbyn experience' in the June issue of Socialism Today).
Many of Labour's organisational failings can be laid at the door of the "toxic culture created by years of infighting" says the report - ie, Labour's right wing systematically attempting to remove Corbyn and rubbish his programme. Labour's right, along with Momentum, did, however, push Corbyn into adopting a confused position on Brexit.
Significantly, the report points to "two decades of demographic and political change that hit the party's traditional base." In other words, Blairite capitalist policies, especially savage austerity measures in Labour-run councils, have politically alienated working-class voters.
The coronavirus-prevention measures at JD Sports in Romford include a customer capacity of 116!
It's not a massive shop. The store limits for other similarly sized shops was 20 to 32. Although, like the supermarkets, they'll probably start low then increase numbers to increase profits - regardless of how infectious the virus is.
Postscript: In fact, the store capacity for Next in Romford was 20 on 15 June, but 27 on 19 June!