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26 September 2018

The Socialist inbox

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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 editors@socialistparty.org.uk.

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Views of letter writers do not necessarily match those of the Socialist Party.


Gift card theft

Among other things, the collapse of House of Fraser and its takeover by Mike Ashley has brought home the risks around using gift cards.

I use gift cards through a work-based scheme to save a few percent off shopping, mainly in high street stores and supermarkets. Luckily I don't have a House of Fraser gift card.

Thousands of people are being left out of pocket as the cards are not being honoured.

The BBC reported the words of Cathy Martin: "I honestly feel like going and lifting 150 worth of stock and walking out! I mean, it's the same thing, isn't it?

"Except I'd be arrested, and House of Fraser gets away with pretty much the same thing. They've stolen 150 from me - and thousands of others."

That would be my feeling exactly. One law for the rich, another for the rest of us.

Bryan Clare, Stevenage

Faithful's fascism fiction

'The Faithful' by Juliet West tells the story both of adherents to Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists, and of a young man who turns his back on them to fight against the Spanish fascists.

Some of the characters have a 'sympathetic' reason for supporting Mosley. There is the mother who wanted to save her son from war and calculated that Mosley was the best chance to do so.

However, the book also charts the disillusionment of loyal fascists and the growing realisation of the consequences of the increasingly racist policies of Mosley's 'New Party'.

It is a revelation to hear fascist ideology not couched in foreign accents, but in aristocratic British ones. The thuggery of Mosley's Blackshirts is not emphasised, but rather the reasons some felt the attraction of fascism - the theory that a 'corporate' state would bring an end to class conflict.

The narrative follows the characters into World War Two. Suddenly the Nazi bombs weren't falling on Spanish 'reds', but on British homes. It helped bring about a different perspective for some.

The background to the story is factual but the characters are fictitious. It is a book which brings history alive.

Derek McMillan, Durrington, Sussex

Far-right threat

On 17 September 1993, the far-right British National Party (BNP) won its first council seat in a by-election in Millwall, east London.

The BNP no longer exists as a political force. But other racist parties, such as Ukip and Britain First, have partly taken its place. And there are, unfortunately, individuals who are increasingly active in mobilisations led by the far right.

This is highlighted in a rise in the number of far-right terror suspects currently in prison. In fact, Home Office figures show there has been a rise of nearly five times since the murder of Jo Cox MP by Thomas Mair.

13% of all those held for alleged terror offences are now reported to be right-wing extremists. The fight to destroy the BNP may well have ended, but the fight against the far right continues.

Carl Harper, Peterborough

Freight pension advice

I have heard that a freight company in the rail industry wanted to close its pension scheme. Management said it would arrange for independent financial advisors to meet with employees.

Their advice was to stay in the pension scheme! This could be connected to the fact that your contributions to such a scheme are not subject to income tax - and that employers also pay into the scheme, adding to the pension you receive...

A member of train drivers' union Aslef



http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/28013