Letters to the Canary: a privatisation, debate on #indyref2, and what’s left of Labour?

Letters to the Canary
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This week’s letters

This week we’ve a poem about those who seek to privatise our public services, a letter on Labour’s betrayal of socialists, a personal story of how difficult it is to rent if you rely on social security, and some robust responses to last week’s letter about Scottish independence. 



Privatisation and hedge funds

Over the past decade the Tories have proceeded to monetise our public services, in four stages: fragment, underfund, blame, and privatise. Our right-wing media are now facilitating the third and fourth stages – blaming the NHS for the consequences, and claiming that the ‘old institutions’ of the welfare state established 70 years ago are ‘crumbling’ and need to be ‘re-visited’. However, they are not crumbling. They have been demolished brick by brick in a ten-year death of a thousand cuts whilst billions have been wasted on corrupt Covid contracts. Hedge funders and spivs, not civil servants, now ‘manage’ our economy, and any alternative this government offers will be for their benefit not ours.

A poem: ‘Hedge Funder’

His heart is a wallet

Calculator his brain

Read on...

His kids tax deductible

His tears acid rain

His fingers are Midas

His bullion belly full

From the gorging of plunder

And the shitting of bull

His promise a shop bell

As he locks shut the door

His country a car crash

He’ll sell off for more

His arms are a bypass

His legs chopped down trees

His pillow dead badger

Stuffed full of dead bees

His dreams are full bank vaults

His nightmares pickpockets

His death is a terminal

His soul empty sockets

His bones sticks of kindling

In a shroud with no pockets

RednotDead, via email


What’s left of Labour?

Most social media sites are full of complaining and objecting. I can empathise with that, and nobody could be more angry than me. But where is the pressure to do something?

Even I am now giving up hope that those ‘good socialists’ within what remains of what was ‘the Labour Party’ will ever lead the way to a new start. I could – since I too am in my 70s – understand that Jeremy Corbyn is already ‘whip-less’, ostracised by a Party that he has belonged to, led, campaigned for over decades. But for pity’s sake, can the rest not see that ‘Labour’ is no longer there? Decimated and pillaged for greed, ambition, and stupidity. Even at the centre, they were totally unable to see that their leader [Keir Starmer] was being schooled by outsiders and his personal ambition and greed. A victim of flattery and indoctrination.

I know there are other groups springing up (I have even joined one of them). However, a proper alternative led from the centre – by Corbyn, or Sultana, or Burgon – would be so much more attractive to people who once joined Labour in their droves. They were inspired by the Corbyn manifesto – and then so unceremoniously cast aside, their views completely ignored and disrespected by the puppet whose strings were being pulled by vested interests and by the former Thatcherite ‘groupie’ Tory Bliar [sic] and his cronies.

Can the Socialist MPs still left with the Labour whip explain how they can remain within the aegis of what was the Party when their views and ideals are so alien? They stay when so many of their supporters have been expelled or driven out. I find no acceptable explanation. It cannot be that they feel ‘loyalty’ to the people that voted for them as ‘Labour’ candidates, because they are now no longer actually ‘Labour candidates’, since the tenets of the Party have long since been thrown into the garbage.

Indeed, all their ‘Party’ has done since being elected is support the Tory government, and sell their supporters – and the country – down the river. This is at a time when we have the most arrogant, self-serving, and – to add insult to injury – incompetent gang of crooks in my living memory. All increasing their personal wealth – and that of their friends – at our expense.

Anonymous, via email


How can you privately rent on social security? You probably can’t.

I was delighted when the law was passed, banning the discrimination against people on benefits from renting. But did this stop that discrimination? I would say in part, but agencies soon found anther way of stopping those on any benefit from renting – by adding an income ceiling level. I will give my experience of trying to rent on the private market.

Being a pensioner and disabled, my income consisted of state pension and Personal Independent Payment (PIP). My relationship broke down, and with me being a bit old school I settled for myself to rent a smaller home with two beds – one for me and one for my youngest daughter, who wanted to move with me.

I applied at four letting agents in my middle-sized town, and viewed four different properties, one from each agent. When I went in to discuss the terms, etc., I ended up being told I needed to have an income of 20 times the monthly rent on two of the flats, and 30 times the monthly rent on the other two. This meant my income had to be over £13,500pa for two, and over £20,250pa for the other two. After the coronavirus lockdowns, the monthly rent on many properties was raised even higher. On one flat this went from £675 to £725, which also increases the amount of income needed, to rise at least by another £1,200.

My income is just a little over £9,000 per year. I stood no chance. Social housing is as rare as unicorn hoof prints, so that avenue was blocked. I was informed I had to widen my chosen areas to cover very rural areas with no bus services, and to move way out my area by up to 40 miles away – again sometimes with no public transport. I declined to do that. My family is far too important for me, plus I need care in the home.

I have written to Shelter and MPs, stating the way the benefits discrimination laws are being got round. But I’ve heard nothing back from anyone. Luckily for myself and my family, we were splitting on very good terms. So, we have decided to stay as we are, with the biggest change being myself sleeping on a bed-settee in the living room. Other people will not be so lucky as me.

Anonymous, via email


Two responses to David Carter’s letter about Scottish independence, published on Saturday 26 November:

David Carter is not Scottish, he speaks for the unionists. The truth is that the largest majority of Scottish people want independence. As for First Past the Post, it is the only way unelected Tory and Labour politicians get into government – by the back door. So, to the English people that criticise Scotland and believe that England is subsidising Scotland: what’s the reason why London and Westminster won’t allow us independence?

Anonymous, via email

In 2014, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, and a group of self-serving rich unionists, along with the Daily Record and Mirror Newspaper Group, made a panic ridden, 11th-hour promise to the Scottish electorate. It was the “Vow”. Cameron and Brown et al lied to swing the independence vote. They had seen the way the Scottish people were going, and it was not their way – hence the lie. Not the Vow, a barefaced lie.

Not one of the things promised to the Scots were implemented. It is true what the political elite think of us: that we are uneducated fools who have the memory span of a goldfish – no matter what they do or how bad it is, the plebiscites will forget. The biggest lies, though, were that North Sea oil and gas were dying, and wouldn’t last another 10 Years – as well as the doozy ‘if you vote Yes the SNP will take you out of the EU!’. I wonder what happened with that then. I will end with a couple of questions to the English and Scots Unionists:

Question one: Why, if my nation as portrayed by the Westminster government as leeches clinging and sucking money from southern taxpayers through the Barnett formula, is Scottish Independence not manna from heaven – the best opportunity to be rid of the leeches from the north? Why are the English and Scottish unionists fighting tooth and nail, desperately telling lies to the UK, to keep Scotland in this blighted Tory English dictatorship, advertised as a ‘Union’?

Question two, to the Scottish working class, poor, student and unemployed, disabled and retired unionists: Why would you vote to remain shackled to a Westminster government, a Tory English-elected government, who in 12 years have destroyed the UK and set us back 120 years? We are all poverty stricken in the year 2022; we are probably worse off than our ancestors of the 1900s. Saor Alba.

Anonymous, via email

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