Letters to the Canary: Windrush reaction, NHS privatisation and older people and ‘f*cks’

Letters to the Canary
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This week’s letters

This week we have thoughts on the Tories’ disgusting Windrush betrayal, NHS privatisation, economic reasons for the US proxy war in Ukraine, Labour, and whether or not the Canary should say “fuck” in articles.

Winded by yet another Windrush wrong

As a Black Briton, the succession of gut-punches since the 2019 enthronement of this anti-Black, alt-right, Boris Johnson-continuity governorship has been flooring… The brazen and abject contempt paraded by the continuity Home Secretary Suella Braverman – casually reneging on just the latest Windrush promise under their continuing policy of dishonour…

We have not forgotten last summer’s legislative orgasm by Braverman’s disgusting predecessor – the relegation of our citizenship into a wet dream of the far right. And on a day that pleads the historic warnings of humanity’s darker potential, the hypocrisy and arrogance is just mind-blowing.

But amongst the delusional, blithe dismissal of our humanity, underestimated are the unconsidered consequences: the retreats from decisions, altruisms, dedications, cares, participations, loyalties, and “extra-miles”; the outward-distraction and inward-decoupling when those elected to look after you – followed dutifully by a herdable society – hate you. The silent but certain withering of your unwritten social contract, as your citizenship bares ever more similarity to that of being in an abusive relationship.

Jonny, via email

Read on...

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NHS privatisation: under the radar?

It has been clear that privatisation has been the central theme of this government since 2010. What has been studiously hidden from public view is that the motivation for privatisation has been the transfer of an almost endless supply of government money to big business, money that should have been available for the whole country. The proof of this, if any were needed, is the ever-growing divide between rich and poor, with the huge inflation of property values at one end of the wealth spectrum and foodbanks at the other.

What is also obvious, though the media seem determined to turn a blind eye to it and the government has been desperate to conceal it, is that the Holy Grail of privatisation, the ultimate prize for big business and the ultimate achievement for this government, is the privatisation of the NHS by a long process of attrition. The gain to the hovering vultures of big business, and the loss to this country, is the £130bn-odd a year currently spent, even despite determined government austerity, on the NHS.

Is it too much to ask the media to direct its attention away from such petty scandals of the Spare to the throne and the BBC Chairman, and towards the biggest scandal of all, which the government would like to hide until the NHS deal is done?

Andrew McLauchlin, via email

Starmer: never ‘never again’ please

“Never Again!” Keir Starmer declared in a recent speech, but not in reference to the deplorable state of the NHS, spiralling cost of living, hyper-inflation, tax cuts for the rich paid for by a deficit of over 100% of GDP and cuts to vital services, but instead never again to being a party that puts people and planet first.

Of course, because nothing is going to improve for working people under Starmer, he can hardly make a ‘Never Again’ speech condemning the very state of affairs and Tory policies he will be maintaining once in office.

After Starmer’s speech, it might seem impossible to believe that we could ever have a Labour government in the UK that truly cares about ordinary working people. Yet, we once did: the post-war government of Clement Atlee and Nye Bevan was just that, and at a time when the country was economically on its knees due to the cost of the war.

The fact that such a speech was necessary from Starmer highlights the failure of neoliberal efforts to exorcise the ghost of Atlee – who continues to haunt not only the Labour Party but the country as a whole through institutions like the NHS.

Neoliberals like Starmer would like us to believe that institutions like the NHS represent nothing more than a spectral ghost of a cancelled future that continues to haunt our present. Yet decades of funding cuts, privatisation, and destructive neoliberal market reforms have failed to kill the NHS and thus finally exorcise the ghost of Atlee’s ‘New Jerusalem’.

The slow and painful death throes of the NHS that we are now witnessing are not the final nail in the coffin of ‘New Jerusalem’ – but rather a rallying cry to call us to wake from our slumbers before the future is cancelled.

I am thus reminded of the words from William Blake’s Jerusalem:

“I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land.”

Damon Hoppe, via email

Economic proxy war in Ukraine?

There are major reasons for the US proxy war against Russia in Ukraine…

‘Containing’ and ‘weakening’ Russia by applying sanctions and military support for the Ukrainian government constitute the framework for the most critical reason – the wish to break the link between Russia and China, who are the pillars of the new Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. This aims to establish a separate global trading block [ED: currently trading in other currencies, but with an increase in use of the Yuan].

After the last war, the Bretton Woods agreement gave every currency in the world a value against the dollar which was itself fixed to a rate against gold. This made the dollar the world’s ‘reserve currency’, used in global financial and trade deals.

In 1971 the fixed rate of dollar to gold was declared redundant. Since oil was universally traded in dollars, the world’s largest oil producer, Saudi Arabia, became the key partner in securing its continued dominance. The deal replaced gold in exchange for US arms and a commitment to invest any of Saudi Arabia’s trade surplus in US debt securities. This is now unravelling.

Once there is an alternative to the dollar, as the Shanghai Cooperation Alliance proposes, the US will have major problems. At the moment it can simply print money – the debt is currently over $30tn. Since the bonds that are sold to borrow money are largely bought by other countries, the reality is that it is the world that is funding the US military. What will happen when there is an alternative to this?

The world has seen how sanctions have shattered confidence in the US, because they have been used as a political weapon. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) – the other two pillars of world finance established by the Bretton Woods agreement – always operate on the basis of extending the dominance of the world’s reserve currency, and insist on borrowing conditions with ‘free market’ economic principles – privatisation and deregulation. This ensures the dominance of unrestrained ‘free’ markets or ‘neoliberalism’.

The rise of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as an alternative to the dollar may offer an end to economic and military conflict. This will be hugely attractive to many countries in the world, and will be a body blow to the dollar – and therefore the United States of America.

John Webster, via email

Who speaks for older people?

I fully endorse all… well most!… of the aspirations, hates, irritations of all subscribers and readers of the Canary, in that we are all opposed to what the country now calls ‘government’. Neither do we think – or so I hope – that what is comically called the ‘Opposition’ is worthy of that name. But, if we want to build readers and convert others, we need to not only concentrate on ‘young’ and ‘youngish’ voters, we need to seek to change the hearts and minds of older people too. I am one of those ‘older people’ – as you may guess from what I am about to say.

If we want to not encourage those ‘older’ people to switch off, stop reading, stop listening, can we not pepper every sentence with ‘fuck’! I know it is a word in common parlance, but to many it still distances the ‘youth’ from the ‘old’; the ‘couth’ from the ‘uncouth’. Whatever of one’s reaction to that – and I can well see that many people will say ‘so what’ – please bear in mind that there are a lot of years between 60 and 100, and all the people in those age brackets are entitled – and have perhaps been indoctrinated over the years – to vote. They can out-vote the young, if the young cannot be converted from believing that ‘they are all the same’ and ‘what does it matter anyway!’

I am not being just an old fart… well I am but an old fart with a purpose… and believe me I can eff and blind with the best of them – but not in every sentence, and not just to seem ‘cool’, and not just because it is my normal everyday vocabulary. Think, before you write or speak, about the audience you are addressing. It may not be your idea of ‘important’, but if we were all just speaking to ‘our own kind’ there would not be a problem. There is no mileage in converting the converted.

Here endeth the sermon of the day. Sorry if it rankles, but I had to write it – because it matters, and we need to carry everybody with us, not just those who already literally speak our own language.

Eileen QW, via email

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