Labour-run Glasgow council is rushing through the closure of three of the seven Glasgow day centres. The centres provide support for adults with learning disabilities.
Local people and those who use the service are totally opposed to the proposals. These cuts are inflicted on the very people who will be hardest hit by planned removal of Disability Living Allowance from 500,000 sick and disabled people.
The closures are consistent with a long list of other attacks on disabled groups being made to pay for the crisis the bankers created.
Families of people using the day centres are very angry at the methods being used by councillors. For example, the council has provided no information in EasyRead or DVD format for people with learning disabilities. This is perhaps an indication of the value it places on their views.
Independent scrutiny of Glasgow council methods is urgently required. This includes their unethical questionnaire, which is being used to consult the 520 service users and family members.
This same group of councillors is planning to spend £15 million on re-arranging the statues in the city centre’s George Square while making cuts in lifeline services.
There is wide disapproval of the of the closures and growing support for an independent investigation that genuinely seeks the views of those affected.
Campaigners have won the support of five internationally-acclaimed writers, including James Kelman, who live and work in Glasgow.
We must build on this and the support from Unison, Unite, other trade unions to organise the biggest demonstration possible in George Square on 23 January. All organisations in Scotland who stand for equality must support this call.
Tom Gorman, Glasgow
The failure of the majority of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) executive to support immediate national strike action is a serious and dangerous mistake.
Education secretary Michael Gove and chancellor George Osborne’s plan to dismantle our national pay structure would be a massive injury to the profession and unions.
Our recent industrial action over workload has started to restrain some of the worst excesses. Gove has now declared war on us for this. He is encouraging heads to dock the wages of teachers who refuse to do tasks that we shouldn’t be doing so we can focus on teaching!
And now Osborne plans to force performance related pay on us. This would strengthen the hands of bullying heads and impose even more insecurity and stress.
Teachers at my college responded with outrage. We voted unanimously at our last NUT meeting to call on our executive to announce strikes within a day of the (then rumoured) announcement.
The executive’s response has been inadequate. Members know we need to move quickly if we are to mobilise effectively.
At my college NASUWT union members have been joining the NUT because we are taking workload action and they are not (despite a ballot mandate). Determined action builds unions. Indeterminate inaction builds disillusionment.
Andy Stone, east London
Many critics welcomed the new edition of Victor Serge’s Memoirs of a Revolutionary when it appeared last summer.
But though most liberal commentators recognised Serge’s decency, they couldn’t account for his membership of—and his enduring commitment to—the Bolsheviks, despite his anarchist origins.
That’s because they start from the assumption that Bolshevism and Stalinism were, and are, interchangeable. On that basis Serge’s presence in their ranks is inexplicable.
It’s a mistake Josh Moos also made in his letter last week. The fact is Serge was a Bolshevik who defended to his dying day the legacy of the October Revolution against the Stalinist counter-revolution.
He understood that Stalin only came to power by destroying authentic Bolshevism and everything it stood for.
Sasha Simic, east London
It is scandalous that only six of the 64 staff made redundant when the Remploy factories closed across Merseyside have found jobs.
I met many workers at the Birkenhead factory when they were fighting to save their jobs. These people all had a sense of dignity and self-worth being able to do useful work despite their various disabilities.
The jobs at Remploy were a lifeline. Several told me it was like being part of a big family. People also said that there were orders which could have kept them employed for years.
The figures given on the subsidy required for each Remploy worker are misleading. They don’t fully take into account the profits made from their work and employee contributions paid in tax and National Insurance from their wages.
Closing the Remploy factories is more about a cruel twisted ideology from this government against the vulnerable and working class than saving money.
There’s billions of pounds out there in unpaid taxes from the likes of Google, not to mention legal tax avoidance by the rich.
Alana Bates, Liverpool
I joined the Socialist Workers Party at Marxism 2012 after reading the paper for a few months. Since then I have been to as many meetings as possible and learned more than in the previous 20 odd years.
I would happily encourage anyone reading this to get to a meeting, listen, learn, speak up, think, ask questions and get involved. You might even get a cup of tea.
An anti-war campaigner protesting in Parliament Square is now on hunger strike and has been treated for exposure. A court ruled that tents were illegal on the site, so Barbara Tucker and others are huddled under umbrellas and blankets.
The protest is a constant reminder to MPs and passers-by of the horrors of the “war on terror”. People should write to their MP and go and visit the camp if in London.
Paul O’Hanlon, Edinburgh
Your story ‘Atos forced me to crawl on the floor in tears’ describes my Atos interview exactly. I’m on appeal, waiting for this bad joke to come to an end.
Steven by email
I don’t think Socialist Worker is right to say that Gil Scott-Heron’s Pieces of a Man is about Vietnam.
In fact it is about the humiliation of losing your job. He uses the torn up pieces of the redundancy letter as a metaphor for the effect of the sack on his father. It is tragically all too relevant in the capitalist crisis of today.
Tony Phillips, Waltham Forest
[Editorial note: This was an editing error on our part that has been corrected online. The track about Vietnam is Did You Hear What They Said?]