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6 February 2019

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Them & Us

Them and us fishes, photo Suzanne Beishon

Them and us fishes, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

Job for life for new hereditary lord...

Aeneas Simon Mackay, a Tory investment banker, can now vote on our laws and claim 305 a day for life after an election he could only enter because his great-grandad's cousin's dad's fourth cousin's dad's cousin's great-great-great-grandad was made a Lord in 1628.

Mackay is the 15th Lord Reay and won a recent 'hereditary peer by-election' and is now a member of the House of Lords. The 53-year-old is the chief of ancient Scottish Clan Mackay, whose former leader Donald Mackay was handed a peerage by Charles I.

Charles I must have been off his head to award a peerage to the original Lord Reay as he was described by the family as a "magician who won a work-loving gang of fairies in an encounter with a witch in a cave".

This feudal relic is a hangover from Tony Blair's reform of the House of Lords in 1999. As part of the reform he compromised and allowed 92 hereditary peers to remain.

But even those who are not hereditary peers only get there by pleasing the government that appointed them.

We need elected workers' representatives in parliament. But for fundamental social change to come about we also need independent working-class movements outside parliament.

Abolition of the House of Lords is an important step in the democratisation of politics.

Young woman and man wait on a bench with a sleeping bag at night, photo Tony Fischer (Creative Commons)

Young woman and man wait on a bench with a sleeping bag at night, photo Tony Fischer (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

...homeless deaths rise

The 15th Lord Reay went to university in Oxford which, despite educating Britain's elite, has seen a massive spike in homeless deaths as the city's poor face a severe lack of housing and little support for people with mental health and addiction problems.

Four homeless people have died in Oxford since November. One formerly homeless woman who volunteers to support rough sleepers in the city, said: "I am worried about who is going to be next. This is the worst I have seen it in Oxford."

Oxford is not alone either. Other towns and cities have seen homeless deaths, and the amount of rough sleepers has gone up considerably.

The high rents that force people out need to be capped. The cuts to housing and homelessness services that have taken place so far should be stopped and reversed. Build houses and fund services now to stop any more homeless deaths!

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

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In The Socialist 6 February 2019:

What we think

Corbyn must prepare for a general election: Remove the pro-capitalist saboteurs - fight for the socialist alternative

Workplace news

College lecturers strike for a pay rise

University and College Union elections

PCS: Campaign for Chris Baugh for AGS

Traffic wardens' strike is just the ticket

Unison: Democracy and the right to speak out are under threat

Historic strike of nurses in Ireland

Backing for the Birmingham homecarers


Tory Brexit farce, Corbyn and unions: Call mass action now

Cash-starved health service ripped off by big pharma - fund our NHS now!

Struggling unis account for bulk of unconditional offers - end education marketisation!

Billionaires avoid paying and even talking about tax! Take the wealth off the 1%

Them & Us

Iranian revolution

40 years since the Iranian revolution: Learning the lessons for today's new working-class struggles

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Haringey 'Corbyn council' must fight borough regeneration

Victory! Campaign reverses Wallasey fire cuts

Sheffield tree campaigners' legal win

Southampton by-election

Worcestershire: save the libraries, reverse all the cuts

'Stansted 15' deportation protesters could face jail

North West Socialist Party conference

International socialist news and analysis

United States: LA teachers' strike defeats privatisers

France gilets jaunes' backed by mass strike action

Sweden: dock strikes test new government

United States: strike ends federal shutdown


Film: Vice - Dick Cheney - a cold and calculating opportunist

Theatre: Ballad of Johnny Longstaff

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Article dated 6 February 2019

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