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Grenfell Tower


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From: The Socialist issue 1092, 24 June 2020: Workers must not pay the price

Search site for keywords: Austerity - Labour - Grenfell Tower - Coronavirus

News in brief

Flammable cladding can act as a chimney, spreading flames throughout a tower, photo Jim Linwood (CC)

Flammable cladding can act as a chimney, spreading flames throughout a tower, photo Jim Linwood (CC)   (Click to enlarge)

Cladding off now!

On the third anniversary of the fatal Grenfell Tower disaster, a tower block fire in Canning Town on 22 June was controlled with no deaths - because the cladding was finally removed last year. However, the Tory government has reportedly spent less than a quarter of what it promised to replace remaining Grenfell-style cladding, leaving 300 high-rise buildings still vulnerable.

And the suggestion from property developer Berkeley Group that the government relax restrictions on the use of flammable cladding has been slammed by the Fire Brigades Union. The FBU rightly says it's a "shameless attempt" to protect profits over public safety, and calls for "unscrupulous housebuilders" like Berkeley Group to be nationalised.

Failure app

Health Secretary Matt Hancock - a byword for failure - has ditched the government's planned mobile phone contact tracing app in England in favour of a system operated by tax-dodging tech giants Google and Apple. But this new app won't be up and running until "winter".

The app underwent three months' trial in the Isle of Wight before being abandoned. Apparently, it wouldn't work with Apple's phone operating system.

The centralised system was also condemned by many scientists and tech experts as a Trojan horse for government surveillance. How much the doomed app has cost the public purse has not been revealed.

Labour untogether

A belated post-mortem on Labour's 2019 election defeat by 'Labour Together' has added weight to the Socialist Party's earlier conclusions (see 'Stand firm for socialist policies to stop Tory attacks' on socialistparty.org.uk, and 'Lessons from the Corbyn experience' in the June issue of Socialism Today).

Many of Labour's organisational failings can be laid at the door of the "toxic culture created by years of infighting" says the report - ie, Labour's right wing systematically attempting to remove Corbyn and rubbish his programme. Labour's right, along with Momentum, did, however, push Corbyn into adopting a confused position on Brexit.

Significantly, the report points to "two decades of demographic and political change that hit the party's traditional base." In other words, Blairite capitalist policies, especially savage austerity measures in Labour-run councils, have politically alienated working-class voters.

Dave Carr

Shopping scandal

The coronavirus-prevention measures at JD Sports in Romford include a customer capacity of 116!

It's not a massive shop. The store limits for other similarly sized shops was 20 to 32. Although, like the supermarkets, they'll probably start low then increase numbers to increase profits - regardless of how infectious the virus is.

Postscript: In fact, the store capacity for Next in Romford was 20 on 15 June, but 27 on 19 June!

Ian Pattison

Donate to the Socialist Party

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.

We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our Fighting Fund.

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Article dated 24 June 2020

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