Monday, 24 January 2011

In response to the letter by Tony Dennis “We need to think hard about class” (Morning Star 21/1/2011), I absolutely agree that a discussion is needed on this matter and that a Socialist perspective, in response the situations being faced by the working class, is essential if the left are actually going to make any lasting impacts.

According to the housing charity
Shelter, every two minutes someone is facing the loss of their home with the charity, having already lobbied the previous Labour Government, now petitioning the current Coalition in response to the fact that “3.4 million children” are living in poverty, with “one in 10 children” still residing in overcrowded housing, that is enough to “fill the new Wembley Stadium 10 times over.”

Shelter have also reported that “27 per cent of overcrowded families have children sleeping in living rooms or dining rooms”, with bad housing having a negative impact upon the health and education of many of these children.

A similar situation, is also being faced by the elderly, where the
National Pensioners Convention have repeatedly warned that over one million pensioners across Great Britain are suffering from malnutrition and even the Department of Work and Pensions admitted, that at the time of the Iraq invasion, levels of poverty among Britain’s elderly, numbered the same as when Labour took office in 1997.

I am not sure what kind of “Socialism” Britain had under the previous Government but it was bad enough that Great Britain ranked as having the fourth highest levels of poverty amongst over-65s in Europe‚ that even before the recession set in‚ a higher proportion of older people in the UK were living on incomes far below the national average compared to those in countries considered less developed, such as Poland and Romania.

Meanwhile, up to a third of all homeless people within the UK are former soldiers, sailors and airmen and as many as 20,000 ex-servicemen and women are in prison, on probation or parole,costing taxpayers around £250million a year. Many of these Veterans suffer from a wide range of medical conditions including
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

On average, it takes a Veteran approximately fourteen years after leaving the armed forces, to make contact with mental health services such as
Combat Stress, who in the past ninety years have helped over 100,000 British ex-servicemen and women.

While it is unclear as to how many Veterans actually do suffer from conditions such as
PTSD, regular studies have found that those who do, are experiencing drug and substance abuse, high levels of alcoholism, unemployment and family breakdowns, with many partners and in particular, their children, also experiencing the dramatic impacts of Britain’s foreign policies.

When discussing the question of the class system, one of the biggest lessons I have learned from both the left and the nationalists of the Arab world, is that one must take account of the society that exists because unless we take responsibility for what is going on around us, then our perspective of both history and what is going on elsewhere in the world, becomes nothing but a romantic concept.

Further reading:
Combat Stress: A Living History by Hussein Al-alak and published by the London Progressive journal Sun 18th Jul 2010.


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