LETTER: Real socialism would have stopped national wealth sell-off

IN response to Ray Darby’s letter in the Advertiser and his comments on mine about fracking, I’d like to make it clear that I think wind turbines would be part of a multi-stranded approach to energy.

We have thousands of acres of farmland that could accommodate them without encroaching on our national parks. We could situate them off our coastlines. Wave power could be part of the strategy and perhaps even clean coal technologies, but the most important factor, in my opinion, is getting our buildings properly insulated to greatly reduce our energy usage. This should be a government priority, creating warm, damp-free environments for everyone whether renting or buying their home.

France, Germany, parts of Australia and other countries have banned fracking; many of these countries have a much more dispersed population than ours but they’ve still rejected it as unsafe. In the UK, only England is allowing fracking. Will the Tory councils want it on their doorstep? Well, some Tory councils have rejected shale drilling applications. Many Tories are becoming more sceptical and the 2017 manifestos of Labour, the Lib Dems and Greens all promised fracking bans.

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There are still no new policies being offered in your letters. At the last election Labour had a fully costed manifesto that would redistribute wealth, create an investment bank to invest in industry and help fund modernisation. Issues that affect people every day were looked at and policies suggested that would have improved the lives of millions of people.

Ray, in your next letter could you address the doubling of homelessness, the vastly increasing inequality in our society, the mental health crisis affecting both children and adults, the crisis in social care, the deliberate underfunding of the NHS and the covert way it is being turned into an American style business model by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who co-wrote a book arguing for the privatisation (and therefore abolition) of the NHS as we know it.

Please, Ray, give us some answers instead of resorting to worthless cliches like calling Corbyn a Marxist. We have socialism now — but only for the rich. When big businesses go bust their pensions are safe, they still collect their bonuses and the government bails them out at the expense of the tax payer and the poor and disabled. If we’d had a more socialist approach to running the economy over the last 40 years our country and our national wealth would not not have been sold off and we would not now be in the position of relying on Russia for our energy.

I think you’re in for a very big disappointment if you think coming out of the EU will give us answers to any of our problems. It is a small percentage of our national income that is paid into the EU, and poorer areas of the UK have got a lot more back than we have paid in — for example, the EU helped fund the upgrade of many council properties in Rotherham. If Brexit ever happens, the poor and disabled had better hope Corbyn becomes Prime Minister because the Tories will have a free rein to destroy the few rights we have left.

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On Marxism, I would say perhaps a bit of Marxism is what we need, judging by the latest independent analysis. It is said that by 2030 one per cent of the population will own two thirds of the world’s wealth. As it stands now, eight people own half of it. With inequality as it is now, the current approach is not working for the many. Unfortunately, in a lot of people’s minds Marxism is associated with dictatorships but I cannot find where in Marxism a dictatorship is regarded as a good model for running a society. Marx wanted real democracy, not Stalinism. We are in a democracy, and the next general election will offer a real choice for the first time in generations

Andy Gray, Carlton Avenue, Rotherham