Voices on the Left: 5 blogs from the left you need to read this week

A roundup of progressive news

A pile of newspapers with text overlaid reading "Voices on the Left"

1.Anti-Muslim Bigotry of the Spectator Magazine –Byline Times

Byline Times reports on how anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamophobia is rife within the Spectator Magazine, following the publication of a report by the Muslim Council of Britain’s centre for Media Monitoring (CfMM).

The analysis by the CfMM, based on 48,000 articles from 34 British media websites between October 2018 and September 2019, found that the Spectator had the highest proportion of articles identified as antagonistic to Muslims – across all 34 outlets, ranging from the Times through the Tablet and Reuters to the Economist and the BBC.

The Spectator was also the publication with the highest proportion of articles that misrepresented Muslim behaviour or beliefs, while in the category for the highest percentage of articles rated ‘very biased’ it was only narrowly beaten into second place (by Christian Today).

2. ‘Heating or Eating’ Shouldn’t Be a Choice – Tribune Magazine         

The extortionate cost of energy bills will see millions going without heating in Britain this winter, reports Tribune Magazine.

At present, at least three million households are already unable to pay their energy bills, and estimates from the summer predict that that number will rise by almost 400,000 as we head into what’s expected to be the coldest winter in a decade. A study in 2018 found that fuel poverty was causing 3,000 deaths a year.

Tribune takes a deeper look at the impact extortionate costs of energy are having on some of the most vulnerable in society and why the government must do more to tackle fuel poverty.

3. Sharon Graham: “I’m trying to get what we do politically to mean something” –LabourList

LabourList features an interview with Unite general secretary Sharon Graham to mark her first 100 days in office. The leader of Unite speaks about her meeting with Keir Starmer, plans to cut donations from Unite to Labour and her aims to reform the union.

Graham describes herself as “somebody who likes outcome”. She is critical of Starmer’s Labour crucially because she believes that “there’s a difference between intervening in politics and driving it” – and that he is intervening, not driving.

4. The UK Police Bill now threatens anyone with a cause they believe in– openDemocracy

OpenDemocracy looks at how the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has become even worse in recent weeks, as it criminalises the right to peaceful protest.

The bill contained a slew of restrictions on demonstrations, in addition to new surveillance and stop-and-search powers, and provisions that will effectively criminalise the way of life of Gypsy and Traveller communities. As the bill goes through the House of Lords, the government has ‘tabled a raft of new oppressive powers to stifle dissent further.’

These include creating new Serious Disruption Prevention Orders, or protest-banning orders, which can be imposed on people if they have previously been convicted of what the amendment calls a ‘protest-related offence’ – or even if they have just been to two protests in the past five years in which they carried out activities that could have caused serious disruption.

The latest developments should worry all of us who care about our democracy.

5. Unison and Salford Council campaign wins care workers pay rise worth £19m-Morning Star

The Morning Star reports on how care workers have secured a massive victory after winning a pay rise worth £19 million to get a “real living wage” from one of Britain’s biggest care providers.

Employees of Anchor Hanover housing association in Salford in north-west England, staged protests and rallies demanding better pay and won a wage of £9.90 an hour — which the Living Wage Foundation says is the minimum necessary for a “decent standard of living.”

Previously they were paid £8.91 an hour. The increase will be extended to all Anchor Hanover workers.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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