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.The Sun’s Pro-Fracking Poll was Paid for by Climate Denial Group, reveals DeSmog

A poll in the Sun which claimed that 44% of the British public supports fracking was paid for by a climate science denial group, DeSmog has revealed.

The survey appeared under the headline, ‘FRACKING IS FINE: Nearly half of voters are in favour of lifting fracking ban’, on April 5th. Turns out that the survey was commissioned by Net Zero Watch (NZW) – the campaign arm of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

Among its board members is the former Tory chancellor Lord Lawson, who has previously claimed that global warming is not a problem.

2. Higher Wages Are the Only Solution to the Cost of Living Crisis –Grace Blakeley

Grace Blakeley writes for Tribune Magazine about how the only solution to the cost of living crisis is higher wages. With rising fuel costs eroding disposable incomes and with analysis from the New Economics Foundation showing that as a result of current levels of inflation, 23.4 million people in the UK will be unable to purchase the goods and services necessary to sustain a basically decent quality of life, short term solutions won’t do.

Blakeley also writes: “The natural response to such a drastic increase in poverty would be to increase social security payments. It just so happens that the amount by which NEF expects the average household’s cost of living to increase—£20 per week—exactly mirrors the amount by which Universal Credit payments were reduced at the end of last year. The case for the reinstatement of the UC uplift is clear.

“Beyond that, we need to demand the removal of the punitive sanctions regime that has accompanied the rollout of Universal Credit. And social security payments need to be increased across the board, but especially for families and the disabled, both of which have far higher costs of living than single, able-bodied households.”

3. Editors and MPs urge watchdog to act over escalating government secrecy-openDemocracy

OpenDemocracy is leading a campaign to enforce transparency laws as the government stands accused of abusing the Freedom of Information Act and blacklisting reporters.

An open letter signed by more than 110 MPs, journalists and campaigners, calls on the UK’s new information commissioner, John Edwards, to do more to hold ministers and departments accountable.

The letter, coordinated by openDemocracy, says the current approach to enforcing the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act is “clearly not working”. It urges Edwards to defend the public’s right to know, including allocating more resources to investigate complaints about secrecy in Whitehall.

It comes following a string of revelations about how the government has abused the FOI act. Last year, openDemocracy exposed the existence of an FOI ‘Clearing House’ in government, which was ‘blacklisting’ requests from journalists and others.

4. Nearly half of state teachers plan on leaving the profession in the next five years-Morning Star

A new survey from the National Education Union (NEU), reveals that nearly half of state school teachers in England plan to quit in the next five years due to high workloads and crippling stress, the Morning Star reports.

The poll, unveiled on the opening day of the union’s annual conference in Bournemouth, shows 44 per cent of the workforce want to leave the profession by 2027, with half intending to leave within the next two years.

The research also found that two thirds of staff feel stressed at least 60 per cent of the time, while 73 per cent report their school finding it even harder to fill vacant posts during the health crisis.

5. Labour unveils pledge to create ‘community and victim payback boards’-LabourList

LabourList reports that the Labour Party will pledge to create a system of ‘community and victim payback boards’ (CVPBs) in a bid to strengthen community and victim involvement in sentencing, reduce antisocial behaviour and stop more serious offending.

The site takes a closer look at the proposal before May’s local elections. Labour leader Keir Starmer says that the party will “put communities and victims at the heart of how offenders repay society”.

“After 12 years of Conservative government, which has seen record criminal case delays, police officers disappearing from our streets, police station closures and court sell-offs, communities have no faith that the criminal justice system is keeping their communities safe from crime,” the Labour leader said.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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