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.Media Gives Climate Denier Fuel Lobbyist a Platform to Attack ‘Just Stop Oil’ Protests-DeSmog

A climate denying activist and fuel lobbyist who campaigns against net zero policies was given a platform by major media outlets to attack fossil fuel protests, with no mention of his climate views or industry funders, DeSmog reports.

The blog highlights how Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuelUK campaign against fuel duty, was quoted in The Sun, MailOnline, inews and the Telegraph’s live blog. He was also interviewed on Sky News about “Just Stop Oil” activists, who were blocking fuel terminals to protest against new oil drilling licences. 

None of the media outlets which platformed Cox mentioned that he has previously downplayed what he calls “alleged man-made causes” of climate change and questioned its links to extreme weather.

2. Two MPs who will decide Johnson’s fate backed rule-breaker Owen Paterson-openDemocracy

OpenDemocracy highlights how two of the six MPs who sit on the privileges committee and who will investigate whether Boris Johnson lied to Parliament about lockdown busting parties in Downing Street, previously tried to re-write Parliament’s rulebook to help a rule-breaking Tory.

Laura Farris and Sir Bernard Jenkin, both Conservative MPs, voted in November to overrule the Standards Committee in a botched attempt to save Paterson from suspension – despite his rule-breaking lobbying work.

The records of Ferris and Jenkin have led to questions over just how impartial the inquiry into Johnson will be.

Labour MP Chris Bryant, who is the chair of the committee has already recused himself from the Partygate inquiry because of his previous public statements about the scandal. That means of the six MPs left to conduct the investigation, four are Conservatives.

3. The Conservatives have form, and cannot be trusted on council housing- LabourList

Mark Williams, a former Labour councillor writes for LabourList on why the Conservatives cannot be trusted on council housing, after Michael Gove announced an “explosion” in new council housing less than three weeks before local elections.

Williams writes about how Gove’s reported plans, which is all they are for now, to scrap section 106 and replace it with a levy on new developments, is short sighted.

Section 106 permits councils to place a requirement on developers to build infrastructure as part of their work on new estates. It has seen local authorities insisting on a specified percentage of affordable homes on new estates.

Gove wants to replace section 106 with an infrastructure levy, which would be paid to councils by developers as a set proportion of the value of any new housing project.

Williams writes: “The lack of grants from central government to support new social and council housing is a major problem. Whilst new developments should, and must, contribute to delivering new affordable housing, this will not be enough on its own to match the scale of the challenge our country faces. Gove’s plans to shuffle around s106 contributions – from new developments, infrastructure or local improvements to a notional council housing fund – won’t deliver the homes we need.”

4. ‘Basic Instinct’ Is What the Establishment Thinks of Working-Class Women-Tribune Magazine

Tribune Magazine features a piece on how the disgraceful Mail on Sunday story about Angela Rayner was not only sexist and misogynistic but also steeped in classism. Laura Smith writes about how the attack on Rayner is also a ‘deliberate belittling of one of the very few working-class women in a position of leadership in our politics’.

Responding to comments from one anonymous Tory MP who told the paper: “She knows she can’t compete with Boris’s Oxford Union debating training, but she has other skills which he lacks”, Laura writes: “Of course, a northern woman from a council estate, with a state school education, cannot possibly use her brain to contend with the masterly skills of an upper-class private school-educated Old Etonian buffoon like Johnson.

“Lacking his intellect and training, the insinuation goes, she must bring it back to her body, which she wields unfairly as a sexual weapon against her male opponents, who are seemingly helpless to avert their gaze. It would be difficult to conceive of a more straightforward instance of sexual objectification and sexist reductionism in our politics.”

5. Civil disobedience needed to resist fire-and-rehire attacks on workers

The Morning Star reports on comments made by the RMT’s Eddie Dempsey, that mass civil disobedience is needed to resist fire-and-rehire attacks on workers.

People must resist bosses who are “not following the rules,” the transport union’s assistant general secretary told a fringe meeting at the Communication Workers Union’s (CWU) during its annual conference.

Dempsey’s comments came after P&O sacked 800 of its staff in March without warning, before replacing them with cheaper agency workers.

Dempsey told delegates in Bournemouth: “We’re going to try to create a culture of civil peaceful disobedience in this country.

“We’ve got to get out there with industrial strategies to make sure every depot, every workplace, is a fortress for the trade union movement and people are ready to come out and defend their rights.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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