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

A roundup of progressive news...

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1.Revealed: How Car and Airline Advertising ‘Misleads’ the Public and Threatens Climate Action-DeSmog

A number of major car and airline companies are ‘using adverts that greenwash their business while continuing to push highly polluting products that put the world’s climate goals at risk’, DeSmog reports.

Analysing more than a thousand Facebook and Instagram adverts placed by ten well-known European transport brands in the last year, DeSmog found that companies were pushing their ‘green credentials’ while at the same time using ads to push highly polluting vehicles such as SUVs.

Among the car companies named are the likes of Peugeot, Renault, Citroën, Fiat and Jeep.

When it came to Airline ads, the analysis found that a majority of flight adverts (90 percent) made no mention of sustainability.

2. 87,000 people can’t keep up with care bills as cost of living soars-openDemocracy

An exclusive by openDemocracy reveals that almost 90,000 people in England have fallen behind on costly care payments as the cost of living crisis takes hold.

As a result, those who have fallen behind are now facing action from aggressive debt recovery agencies, with 1 in 4 ‘chargeable’ care users sent reminders or warnings, and hundreds referred to debt collectors.

The findings were made after openDemocracy submitted a freedom of information request to English councils.

Campaigners are now calling for local authorities to follow the lead of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, which abolished fees for at-home care in 2015.

“There is a link between mental ill-health, mental health impairments, and debt,” Helen Rowlands, a co-founder of Cheshire Disabled People Against Cuts, told openDemocracy.

3. Academisation Is Not the Answer-Tribune Magazine

Melanie Griffiths and Robert Poole write for Tribune Magazine on why the government’s plan for full academisation amounts to the privatisation of our education system, to the detriment of pupils.

Taking aim at measures included in the Queen’s speech, which made clear the government’s intention to make 100% of schools academies or free schools, they write: “This policy is based on the Tories’ ideological commitment to privatisation regardless of consequence. The reality, which they are all too happy to ignore, is that many communities don’t want their school to convert or join large MATs (multi-academy trusts).

“Academisation, which removes schools from local authority oversight and places them in control of independent private bodies funded directly by central government, does not increase autonomy or accountability. It does the opposite. It puts decision-making power in the hands of a distant bureaucracy—one that often knows nothing of the local area and the challenges facing workers, pupils, and families there. It’s on that basis and a host of other reasons that bringing all schools and central services back to local authority control was made Labour Party policy in 2019.”

4. An impactful and affordable universal basic income scheme is within reach-LabourList

LabourList features a piece on how a universal basic income scheme is within reach and that it is both affordable and impactful.

Stewart Lansley, co-author of the report ‘Tackling Poverty: The power of universal basic income’, writes about how a basic income could be Labour’s big idea. He writes: “2022 is the 80th anniversary of the Beveridge Report on the future of social security, yet Britain is living through a sustained crisis of living standards at the bottom. So what is the best way to tackle this crisis? One increasingly debated idea – a universal basic income (UBI) – remains controversial but has the power to deliver a significant reduction in poverty and inequality while boosting social resilience.”

A new report by the think-tank Compass found that even a modest scheme would cut child poverty by nearly 60% and pensioner poverty by 7.7%, taking both to historic lows.

5. Trade unions vow to defeat ‘cynical and authoritarian’ Tory threat to strike rights-Morning Star

After news that the Tory government is considering yet more attacks on trade unions and are seeking to block rail staff from striking, the trade union movement has vowed to fight back.

The Morning Star reports on the reaction from unions, with RMT warning that any attempt to make “effective strike action illegal will be met with the fiercest resistance.”

General secretary Mick Lynch said: “The government need to focus all their efforts on finding a just settlement to this rail dispute, not attack the democratic rights of working people.

“We have not fought tooth and nail for railway workers since 1872 to meekly accept a future where our members are prevented from legally withdrawing their labour.”

TSSA head Manuel Cortes said: “Frankly the Tories can pass whatever law they wish to deny our members their fundamental rights — our union will defy their unjust and undemocratic laws every step of the way.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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