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

A roundup of news from progressive outlets...

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1.Sunak Hands Cabinet Job to Climate Sceptic David Davies-DeSmog

DeSmog features a piece on how Rishi Sunak has further undermined his claims to care about the climate, after he appointed David Davies as Welsh Secretary.

Davies ‘whose responsibilities will include energy, climate change, and broader economic issues related to the devolved nation, has a long history of dismissing climate science and criticising environmental action’, DeSmog reports.

Lib Dem climate spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said: “The Government cannot claim to be serious about solving the climate emergency whilst they continuously appoint sceptics to ministerial roles.”

It comes after a U-turn from Sunak on the COP27 climate summit. He has now decided he is attending after initially refusing to do so.

2. Yarl’s Wood Immigration Detainees Suffered in ‘Unacceptable’ Conditions During Record Heatwave-Byline Times

During the summer heatwave, hundreds of detainees at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre were held in rooms with no way of cooling down, Byline Times reveals.

The site reports: “While temperatures soared to record-breaking heights, as many as 249 migrant people at Yarl’s Wood were forced to spend nine hours a day in rooms without air conditioning, fans or windows that could be opened, according to data obtained through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

“SNP MP Alison Thewliss, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Immigration Detention, said the “frightening figures” were “deeply concerning”.

“Basic necessities such as open windows and air conditioning should be guaranteed during heatwaves,” Thewliss told Byline Times. “It is unacceptable that these were missing.

“Many of those living in these detention centres have fled conflict and have suffered unimaginable trauma – they should be treated with dignity and respect and allowed to rebuild their lives.”

3. Revealed: Housing associations urged ministers to let them increase rents-openDemocracy

The landlords of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable tenants secretly lobbied the government to let them charge more rent – while paying their executives nearly £300,000 a year each.

The revelations were made following a Freedom of Information request from openDemocracy. It was discovered that housing association group G15 warned against a rent freeze as the cost of living crisis spiralled, instead suggesting tenants on the lowest rents should be allowed to “catch up” with those paying more and urging a “discussion” before any decisions were made about a cap.

openDemocracy reports: “G15 represents London’s 13 largest housing associations, including Peabody, Clarion, L&Q and Optivo. Though the organisations themselves are classed as non-profits, data from Inside Housing for 2021/22 shows their CEOs earn an average of £286,000 a year each, meaning they take home millions between them.”

4. How Staff at Scotland’s Poshest Hotel Won Back their Tips-Tribune

Bryan Simpson writes for Tribune Magazine on how staff at Scotland’s ‘poshest hotel’,  Cameron House, a resort in Loch Lomond, won in their campaign to secure fair tips.

This week, it was announced that £138,000 in backdated tips would be put back into the pockets of over 200 workers employed there.

Research from Unite has found that tips can add another £200 a month to a worker’s take-home pay.

After collective action, the workers were able to set up a tips committee, which voted to see all £138,000 of retained service charge and credit card tips fairly distributed to all workers who earned them from October.

Bryan writes: “To accompany efforts by workers and their unions to get fair tips, we need legislation to make fair tipping practices compulsory.”

5. The Conservatives have lost public trust on immigration. Labour must take a lead-LabourList

With the Tories trailing in the polls, it should come as no surprise that they have resorted to turning to culture wars and pushing immigration to the top of headlines in a bid to whip up fears and win back popularity with voters.

With this in mind, Thom Brooks has written a piece for LabourList on how the Labour party must take a lead on immigration

Brooks writes: “Competence, credibility and compassion are the three Cs that a Labour immigration policy should exemplify alongside the values of security, prosperity and respect. It’s not enough to say we’ll deliver. We need to go further and work harder to spell out the credible, evidence-based platform we defend. We must say what we mean and mean what we say in a tangible way that cuts through.

“Our competence and credibility must be matched by our compassion. Allowing potentially unlawful and inhumane conditions in Marston isn’t the look of a ‘global Britain’ of which we can be proud. Demonising others with inflammatory rhetoric to detract from one’s own failings won’t address the problem and only highlights the lack of ideas and vision in government. Nor is it right to use a citizenship test that few citizens can pass and which offends our collective sense of fair play.

“Labour can deliver a new points-based immigration plan for post-Brexit Britain, as I have spelled out in a Fabian pamphlet advocating more than 60 policies that would improve the fairness, administration and effectiveness in a significant transformation of the system.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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