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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1.50,000 of UK’s newest nurses recruited from poor countries with shortages-openDemocracy

OpenDemocracy features a piece on how a quarter of all new nurses in the UK were trained in poorer countries with more severe staffing shortages.

‘Since 2017, 50,000 of the nurses who registered to practise in the UK were trained in countries that have too few of their own nurses to provide the standard of healthcare recommended by the United Nations’, writes Adam Bychawski.

Among those who registered, 38,000 new NHS England nurses reported their nationalities which included countries with severe staffing shortages in the past five years.

The World Health Organisation has urged against active recruitment from countries with nursing shortages themselves.

2.Voter ID-‘It’s Far Worse than Any US State’, Byline Times

The government’s plans to bring in voter ID for the next set of elections are a form of ‘legalised voter suppression’ which would impact younger voters far more disproportionately than older voters, former LFF editor Josiah Mortimer writes for Byline Times.

At the 2023 elections in England, voters will have to show ID or be turned away for the first time, following the passing of the Elections Act this April.

Six of the Government-accepted IDs are specifically targeted at older people, while almost none are aimed at younger people.

Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle told Byline Times that the recent changes mirror voter suppression in the US. He said: “I had a colleague from the New York City Council here last week – we chatted and he couldn’t believe the levels of ID that were unacceptable. He said, even in the US, college cards are accepted. It’s far worse than any US state here – he couldn’t believe it.”

3. Sanctioned Coal Barons Among Russia’s COP27 Delegates-DeSmog

While the COP27 meeting in Egypt provides yet another opportunity for world leaders to come together to tackle climate change, Russia has decided to send dozens of executives from the country’s vast fossil fuel industry to the conference, including two sanctioned oligarchs with significant interests in coal, DeSmog reports.

The site reports that: “Oleg Deripaska, who has large stakes in multiple coal companies, and Andrey Melnichenko, who transferred ownership of Russia’s largest coal producer to his wife in March as sanctions were brought in, are both set to attend.

“Sixteen other individuals listed as part of Russia’s official delegation are tied to businesspeople currently under Western sanctions, including six representatives of oil and gas giant Gazprom, DeSmog analysis found.”

Green MP Caroline Lucas said: “Russian coal billionaires with close ties to Putin should be nowhere near the COP27 climate conference.

“Dirty fossil fuel money and influence isn’t going to solve the climate emergency – the only way to do so is to keep new fossil fuels firmly in the ground, and invest instead in the green economic transformation that is so urgently needed.”

4. Matt Wrack: ‘You Can Change Your Own Lives, If You Are Organised’-Tribune

Tribune features an interview with Fire Brigades Union’s Matt Wrack to discuss the Tory assault on public services, the prospect of a firefighters’ strike – and how to rebuild a fighting trade union movement for the 21st century.

The socialist magazine reports that in the ‘last ten years, central funding for fire services has collapsed by forty percent in real terms. 1 in 5 firefighter jobs have been lost, and for those that remain, real salaries have been cut by £4,000’.

Amid the cost of living crisis, with firefighters being left with no choice but to use foodbanks, with Wrack telling Tribune Magazine: “Even using CPI, we estimate that a firefighter is about £4000 a year worse off than if our wages had kept pace with inflation over the last twelve years. That’s a percentage loss of about 12%.”

He added: “Cuts in real pay have caused a lot of demoralisation. Some people just want to fight back, and that’s great. Other people get demoralised about the fact their employer, their chief officer, and the politicians don’t give a damn about them or the job they do. Most firefighters are very proud of their work, but they want to be able to do it effectively, professionally, and also with decent conditions. And these 12 years have been a never-ending grind of one thing after another.”

5. Our right to protest is fundamental – and we must fight to retain it-LabourList

Labour Party MP Marsha de Cordova has written a piece for LabourList on why the government’s Public Order Bill will make it harder to deliver meaningful change in society, given how much it ‘would criminalise legitimate protest tactics and dissuade people from taking to the streets for fear of the consequences’.

Marsha writes: “Measures, including a new offence of locking on, will drag disabled people and others into the criminal justice system. For example, disabled activists who locked their wheelchairs to traffic lights in protest at the 2010 Tory led coalition government’s cuts to social security would be criminalised under this bill. Direct action not only helps to bring about fundamental change, but it has also helped to change the narrative of how we are represented. Through protests, we showed that we have agency and that we can determine our own future.”

She goes on to add: “This bill will not solve the problems it claims it seeks to address. Clamping down on protest will impact all of us, but it is those of us from underrepresented backgrounds who will suffer the most. The government should be safeguarding our right to protest, expression and security. If it really cared, it would have brought forward a victims bill and ensured justice for the 1.3 million victims who gave up on the justice system last year.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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