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.Revealed: Police may be assessing climate protesters for terrorism-openDemocracy

Climate activists, whose activities ‘threaten businesses’, could be labelled as terrorists by the police, openDemocracy reports.

The site reports: “Intelligence on protesters who specifically target large companies is being handed to counter-terror police (CTP) to see if their activity could “indicate a path towards terrorism”.

“Public order and protest-related duties were removed from CTP’s remit in April 2020, following reviews of intelligence handling and sharing in the wake of the 2017 terror attacks in London and Manchester.

“But documents seen by openDemocracy show intelligence about protests is still being shared with CTP HQ – a Metropolitan Police department that coordinates a national counter-terror network – on a range of grounds, including if it could cause “large-value loss” to a business.”

2. ‘We Are Not Done’ Conservatives Remain in Thrall to Tufton Street-Byline Times

Despite the discrediting of Tufton Street think tanks such as the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), after their ideas found their way into Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-budget, the lobbying groups and think tanks have retained their close links to the Tory party, Byline Times reports.

Sam Bright writes: “Just last week, Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt was a guest of honour at the IEA’s Christmas party. “I remember Labour’s record – that is why I’m sticking around, to fight the next election,” she reportedly began by saying – alluding to the multiple high-profile Conservative MPs who have chosen not to stand at the next general election.”

Byline also reveals that £8,000 has been donated to the party in recent months by Shanker Singham, who is a Trade Fellow at the IEA, having previously served as the director of the think tank’s International Trade and Competition Unit.

3. The Lies That Keep Pay Low-Tribune

Grace Blakely has written a piece for Tribune Magazine on some of the toxic myths and lies that continue being pushed against workers demanding better pay and conditions, taking particular aim at the nonsensical argument that giving workers a wage rise would lead to a ‘wage-price spiral’.

Grace writes: “The government claims that protecting public sector workers from another real-terms pay cut is unaffordable. Yet the Conservatives were quite happy to spend billions during the pandemic bailing out massive corporations and handing dodgy contracts to their friends in the private sector.

“Granting public sector workers the wage increases they deserve is not unaffordable. The government has demonstrated that it has the capacity to pay for its priorities while lavishing cash on big business, banks, and landlords during the pandemic.

“And raising wages for some of the lowest paid in society would give a much-needed boost to demand as the UK hurtles towards a recession, especially if accompanied by price controls and tax increases for the wealthy to moderate the impact on inflation.”

4. Child hunger is a political choice – we have a chance to end it with our bill-LabourList

Labour MPs Kim Johnson, Zarah Sultana & Ian Byrne have written a piece for LabourList on their bill which is being debated in Parliament today on eradicating child hunger across the country.

They write: “With 4 million children in this country currently living in poverty, and the cost-of-living crisis predicted to push close to a million more below the breadline in the coming year, we must seize this opportunity to make sure no child in this country has to go hungry.”

The trio call for urgent action from the government to roll out free school meals to all children in primary school.

They write: “We must also see free school meals for all as an investment in our future. No matter how smart a child is or how amazing a teacher is, if the pupil is hungry there’s no way they can learn. We know the benefits that a guaranteed hot, nutritious meal gives to children. For many of them, it means improved diets, better attendance, higher grades, better health, and a chance to break the vicious cycle of generational poverty.

“The evidence is undeniable. Introducing free school meals for all will help to reverse the long-standing and ever-deepening inequalities in health and educational attainment between poorer and more affluent peers.”

5. UK Power Networks raking in ‘eye-watering profits’ as its workers and bill-payers are forced into poverty, activists warn

Profiteering energy distributors are enjoying “eye-watering profits” as their own workers and bill-payers are forced into food poverty.

The Morning Star reports: “Campaigners protested outside the Crawley offices of mega-rich UK Power Networks after Unite the union warned that its members at the biggest electricity distributor in south-east England are struggling to make ends meet.

Staff are being denied a “cost-of-living” wage boost and more than 15,000 residents in the West Sussex town are unable to pay record-high energy bills as the firm’s profits top £2.4 billion, the union charged.

General secretary Sharon Graham said: “Workers and communities are being hit hard by excessive profiteering,” saying: “The British economy is broken.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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