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.How the government went to war on refugee charities-openDemocracy

Charities working with refugees fear that the government’s growing use of inflammatory and divisive language aimed at asylum seekers will lead to yet further abuse and hate aimed at them.

The piece explores how the government went to war on refugees charities, with the newly appointed deputy Conservative Party chair Lee Anderson last month accusing British charities providing aid to migrants on the French coast of being “just as bad as people smugglers”.

Tracing the backlash against refugee charities from when Priti Patel was Home Secretary, openDemocracy reports that many charities fear the backlash against them will intensify as the government presses on with its widely condemned Illegal Migration Bill.

2. Fossil Fuel Linked Donors Gift Half a Million to Conservative Party-DeSmog

The Conservative Party has received more than £632,000 in new donations from individuals and firms tied to polluting industries, DeSmog reports.

The bulk of the fossil-fuel linked funds donated to the Tory party came from Christopher Harborne, who donated £500,000 in the final quarter of 2022 – the joint-largest donation registered by the party during this period.

DeSmog reports: “Further donations were made by a gas turbine manufacturer, a North Sea oil investor, a petrochemical engineering firm, and a peer with shares in major oil and gas companies.

“The revelation comes at an important moment for UK climate policy. Sunak’s government is due to release an update to its net zero strategy next month after a High Court judge ruled it lacked sufficient detail.”

3. MPs links to Christian Nationalism Revealed-Byline Times

Byline Times reports on the growing influence of US Christian Nationalism in the UK. 

The paper writes about how the National Conservatism Conference (NCC), due to be held in May at the Emmanuel Centre in London, is evidence of how tech billionaires like Peter Thiel, who is behind the data and surveillance company Palantir and who is aligned with the NCC are spreading their influence in the UK.

Thiel ‘is one of the main financial backers of Republican politics over the past decade and last year funded campaigns to replace Republican candidates who didn’t support accusations questioning the validity of the 2020 presidential election’.

Three sitting MPs are also among the speakers, Michael Gove, Miriam Cates and Danny Kruger. Conservative peer and former Brexit Secretary David Frost is also speaking.

Karam Bales writes: “The NCC is a project of the Edmund Burke Foundation which describes itself as “a public affairs institute founded in January 2019 with the aim of strengthening the principles of national conservatism in Western and other democratic countries.” The website has a Statement of Principles for National Conservatism.

On God and Religion “The Bible should be read as the first among the sources of a shared Western civilization in schools and universities”, continuing to say “public life should be rooted in Christianity and its moral vision, which should be honored by the state and other institutions both public and private.”

4. Privatisation is Killing the NHS-Tribune

Tony O’Sullivan, a retired paediatrician and co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public, has written a brilliant piece for Tribune on how privatisation is killing the NHS.

Highlighting how the ‘UK now spends about a fifth less on healthcare than our European neighbours—a gap of over £40 billion each year’, Tony writes that the Government is ‘pouring money into private contractors to cherry-pick NHS patients from waiting lists. As a result, private companies are now performing more hip replacements for the NHS than the NHS. The funding for these operations comes from the NHS, but privateers take a slice’.

He adds: “Year on year, more and more services are handed over to private companies to deliver, including imaging, pharmacy, data collection and IT services. Some of these contracts are for eye-watering amounts, such as the £2.25 billion contract to provide pathology services in South East London billion, awarded with no public consultation. The ‘public’ element of our public services is being eroded.”

5. Nearly a third of shopworkers think of quitting because of violence, threats and abuse, union survey finds-Morning Star

The Morning Star reports on a Usdaw survey which shows that nearly a third of shopworkers are on the verge of quitting due to spiralling levels of in-store violence, threats and abuse.

The paper reports: “Around 30 per cent are considering a change of job and four in 10 feel anxious at work because of abusive customers, according to Usdaw’s latest annual survey.

The poll of more than 7,700 staff found that about three-quarters have suffered verbal abuse, up from 68 per cent in 2019 – and 49 per cent have been directly threatened, a 6 per cent increase on four years ago.

“Eight per cent have been outright assaulted, up on 2019’s 5 per cent.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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