Aerial view of the Olympic Park Village, London 2012 (Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

We were optimistic about the Olympics in 2012. Residents were told hosting the event in east London would create jobs and prosperity. It was sold to residents as trickling down to us, and that it would lead to a regeneration that would benefit everyone. 

Now, ten years on, it is obvious this was a lie. In the decade since, house prices have gone through the roof and social housing stocks are dwindling. Across east London long-standing communities and low income working class communities are being replaced by more affluent people. Those who own capital are the beneficiaries while local communities are destroyed. 

At the Olympic site in Stratford, there are thousands of new luxury flats while the nearby Carpenter’s Estate is being “regenerated” at the cost of social housing. 

Every Olympic Games operates as a large-scale corporate opportunity, to the detriment of the communities where they are hosted.  And in the case of all of the Olympic Games, mass displacement and gentrification is led by the government.

In east London today residents are still suffering through the process of so-called regeneration. Regeneration, and demolition of existing communities, is used to contain parts of the population that the state considers undesirable. 

The city depends on migrant workers and the children of migrant workers. These are the people who are low paid and can afford only social housing. And they’re the first people to be affected by capitalist development and demolition of their neighbourhood. 

How could we prevent the legacy of the 2012 Olympics being repeated? The answer would be setting up active grassroots fights against demolition and gentrification as a whole. 

Boglarka Filler

East London

Blunkett bigotry

It makes me really angry to see the recently ­published letters showing that then education secretary David Blunkett argued in 1999 against the repeal of the anti-LGBT+ Section 28. It helps explain why the Labour government took six years to abolish it. If it was serious about equality, it would have done it in the first term. 

Section 28 meant a whole generation of young people got no LGBT+ education—and it allowed homophobic bullying. 

Blunkett’s letters show the government wasn’t keen on fighting oppression because it had really backward ideas about what working class people think. He describes the legislation as a “sideshow”—but this plays down the importance of Section 28.

There was a lot of self censorship in schools because teachers were scared of getting criticised by the head, or the governing body. It was real oppression—state controlled censorship about what children could learn about in school. 

Blunkett’s comments are rooted in the idea you’ve got to run with public opinion, and that opinion is always reactionary and can’t be challenged.  Around the time of the introduction of Section 28 the unions started to take a stand on LGBT+ oppression and the labour movement in general started to change.

Today, it is supposedly in favour of trans rights. But what is it really doing to fight back on the negativity and attacks on trans people? 

Mike Dance 

North London

Put revolution at heart of Sri Lanka coverage

I’ve been reading your coverage of the situation in Sri Lanka. Something is missing, both in the revolution and your coverage of it.

I think you could do more to promote active, working class involvement. You say “the people” of Sri Lanka must stay on the streets protesting. You say protesters “must prepare” for a number of scenarios.

Why so vague? A situation akin to dual power exists. The state will wait for weakness and then try to move in. Only organised workers, together with a strategy to win over ordinary soldiers, can meet this threat.

You also fail to mention that only a socialist transformation can work. Perhaps read up on the period between February and October 1917 in Russia. There are a lot of lessons there about how workers can organise a better society.

Andrew Burnyeat

By email

Don’t give up on NHS outsourcing fight

When campaigning to become Labour leader Keir Starmer said that public services should be in public hands, and he would “end outsourcing in our NHS”. In a recent radio interview, he said, “there is some privatisation in the NHS and we’re likely to continue with that”.

The NHS in England is being fragmented, divided into 42 “Health Care Systems”. With no real accountability to local communities or health workers, and under pressure to reduce waiting lists, they will continue to be dependent on private providers.  

Health Care Systems are allocated fixed budgets that take no account of the increasing rate of inflation. NHS providers have already warned that this could force NHS Trusts to cut services in some areas and increase the thresholds for treatment—effectively rationing care.

Outsourcing is not the solution to the crisis in the NHS but part of the problem. 

Against this background, the growing calls by health workers for action to fight for a real pay increase is central to defending the NHS.

Jim Fagan

East London

Is a Tory ever correct?

During his last Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson described Labour leader Keir Starmer as a “pointless human bollard”. 

I’m hugely glad to see odious Etonite Johnson out of Number 10.But it proves that like stopped clocks, even Johnson is right some of the time. 

Janet Dyer

East London

The gender health gap

I’m glad to see that hormone replacement therapy is going to be offered over the counter for the first time. 

But why has it taken so long? Women’s health issues—from the menopause, to abortion rights and to conditions such as endometriosis—are not taken seriously by those in power.

Laura Leyton

Surrey

Protests, not court cases

I notice that the Supreme Court has announced it’s going to hear a case from the Scottish government arguing it should be able to hold another independence referendum.

It’s so frustrating watching the Scottish National Party go through this rigmarole. Obviously the London elite will stop them in any way they can, whatever the Supreme Court says. 

We need to protest and strike for independence—and this time we have to make sure we win. 

Lisa Johnson

Perthshire

Every little doesn’t help

It’s right Socialist Worker keeps carrying stories about the cost of living emergency. I’m really feeling the food price rises. It feels like every single week I have to put one or two less items in my trolley. 

It’s July and I’m getting adverts from Tesco about spreading the cost of Christmas shopping. If prices keep going up there won’t be much of a Christmas at my house anyway.  

Debbie Morton

West Yorkshire

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