Sunak heading to PMQs (Picture: Number 10 on Flickr)

We expect immature jibes and spinelessness in parliament, but Rishi Sunak last week reached a new low. With murdered teenager Brianna Ghey’s mother present, Sunak made an insensitive jibe at Starmer for his U-turn on trans rights. There is no surprise that Sunak is refusing to apologise. Brianna’s father described Sunak’s remark as “degrading” and “dehumanising”.

Sunak claims to be “completely shocked” by Brianna’s case. However Brianna’s murder took place in the context of the Tories’ “war on woke” and repeated attacks on trans rights, especially against transgender young people. Keir Starmer was right to respond by criticising Sunak for his transphobia.

But Starmer offers very little hope for LGBT+ people, especially transgender people. He is currently putting on a sympathetic face after the murder of a trans child. Yet Starmer continues to play into the transphobic argument that trans rights and women’s rights are incompatible.

In an interview for The Times newspaper, Starmer said that there would be no “rolling back of women’s rights” under Labour and that parents “want to know” if their child is trans, even without the child’s permission. LGBT+ campaigners argue this is dangerous and equivalent to “outing”.

Sunak is guilty of building the conditions for the murder of Brianna and every trans person who has killed themselves this year. However Starmer is looking to take Sunak’s title of the head of the Ministry for Social Murder.

Sky Harrison, Manchester

Bosses pinch women’s pensions

British women have to work an extra 19 years to retire with the same pension pot as men. This is the disgusting conclusion of a report from the Pensions Policy Institute. When women retire, they will have saved an average of £69,000 compared to £205,000 for men.

Lower earnings, childcare costs, caring responsibilities and career gaps all contribute to the inequality. Regarding lower pay, women are overrepresented in poorly paid sectors, such as health and social care. Years of austerity and Tory attacks on the welfare state mean that jobs women typically go into have been systematically deprived of fair pay.

But this isn’t a case of women choosing the wrong sectors but of capitalism undervaluing these sectors. It’s an attack on the working class as much as it’s an attack on women. And there is an issue of institutional sexism with many well-paid jobs being dominated by men.

It’s well known there are deep problems of sexism within tech, finance, and business. But women don’t need to “break the glass ceiling” and be promoted to top jobs in management. Instead, the work they currently do needs to be valued more highly. We need to value work on what it contributes to society—not what is profitable.

Katie, East London

Gaza is ‘the wrong kind of humanitarian crisis’

We were planning on fundraising in our PCS union branch for Medical Aid for Palestinians. But HMRC management has stepped in and prevented us. PCS reps were told that what’s happening in Gaza is “the wrong type of humanitarian crisis” to fundraise for.

We are going to go ahead and ask for funds anyway. We followed all of the required regulations for fundraising for a charity as a civil servant. But HMRC received one—and only one—complaint and that was enough for management to come in and block us.

The act sets a dangerous precedent that we are going to challenge as all we are hearing from HMRC is excuses. No other government department has taken this stance. It’s complete hypocrisy—there were never any issues fundraising for Ukraine. In fact HMRC was quick to offer its support. We wanted to fundraise as a workplace action.

Simon (personal capacity), Leeds

Boycotts bite at McDonald’s sales

Boycotts of McDonald’s—due to the brand’s ties with Israel—have meaningfully impacted global sales. The boycott started after McDonald’s donated thousands of free meals to the Israeli military. The boycott has been especially significant in Middle Eastern countries and other Muslim-majority countries.

Global sales have slowed to 4 percent rather than the projected 8.8 percent and the share price was down by 4 percent as Socialist Worker went to print. Starbucks last week also cut its annual sales forecast due to a hit in sales at stores in the Middle East. Astoundingly, chief executive of McDonald’s Chris Kempczinski has blamed the boycotts on “misinformation”.

But the only misinformation is Kempczinski’s failure to see his ideological ties to capitalism’s imperialist machine. Kempczinski also said that McDonald’s will continue to support “the communities in which we operate”. McDonald’s business strategy is clear—endorse the genocide of Palestinians in the name of profit.

It looks like business as usual, with bosses remaining complicit with imperialist terror. It’s a sign of the strength of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. We need to use this movement to draw as many people as possible into action for Palestine.

Arthur Townend, North London

Kick cops out of schools

It’s good to see the Welsh government axe police visits to schools. The cops are up in arms about the move. The police is a deeply harmful institution within our society—think of the Child Q scandal at a school in Hackney, east London.

The programme was also linked to “counter extremism” in schools, which is part of the state’s Islamophobia. But let’s not get carried away about the move. Labour is doing it to save £2 million and wants to beef up “front line policing”.

Julia Ryder, Malvern, Worcestershire

United Ireland does matter

Rishi Sunak recently warned the first minister of Northern Ireland—Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neil—to focus on “things that matter” rather than on a united Ireland. It’s 102 years since the British divided Ireland. Given the violence it has caused, Sunak telling O’Neill it doesn’t “matter” if Ireland is united or not is an odd thing for the leader of “The Conservative and Unionist Party” to say.

Sasha Simic, Hackney

Amazon is unfulfilling

Amazon has resorted to union-busting tactics in its Midlands so-called fulfilment centres. It has set up workplace message boards with anti-union statements. Bosses will use every dirty trick to disrupt and isolate workers who are organising to win higher pay.

Maggie Edwards, Coventry

Burning up our planet

For the first time last week, global warming has exceeded 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels across an entire year. This climate warning comes amid Labour backtracking on its commitment to £28 billion of green investments a year.

John Stride, by email

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