Letters: Why older voters won't back Corbyn

The following letters appear in the 31 August edition of The Independent

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Of all the groups who are the least likely to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, I would put the grey vote at the very top of the list (Andrew Grice, 29 August). We baby boomers are the group who lived through the Cold War and saw first-hand what hard-left policies were like in the Communist bloc.

We remember the inflation generated by Labour in the 1970s that destroyed savings; we saw the raid on pensions by a left-leaning Brown which decimated the best company pension provisions in Europe; we watched the same Chancellor overspend when times were good and leave the Tories to pick up the mess. We remember the shoddy trains and frequent strikes of a nationalised British Rail.

In a lightweight group of potential leaders, it is clear why Corbyn might be seen as the best. He has worked the stump hard and has the gift of the gab, and the young have no experience of hard-left policies. It does not make him electable, and he has little appeal to the grey vote. Only those whose memories are fading or who always were on the hard left are likely to vote for him.

Lesley Ellis
Tarland, Aberdeenshire

 

I’m afraid that the Rev Andrew McLuskey is wrong about Labour making a left turn in his otherwise excellent letter (“A Tsunami of discontent”, 28 August).

The Labour Party has always been a party of the left. Its members have always stood on the left. I think he is confusing the Labour Party with a bunch of Tory entryists, calling themselves New Labour, who did their best to destroy the Labour Party and the country.

Hopefully those dark days are now behind us and we can look forward to intelligent, well-argued socialist policies to counter the present extreme right- wing government.

Rod Auton
Middle Handley, Derbyshire

 

At last Tony Blair has said something I agree with. In the Wonderland of politics Jeremy Corbyn is Alice. Perhaps a little naive but at least he knows there is a real, and rational, world outside of the political Wonderland.

Would you trust any other character?

Jon Hawksley
London EC1

 

If you needed advice on any subject, would you seek it from someone you could not trust? Tony Blair seems to agree that his advice about Jeremy Corbyn has had the opposite effect to what he intended. There must be a reason for this. I wonder what it is?

Bill Fletcher
Cirencester, Gloucestershire

 

I wonder if Alice in Wonderland politics will be more bizarre than the politics we have now.

Jennifer Bell
Cadeleigh, Devon

 

Alice in Wonderland politics? The Mad Hatter has spoken.

Richard Laver
London W8

 

Chilcot: don’t hold your breath

When I was a project manager, working for an American boss, I had to give a firm completion date, and I had to meet that date. Otherwise I would have been out on my neck.

What on earth do we need the Chilcot inquiry for? It was blatantly obvious at the time that Blair, seeking self-glorification, had committed himself  and this country to supporting Bush.

That must have been obvious too to those politicians who supported him in Parliament. Apart from those with integrity, like Jeremy Corbyn, they supported Blair because it was politically expedient so to do. The Independent gave an excellent summary of the true story years ago.

Chilcot is needing to take his time, because, as a good Establishment man, he needs to water down their crimes as much as possible, and he is finding it difficult. In the end, those who have suffered because of the  war will be disappointed at the outcome.

Alan Peacegood
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

 

Mary Dejevsky (“Most independent inquiries fail. Give Parliament the job”, 28 August) would trust politicians to conduct effective and fair inquiries. But the lesson from history is that they don’t.

Ever since Samuel Pepys was sent to the Tower of London for party political reasons by a committee of Parliament happy to rely on the word of a paid informer, their habit of dividing on party lines is an addiction they can’t escape.

The big problem for public inquiries is not that they can be manipulated, or that they are slow, but that once they have reported, they cease to exist and have no power to enforce their recommendations.

Hugh Pennington
Aberdeen

 

The need for new nuclear power

In response to Tom Bawden’s article on Hinkley Point (28 August) I would like to clarify a few points.

There is an urgent need to build new energy infrastructure in the UK. Around half of existing capacity will close by 2030, and this needs to be replaced by low-carbon generation if we are to meet our carbon reduction targets.

Our energy system needs new nuclear power to help manage a system with an increasing amount of intermittent renewable generation. By matching output to demand, it will save money by providing power when we need it. It is the only large-scale low-carbon option able to do this. There is a role for gas in this system, providing flexible generation at peak times. But it is not low-carbon and too much will leave UK consumers exposed to volatile gas prices and a reliance on foreign imports.

The agreed price of £92.50/MWh for Hinkley Point C provides the certainty needed for EDF and its partners to make the largest inward investment in the UK’s history. It will be built without taxpayer funding, with the investors bearing all the construction risk. Consumers will pay nothing until it starts generating in the mid-2020s.

The HSBC report is right that demand for power in the UK has declined slightly in recent years. What it fails to take into account is the likelihood of increased demand from economic growth and increased electrification of transport and heating infrastructure. Even with flat or declining demand, we still need to replace infrastructure, or else we will become dependent on importing energy from sources, and at a cost, which are out of our control. The Government has been clear that new generating capacity and energy security are vital for UK prosperity.

The EPR reactor which is to be used is the only reactor to pass through the UK’s rigorous Generic Design Assessment process. The construction team for the Hinkley Project have considerable experience in delivering large-scale national infrastructure projects, such as the Olympics, and have learned from other EPR projects around the world.

The UK needs to invest in its energy infrastructure – not only to keep the lights on, but to ensure it can meet any climate change targets. Nuclear has a vital part to play in that.

Keith Parker
Chief Executive, Nuclear Industry Association
London WC2

 

No pact with one-seat Greens

While I’m not exactly impressed with Labour’s leadership campaign  (I am a party member), Caroline Lucas’s proposal (25 August) to form a pact where one party will not compete against the other in seats is ludicrous.

The Green Party has how many seats? One. Let me count again. Yes, that is ... several less than they “hoped” for in May. Why would the Labour Party even in its reduced form with 232 seats want to firm a pact that would see them “not contest seats”.

I could see Labour forming an alliance with the SNP, after all they are in a far better position to influence events; but with the Greens? No.

Mike Sands
Norwich

 

DWP’s incomplete death figures

Department of Work and Pensions statistics reveal that 2,380 disabled people died shortly after being deemed “fit for work” and having their benefits stopped. The DWP claims that no “causal link” should be assumed.

However, it seems remarkably odd that they have data on numbers of deaths but not cause. In the absence, it is reasonable to speculate that many of these deaths could be suicides. Rather than issue evasive statements, the DWP should establish the cause-of-death figures as a matter of urgency, so that the truth can be established.

Keith O’Neill
Shrewsbury

 

Guilt over all-white Shakespeare

David Lister criticises Sir Trevor Nunn over an all-white production of Shakespeare’s history plays (29 August).

Since living with a Nigerian partner I have become a part-time aficionado of Nollywood movies. There is a considerable white population in Nigeria, but to date I have never seen a white person in a Nigerian film. And this does not bother me in the least.

It is perfectly reasonable for some cultural events to reflect the core ethnic group of that culture. Diversity and inclusivity are fine; white middle-class guilt is something else.

John Davison
London SW16

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