I don’t think for one minute that Theresa May and Boris Johnson believe their own smears when it comes to Jeremy Corbyn and his thoughtful examination of post-9/11 foreign policy – but doesn’t that make it worse? To wilfully misinterpret your opponent is always a contemptible tactic; to do so on matters of national security at such a grave time is really beneath contempt.
Corbyn is asking important questions – Johnson, in his lucid moments, has been known to ask them himself, as everyone (and Michael Fallon) now knows. May’s approach is to shut him down by impugning his patriotism. This sort of thing poisons the well of democratic politics. It should be called out.
Piers Morgan’s nonsense about Muslims having to do more to fight terrorism is really indicative of the damage Tony Blair’s “war against radical Islam” global conspiracy theory has done to public debate.
The truth is there isn’t some monolith of Muslims – conspiratorial or otherwise – for Morgan to hold responsible. Does he mean Sunni, Shia, Alawite Ahmadiyya groups? Does he mean Arabic, Pashto or Urdu speakers? Currently the main thing these groups have in common is the brutalities practised in their homelands by opportunist empire-building westerners.
If we really want to do something about the inevitable retaliations, we should, as Jeremy Corbyn has implied, curb the imperialisms that provoke them.
Dr Gavin Lewis
When I read that Jeremy Corbyn put the blame for all the terror and its grief-creating events, including the massacre of last Monday in Manchester, on the doorstep of the policies of interventionism and "regime change" that our politicians have far too long favoured – mainly on the insistence of the US – I was glad that someone finally dared put the truth on the table.
He is right, of course: all the immense death and misery such misguided policies have brought to so many countries and people has also created immense anger and wishes of revenge. We must now tackle that reality.
Dr J Boost
So we are to have a Commission for Countering Extremism, led by Theresa May. What a comfort it is to know that our values and safety are in the capable hands of such a strong and stable person, whose Christian and British values are showcased by targeting children, the sick, the elderly and the “just about managing”, by the planned reintroduction of blood “sports”, by the sale of arms to despotic regimes in the Middle East and by the callous disregard for the child refugees fleeing from the consequent conflicts.
We are constantly told how intelligent Boris Johnson is, but there is very little evidence of this. He railed against Jeremy Corbyn for what he considered to be “crass comments” regarding the need to understand the reasons behind Muslim extremism. Clearly his Eton education and May’s grammar school education did not include much history, apart from the dubious glories of our empire. Nor do they appear to have heeded the advice in the Joint Intelligence Committee document of 2002, warning about the terrorist consequences of military action in the Middle East.
Robert Fisk and Patrick Cockburn in their articles last week and Jeremy Corbyn in his thoughtful words on the need to understand extremist violence are the voices of reason to which Theresa May and her team would do well to listen. As long as dispossessed and angry people are lied to and exploited, as long as we interfere in cultures we have no intention of understanding and use military force to solve problems, organisations like Isis will have fertile ground for their murderous ideologies.
Douglas, Isle of Man
Theresa May is being completely unrealistic about our public services
In 1979 when Margaret Thatcher came to power the standard income tax rate was 33 per cent. Favouring indirect taxation this has been reduced continuously until today it is 20 per cent.
At the same time, the baby-boomer generation are reaching older age, costing more in pensions and leading to far greater demands on health and end of life services. Thus our costs for this, education and many other services have greatly increased (as has our population and immigration) while direct taxation has continuously fallen.
If we take Britain as a business, it has grown but its income has not kept pace with its outgoings and we are remain heavily in debt. The populace expect high-level services but are not paying sufficient in taxation to cover the required costs.
The obvious, if unpopular, solution is a sizeable increase in direct taxation, to enable the country to afford the services it needs and the population clearly wants.
I was astounded when Theresa May came up with her so called “fair” solution to the social care problem out of the blue. I cannot see anything fair about crucifying her core supporters.
It is quite clear to me that she has no real understanding of the implications for families of long-term care costs. The main issues are being well aired at present but I would like to highlight a point which does not appear to be receiving much air time. One could argue with some justification that paying one’s own care bills is actually fair. However, what many people do not realise is that they will also be paying the care bills of those who cannot pay.
Let me explain. If you require care in your own home you currently have two choices: either source home help from a private supplier or from your local authority. If you source from a private supplier, you will be paying for the service you receive, namely the cost of the carer’s wages plus the administration costs of the supplier and whatever profit margin the supplier chooses to levy. If, however, you source your care from a local authority, it is very different. You pay the council's rate for care. This will include the cost of your care, an allowance for all the council’s administration costs, and an additional charge which covers the council's outlay for the care costs of those who cannot pay.
To put this clearly into context, when some years ago my family and I had to arrange care for an elderly relative, a county council quoted a care cost of £30 per hour. The cost of the same care from a private supplier was £15. The council costs, which were means-tested, were in fact twice what we actually paid in the private sector. The additional £15 per hour was in effect a stealth tax which was used to fund those who could not pay. At this point, however, we had some control and were able to choose the best option. Elderly people are therefore being compelled to pay not only for their own care, but also for that of others.
There came a point in our case where care in the home was no longer an option because specialist “round the clock” care facilities were required. At this point, arrangements had to be made to find a nursing home. The home we selected, in the south east of England, cost more than £1,000 per week.
Subsequently I learned that the same home, providing exactly the same care, was being paid £300 per week less for residents funded by the local authority. This difference had arisen because councils over the years have refused to pay the real cost increases of the care for the residents whom they fund. However, the costs still have to be met by the home if it is to remain in business, so in order to make ends meet the home has to pass these costs on to the privately funded residents. Once again this is effectively a stealth tax, in our case, of £1,200 per month.
As I said earlier, it could be argued that funding one’s own costs is fair. However, being compelled to fund the care of others is most definitely not fair and at the point that full residential care is required the elderly have no choice whatsoever. They require help and it has to be provided and the care home fees must therefore be paid.
Another point for consideration is that under Theresa May’s proposals, while an elderly person may not be forced to sell their home in their lifetime, the care debt which accumulates over their final years will carry an interest charge of 5 per cent at a time when interest rates in the economy are below 3 per cent, which means that local authorities are looking to make a profit on the care charges.
I completely fail to see how any reasonable person could possibly describe this as fair.
Name and address supplied
After the initial shock following the Manchester bombing, it occurred to me that if that had taken place in America, the relatives of the victims would have had the added anxiety of receiving hefty bills for their care and protection. Thank goodness for a system that doesn’t rely on making a profit. Let’s make sure we keep it that way.
Perhaps Trump should consider his own responsibilities
Once again we have an arrogant President Trump demanding Nato members pay their contributions. How about making the US pay contributions to those European countries who are footing the bill for a refugee crisis caused by US intervention in the Middle East?
Why not allow Australia to join the G7?
The old G8 expelled Russia and, of course, the current G7 now comprises the four biggest European powers alongside the US, Canada and Japan.
Some argue that this is not as important an organisation as in past decades, but it still represents a forum for profoundly like-minded countries (Donald Trump is just a discordant blip). To that end, why not invite Australia to join and bolster the club, creating a new G8?
Australia's economy is not much smaller than Canada's and they would bring a rich new geopolitical perspective. They are also natural friends of ours, always a plus in turbulent times.
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