I have just received an election leaflet from my local Conservative constituency headed in bold letters “Rt Hon Theresa May” below which is a photograph of May and text requesting that I vote for the incumbent MP, who is mentioned twice, in standard-size fonts, towards the end of the leaflet.
Most of the text refers to Brexit and there are nine references to Jeremy Corbyn, in less than complimentary terms. Nowhere in the leaflet is there a mention of the Conservative Party. I checked and double checked. It seems that Theresa May realises that the Tory Party is still, to use her own words, “the nasty party” and the leaflet is designed to deflect voters’ attention away from the party she leads and towards herself who, to quote from the leaflet, will provide “strong and stable leadership”.
It is a sad reflection on the Tories that they seem to be ashamed to draw attention to themselves as a political party and are just churning out sound bites like the aforementioned “strong and stable”, combined with rubbishing the Opposition, in place of reasoned argument.
The Tories’ approach to taxation is unsustainable
A first world country, like the UK, is terrifyingly expensive to run properly – run in the way that most people would prefer and expect. The money has to come from somewhere and it has to be a steady income stream, not bursts of capital from asset selling.
Tax is the only option but there is a great variety of taxes to choose from and vast scope for reform.
The Tory approach is to defy the people’s reasonable expectations of the public realm and dramatically under spend and under tax, leaving a massive deficit for subsequent administrations to wrestle with. Inevitably the recovery programme is reviled as “tax‘n’spend” which wholly misrepresents the situation.
The non-Tory parties would do well to make this point, rather than agonising over how to present their own revenue raising ideas.
The death of Ian Brady
So Ian Brady is finally dead.
This man tortured cats before going on to torture and kill human beings. Countless other murderers tortured animals before going on to harm human beings.
This is a clear indication that animal abuse is a short step to the abuse of human beings. The maximum sentence for animal cruelty in this country is six months. This should be increased. Imagine if these murderers had been stopped at the point where they tortured animals and dealt with severely. This could well have prevented them from harming human beings.
I shed no tears for this man.
Is Trident worth it?
I applaud your Editorial questioning whether the Government is stuck in a Cold War time-warp mentality. It is obsessed with nuclear deterrence against the unlikely possibility that we will one day come under nuclear attack: an obsession which costs the nation billions of pounds at the expense of adequate armed forces and the need to raise our game on countering the cyber and extremist threats we face today.
Is it too much to hope that the media may at last question whether the cost of maintaining Trident is the correct use of our taxes to keep us safe?
Erasing social media history is very convenient
I’d hate to come across as being cynical but when I first heard the Conservative pledge to give people the power to demand that social media companies delete any “embarrassing” content they might have posted as minors, my first thought was that this historical editing would be especially valuable to anyone pursuing a political career who might in the past have expressed unpalatable opinions regarding – to pluck some examples entirely at random – the poor, the unemployed, the disabled or ethnic minorities.
Not that I would for one moment suggest that any one political party might find the ability to censor their members’ history to be particularly beneficial or desirable...
The threat of Iran is understated
In his recent article (“Trump and Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman are the most dangerous men in the world – and they’re meeting next week”) Patrick Cockburn accuses the Saudi leader Prince Mohammed bin Salman of being reckless in his approach toward Iran and Yemen. But this ignores nearly 40 years of hostility against the Saudi kingdom by an Iranian revolutionary regime. Iran not only has the export of revolution embedded in its constitution but also has a track record of engaging in hostile action across the Arab world, not least in Syria.
The Iranian theocracy and its surrogates across the region have on numerous occasions called for the overthrow of the Saudi monarchy and for the “liberation” of Islam’s holy places. Such talk takes place in Arabic and Persian in local media but when addressing Westerners, Iranian officials strive to project an image of being reasonable and accommodating.
Ayatollah Khomeini, from his first ever public statement in the 1940s to his last will and testament, attacked the Saudi state. Iran’s current supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has followed faithfully in this tradition of hostility.
In Yemen, just as it has done in Lebanon and Iraq, Iran has taken advantage of a vulnerable country by playing on sectarian fault lines. The Saudi government’s decision to go to war with the Houthi rebels, reluctantly made, was a defensive one to prevent Iran from turning the Houthis into another non-state actor, like Hezbollah, on the kingdom’s southern border.
Mr Cockburn belittles the Iranian threat to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia from afar but Saudi leaders are tasked with protecting their people. As such, they must take very seriously Iranian rhetoric, Iran’s constitution, the convictions of Iran’s theocratic leaders, and most importantly Iranian actions on the ground across the region. Anything less would be a dereliction of their duty to ensure the security of their country.
Ali Shihabi, Executive Director, Arabia FoundationReuse content