So, please help me get this straight. Most of the 232 extremely privileged, well-paid, Labour Party MPs (one of whom I helped to elect with my vote) all appear to intensely dislike Jeremy Corbyn’s left-wing politics. But, if the opinion polls are correct, “ordinary” Labour Party members seem to disagree, in astonishingly large numbers!
And over the past 48 hours I have listened to Tony Blair, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall, Mary Creagh, Tristram Hunt (son of Baron Hunt of Chesterton) and Andy Burnham (all Oxbridge educated) warning me of the dire consequences if Jeremy (North London Polytechnic) is elected Labour leader.
So Corbyn wants to get rid of Trident, wants to stop invading other countries and, like Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, seeks an alternative to austerity politics. Maybe it’s true that the media, big business and other dark forces would never let him become Prime Minister.
But is it too late for a former Labour Party member (who left after the invasion of Iraq) to rejoin and cast his vote for someone who is not “on message” and actually “talks human”?
I am appalled, and disappointed, that your otherwise excellent newspaper, in its editorial of 23 July, appears to have joined the popular belief that, for the Labour Party to gain support, it must move into the “middle ground”: in other words become more like the Tories!
The reason Jeremy Corbyn has gained popularity is because he has had the courage to voice policies different from the Tories, and more akin to those of Attlee, Bevin, Bevan and Cripps, which gave us a fairer society and the National Health Service.
Such people were not professional politicians, but came from different walks of life with convictions, and burning desires to improve society, and the lives of ordinary people, not just the top 1 per cent!
You’ve missed two powerful things: Jeremy Corbyn is honest; and he’s also a conviction politician. We haven’t had one of those for quite a while. So don’t sneer yet.
As a Liberal Democrat currently experiencing a certain amount of Schadenfreude watching the Labour Party’s leadership convolutions, one question intrigues me.
When Tony Blair stated that he would rather lose an election than win it on a left-wing platform, why is it not equally legitimate to prefer to lose an election rather than win on a Blairite platform?
If anybody needs a brain transplant it is surely Tony Blair. If he really wanted to harm Jeremy Corbyn’s chances of becoming leader of the Labour Party he should have supported Corbyn, not opposed him.
Waiting for Lefty was a play about taxi drivers who went on strike. It was produced 80 years ago.
It has been a long wait, but it looks as if Lefty has finally turned up.
Bees endangered by free-market obsession
It seems that Liz Truss has decided in private, and in spite of all the advice to the contrary, half a million signatures on a petition and the continuing ban in Europe, that bee-killing pesticides should be approved for use on oilseed rape in the UK.
This shows just how much our government is in the hands of the agrichemical companies and industrial agriculture.
Our insect populations are tumbling to the point where levels are having a serious impact on creatures higher in the food chain and the lower levels of pollination of our food crops, yet the evidence is ignored by a party obsessed by the free market and in favour of huge reductions in regulation.
The only thing green about this government is their ignorance of the web of life.
Off to war in the Middle East again?
It looks like the British public are being softened up for yet another foreign war (“Hammond seeks to win support for widening air strikes against Isis in Syria”, 22 July). We had the political input on Monday from May and Cameron, and now the Foreign Secretary is making the military case for extending the bombing of Isis into Syria.
With “surveillance and reconnaissance” already taking place, Philip Hammond strangely thinks it is “militarily inefficient” because when information is gathered, it has to “task another asset belonging to another coalition partner”. Provided my understanding is not being muddled by the confusing language, handing over intelligence to another country to do the bombing sounds reasonably efficient to me.
Consultants needed at the weekend
This weekend far too many patients will be left stuck in hospital or will be rushed out of the door on Friday afternoon because the right consultant expertise is not available to assess whether it’s safe to send people home. So while there are many doctors working hard over the next two days to care for us and our loved ones, the question is: are they the right ones?
As the voice of patients, we are concerned that the debate online this week about “contract terms” has caused people to lose sight of this crucial point about seven-day services and access to consultants. Our Safely Home report published this week highlighted both the human and financial cost of getting discharge wrong. And the evidence around patient safety and outcomes over the weekend has been recognised by everyone for some time.
To put an end to the unnecessary suffering and the senseless costs incurred through emergency readmissions, we want to see those in charge sit down and have a grown-up conversation about what type of service would deliver the best results for all of us.
We want to see health and social care organisations and staff organising themselves around patients and not the other way around. We understand this will not be simple, but we think focusing on patients and what they need should help all parties to overcome their differences.
Chair, Healthwatch England
Pestered by charities
In the past few days I have received two phone calls from charities to whom I gave by monthly direct debit. Both calls featured people reading from a prepared script, thanking me fulsomely for my valued contribution and eventually asking me to increase my monthly donation.
The first was from Marie Curie Cancer Care, who had already called me once recently and managed to persuade me to increase my direct debit. I pointed this out and the caller apologised and ended the call.
The second was from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, who asked me to double the monthly donation and, on my refusal, requested smaller and smaller increases, like a reverse auction. I was the one to terminate the call, and I have cancelled both direct debits. I shall now be wary of setting up other regular donations to any charities.
Lib Dems are fighting back
Steve Richards’ article “Labour is misreading election results” (24 July) states: “If Labour stages a battle between centre-right Blairites and Jeremy Corbyn, Farron will revive his near-dead party”.
Near dead? Steve makes the mistake of equating the number of Lib Dem MPs with the state of the party. The Lib Dems have increased their membership since the general election by almost 20,000. Local party activists are still delivering leaflets, doing surveys and raising funds with social activities.
We are also holding and winning local elections and we are on the way up. The fightback started weeks ago.
Heritage of an accident victim
Am I missing something? A British woman was killed in Spain as the result of a tragic accident while bungee jumping on holiday and it was reported that she was “of South African and Portuguese heritage on her mother’s side” (report, 23 July) So what? Does this fact make the accident any more, or less, tragic? What useful purpose did this information serve?
You can’t taste the beans
Some time ago I bought a tin of baked beans with “reduced sugar and salt”. They tasted of nothing, so in order to make them edible I literally had to add sugar and salt.