I read the article “David Miliband ‘may return as MP in 2020 poll’” (11 June) in which he is quoted as saying that Labour needed “to find again that combination of economic dynamism and social justice that defined the success of Mr Blair”. I read it and gave up hope that we will ever again see a Labour government
Maybe those aspiring to lead the party should speak to the many thousands of us who stopped supporting the party following Mr Blair’s part in declaring war on Iraq, backed by lies, and thus being responsible for the deaths of 179 British service personnel.
The fact that he is openly admired by Conservative MPs says it all. He behaved as someone who was on the left of the Tories, and justified this by boasting that this was the only way to win power, turning his back on the beliefs of those who supported the party and had been doing so before he was born, many of whom had struggled hard and suffered to follow these beliefs.
Now the Labour Party is left with those who are proud to call themselves Blairites and follow his path. Well, that is their choice and if they prevail, I believe that many more Labour supporters will follow me and the thousands of others who have taken their votes elsewhere – and it will be many, many years before Labour is in power again.
The current Labour Party leadership is uninspiring for me, a long-standing Labour Party member, the choice of candidates predictable, timid and largely unauthentic. Perhaps there should be a box on the voting paper for “None of the above, with regret”. Then Harriet Harman can continue as interim leader for another year, and perhaps Labour Party policies, instead of emanating directly from the leader’s office, can come more from an array of people both inside and outside the Westminster bubble.
And then perhaps the Labour Party leader can be chosen according to how much they believe, and can communicate, those policies.
It is a waste of time for Labour party leaders to speculate as to why they did not win the general election. For oppositions do not win elections – governments lose them. They would be better occupied trying to work out why the Conservatives won, and perhaps learning some lessons.
I agree with Stewart Perkins (letter, 12 June) that “the return to Blairism will be a disaster”. Apart from Jeremy Corbyn, the candidates do not give hope to those who yearn for a leader of the Labour Party prepared to fight Tory policies with non-Tory ones, and oppose on principle, not simply because Labour is in opposition.
Corbyn has not been given anything like his fair share of media attention, in the main due to the nature of the media; and given the timidity of the PLP, he may not get enough MPs to be on the ballot paper, leaving a number of peas as good as from the same pod to choose from. The resurrection of Miliband D plus Blair and his old cronies, with acres of coverage in the press, and the promotion of Liz Kendall by all and sundry are deeply depressing.
Tony Blair wants Labour not to look backwards but forwards... to 1997. Could this be a leadership bid looming?
You have to feel sorry for Nick Clegg. Having led his party to near annihilation, he now finds himself praised by Tony Blair. How much worse can things get for the poor chap?
Fast-track fracking is no surprise
Your story “Fast-track fracking without public consent” (12 June) is hardly surprising news, given the massive amount of money donated to the Tories by the fracking industry.
Most recently, Shore Capital, a broker in the industry, hosted a dinner where many of the big players in fracking were present, many of them prominent Tory donors.
Additionally, at an event in the run-up to the election, a table paid for by Shore Capital had several people with major interests in fracking sitting alongside Michael Fallon, the Energy Minister.
Are we therefore to be surprised by the announcement reported on your front page? This is likely to come as a surprise only to those people who misguidedly voted for the Tories, believing their election rhetoric. But it’s unlikely to be the last such surprise, as the vested interests who financed the Tory result call in favours over the next five years.
I do not hold strong views on either wind farms or fracking. However, I think it is extremely two-faced and even morally wrong for the Government to enshrine in the recent Queen’s Speech the right for communities to be consulted over the siting of wind farms, while at the same time attempting to change the rules to do away with consultations with communities affected by proposed fracking in their areas.
Is this, yet again, a case of government bowing down to big business via lobbying?
Voting reform would benefit all of us
David Bowman (letter, 11 June) rightly states that the Lib Dems have long stood for reform of the voting system, both for their own representation and for the general public living in one of the 360 safe seats.
In the pressure to agree a majority coalition in 2010, David Cameron said that he could get AV past his party, but not PR. It is my understanding that the Lib Dems, acting for what they saw as the good of the country, accepted this as better than nothing, and were then played for patsies as the Conservative Party and its backers campaigned heavily against the concept and against Mr Clegg in particular.
PR would be far better, since, as well as allowing for better representation of the parties, there would also be Conservative MPs in the northern cities and Labour MPs in the southern counties.
Under the current system Mr Bowman’s vote in a safe Conservative seat didn’t make any difference to the result.
A woman is not a commodity
In the context of rape, to use the qualifier “as a virgin” is already disgraceful – tacitly suggesting, as it does, that somehow it is worse for a virgin to be raped than for any other woman (or man) to be raped (“She was raped as a virgin...” 11 June). Otherwise, why mention this detail?
However, in the context of forced marriage, use of that qualifier is so much worse – so blind to the problem that Emily Dugan’s article is supposedly tackling – that it beggars belief.
This is because the use of the phrase “as a virgin” to measure the severity of a rape immediately buys directly into the very same insanely hymen-valuing mindset which created forced marriages in the first place: a mindset which sees women as some kind of commodity whose preciousness is directly related to whether they have been previously used by another man or not.
I also find it cowardly that you do not mention at any point on your front page – apart from a rather coy suggestion conveyed by the hand art in the accompanying photo – that this problem is overwhelmingly not about “forced marriages” per se but about Muslims forcing marriages.
To continue to look away from where the problem is happening and what kind of culture might have given rise to it – on the pseudo-intellectual grounds of political correctness or not giving offence – simply makes it more likely that the problem will continue to fester.
Do not look away from the causes, unless you want to delay the cure.
Dr Emma Fox Wilson
Europeans live by superstition too
Most of your reporting about the backpackers who disrobed on top of Mount Kinabalu has been reasonably objective, but I was surprised by the comments made by Sholto Byrnes (12 June).
I agree with him that Malaysia is culturally diverse and tolerant, but I take exception when he says: “But, as in most of the world beyond Europe, non-rational belief systems still hold sway to a huge extent.”
Can he explain what a rational belief system is? Are the predominant European belief systems any less rational than those in the rest of the world. Do European belief systems not involve the use of this kind of superstitious nonsense?
“Just a fucking mountain” – Emil Kaminski.
“Irreverence is a greater oaf than superstition” – W H Auden