Letters: The last thing Corbyn needs is a spin doctor

The following letters appear in the 17 September edition of The Independent

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Why on Earth would Jeremy Corbyn need a spin doctor (“Is there a spin doctor in the house?”, 16 September)? It is the very fact he doesn’t have one which endears him to us. We’ve had enough of them. Let’s have politicians who say what they mean.

Elaine Murray



 “Is there a spin doctor in the house?” I do hope not. Jeremy Corbyn has a character and believes in something. It is a great new trend in politics and should be heartily welcomed.

We have been bored witless for many years with so many of our politicians, so media-trained that they have lost any sense of their own character. If you are a spin doctor, tear up the doctrine of the last 10 years and go find some genuine, authentic characters that believe in something. That’s what the public wants.

Tony Bromley



Our new Labour leader was dressed appropriately and stood respectfully silent at the Battle of Britain commemorative service when our national anthem was sung. How refreshing! An honest politician who states openly that what you see is what you get. 

Certainly we should commemorate the sacrifices previous generations have made, but I cannot for the life of me see how “God saving the Queen” helps anyone.

Julia Winter



As a Christian socialist I applaud Jeremy Corbyn’s stance at St Paul’s and regret your front page coverage.

He has always been openly republican, agnostic and pacifist; he was both generous and wise to attend, but had he sung to God for the Queen he would have been guilty of the human failing that Jesus Christ most often condemned: hypocrisy. 

Britain has endured too much of it from its politicians. I voted for Jeremy Corbyn because I believed him to be honest,  radical and brave. I’m glad to have such early confirmation.

Professor Gordon McGregor

Witney, Oxfordshire


I am a monarchist. I applaud Jeremy Corbyn not singing the national anthem. He is a republican and rightly stuck to his principles. We need more politicians to do the same.

Betty Harris

London N1


The media are going to have to get used to the change Corbyn brings to politics. It is polite to stand during the national anthem, but to be sincere you should sing it only if you know the words and believe in the sentiments.

Jon Hawksley

London EC1


Sir Nicholas Soames’ criticism of Jeremy Corbyn is offensive. Corbyn is a supporter of republicanism. So am I. This is a lawful and moral stance. I never sing the national anthem but  will stand in silence and respect while those around me sing its inappropriate words with gusto.

As for his saying that Corbyn’s non-participation was disrespectful to the Battle of Britain pilots “who gave their all”, this is a non-sequitur. Singing a song has nothing to do with aerial combat. An excellent example of unpleasant  Tory propaganda.

David Ashton

Shipbourne, Kent


As Jeremy Corbyn is a republican, I see no reason why he should be expected to sing the national anthem, a turgid hymn of praise to the monarchy. 

The intolerance of the right is breathtaking, and their presumption in using Battle of Britain pilots to promote their spleen against Mr Corbyn is nauseating. Nobody would expect Nicholas Soames to sing “The Red Flag”.

Penny Little

Great Haseley, Oxfordshire


A Labour leader who offends Nicholas Soames? Perhaps we’re on the right track at last.

Richard Jeffcoat



Has my newspaper of choice become a tabloid when I wasn’t looking?

On Wednesday, its inside pages told me that there is a North-South divide regarding life expectancy, that EU ministers have failed to reach any agreement regarding allocations of refugees, that a soldier drowned because the military failed to  check that he had the requisite swimming skills for the exercise, that we reportedly have a gun control system that is not fit for purpose, and that dining tourists in Egypt were mistaken for terrorists and killed.

But The Independent’s front page shouted, with a photo for the sake of clarity, that Jeremy Corbyn wore a tie. I ask you!

Beryl Wall

London W4


I fail to see how it is disrespectful to attend a commemoration about one group of people but not sing a song about somebody else.

Dr Anthony Ingleton

Sheffield,  South Yorkshire


Extortionate court fees hit the poor

Appointing a debt collector for court fines is symptomatic of the Government’s misguided policy of extortionate fees for some of the poorest people (“‘Rapacious’ US bailiff chosen to chase unpaid court fines”, 11 September).

It is also too soon, because the Justice Committee is currently holding an inquiry into the effects of the introduction and levels of these fees  and charges.

Last month you reported on the absurdity of a desperate man who stole three bottles of baby milk being charged £150, on top of a community order and compensation payment. A homeless man was charged £900 for stealing £60 of goods.

If this contract for £675m goes ahead, it is more than the Government has cut from civil and criminal legal aid combined. Offenders should pay a contribution towards costs, but it is both premature and a waste of taxpayers’ money to spend millions to pursue charges from people who are unlikely to ever have the means to pay.

Jonathan Smithers

President of the Law Society

London WC2


The principal purpose of taxation is to provide the state with sufficient funds to provide security and the rule of law. Nothing should take precedence over this expenditure, unless we accept uncivil chaos.

The entire expense of running our justice system must be borne by the Exchequer. Not one penny of subsidy should be raised from fees or fines or any other source whatsoever if we are to have impartial and disinterested courts.

Parliament creates crimes. People commit them. If Parliament cannot provide the funds to pay the costs of operating the laws it creates, it should not pass the Acts. All unaffordable Acts now in force should  be repealed.

Mick Humphreys

Creech St Michael, Somerset


Wrong answer: vote again, please

One year on from the Scottish referendum, I have never felt so betrayed by those who govern us as I do now. Revealing we now face a rerun, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and the SNP have in effect redefined the meaning  of democracy.

It is now clear that for a democratic result to stand in nationalist Scotland it must favour separatism. A “wrong” result can be set aside at a time of the SNP’s choosing. This from a First Minister who on the day of her appointment said she would serve us all, not just her supporters.

The SNP will happily put us all through many more years of uncertainty, divisiveness and rancour, until they get their way or lose power. Of course Scotland is not a one-party state. But just now it certainly feels like it.

Keith Howell

West Linton, Scottish Borders


Healthy debate between feminists

I can’t agree with Grace Dent (15 September) that Charlotte Proudman will now have “learned to shut up”. She doesn’t strike me as someone easily silenced. 

As a lawyer, she will be used to the impassioned discussions of the courtroom. She wouldn’t abandon her career just because she lost one case.

Not that she has “lost” her case concerning LinkedIn. Sure, there were plenty of people on Twitter attacking her, but there was also plenty of support. Many men and women agree with her, and are pleased she took her stand. 

It might make some men think before posting a similar comment. And it gave her the opportunity to explain her views in several newspapers, including The Independent. So she is now a well-known published feminist activist. I’d call that a success.

Of course feminists will disagree with one another.  That just shows that feminism is a vibrant area of human debate.

Peter Benson

London NW2


Scenic view with wind turbines

I looked out from the Dorset coast this summer and saw more than 50 yachts, which some might think an eyesore. There was often a good sea mist and I couldn’t see a thing out to sea. Neither spoiled my enjoyment of Purbeck and nor would a wind farm (Michael McCarthy, 15 September).

So just where do the people of Dorset prefer to generate their electricity?

Patrick Corbett