Letters: At last, a threat to the grey-suit politicos

The following letters appear in the 15 September edition of The Independent

Independent Voices@IndyVoices
Monday 14 September 2015 18:46

If members of the British political establishment want to know why it is so unpopular, they have only to study their reactions to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership election victory.

The Tory Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, interviewed by a BBC reporter after the announcement, declared Jeremy Corbyn “a threat to security”, repeating the mantra several times while ignoring follow-up questions. A disgraceful display of automaton politics by a grey-suited politico.

Many have been thoroughly turned off politics by the superior, we-know-best attitude of the grey parties as they manoeuvre for power and influence, encouraged by sections of the press.

Now we have a real person in the limelight, someone who is not tainted by the current idea that looking after your own will somehow benefit the lower orders.

Steve Edmondson

Haslingfield, Cambridgeshire

I am not one of the euphoric Labour Party supporters rejoicing at Jeremy Corbyn’s victory. I did not vote for him, as I disagreed with him on many issues, the primary one being his anti-Europe attitude.

As a moderate left-of-centre person, I now feel marginalised, and I cannot, as the Labour Party is urging its members to do, endorse him. I actually voted for Yvette Cooper as leader and Caroline Flint as deputy leader. I have been a huge admirer of them both. I especially liked Yvette’s stance on the refugee crisis and I felt she was tough enough to face Cameron.

I sincerely hope that under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership his extreme views will not consign the Labour Party into the wilderness, but I have an awful feeling that in the next six months to a year things will start to unravel.

I have voted Labour since I was 21. I am now 65 and I have never felt this disheartened. I now feel that I have nobody to vote for.

Susan Rowberry

Saxmundham, Suffolk

When I joined the Labour Party, it was a democratic party. Decisions were made from the bottom up, and party leaders listened to their members and accepted the results of their votes.

That was one of the reasons I was proud to be a member; even my lowly voice, were I persuasive enough, could have an effect.

Then Tony Blair came along and destroyed all that. Now we see how, with breathtaking arrogance, his acolytes think it is their right to snub the party and walk off the front bench if they don’t like the overwhelming result of a vote.

Well, God speed! We’re much better off without you.

Sara Neill

Tunbridge Wells, Kent

I voted for Corbyn and am absolutely delighted with the result. But friends have said “Let’s see what he does now.”

The trouble is not what Corbyn does now but how bitter Nu-Labour MP types – who loved Tory Blair – behave. If they do make life impossible for Corbyn that will just make people like me retreat back to the Greens.

These Tory-lite folk will then blame Corbyn for making Labour “unelectable”, when the real cause will be their own spitefulness.

Sara Starkey

Tonbridge, Kent

Cheer up, New Labour. In his poem “The Solution”, Bertolt Brecht provides the answer to your present misfortune:

“...Would it not be easier

In that case for the government

To dissolve the people

And elect another?”

John Tilbury

Deal, Kent

Andrew Grice (14 September) assures us that Blairism is now officially dead and buried. Could somebody please inform Tony Blair, so that we can be saved from any further pontificating by him?

Sarah Pegg

Seaford, East Sussex

It is very interesting that the Labour people who resoundingly failed to get voters’ support in the last general election are trumpeting around that Labour is now unelectable.

Peter Bowden

Leigh-on-Sea, Essex

Corbyn is right about power companies

Some of Jeremy Corbyn’s views may be open to discussion, but he certainly makes economic sense on “de-privatisation” of the energy sector.

Privatisation is justified if it replaces a state monopoly with private producers willing to compete to raise efficiency and reduce costs by investment and innovation in the technology and organisation of production and distribution, and pass the benefit on to the customer.

The UK energy sector privatisation has simply replaced a state monopoly producer with a profit-seeking private one owned by distribution companies with every incentive to keep prices high.

Thus, the benefit of privatisation is supposed to come solely from competition in an inflated distribution network, which hardly makes business sense. While producers often seek to reduce the final price by integrating upward into the distribution stage, the energy sector privatisation has placed several middlemen between the points of production and consumption.

These are private companies with shareholders expecting dividends and executives paid high salaries. And customers shouldering the cost.

Hamid Elyassi

London E14

Drone strikes legitimise terror

The British government is now using the barbarity of Isis to justify a “shoot to kill” policy – or extra-judicial murder – for suspected terrorists.

This is being done in preference to putting any terrorists in Britain, with alleged links to terrorists overseas, on trial. This was a disastrous policy in Northern Ireland where it encouraged nationalists to join the IRA and prolonged the “troubles”.

Britain is also now following American practice of assuming “extra-territorial powers” to carry out executions of its own citizens in other countries, without even the agreement of the sovereign governments of those countries, however obnoxious those governments are.

This breach of the principles of sovereignty legitimises attacks on British soil by foreign terrorists.

Julius Marstrand


If Britain thinks it wrong for other states to assassinate their nationals in London, why do we think it right for Britain to assassinate ours in Syria?

Roger Gartland

London SE3

Reboot police car engines

A few weeks ago , after repeatedly noticing that stationary police cars that had been called out had their (diesel) engines running, often for over three hours, I asked the officers why their engine was kept running for such a long time.

I was told this was because of the computers on board. Not quite believing this, I submitted a question to Chipping Barnet Residents Forum.

The answer was that the computers on board police cars, which are connected to the Police National Computer, take about four minutes to be rebooted. It is up to the officers to decide whether to leave their engines running or not, depending on why they have been called out.

Now, air pollution in London is the highest of any European capital city, the main roads in Barnet having levels constantly above EU permitted levels.

Surely an alternative can be found – how about a second battery on board? Many cars have the possibility of connecting a laptop. One would assume that the police should be setting a good example, as far as switching off the motors of stationary vehicles is concerned.

Phil Fletcher

Barnet, Hertfordshire

Carrying baggage in an emergency

We watched in amazement as passengers left the stricken flight BA 2276 carrying hand luggage and even wheeled suitcases, when the agreed procedure is to “take nothing with you”. I can only assume this was an example of “group think”, with passengers seeing others unloading their baggage and deciding they ought to do the same.

Thanks to Simon Calder for highlighting the risks and delays this would have caused (10 September). It will be interesting to see if any changes are put in place as a result.

Jane Gregory

Emsworth, Hampshire

Mobile phones in the classroom

As a former head of a comprehensive school I by no means underestimate the difficulties of managing the ubiquitous carrying of mobile phones in schools. It is a given.

One must, however, ask who is in charge of setting the ethos in a school where the behaviour of pupils towards a visiting speaker, as suffered by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (14 September), is so crass and impolite. The governors? The head? The staff? No, in this case it seems to be the pupils.

Evathia Phillips

London SW14

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