Let's look at Jeremy Corbyn's political history – there's no way he's racist

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Monday 26 March 2018 18:54 BST
Tom Watson defends Jeremy Corbyn over antisemitic mural

I am not a member of the Labour Party but have been committed to anti-racist activism for over 40 years.

Jeremy Corbyn has spent his political life in absolute opposition to racism in whatever filthy form it manifests itself, and not just with words.

On the 23 April 1977 Jeremy Corbyn, then a councillor in Haringey, joined a 12,000 strong anti-Nazi demonstration which stopped the fascist National Front marching through Wood Green.

Jeremy Corbyn was voted leader of the Labour Party on the 12 September 2015. His first act as leader was to join a demonstration in solidarity with refugees and asylum-seekers.

First and last, Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-racist.

It is a disgrace that his political opponents are accusing Jeremy Corbyn of antisemitism. Those who use false accusations of antisemitism to win political advantage are criminally irresponsible.

They undermine and demoralise the fight against racism at a time when it is on the rise. They give encouragement to the real racists & antisemites. Solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn.

Sasha Simic
Address not supplied

Sympathy for Australia cricket players

I feel great sympathy for those poor fragile dears who play cricket for Australia. How could the South African crowds be so nasty to them?

Alan Pack

RIP, Louise Slaughter

Louise Slaughter sounds like a fine person. It is refreshing to read about a dedicated, able politician who appears to have put the US people, her state and women first. She sounds like a focused representative concentrating on current, relevant public concerns – unlike most of our British politicians.

Keith Poole

Don’t just blame Australia

Don’t think for a minute that Australia is the only country in world which has an issue with punishing its miscreants.

The problem starts at the top. The ICC is a very meek and ineffectual leader of world cricket and actually depends on the individual nations to police their own backyard. It bows to the will of Australia, India, England and to a lesser degree, South Africa.

The ICC must run the Commissioner’s Office and the World Cricket League independent of the individual nations.

Arthur Pagonis

World Autism Awareness Week

This week marks World Autism Awareness Week, when campaigners will seek to raise further awareness of the condition and improve the lives of those affected by it.

However, there is much work still to be done. We are concerned, like many, at the level of cutbacks in services supporting those with autism, and while as an organisation we support a presumption to mainstream – that those with additional support needs, such as autism, be taught in mainstream classes – we have raised our worries over the amount of training and resources dedicated to this.

So, whether it’s a walk or cycle, a cake sale, a quiz or other challenge, use this week to make it a better world for autistic people.

Tom McGhee
Address not supplied

Sign Language

We are writing to express our dismay at a comment article published on The Independent website on 12 March, headlined: “I'm glad The Silent Child is changing the narrative around Deaf children – but it's important to remember that sign language is not the only option.”

The author of the piece argues that “auditory verbal therapy is the key to a deaf child’s success”, and questions how any parent would decide not to take that approach.

I would like to make it clear that we do not advocate that deaf children should not learn to talk – we have always encouraged the bilingual approach.

The timing of the publication was unfortunate, coming soon after Sign Language Week in the UK, given that it also implied that sign language users control the narrative or face less discrimination than deaf people who do not sign.

The profound and lasting effects of the poor language access for deaf BSL-users are well documented, and have been highlighted specifically by the United Nations committee on the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Prejudices were also movingly highlighted within the film The Silent Child itself; many people are often quick to lower their expectations or aspirations for children who cannot communicate orally.

Deaf sign language users have had innumerable great achievements without needing to use spoken English. Many successful Deaf Sign Language users who are now Professors, Doctors, Lecturers, Teachers, Chief Executives, Directors and Business Entrepreneurs, demonstrate that high aspirations can be achieved by acquiring knowledge and skills through sign language.

Auditory Verbal UK will only work with children who are “optimally aided” i.e. who use hearing using aids, cochlear implants or Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA). It is important for people to realise that AVT is not an option for profoundly Deaf children without technology.

The truth is, any monolingual argument can be damaging. Lack of early language acquisition has profound consequences for children’s development; access and informed choice are imperative.

For many parents, the opposite is the case when their children are diagnosed as being deaf: the first and only advice they receive is to go for a Cochlear Implant. Never is there the option of bilingualism of both sign language and speech offered.

Surely the best option is that all deaf children can access both BSL and written English, and that both languages are respected equally across all fields. That way, parents can make informed choices, and all – not some – of our deaf children can be allowed to thrive.

Terry Riley
Chair, British Deaf Association

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