The chief rabbi is right to call out antisemitism, but Jeremy Corbyn is the lesser of two evils in this election

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Tuesday 26 November 2019 16:41 GMT
Jeremy Corbyn ‘unfit for office’ over handling of Labour antisemitism, says Chief Rabbi

The chief rabbi has accused Jeremy Corbyn of being antisemitic. True, there is antisemitism within the Labour Party that Corbyn has failed to eradicate, but there is no evidence that he himself has antisemitic views. His sins are ones of omission.

In Boris Johnson, on the other hand, there is plenty of evidence of his anti-Muslim and misogynistic opinions. He exhibits a breathtaking lack of empathy with anyone who is not very like himself.

It’s understandable that Ephraim Mirvis would want to fight the corner for the Jewish community. But in this election we all need to consider the broader picture. We may not have the option to vote for an ideal. We can only choose the least bad outcome. Jeremy Corbyn may not be the best of leaders, but he appears to be an honourable man. Can that be said of the leader of the Tories?

Susan Alexander
Frampton Cotterell

Grilled Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has bestridden the airwaves with her clear and confident message to the acclaim of the general public, especially those in England who yearn for a leader like her. That is primarily because of the ineptitude and cowardice of interviewers in Scotland and the lack of genuine information on the part of interviewers in London.

A Scot like Andrew Marr can give Sturgeon the easiest of rides, pretty much asking if she has any message for a grateful nation. To be fair, Sophie Ridge on Sunday tried to elicit an answer from Sturgeon about her use of party emails for government business, but received the usual evasive reply.

On Monday night, we saw what an accomplished, 100 per cent prepared and doggedly persistent interviewer can do. Andrew Neil showed up the hypocrisy, cant and illusions perpetrated by Sturgeon about her projected deal with Jeremy Corbyn, about the Scottish deficit and her claims that a separate Scotland would easily enter the EU, and about the disastrous performance of the NHS in Scotland under Sturgeon’s watch. The emptiness of her project was revealed for all to see by a peerless interviewer.

In Scotland, interviewers who should know the facts fail to interrogate Sturgeon effectively. One can conclude only that they live in awe or fear of the SNP, concerned that they may be denied interviews or access to press conferences. Is this a good enough reason for not making more than a token attempt to elicit from the first minister and her colleagues answers about issues that matter to us all?

Jill Stephenson

Tapestry of lies

Get Brexit done? It’s just another deception within a lifelong tapestry of deceptions and broken promises. His withdrawal agreement does not get Brexit done. It is merely a “withdrawal agreement” – and a very flawed agreement at that. Getting Brexit done will take years. He has 40 years of unity and cooperation to tear apart.

His promise to negotiate a Canada type deal with the EU in 11 months is yet another deception. The EU-Canada deal took seven years to negotiate. It involves many thousands of products, services, warrants, standards, terms and commitments.

Moreover, the 180 international trade agreements, arrangements and protections that the UK currently enjoys as a member of the EU, will take him decades to renegotiate. The protections afforded to our agriculture, our industries and our public services will evaporate on the day we lose these deals that are provided by our membership of the EU.

In renegotiating these 180 deals, and any new deals, the UK will be negotiating with less than one fifth of the leverage we enjoy as a member of the EU. He might get a free trade deal with his dear friend Trump – but that will turn the UK into a supplicant state and a refuse tip for commodity dumping and huge drug-price hikes to our NHS. Trump and the US drug companies do not want to buy the NHS – they want to exploit it and milk it until it has no money left.

What Brexit and the Tory referendum of 2016 has done, is to tear the people and families of our nation apart. It has empowered populist, fascist, neo-Nazi and racist leaders and movements across Europe and beyond.

The EU could have become Churchill’s “beacon of hope for the world.” It required constant commitment, dedication and pursuit of change and occasional reform. His current successor in Downing Street possesses none of these characteristics. One day we will recognise what Brexit has done, what it has undone and what it has begun.

Martin Deighton

Knock, knock, no one’s there

I am growing more and more irritated by politicians, especially Tory ministers like Dominic Raab and Matthew Hancock, talking about what people say on their doorsteps. Hancock’s Facebook page is full of people commenting on the fact that he never replies to emails, messages or letters, so going to the doorstep is highly unlikely, is it not?

So far I’ve only had leaflets from Labour, whose local MP only appears for photo opportunities, and from the Green Party. Their candidate literally lives round the corner. Too far to walk maybe. In 12 years, I have never seen a Tory candidate – we’re too common and on a council estate, I guess. I’ve had a number of leaflets from Lib Dems, but again no sign of anyone. Lies, lies, lies and they wonder why we cannot abide them anymore?

T Maunder

Unappetising Brexit menu

Why does Boris Johnson continually refer to his Brexit deal as being “oven ready” when, looking at the trade deals that will be left on the table for Britain, it’s probably really just chlorine washed?

Julian Self
Milton Keynes

Uber arrogant

Uber have now been told by TFL they are unfit to be licensed for numerous safety issues. However, this appalling company still refuse to give their drivers basic employment rights, after the high court deemed their drivers as workers, who should get the minimum wage and holiday pay. Uber continues to hide behind its digital platform and insist they are just an app, and not a transportation company, because it gets them off the hook on a whole spectrum of issues from worker’s rights to paying tax.

Their arrogance is truly mind-boggling. Uber in the UK is a form of mass exploitation of workers, many from overseas, and a race to the bottom in wages and conditions, combined with extremely poor passenger safety.

David Heath

Who cares about Blair?

Why does the media keep shoving Tony Blair down our throats? The man is a discredited politician who should be in The Hague for war crimes, not getting wall to wall coverage for all his meaningless utterings. Who cares what he thinks about Brexit, the Labour Party or anything else for that matter?

It’s because of him we are in this situation in the first place. When in opposition, he promised a referendum before signing the Maastricht treaty but then when he got into power renegaded on his promises. Next, while all the other EU countries put a cap on the number of Eastern Europeans who could migrate to their countries over a 10-year period, after their nations joined the European Union, Blair allowed unlimited immigration from day one. We were completely unprepared for it.

He turned the Labour Party that once believed in the redistribution of wealth into a right-wing party more akin to Margaret Thatcher than Clement Atlee.

David Cameron said of the Health and Social Care Bill, which has led to large sections of the NHS being privatised, that it was the logical conclusion of Blair’s championing of PFI and privatisation. And he was right.

What Corbyn has done is let the genie out of the bottle. There is a thirst, a yearning, not just for the end of austerity but neoliberal politics itself. We want what France, Germany and many Scandinavian countries take for granted – public services such as railways, gas and electric, water and so on, to be run by the public sector.

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We want decent jobs with fair wages that mean working people do not have to feed their families via food banks. We want an end to the socialisation of costs and the privatisation of profits. We are tired of the inefficient and expensive monopolies that make up the private sector. However much the mainstream demonise Corbyn and try and make him unelectable, the truth is out there.

We shouldn’t allow the establishment to steal our dreams, even if they consider them to be fantasies, because it takes brave men such as Clement Atlee, and yes Corbyn, to put them into practice and make life better for all of us and not just the privileged few.

Julie Partridge

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