Letters: Is Labour running scared of the Green Party?

These letters appear in the 28 November issue of The Independent

Independent Voices
Thursday 27 November 2014 19:31

So this was what we’ve been waiting for? Sadiq Khan’s great plan to deal with the Green Party: “Waste your vote on the Green Party – or choose a green Labour government” (26 November). He may be charged with plagiarism, as he’s nicked the Tory strategy for dealing with Ukip. They say: “Vote Ukip, get Ed”. He says: “Vote Green, get Cameron”. Wow, what searing political insight.

Mr Khan mentions “reducing inequality” and states his and Ed Miliband’s opposition to the Iraq War, even though they both served in government under the last Labour administration that oversaw an increase in the gap between rich and poor, and went to war in Iraq.

For many disaffected former Labour members, the war in Iraq and the increase in inequality under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were tipping points. Khan and Miliband need to explain why, if the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and a widening gap between rich and poor weren’t tipping points for them, tucked up with their well-paid jobs in safe Labour seats, what on earth would be?

Ben Saunders

Mitcham, Greater London

“Vote Labour for a green radical government”? Methinks thou jest, Mr Khan. The Labour Party has not been radical since the 1980s when it lost its nerve and its purpose in the face of Thatcherism. Today’s Labour Party is ungrounded in principle and seems to have only one desire – to get into power by aping the Tory party.

I have a suggestion for all Labour Party members still holding on to the belief that somehow their party will one day become a socialist/social democratic party again: look at the Green Party manifesto as I did when I had my Russell Brand moment a year ago and was considering never voting again. Therein you will find the policies and principles that you believe in and thought the Labour Party believed in but no longer does. Join us and create a mass movement that opposes the vested interests of the rich and powerful and the subservient politicians in the three main parties who feed their greed.

Michael Jenkins

Bromley, Kent

It’s a bit rich Labour MP Sadiq Khan saying that, “Like it or not, under the first-past-the-post system, every vote for the Green Party only makes it one vote easier for the Conservatives to win the election.” In the run-up to the 2010 election Labour’s leadership supported the introduction of the Alternative Vote system; but come the 2011 voting-reform referendum, Labour MPs were conspicuous by their absence when it came to speaking up for the reform.

Since then the political system has had to accommodate even more “minor” parties, but the voting system is still stuck in the 1950s, when over 90 per cent of people voted for just two parties.

Labour is part of the problem and is certainly not the solution.

Alan Bailey

Sandy, Bedfordshire

Anyone who imagines that Labour is a “truly radical party again”, as Sadiq Khan claims, clearly missed Mr Miliband’s own essay in The Independent in April of this year. In the lead-up to the Euro elections, and with time and space to set out his own thoughts, young Ed concluded that “the party I lead is building a One Nation agenda to tackle the cost-of-living-crisis: the greatest challenge of our age”.

Jack Easton

St Albans District Green Party

May I congratulate you for presenting a comprehensive and accurate view of the Greens this past week. The Green surge is happening; Labour has even set up a separate unit deliberately to discredit us. The recent poll by Lord Ashcroft posed the question: “If you thought that a party could win, who would you vote for?” and 26 per cent of those asked said Green.

Voters need to remember that if they don’t vote for what they believe in, they are never going to get it. So be brave – tactical voting is only half of a vote.

John Marjoram

Stroud, Gloucestershire

South-east targeted by ‘mansion tax’

It is increasingly clear that the proposed mansion tax is all about politics and not about policy. It has nothing to do with fairness, and instead is all about raising easy money from a minority of the population.

I have no quibble with the argument that the current Council Tax bands are outdated and unfit for purpose and would have no objection to paying a new top band. The proposed mansion tax, however, deals with the wrong problem and, what is more, deals with it in a way that is inequitable.

Our house was bought with money on which considerable amounts of tax have already been paid. Its value has increased since then, largely as a consequence of being on the outskirts of London. If we had the same income but lived in Norfolk or the Isle of Wight we could live in a far bigger property and never be in any danger of paying the mansion tax. On this basis, the tax is not a tax on property but on London and the South-east – and someone has to live and work here.

It is completely iniquitous that Russian oligarchs and others buy properties for considerably more than £2m and then don’t live in them or contribute in any way while there is a chronic housing shortage in London.

If this tax really is about fairness then how about this: you pay mansion tax if you own a property worth more than, say, six times the regional average for where you live – this would raise far more money, which could then be spent on new affordable housing.

Kathy Moyse

Cobham, Surrey

Sol Campbell, among others, has criticised Labour for proposing a mansion tax. I quite agree that this is an unfair tax that penalises aspiration. Obviously if we want to get rid of the deficit we should rely on the 5.2 million on less than £7.70 an hour, on the disabled and on those who have been made redundant to pay for it. It is only fair that they do so since they clearly have no aspirations. Anyway they don’t seem to be complaining as much as the high-profile rich, so that’s all right then.

Dr Ian Robertson

Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire

Why I can’t support Independent campaign

I’m afraid I cannot support the idea of this year’s Independent fundraising campaign. Why? Because when people fight for this country, it is the Government’s responsibility to thank them by ensuring that they are well cared for when they return to civvy street. It is patently doing nothing of the sort, except for a very few men and women who might be getting good prosthetic limbs and rehabilitation.

By accepting that their care is a matter of charity and not governmental duty, you put their future (and that of those who follow them) more, not less, at risk.

The stories of those you have featured clearly illustrate how they have been abandoned by the people who called on their service. I find that despicable and fear your efforts will be horribly counterproductive.

Merry Cross


The real EU problem is not immigration

Even if the UK was able to close its borders to European migrants, the EU would still be expensive, badly managed, wasteful, interfering and undemocratic.

When we gave our support for continuing membership of the Common Market in 1975, we were not aware that European law would have primacy over the laws of member states.

It’s not immigration that is the greatest concern; it’s the treacherous self-interest that turned the Common Market (a perfectly laudable project) into the European Union (a job-creation scheme for politicians and lawyers).

Without intending it, we have found ourselves being governed by judges who have created an organisation that was never in the minds of our elected representatives. As long as that continues the EU will always attract deep mistrust and wisdespread criticism.

Richard Beeley


A cartoonist at the top of his game

Wow, Dave Brown is on fire this week! First, yesterday’s laugh-out-loud cartoon in the style of Ronald Searle, a multi-layered jab at Labour’s proposed public-school bashing, lovely warm humour with serious under-layers. Then today’s savage dig at the jaw-dropping award to Tony Blair by Save the Children, which does infinitely more to dramatise this awful absurdity than any of my letter-writing bleatings could possibly hope for.

Well done, Dave!

Ian Bartlett

East Molesey, Surrey

Voluntary black-cab banishment?

If David Mellor finds taxi drivers so irksome (Letters, 27 November) perhaps he should become a taxi exile.

Stan Labovitch


Government hears Mi6 when it chooses to

Why is it that when the intelligence services ask for more anti-terrorism powers, the politicians obey; but when the same agencies warn that Britain’s involvement in foreign wars increases the terror threat at home, they are completely ignored?

Paul Donovan,

London E11

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