Letters: Labour starts a new chapter with Jeremy Corbyn

The following letters appear in the 14 September edition of The Independent

Independent Voices@IndyVoices
Sunday 13 September 2015 20:38

The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader is my most inspiring political experience since 120 women were voted into parliament in 1997. I did not vote in this election, nor have I voted since 1997, because, like so many others, I have grown to despise the pantomime politics of Westminster.

It is hugely refreshing and gratifying to see and feel this groundswell of support for an intelligent, caring and democratically elected leader whom we trust can bring the Westminster village into a global, straight-talking and truly accountable 21st century parliamentary democracy.

Good luck Jeremy – you are going to need it, and I am sure you don’t need to be told: “Watch your back!”

Jenny Hewell
Holcombe, Somerset

In the hours after Jeremy Corbyn’s election, I received a circular email from him thanking me for participating and giving an opportunity to submit a question for Prime Minister’s Questions. While this was no doubt symbolic, it made a powerful statement.

Shortly afterwards, several Labour figures refused to serve under him, saying they do not share his values. If fairness, participation and accepting the will of the people are values they do not share, then I wonder precisely what they are in politics to further. They have done an admirable job of removing their undemocratic selves from the debate.

I J Stock
Coggeshall, Essex

Jeremy Corbyn’s extraordinary election victory as UK Labour leader will breathe new life into the decimated Liberal Democrats and keep the Tories in government for a generation or more. If Yvette Cooper (or even Andy Burnham) had won then Labour would have had a fighting chance in 2020, and the Lib Dems would still be out in the cold.

I respect Jeremy Corbyn’s honesty and passion, and his wish to try to change a moribund political system. But his extreme socialist policies will never work, however much they reflect the desperate views of millions of mainly young, disaffected and marginalised UK citizens.

UK Labour will be out in the wilderness for 15 years or more. Corbyn will change his party, but not in the direction it requires, and will make it even more unelectable. In that Tony Blair is quite right. Today the Tories cannot quite believe their good luck, and the Liberal Democrats are mightily relieved. So am I.

Mark Lowe
Durban, South Africa

The election of Jeremy Corbyn as the Labour Party leader will be a disaster for the party and the country! What can those members of the public down there have been thinking? Don’t they understand the basic rules of democracy – that it is the mainstream media that is supposed to set the agenda?

Do they realise that they have made fools of our top political commentators and television presenters? The media must rally its finest to avenge this humiliation and ensure that their predictions of disaster will come to fruition.

Brian Derbyshire
Mossley, Greater Manchester

With the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, will the Blairite ghosts return to the New Labour crypt and stop harping on about Labour “returning to the wilderness”?

We have endured a Labour Party which tried to align with anything in the hope of keeping power. No 10 is not the only place where good politics can happen, and not worth compromising principles for. If Jeremy Corbyn can act as a moral and constructive opposition which inspires activism and compassion in our communities, then he doesn’t need to fixate on becoming Prime Minister.

Ian McKenzie

The Attlee and Wilson governments were farther to the left than Corbyn is – so far that the CIA would not share intelligence with us because they thought Harold Wilson was a Soviet spy.

It was the post-war Labour governments that invented the NHS and our social security system, improved education, nationalised the railways and created other institutions that are still of value to the nation today. I hate to think what Britain would be like now were it not for those great leaders.

On Wednesday there was a somewhat unbalanced discussion in The Independent suggesting that Jeremy could never win an election and become Prime Minister. Attlee did it against Churchill – why would Corbyn have a problem against Cameron?

John Day
Portchester, Hampshire

With the Tories taking us back to the mid-19th century, Jeremy Corbyn’s mild left-wing agenda from the late 1940s is decidedly forward-looking.

Dr David Wheeler

Jeremy Corbyn was born in Chippenham. The heroine of this Wiltshire town is Maud Heath. She earned her livelihood by carrying eggs to market along a mud-splattered and often flooded four-mile path.

When she died in 1474 she left a bequest to fund the building of a causeway, a raised footpath, so that those who came after her did not have to make such a difficult journey. The life of Maud Heath will serve as an inspiration for the new Labour Party leader when the going gets rough.

Ivor Morgan

Every uprising in the Arab Spring started with the dispossessed asking their governments to act responsibly, to care for all their citizens and to improve the opportunities and quality of life for the poorest. It was the refusal by dictatorial leaders to heed these requests that led to the catastrophe we see in the Middle East today.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn is essentially the same request. It would be nice to witness our own government giving an example to the rest of the world of how a correction of inequality can be addressed in a civilised way.

Sierra Hutton-Wilson
Evercreech, Somerset

Yes, the tortoise has won. Tony Benn must be chuckling in his grave. Well done, Jeremy.

Kathleen O’Neill
Hayling Island, Hampshire

Time for a new SDP? (And the Lib Dems might like to go along for the ride?)

John Welch

But what will he wear at the Cenotaph?

Robert Davies
London SE3

Assisted dying bill defeated

The rejection of the Assisted Dying Bill is depressing.

I am a retired GP who was investigated in the 1990s for having publicly admitted to having provided euthanasia and whose actions were publicly supported by the philosopher Baroness Warnock, and the President of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, the late Ludovic Kennedy. I feel very strongly that an inhumane decision has been taken.

As onlookers, albeit intimately involved whether as family members, GPs or hospice staff, we shall never be able to accurately measure the suffering of others. Our assessments will be subjective.

Many was the patient whose suffering towards the end of life (pain and anxiety in particular) one felt demanded treatment, such as heroin, in adequate doses that one also knew would hasten death, the so called “double effect”. This was discussed openly with the patient and the family and on the basis of that discussion it was agreed that the alleviation of suffering, physical and mental, was of prime importance, and that death would be the ultimate relief.

Of course there have to be safeguards to ensure that the right to die is not abused (and these have been well included in the Assisted Dying Bill). But ultimately, what right have we, who will never fully comprehend and feel the suffering of others, to deny people who are terminally ill the relief of that suffering by allowing them to die in peace and with dignity?

Dr Nick Maurice
Marlborough, Wiltshire

May we be assured that those politicians who voted against assisted dying on the grounds that high-quality palliative care ensures a dignified death will guarantee the funding to make it available to all who need it?

Elisabeth Saul
Wantage, Oxfordshire

More popular than Victoria, too

The current monarch has marked the fact that she is now the longest serving in British history, having overtaken Queen Victoria. She may reflect that while public responses to her appearances range from enthusiasm to indifference, Victoria complained in her diaries that socialists and Fenians persisted in booing her when she was out on the streets.

Keith Flett
London N17

The answer to supermarket sugar

Emilie Lamplough complains that most supermarket food contains sugar (letter, 9 September). The simple solution is to prepare your own food using fresh ingredients. This way you control what you eat, while at the same time sending a message to the supermarkets.

George MacDonald Ross

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments