Regardless of the outcome of the Labour leadership contest, it highlighted the real issues. We, the voters, have had enough of all of you, and voting for Jeremy Corbyn has been our way of telling you that conventional first-past-the-post politics of Tory and Labour (aka Tory-lite) is no longer acceptable.
Most present politicians are either pawns of the Establishment or too scared of global corporations to actually look out for the common man; they tell us: “We’re just too content living in our own comfortable bubble, thank you, so let us have your votes, then go away and kindly shut up.”
What politicians don’t want to see is that voting for Corbyn has been a delayed expression of what should have happened on 7 May, but the Tories played the fear card and panicked the electorate into returning them.
Conventional party politics is on the way out. Government action is now increasingly curtailed by special-interest groups and online forums. No one will dare go to war in 2015 when a million signatures can be gathered in a day or two; there is no longer a need to mobilise a million people on the streets as when Blair acted in 2003.
Cameron’s response to this new reality is to kill people by drone, an act of war, without even consulting Parliament; at least Blair had the courtesy to do that, even if he then ignored it.
By this anti-democratic manoeuvre, Cameron merely digs a hole for himself and the entire outdated and unaccountable Westminster system even faster. The centre-left died on 7 May, democracy died through the hands of Blair on Iraq, and now Cameron on Syria.
The future is with pacts of special-interest and local-issue pressure groups who will use social media to move quickly and organise looser or stronger liaisons as the current issue in hand demands.
The smaller parties cast to the outer fringes by the Big Two’s traditional Westminster carve-up should wake up and embrace the new politics.Lib Dems (when not earnestly disagreeing among themselves), Greens (when not shooting themselves in the foot), SNP (when not obsessing) or whoever you are in what until recently was termed the centre-left, abandon ploughing your lone furrows, wake up, cooperate and grab the opportunity. Politics from the bottom-up is on the move.
Horsham, West Sussex
PM has to be held to account on drones
Liam Fox is entitled to his views that the drone strikes in Syria are “both legally and morally justified” (10 September), although we might wish for some consideration of the legality of politically directed execution, when judges cannot hand down such a sentence.
But some of us want more proof of the justification than the Prime Minister has so far given Parliament – because prime ministers have form on misleading MPs to secure support for controversial foreign ventures, as Blair’s Iraq albatross testifies.
Even Dr Fox concurs. In a parliamentary speech he made six years ago in a debate on the Iraq war inquiry, he noted the importance of “holding the executive to account”.
He added robustly (Hansard, 25 March 2009): “We have heard a number of passionate speeches from members on both sides of the House, and one of the main charges that has been repeatedly made in this debate is that Tony Blair, as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, deliberately misled the British people in order to take them into a war that they otherwise would not have supported — there can be no more serious charge.”
He ended by observing: “I walked into the division lobby after Tony Blair that night and said to him: ‘That was a very impressive speech. I hope you are right.’”
Some self–reflection by Dr Fox is surely in order.
Dr David Lowry
Liam Fox rightly condemns the barbarity and medieval mindset of Isis, but appears to justify the murder of British citizens by a medieval life-for-a-life injunction. Legal or not, what beneficial difference has it made or will it make? We may well have shot ourselves in the foot and provided Isis with recruitment propaganda.
Another medieval injunction is that we reap what we sow, and our interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, which Fox supported, were among the triggers that reaped the instability in the Middle East.
The West needs to realise that we will never subdue Isis by air power alone, and even if we had boots on the ground, we would almost certainly fail to do so, if Afghanistan is any guide.
I fear the only way to make real progress is to come to a Machiavellian agreement with Russia, and even perhaps with Assad.
If it is lawful to execute by drone a British subject in a foreign country planning an armed violent attack in the UK, presumably such an execution would be the most effective legal way if a British subject in the UK were planning a similar attack in the UK.
Neuvicq le Château, France
Wild plants are not for making money
Like many people, I have always picked berries for jam or wine, and nuts and mushrooms to eat for myself and friends. However, irresponsible collecting of wild plants in large quantities for commercial purposes causes habitat destruction; there are areas now stripped bare by commercial foragers and some plants such as the sea kale will not recover, and many others are rare. It must be illegal – and surely unethical – to collect wild plants for commercial purposes.
A S Edwards
St Andrews, Fife
Slow the birth rate and make more room
A lot of us do not want the UK to become too urban and lacking in space, but would like to welcome refugees in. The only way forward is a cross-party agreement on how to curtail the UK’s population growth to allow in more people.
There does not appear to be a single party (including the Green Party) that has any policy on extolling the virtues of smaller families.
The NHS needs to take the lead with a robust encouragement of families of all backgrounds to keep their families smaller.
There could be more intervention from the midwifery or relevant bodies after a second child is born, with encouragement and easy-to-use services for both sexes, including sterilisation or other preventative means. Each NHS area would be asked to target birth rates among its population to keep the birth rate down. In doing so, perhaps, like Germany, we can make inroads into the crisis.
East Markham, Nottinghamshire
Sexism accusation was over the top
While I agree with what Charlotte Proudman says about sexism, I am astonished that she should so overreact to an obviously generous compliment from a fellow professional.
If she dislikes compliments, she should not try to look her best for the photographer. If it is an offence for a man to pay generous compliments to a member of the opposite sex, may I ask for well over a thousand offences to be taken into consideration?
Incidentally, I thought Her Majesty the Queen looked “stunning” during her walkabout in Scotland this week. Is saying that sexist treason?
And are women permitted to compliment men? If not, George Clooney and others, beware.
Robin Grey QC
In the case of Proudman vs Carter-Silk, back to first principles... Ask one question: would Mr Carter-Silk have treated a man in the same way?
I rest my case.
For Cyprus, read Crete
The maps that support your articles add to the impact of your coverage. However, on the map with the article “If Europe fails on this question, it will no longer be the Europe we dreamed of” (9 September), Cyprus has become Crete – though one suspects the affected locals won’t be too upset…
Show respect for an elderly woman
Here on vacation with my family, I was disheartened to read so many disparaging comments about the Queen in a multitude of papers, including yours. Whether you support the monarchy or not, keep in mind that you are talking about an elderly woman and as such she should be treated with respect. Mark Steel’s commentary was among the most boorish. Did no one teach you to respect your elders?
Newport Beach, California
God save Mark Steel.
Earth shouldn’t invade Mars
There is now a proposal to nuke Mars to try to create a different atmosphere. So Man is not content with screwing up this planet – he has to do the rest as well. Is there any hope for us?
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