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Letters: May 4-5 2019

Corbyn has power in negotiations with May

THERESA MAY’S talks with Jeremy Corbyn are as much a lifeline for her as for the Labour leader. Corbyn has been finding it exceedingly difficult to hold back the clamour by remainers in his shadow cabinet and the parliamentary party to sabotage Brexit through a second referendum, rebranded as a confirmatory vote.

With a no-deal departure blocked by Parliament, the Withdrawal Agreement remains the only available mechanism to enable Brexit to take place. The choice facing Parliament is a Brexit with a deal or no Brexit at all.

The Withdrawal Agreement may not meet all our aspirations, but it is the only realistic way to realise Brexit.

To denounce any deal with the EU as inherently unacceptable to the left because the bloc is a neoliberal capitalist institution exaggerates the EU’s importance and strength and diminishes that of the working class; if anything, the EU is what the Chinese used to call a paper tiger, riddled with irreconcilable internal contradictions.

Everyone who campaigned for Leave, regardless of their political background, expected a clean unadulterated Brexit once the people voted to withdraw.

However, the make-up of the Cabinet, the government and Parliament does not make that possible.

Furthermore, there is the question of the small margin of the Leave victory. A large minority voted Remain and, while a majority decision must be upheld, it does not follow that the views of the minority, most of whom respect the result of the referendum and do not wish to reverse it but have different views as to the way forward, can be completely ignored.

Corbyn is clear: Labour respects the result of the referendum and Britain must leave the EU.

He must get our full support in his efforts to arrive at some accommodation with the government to ensure that this does take place.
FAWZI IBRAHIM
Trade Unionists
Against the EU

Voters are sick of EU shenanigans

AMID all of the urgent concerns about the far right standing in European Parliament elections, some people are forgetting the fact that working-class communities and most people in Britain, sick and tired of EU big-business-led diktats, privatisation and austerity, have voted to leave the bloc. They want no more to do with its political structures, including its parliament.

The British Establishment and ruling class have never accepted this. They have spent three years in discussion with EU bosses, trying to find a way to have the decision to leave overturned.

They think now that they have found a way of tying us back into their neoliberal capitalist club.

We are all to be given the chance to vote for representatives in the EU Parliament, the parliament that we have already voted to have no more to do with.

And how do they hope to avoid the very low turnout that you would expect in response to such an “opportunity?” By telling those who would not vote that we will let racists and fascists win.

It is those who engineered this election by deliberately delaying our exit from the EU who are responsible for its outcomes – not those who refuse to be conned into taking part.

Racism and fascism are not defeated by an occasional vote. They can only be fought by sustained political activity in our communities designed to make people aware of the real source of their problems, and to mobilise them against those causes, instead of against their neighbours.

The issue in these elections is clear. Will they con us into tying ourselves back into EU political structures, thus undermining the Brexit vote? Or will we put another nail in the EU coffin with an active mass boycott?

I think that I know what most working-class people will choose.
BILL GREENSHIELDS
Derby

Robbing the elderly poor is an outrage

THE House of Lords committee on intergenerational fairness is calling for an end to benefits for the elderly, such as free TV licences, arguing that the “savings” should be spent on housing and training policies for the young in order to make society “fairer.”

This is being recommended by the heavily state-subsided Lords despite the fact that Britain has the lowest state pension in the developed world, at the bottom of the league of the 37 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries.

It has been estimated that 1.6 million elderly people live in poverty in Britain, of which 900,000 are in severe poverty.

That is part of general poverty in Britain.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has calculated that a total of 14 million people — more than one in five of the population — are living in severe poverty. Last year, the Trussell Trust foodbank network gave out a record 1.6 million emergency food parcels, with more than 500,000 going to children.

Meanwhile, the rich have never had it so good. Last year, the Equality Trust found that Britain’s richest 1,000 people had increased their wealth by £274 billion between 2013 and 2018 and now possess a total of a least £724bn between them.

By contrast, the poorest 40 per cent of the population have a combined wealth of £567bn.

So never mind robbing the elderly to spend on the young, let’s tax the rich properly, preventing them from evading and avoiding their taxes, and spend the collected revenue on everyone else, young and old alike, to make society truly fairer.
SASHA SIMIC
London N16

Repairs and tackling poverty aren’t zero sum

WE FIND it difficult to understand Tim Mickleburgh’s thinking (M Star April 23).

For people in poverty, life is a matter of getting enough to eat and managing to the next day.

For many of us, life is a matter of compromises. It’s not all black and white, either this or that.

Tim is not alone in his attitude to the Notre Dame fire.

Of course “people matter more than objects,” but do Tim and others really think that we should not spend money on repairing any building, road, railway or airport until poverty and homelessness have been eliminated?
CHRIS & BETTY BIRCH
London SW6

Salute to the hero Geoffrey Servante

THE PASSING of Geoffrey Servante, the last known British-born International Brigades veteran, marks the end of an era.

I went up to the International Brigades Memorial on London’s South Bank and laid a wreath in memory of the last survivor of one of the most noble episodes of British working-class solidarity.

He was, like all the other Brigadistas, both history and legend and will always be remembered as such.

We must ensure, however, that the legacy of the men and women who went to Spain to fight fascism in 1936-39 is continued in the fight against today’s fascists of the vicious Democratic Football Lads Alliance and the odious Tommy Robinson. No pasaran!
PHIL BRAND
London SW17

No knives, but all hail to the atomic threat

WHAT hypocrites our polticians are when they tell young people it is wrong to carry knives and guns.

One of them has thought up the utter madness of holding a thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey for our dreadful possession of nuclear weapons — weapons that could murder millions of people and destroy the planet.

How can the Dean of Westminster allow this to happen? Trident submarines at Faslane are a threat to everyone of us.
The dean is not giving thanks in my name.
JOAN MEREDITH
Malpas, Cheshire

Poor excuse for avoiding Eurovision boycott

STEPHEN Fry and co oppose a boycott of Eurovision in Israel because it has a “spirit of togetherness.” Music does bring people together. So does sport. Does he believe it was wrong to boycott apartheid-era South African rugby?
BRENDAN O’BRIEN
London N21

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