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Letters: May 7, 2019

EU’s farming puts creatures in peril

GRETA THUNBERG and those participating in the Extinction Rebellion, including the millions of striking schoolchildren, base their protest on the incontrovertible scientific fact that anthropogenic global warming and its associated climate change is taking place.

Another scientific fact is that the European Union’s common agricultural policy (CAP) has influenced Britain’s farming methods and is the cause of the continuing decimation of many of our insects and birds. 
This is acknowledged by the near-unanimous consensus of naturalists and scientists. CAP is an integral part of the EU, and it is pie-in-the-sky to believe it will be modified under the present setup. 

But this immediate crisis caused by the EU policy can be dealt with by the British people now if we pursue Brexit.

The tragedy for the birds and insects is that we have MPs who glory in having their grinning picture taken with Greta but continue to give near-manic speeches in the House in support of Britain remaining in the EU.

Often it is impossible to win over the irrational with rational argument.

Perhaps this is why the Remainer argument seems to be better countered by the likes of Nigel Farage than by the Communist Party’s explanation that the EU has an economic, political and legal structure for the benefit of finance capitalism. 

The Extinction Rebellion is based on sound science; sadly, when it comes to the EU many appear to be more transcendental than scientific. 
BRYN ROWLANDS
Malmesbury

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‘SNP is no longer fit for purpose’

I HAVE to take issue with your interpretation of events at the SNP’s spring conference (Sturgeon defeated over
separate currency call, M Star April 29).

The debate that took place on the Growth Commission Report (GCR) was very far from being a defeat for the leadership or a victory of any sort for the left, as your editorial and Conrad Landin’s article suggest.

Indeed from a left-wing point of view the debate was an unmitigated disaster that saw the SNP adopt the neoliberal GCR virtually unchallenged, exactly as the party hierarchy wanted.

The debate on the currency was a sideshow, the real issue at stake was whether the leadership would be able to get the GCR approved. In this they were completely successful.

This has now completed the transformation of the SNP into yet another Wall Street Party dedicated to promoting the interests of international finance and big business.

The Scottish people have been abandoned by a party whose economic policies, now based on the GCR, will condemn them to years of austerity with all the cuts to public services, low wages and insecure employment that go with it.

There is no longer any place in the SNP for anyone who is remotely on the left.

No socialist or progressive of any kind can support the economic platform laid down by the GCR.

Those of us on the left who support the cause of self-determination will have to look elsewhere: the SNP is no longer fit for purpose.

In Ireland the right-wing leaders of the national movement waited until they held negotiations with the British state before betraying the Irish people.

The SNP leadership haven’t even waited for a successful referendum result, never mind negotiations.
ANDREW FERGUSON
(former SNP branch chair)
Inverness

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Apology required for slaughter in Amritsar

FURTHER to Bernie Evans’s letter (M Star April 24) about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre 100 years ago in Amritsar, the death toll was more than 1,200, not 279, the official figure given by India’s imperial rulers.

Financial implications were mentioned by Theresa May in the House of Commons as the reason for refusing a formal apology. When it comes to the British Establishment paying members of its own class, there is no shame or financial implications.

The government paid out £20 million to compensate some 3,000 families for the loss of their “property” when slave ownership was abolished in Britain’s colonies in 1833.

This figure represented a staggering 40 per cent of the Treasury’s annual Budget and, in today’s terms, calculated as wage values, equates to about £16.5 billion.

A lot of information is available to show how the rich and powerful, including our former prime minister David Cameron, inherited and enjoyed the fruits of their imperial past.

We the taxpayers only finished paying for the slave trade in 2015. It makes you angry that even descendants of slaves were paying for the freedom of their slave ancestors.

We must keep up the pressure for a formal apology from the serving British PM for the sake of justice to the families and the people who still feel the pains of atrocities.
DYAL BAGRI
Leicester

Maxine and Peggy made my May Day

THE report (M Star May 1) that activist actor Maxine Peake, who I met at Tony Benn’s funeral in 2014, has become an ambassador for the Morning Star gave my May Day a great start, as did Peter Lazenby’s interview with folk legend Peggy Seeger, whose signed 70th birthday album, recorded at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, has an honoured place in my CD collection.

Back in the early 1960s I was a cub reporter on the local newspaper in Beckenham, where Peggy and Ewan MacColl planned their contributions to BBC producer Charles Parker’s celebrated Radio Ballads, which told the stories of working-class lives. 

I remember covering one of their gigs in the Old Council Hall, which also featured another fine folk singer, Jim Radford.

Most Saturdays he would be moved on by the police as he walked along the High Street with his CND banner and leaflets.
Jim,  who witnessed the D-Day landings as a 15-year-old cabin boy on a deep sea tug, is now 91.

I hope he will be able to reprise his song The Shores of Normandy during next month’s 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord.

He moved many to tears when he sang it during the commemorations five years ago and three recordings can be found on YouTube.
DAVID SAVAGE
South Ockendon, Essex

Sex work is not a lifestyle choice

I APPLAUD the courageous work of Renee and Chelsea in New Zealand, as reported in Jo Bartosch’s feature (M Star April 26), to expose decriminalisation of prostitution in New Zealand and the erroneous ideology of “sex work is work.”

The interviewees make clear that prostitution is driven by poverty and is not some kind of “lifestyle choice.”

Renee and Chelsea advocate the Nordic model, that decriminalises the prostitute while retaining criminal penalties for the buyers of sex.

If readers would like to find out more, I would recommend Feminist Current, an online blog and podcast set up in 2012 by women in Vancouver.

It includes interviews with four women who took part in February’s Women of Colour against the Sex Trade conference in London.

The interviewees show the links between race and class and support Renee and Chelsea’s argument in favour of the Nordic model.

On a related topic, I would like to draw readers’ attention to the recent Declaration on Women’s Sex-based Rights, which was launched in New York on March 15 (www.womensdeclaration.com/summary).

The declaration “is a clear call to law and policymakers to retain the sex-based biological definition of woman.”
PAULINE FRASER
Worthing

We’re clear on boycott of European elections

THE Socialist Labour Party has repeatedly made clear it will not stand any candidates in the European elections or support any party, organisation or individual standing in these elections. 

Participation in these elections is in breach of the democratic vote of the British people in 2016.

The SLP’s position was clear long before that of the Communist Party of Britain and/or the Morning Star, or any other body or individual still confused.

We will never have a fair, democratic electoral system in Britain until we introduce a system based on proportional representation: a principle which was a cornerstone of the Labour Representation Committee in 1900. 

The French government has just conceded it will introduce democratic proportional representation for all elections, and Britain must be pressured to do the same.
ARTHUR SCARGILL 
(Socialist Labour Party leader)

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