From David Tut
Sunday, 28 May 2017
I would like to hear from our local Labour followers their views on the past behaviour of the Labour leader regarding his involvement with the IRA, CND and why I should consider voting for this man to run to lead this country through terrible and uncertain times of home grown terrorism and world nuclear threat, ie, North Korea and yes the USA?
From Mick Piggott
Sunday, 28 May 2017
David, Tony Blair, other Labour ministers when in power, Tory ministers - have all had talks with the IRA. It's called 'negotiating with the enemy'. And yes, Corbyn was and is, sympathetic to the cause of Irish independence and Irish national unity (as we all should be). He is also on record as condemning terrorism.
Jeremy Corbyn could well be the most honest, principled and decent man in mainstream party politics. And just remember: if you vote Labour in the first instance you are voting for your local candidate, Josh Fenton-Glynn. Have you spoken with him? Find out if he is a candidate you would vote for, before you throw away a vote on anyone else that would let the Tory back in. Yet again ...
From David Tut
Monday, 29 May 2017
Thanks Mick for your reply to my letter regarding Jeremy Corbyn. Well, it's good to talk, but talking and supporting are two different matters, and now the interviews recently on TV with Jeremy and Dianne Abbot I'm sorry to say that the future safety and security of my country leaves me in no doubt where my vote will be going, but that's the beauty of living in a free and democratic country.
From Graeme K
Monday, 29 May 2017
I'm not a Labour 'follower' but I will comment on David Tut's question. Being 'from' Northern Ireland myself (my parents were from Belfast, I lived there until I was 11), I was always interested in its politics and history. As a young man I went to several conferences on the issue in London in the 1980s, where I had the opportunity to engage Jeremy Corbyn directly on the issue.
At that time I was frustrated that so many on the British left had a romantic idea of 'Irish freedom' and basically identified with the PIRA narrative of 'resistance to British oppression'. I tried to put it to him that the real issue was the division in Northern Irish society itself, that there were working class people on both sides of that divide and that the only solution to the troubles would be based on recognising that reality and trying to achieve reconciliation at community level rather than blaming British 'imperialism' for all the problems in the world.
He argued that there were glaring injustices in Northern Ireland faced disproportionately by Catholics. As I remember it, he presented a Marxist analysis, according to which removing the 'British presence' would undermine the privileges of the Protestant community, after which they would 'come round' to recognising their Irishness and embrace their role in the new socialist Ireland.
Memory is obviously unreliable after all these years but I remember feeling distinctly unimpressed by the argument. What did impress me, though, was Corbyn's manner. He spoke to me in the foyer after the event and, especially considering that I was a pretty antagonistic critic, he was generous with his time and, as many have said of him, very polite. Since then I've always thought of him as someone I disagree with, quite passionately at times, but who made a positive impression nonetheless.
What does it mean to say that someone 'supports' or 'supported' the IRA? I was annoyed by his association with Sinn Fein and his analysis was too close to theirs. But I never got the faintest suggestion from Corbyn that he approved of violence. He tried to be even-handed in repudiating violence from wherever it came, including the British state. Is there anyone who doesn't think Bloody Sunday was a terrible atrocity, or that it contributed to the development of the NI troubles?
Corbyn's account of his own past seems to me broadly correct: he looked for peace; was willing to speak to people to get it (including Ian Paisley), and didn't 'support' violence. I disagreed with his analysis but he was no supporter of terrorism.
I definitely don't agree with everything Corbyn has ever said. But one of the things he seems to believe in is the positive value of disagreement: calm, reasonable debate is essential to democracy. The main threat British democracy faces at the moment comes from those who would close down discussion and have us vote from fear. Corbyn's suggestion, as I understand it, is that we should be brave, stick together and reach out to allies in the world to try and achieve peace through diplomatic means, only using violence as a last resort. Coming from Northern Ireland, that makes a lot of sense to me.
From Pedro de Wit
Monday, 29 May 2017
The problem with Corbyn is not only that he has a view on foreign policy that is the opposite to what most people in the UK think but even more so that he can't shut up about it. Asked about Falklands he says he wants to negotiate with the Argentinians. Asked about Gibraltar he said he is open to talks with the Spanish. Asked about Venezuela he praised former president Hugo Chavez. We can go on and on... The same can be said about his contacts with terrorist movements and his attempts to justify some of his past actions. Corbyn is out of step with public opinion. It is fine saying you want to establish a dialogue if you are the leader of an action group but being PM is a completely different ball game. The public needs to be convinced that UK interests are his number 1 priority, that he is capable of representing the UK on the world stage and that he will always defend our country. For all the current hype I don't think the majority of people is convinced about that.
From Mark H
Tuesday, 30 May 2017
Would you sooner we fought 'the Argies' again or talked to them about the future of the Falklands?
In or out of Europe, why would we not talk with the Spanish about the future of Gibraltar (imagine if the Spanish Armada had taken Weymouth and Portland Bill...)?
I'm not sure how 'out of step with public opinion' Jeremy Corbyn may be; what I am sure of is that by stating his intention to hold such talks rather than carry on the same old same old he is inviting me to revisit my own political standpoint.
Please, read through manifestos thoroughly before deciding which box deserves your X on Polling Day.
Before anything else though, just have a quick look online - I'll not presume to send you any particular link - at American companies who would jump at the chance to bid for NHS contracts.
Now look at yourself, your children, nephews, nieces, grandchildren; your best friends or colleagues, and consider whether your or their their future health will be better served by these companies than by a proper NHS.
How much will an appendectomy cost you in the UK now?
How much would it cost in Trumpton?
How about long term treatment?
Have you got a well-paid job and up-to-date medical insurance?
I only ask you to stand away from your own political standpoint long enough to make your own mind up.
If you'll excuse me, I think you overstep the mark to make statements about 'public opinion'. You are welcome to make statements about your opinion, but no more.
From Graham Barker
Tuesday, 30 May 2017
Corbyn is obviously a very Marmite figure. Speaking entirely personally, all I see is a man who in a 30-plus year parliamentary career has objected to everything and taken responsibility for nothing. He’s regarded as having been right on key issues but maybe only in the sense that a stopped clock is right twice a day. In the recent council elections he was like the worst of the WW1 generals - oblivious to his own shortcomings and happy to send droves of perfectly good Labour councillors to their political slaughter.
As Pedro correctly points out, it’s fine to offer bags of socialist motherhood and apple pie but being Prime Minister is indeed a totally different ball game. Just to take Argentina as an example: the Argentinians deliberately put the UK in a position that couldn’t be sorted out with a nice chat over a cup of tea. Military action was the only way of resolving it that wouldn’t have left the UK pretty much finished as a force to be reckoned wth.
Had Jeremy Corbyn been PM at the time he’d have either had to behave broadly as Margaret Thatcher did, or lose not just the Falklands but also much of our status in the world. We can each pick a moral position on all that, but we would have paid an enormous price in international influence and national morale.
The fatal contradiction of Jeremy Corbyn for me is that for someone who believes in ‘peaceful’ negotiation as the only solution to everything, he seems dreadfully inflexible in a very turbulent world.
From George Murphy
Tuesday, 30 May 2017
The ironic aspect of the debate about the Falklands is that the Thatcher government withdrew a defence vessel from the Falklands and left it open to attack by the military junta. I remember hearing David Owen asking for reassurance in Parliament about this before the invasion. Michael Foot supported the recovery of the island from the fascist regime and the Opposition was muted during the conflict. However the Tories, with the help of a friendly press, could then seize the narrative. The retaking of the islands was regarded as Thatcher's finest hour despite the terrible loss of life and her mistake in the lead up to the invasion.
I doubt if the Falklands War will feature large in people's voting intentions, but Corbyn checking his figures on his iPad (rather than on a slip of paper) can be spun as more important than the actual Labour policy on child care.
From Pedro de Wit
Friday, 2 June 2017
Mark, I want to clear up some points regarding Falklands and Gibraltar.
Firstly the people of the Falklands overwhelmingly want to stay part of the UK and secondly the Falklands were never part of Argentinia. Therefore there are no grounds for negotiations.
In Gibraltar the people also chose to stay with the UK. Furthermore Spain has two enclaves in North Africa. I have never heard the Spanish talk about handing those back to Marocco.
Although it will not feature much in this election Corbyn's views on the Falklands and Gibraltar show an attitude that does not bear well when it comes to defending British interests. A weak stance doesn't prevent conflict but invites conflict in my opinion.
With regards to the NHS it is misleading to suggest that the choice is either NHS or Trumpton. The NHS is a unique system. In mainland Europe there are no countries with a NHS. What you have are insurance based systems. In many of those countries private companies and governments cooperate and premiums are generally based on income, family size and health condition.
These insurance based systems are not necessary cheaper but have the advantage that they are better able to cope with increasing demand. More patients means more premium payers and input from private companies enables them to generate money from other sources than premiums and taxes.
I am very happy with the service that me and my family receive from the NHS. However I suggest that you step away from the idea that the NHS is the Rolls Royce of health care systems. The NHS is very good and the staff is excellent but there are alternatives. If you show me a healthcare related stat that has the NHS on number one I might change my mind, but for now I think it is better to be open minded. It is a big world out there and the choice is not only between NHS or Trumpton.
Regarding Corbyn I very much agree with Graham. Corbyn has been on the fringe of the Labour party for 30 years and never had any role of importance other than MP. Therefore he seems unqualified to be PM and lead the negotiations with the EU.
Everyone who bought a car knows that you need to be prepared to walk away to get the best deal. Telling a salesman that you buy before you talked about the price gets you a bad deal. So I suggest we send Corbyn out to buy an Astra before we let him loose on negotiating the future of our country.
From Jonathan Timbers
Saturday, 3 June 2017
I find it extraordinary that this discussion is focusing on Corbyn’s positions on the Falklands 35 years ago.
Currently, we have a Prime Minister who has U turned on most of her basic policy positions:
- on the EU, she has flip-flopped from remain to hard Brexit
- on social care, she has caved in on placing a cap on her dementia tax
- on energy, she has embraced a former Labour policy which she previously described as Marxist
- on company law, she has flip-flopped on workers on boards, saying yes, no and then yes again.
For the last year, she’s talked and talked about an industrial strategy but as yet has failed to provide a single concrete proposal. Her economic policies have been attacked not only on the left but on the centre and right as well: the Economist advises people not to vote Tory at this election and the Adam Smith Institute has derided her manifesto, even going so far as to compare it unfavourably with the Labour Party one.
This is unprecedented.
She is not only weak and incapable of appearing in open debate but also entirely vacuous. Angela Merkel will have her for breakfast, lunch and dinner
Neither Boris Johnson nor Liam Fox has the ability to make up for her weaknesses. Of the main Brexit team, only David Davies has any credible standing and clear ability. In terms of immigration, she only has the half-hearted support of the more economically literate parts of her party.
In contrast, Corbyn’s take on immigration – which is at the heart of people’s concerns – is coherent and in the national interest. He will stop the wholesale importation of cheap labour whilst ensuring that we continue to attract the best international talent and fill skill shortages, so that the UK remains a good place for investment.
I will be voting for the party which offers my family future not the one which is currently flushing the country down the toilet.
From David Thompson
Sunday, 4 June 2017
Jonathan has produced an astute and elegant summation. What more can I say? I will be voting for a future too.
From George Murphy
Monday, 5 June 2017
Labour needs to challenge the dominant narrative to win over the Electorate. The banks crashed the global economy in 2008 and were bailed out by the Labour government with the eventual support of the Tories. However, George Osborne rewrote that history and the dominant story became: Brown went on a spending spree and that caused the crash.
Although most economists back Labour's version of this story, people have now lost confidence in an expansionist approach. Meanwhile, the younger generation have lost out on free education, the ability to get onto the housing ladder and generous welfare support that we took for granted.
Because Theresa May has fled the field, taken the electorate for granted and tried to win by sound bites, Labour have been able to put forward a more coherent argument during this campaign. Corbyn has had to deal with a lot of personal baggage, but alternative arguments on foreign policy and domestic security are getting a hearing. His team have been brave in putting forward a socialist manifesto that has proved popular.
The Prime Minister has acted with a sense of entitlement throughout.
From Jo Bibby
Sunday, 11 June 2017
Pedro de Wit asked for any healthcare statistics that put the NHS at the top. He will find that the NHS is ranked top overall in a table of 11 high income countries- and ranked 1st in 8 of the individual indicators used by the independent Commonwealth Fund to compare healthcare systems (2014 data). See table 1 on page 7 of the report here
The NHS is top in patient safety, effectiveness, person centered care, coordination of care indicators- plus others.
Interestingly, UK ranks 10th on 'health lives' - beaten to the bottom spot by the US. This indicators reflects the fact that people's overall health status (how long they live and how long they live in good health) is shaped more by their living conditions as determined by housing, working conditions, environment etc than quality of the healthcare system they access. This is shown in the Marmot review, Fair Society, Healthy Lives, published by the Brown govt in 2010 and then sadly lost from the agenda by the coalition govt. See here
Taken together this points to the importance of both maintaining the quality of our current healthcare system and making the necessary and urgently needed investment in the factors that shape our overall health- eliminating poverty, improving housing and working conditions, supporting children to get the best start in life etc.
Hope this is helpful.