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A leader for leavers and remainers?

by Frank Schnittger Wed Dec 11th, 2019 at 01:23:19 AM EST

Letter to the Editor published in the Irish Times.

A leader for leavers and remainers?

A chara, - Fintan O'Toole buys into the media propagated myth that Jeremy Corbyn is some sort of far-out radical lefty who wants to revolutionise UK society (Weekend Review, December 7th).

But Corbyn gained this reputation for opposing imperialism, Apartheid, and the Iraq invasion; and supporting LGBT rights, a united Ireland, and radical measures to combat climate change before it was either fashionable or mainstream in UK politics to do so.

What were once radical positions are now mainstream, and since his election as leader of the Labour Party, Corbyn has consistently adopted mainstream, centrist and even establishment positions.

He campaigned for remain in the 2016 referendum, he accepted the result as democratically binding, and he tried to keep both leavers and remainers on board within the Labour Party by adopting a "soft" Brexit policy whereby the UK would retain a close economic relationship with the EU while ending the political union.

It wasn't Corbyn who said f**k business, starve the Irish into submission, Muslims are bank-robbers and letterboxes, the EU is the new Soviet Union, or the Brexit negotiations would be the easiest trade negotiation of all time; and yet he is the extremist with a limited grasp of reality?

His domestic policies are aimed at reversing years of Tory austerity policies which have resulted in inequality, poverty, and deprivation unprecedented in modern times. If it was possible to fund decent health, educational and public housing policies in highly indebted post-war 1950s Britain, why is that such a radical idea now?

Corbyn may or may not lose Thursday's election, but if he does it will be due in large measure to the success of the oligarch-owned UK media in demonising him, with supposedly "enlightened" commentators such as Fintan O'Toole in tow.

Fintan O'Toole accuses him of being uninterested in power, but that is because he wants to restore power - and a decent quality of life - "to the many, not just the few".

At a time when the United Kingdom has never been so divided, is not a leader who tries to accommodate both leavers and remainers, unionists and nationalists, north and south not precisely what the UK needs right now? - Yours, etc,


So UKNs directly elect the PM now?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Dec 11th, 2019 at 01:53:18 AM EST
Technically no, but in practice UK elections are becoming increasingly "Presidential" where people vote for the local candidate of the party/party leader they like most. The often don't know the local candidate anyway - and who could be from somewhere else entirely.

This is in contrast to Ireland where most people still vote for the local candidate they like most, often despite their party affiliation or leader. Local candidates must almost invariably come from and live in the local constituency and be well known personally and do lots of advocacy work within local communities.

This is often decried as "clientalism" with people elected to high office for helping people with their welfare/housing/employment problems rather than for their knowledge or expertise as legislators or administrators of large government departments.

The Dail is therefore filled with large numbers of public facing professionals - teachers, publicans, solicitors, auctioneers - with few specialist legislative or management skills. That said, the system increases the connection between many people and the political process and reduces political alienation within the country as a whole.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 11th, 2019 at 11:32:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now, and since decades ago. Given the established convention that the PM is the leader of the party in the Commons that is capable of passing legislation and of governing, the focus of general elections is on party leaders. Some voters vote on local or single-issue grounds, but most are voting first and foremost for the next PM.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Dec 11th, 2019 at 02:45:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very good letter, Frank. Any reactions to it?

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Dec 11th, 2019 at 02:33:35 PM EST
No not yet. I suspect the IT may publish a countervailing letter drawing attention to Corbyn's Euroscepticism or alleged anti-Semitism - neither of which is relevant in this election, in my view. But if you are a right-winger, any excuse will do.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 11th, 2019 at 03:39:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As opposed to Reese-Mogg's antisemitism, which can't be mentioned, of course.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Dec 11th, 2019 at 03:42:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Moving the goalposts on definition of anti-semitism ... see my comment today on stifling debate on University campus and the I-P discussion. Search education and Betsy DeVos ... worthless!

Already too much has been written to criticize leftist parties in the Western World by a well-funded campaign with unfoundef allegations anti-Israel and being for a Palestinian independent State. I myself have been quite active to write on this topic ... and will keep om doing so.

Search EuroTrib anti-semitic.

by Oui on Wed Dec 11th, 2019 at 03:55:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's quite shameful the way far right Zionists have tried to leverage the Holocaust to stifle all criticism of Israeli policies as being, by definition, anti-Semitic. Given that Palestinians are a Semitic people as well, Zionists have tried to corner the market in anti-Semitism and effectively turned Palestinians into a non-people, or Untermenschen, if you want to be really provocative.

As the Nazi generations have died away, accusations of anti-Semitism have lost their force and now only serve to undermine any sympathy or respect people might have had for the Israeli state. I wouldn't be surprised if accusations of Anti-Semitism actually help Corbyn electorally at this stage, although he wouldn't want that sort of support at all and would be too embarrassed to acknowledge it.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 11th, 2019 at 05:36:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent letter, I wholly endorse the sentiment

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Dec 11th, 2019 at 06:34:18 PM EST

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