Category Archives: Jeremy Corbyn

Ed Sykes: Jeremy Corbyn has dedicated his life to serving the poor and vulnerable, not the Bullingdon Club, money-lenders or the kings and princes of this world

Before the general election, Ed Sykes wrote in The Canary about his support for Jeremy Corbyn – a peaceprize winner who has put people and planet at the heart of his election campaign. Ed doesn’t usually speak about his upbringing, because his identity first and foremost is as a human being who wants peace. And he believes that protecting people and the planet is key to obtaining peace.

He now feels it’s his duty as a Christian to say ‘I believe 100% that voting for Corbyn’s Labour is vital’ because he believes Corbyn’s values are about as close to the values of Christianity (and all mainstream religions) as can be found in British politics today. Like progressives of all faiths and none he has been forced to speak out and defend Corbyn because people who oppose the Labour leader have weaponised religion in an attempt to attack him. He continues:

“Corbyn is a veteran anti-racist who has not only taken firm and consistent action against racism as Labour leader but has also spent his life opposing antisemitism and other forms of discrimination. Boris Johnson and his Conservative party, meanwhile, have not. Yet elitist figures in certain religious institutions have tried to convince voters that the opposite is true. And the Church of England’s archbishop of Canterbury recently made me sick by essentially backing anti-Corbyn smears”.

One phrase from Jesus that resonates most with Sykes personally is “blessed are the peacemakers”. Coming up to Christmas, he writes, it would seem absurd for Christians not to vote for Corbyn – a man of peace who stands up for the poorest and most vulnerable people in society. As leading Christian magazine Premier Christianity wrote in 2017, Corbyn is:

a man with a genuine concern for the poor and a genuine passion for peace. … He talks to his enemies, he doesn’t want to kill them. As a Christian, I see very little of that from politicians and I like it very much. … He cares about the poor… He’s dedicated his life to serving them, not the Bullingdon Club, not the money-lenders or the kings and princes of this world.

Sykes quotes Corbyn’s words and comments: “In short, it would be very easy to argue that Jesus was a socialist”:

I meet Christians and others of all faiths and none on a daily basis who share and live these ideals. People who give their time for others – whether those running food banks, protecting the vulnerable, looking after the sick, the elderly, and… our young people. That spirit of respect for each other, peace, and equality is one we can all share . . .

We hear painful stories every day, of homelessness, poverty, or crisis in our health service – or across the world, of the devastating consequences of war and conflict, including millions forced to become refugees… We need to respond to these problems head-on, through action and support for social justice, peace and reconciliation. These principles are at the heart of Christianity . . . At a time of growing conflict, that message of peace could not have more urgency throughout the world.

Jesus also loathed the corruption of religious institutions, overturning tables of money in an act of resistance. . He spoke of sharing wealth so that no one had to suffer. And that’s Corbyn’s message too. And other Christian teachings include:

  • “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”.
  • “The one who has two shirts must sharewith someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same”.

Ed Sykes asserts that a vote for Corbyn should have been ‘a no-brainer’ for those who believe in principles like compassion, social justice, and peace – whether they are religious or not.

 

 

 

 

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How can we bring about change that will irrevocably transfer power back into the hands of the many?

Mervyn Hyde writes: “I feel that in order to get to the heart of our struggle we need to highlight where power lies and the tools by which the powerful maintain their interests”.

If we are to convince people that there is such a thing as a better life, we have to inform them of the past and how things have to come to pass – from the first world war to the present day

It should of course be obvious that neoliberalism is the main tool that took hold in the early 1970s; the other tools are the institutions and language used to propagate the messages that sustain the whole system.

An American description:

Prior to the 1970s a pre-war dispute raged between Friedrich Von Hayek and John Maynard Keynes as to what economic values best served people’s interests. Naturally Keynes won the argument and his policies were broadly implemented post the Wall Street crash and the last world war; they created growth and an expansion of living standards never seen before.

Neoliberalism requires:

  • Greater openness to international trade and investment;
  • total freedom of movement for capital, goods and services;
  • de-unionisation of workers, lowering of wages and working conditions;
  • cutting public expenditure for social services like education and health care;
  • reducing the welfare safety-net;
  • eliminating the concept of “the public good” and replacing it with “individual responsibility”;
  • increasing government subsidies and tax benefits for business;
  • reducing government regulation of everything that could diminish profits;
  • selling state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors.

“The Golden Age of Capitalism”

Then in the 1970s Milton Friedman (part of the Mont Perelin society of which Hayek was also a member) persuaded us that freedom of expression could only be achieved through free markets, privatisation and deregulation – the main pillars of neoliberalism.

Using crises created by the corporate sector or by political events as outlined in Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine”, they redrew the political consensus that had existed since the war. This process has been in continual flux up to the present day but moving ever forward to return all public property and services into the private sector – aided by politicians, political institutions “Think Tanks” and Lobbyists.

The reasons for their success have been the coordination of all the instruments of state, a corrupt media and stage-managed attacks on working people’s support systems.

This document drawn up by Nicholas Ridley in 1977 shows the kind of planning the Tories drew up long before trade unions ever dreamt of such attacks.

The key proposals are in the confidential annex, showing how they break the power of the unions in order to privatise the nationalised industries.

Following this and the advent of the Thatcher era, the Labour Party had been either infiltrated or through our universities – MPs began to accept greater degrees of private intervention and took neoliberal doctrines as read into the future.

Whilst outwardly objecting to the harsh nature of Thatcherism as it was then known, more and more Labour politicians have become wedded to it. Even today over 100 Labour MPs are still committed neoliberals although would never admit it.

Margaret Thatcher and her chancellor Sir Geoffrey Howe were behind a politically toxic plan in 1982 to dismantle the welfare state, Margaret Thatcher’s secret 1982 cabinet papers “the longer term options” released in 2012 are reported to have caused consternation amongst her colleagues and she later disowned them.

Mervyn Hyde adds, “The actual archive link can be found here, noting that it is viewed through archive viewer, so you have to click on where it says Image viewer” – but as yet the writer has failed to see them.

Until now this has been the general trajectory, in essence neoliberal politicians of all colours have collaborated to achieve the same ends, a transfer of power and wealth to the corporate sector.

From here on, what do we have to recognise in order to bring about change that will irrevocably transfer that power back into the hands of the many?

The last election could be described as a text book analogy revealing how, over the last three years, established sources combined to defeat the one and only enemy they have – socialism. Using a fabricated crisis and the perfect divisive outcome of the referendum, they were able to manipulate just enough people and confuse the rest, whilst weakening support for the Labour Party from within. The elements brought to bear to achieve this were: racism, ignorance, and apathy, aided by a complicit media that feeds prejudice and hate as well as confusing information.

Neoliberal doctrine has successfully divided the nation into fragmented parts, creating an illusion that this is how life really is. People have over the last forty years grown to accept the conditions two-thirds of us now see as normal – roughly one-third being dedicated to opposing the illusion.

For this minority ever to break out of the cordon set up by the establishment, they must recognise that those within our movement have to be challenged, as well as those outside it. That means challenging these orthodoxies:

  • we can’t afford our public services,
  • private enterprise is efficient and will increase the well-being of people,
  • competition is no longer relevant,
  • deregulation brought about the financial crash
  • and the myth that we need rich people and financiers to provide us with wealth to sustain our life style

Apart from the media and its influence we also have to recognise that a lot of people seem not to care about anything except their own interests and it will require substantial efforts to break them out of their mould. When told that the NHS is being dismantled, their eyes glaze over – some would even say ‘oh well it needs changing anyway’ without the slightest knowledge of what they were talking about. Hyde calls this a form of blind faith that either they won’t suffer from these changes or they just won’t happen and things will go on as they have done; he points out that the reality is that the agenda will roll on and possibly over them.

The way to break out of this from his point of view is to challenge power at its source, be that the media or government and change the way members of the party think essentially through educating them.

Rebuild our manufacturing base via public investment, which would make our economy much more stable

1982

Again through general ignorance lots of good people in the Labour party are oblivious to Britain’s real economic position. Some have socialist beliefs on how they can transform our well-being, but they still don’t understand that Britain’s position is unique in Europe, due to the fact we have our own currency and as such can spend directly into our economy, without the need to raise taxation, which would be used as a regulator of the economy.

What this also means is that we do not have to rely on trade to raise income, since Margaret Thatcher dismantled our manufacturing base we are a net importer of other countries finished goods, we could therefore rebuild it via public investment, which would make our economy much more stable and even export some of what we produced. Doing nothing as we are is financially unstable (Ed: also socially damaging).

This video of Professor Costas Lapavitsas (above, SOAS) breaks the EU illusion held by lots of Labour supporters, by describing in detail why getting out of Europe is essential. But after seeing the video readers may also find that we are not likely to get a genuine settlement no matter how hard we try.

Fundamentally the countries in Europe (Eurozone) can only spend into their economies by raising Euros through trade, this causes huge disparity among EU members especially those in the south, and the only real winner in this is Germany with its massive manufacturing base. This creates such an imbalance of trade and power that it can’t theoretically survive unless changes are made, like becoming a federation of states subsidised by the European Central bank, which breaks all the neoliberal trade rules they have put in place. This graph clearly describes the fundamental imbalance that currently exists:

https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?oldid=452727

Hyde sees a need to challenge the perception of Labour Party members that somehow Europe is some sort of economic Utopia that will defend our interests and feels that due to the problems facing Europe, sooner or later the whole pack of cards will fall in.

In addition to the economic problems facing Europe fascism is on the rise. Germany is still the richest country in Europe with massive trade surpluses, yet it has consistently produced right of centre governments and coalitions. As in England the left suffered defeats even though wages and living standards were falling under right wing regimes –  due of course as here to the perception that the neo-liberal centrist politicians were no better than their counterpart conservatives. Since the war the predominant party coalitions have been centre right. So Hyde feels it would be better to concentrate on attacking the establishment and describing how Britain, with its unique position, can effect change more rapidly than any other.

Within our ranks we have neoliberal MPs dedicated to undermining any socialist advances

He continues:

“When Blair first took office as prime minister, I attended one of his members’ forums in Reading, and after he gave his speech, a member asked the question, “where was the socialism in his speech” and Blair replied, “socialism is dead”. Judging from some of his old front benchers and their comments over the years I have no doubt they hold the same views and won’t ever change. the Lisa Nandys of this world etc. Our messages have been stifled and diversions such as anti-semitism have been created and not adequately rebuffed; hence we now need a voice strong enough to call out the lies and deceit in the media.

“This is not a full explanation of the need to change perceptions about our economy and relationship with Europe, there are a number of academics that highlight just how bad Europe is and how progressive Britain could become with the right government in place, but trying to change Europe from within as explained by Costas is virtually impossible.

“Changing those perceptions and ridding the Labour Party of those who actively work against us is the priority. Identifying LibDems, New Labour, and the Tories as being the same is essential to growing support, which they are, although they would claim they are not as extreme as Johnson etc., the reality though is no different; they all have the same objectives, just faster or slower time- tables – in fact if you listen to them they all use the same language, which is the big give-away.

“We lost the last election for many reasons, some of which I have outlined here, Jeremy’s only fault as Ian Lavery said, was that he wouldn’t join Johnson in the gutter. Sadly our unsophisticated electorate didn’t comprehend his magnanimity and – if we are to cut through – we need to speak the language they understand, without of course getting in the gutter to do it”.

 

 

 

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The future for the planet is dire, with business-as-usual Neros fiddling on either side of the Atlantic

Dec 16-Jan 1st – two Gloucestershire correspondents reflect on the election results

Mervyn Hyde quietly predicted two things to himself after the Conservative victory on December 12 and his depressing predictions were confirmed. He has seen:

  • gloating triumphalism on the political right
  • the re-emergence of long rejected, nasty right-wing policies, like capital punishment and blood sports,
  • and the political right using the election result to claim that socialism is dead and buried, perpetuating a rabid neo-liberalism.

He reminds us that the opinion polls showed – when simply presented with the policies with no party label attached to them – Labour’s policies were very popular. And in the popular vote, yn’s Labour won more votes in 2019 than Miliband’s Labour achieved in 2015.

But despite these facts, commentariat propaganda proclaimed that Labour’s policies had been “firmly rejected” and that they had “the worst election defeat since 1935” – a “disaster”.

Hyde’s verdict: “Wrong, wrong and wrong”

The election result actually showed Remain and 2nd-referendum parties winning more votes than Leave parties – with the Tories only winning an overall majority because of our undemocratic voting system. For well over a year now, opinion polls have been confirming that we are now a Remain country by a comfortable majority – which is why Brexiteers were terrified of having another referendum. His conclusion: 

“Our antiquated voting system has to go. The election result actually showed Remain and 2nd-referendum parties winning more votes than Leave parties – with the Tories only winning an overall majority because of our undemocratic voting system . . . However I don’t believe that a form of PR would change the situation politically: the media has a massive influence and affects the outcome, whether under a PR or first-pass-the-post voting system”. 

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Richard House notes that the establishment commentariat is already hard at work creating a false narrative that the result is a rejection of socialism and Corbynism, rather a triumph for the brilliantly deployed self-preservation instincts of the ruling class and their control and manipulation of vast swathes of the population’s access to information.

Its carefully deployed narrative about Labour’s alleged “biggest defeat since 1935” has rapidly become a taken-for-granted “truth,” even in some Labour circles. But it’s a narrative hopelessly caught up in a first-past-the-post ideology — conveniently ignoring the fact that Jeremy Corbyn won more votes in 2019 than did Ed Miliband in 2015. Like Mervyn Hyde, House advocates a fair, proportional voting system, under which a Corbyn-led government would probably have been elected — albeit, perhaps, one held together by uneasy alliances. 

The narrative was at best hopelessly simplistic, and at worst mischievous or just plain wrong. In reality, he continues, the election was lost through a highly complex toxic cocktail which included:

  • the Brexit wild card,
  • an unforgivingly undemocratic first-past-the-post voting system
  • and an unprecedentedly vicious Establishment assault on Mr Corbyn’s Labour.

A relentless, ethics-free Tory machine awash with corporate money, played its populist hand well enough to get over the line using the fortune in their war chest, donated by the rich and the powerful. One arm of the propaganda assault was the Tories’ carefully targeted cold-calling of swing voters. Richard knows voters, for example, who were repeatedly rung up in the campaign and told that if they voted Labour, the country would have a communist government.

He fears that – because lies, deceit and unadulterated propaganda were imported into our electoral system to an unprecedented extent – democracy may well never recover and comments: “The relentless attacks on Jeremy Corbyn constituted the most vile character assassination campaign on anyone in British political history. Goebbels would have loved it”.

But, he adds, Labour made at least three major errors in this campaign

  • They didn’t wage a sustained exposure of the establishment media’s propaganda assault on them.
  • Labour spokespersons and MPs didn’t receive training on how to spot and deconstruct bias and embedded and concealed establishment narratives in media interviews, then “out” them in live interviews on the media (as Tony Benn famously and brilliantly used to do).
  • Labour didn’t include a commitment to a fair voting system in its manifesto. “old-politics” tribalism prevails in the party’s leadership, which seems to prefer a majority Tory government to introducing a fair voting system though that might mean we’d have to sacrifice the chance of ever again having a majority Labour government.

The ritual condemnation of Labour’s leadership by Labour’s centre-right – in its carefully choreographed attempt to drag the party back to being the capitalism-friendly party of old – and the far-right’s appalling, power-at-any-price behaviour, will generate a race to the ethical bottom. Once the “ethically disgraceful behaviour” genie is out of the bottle, the winner will be the party who tells the most effective lies, and who cheats more successfully.

And the wealthy establishment, corporations, right-wing tabloids, and four-fifths of the press owned and controlled by non-dom, non-tax-paying billionaires living overseas, will do anything and everything in order to destroy the possibility of a genuinely left-progressive political party being elected. Richard House ends:

“A demonstrably fair voting system has to be part of the package we put together for attacking neo-liberalism. The times we’re in couldn’t be more grave or dangerous: the future for the planet is now truly dire, with two business-as-usual Neros fiddling on either side of the Atlantic”.

 

 

 

 

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Listen to ‘the most loyal & cogent spokesperson for the Corbyn project’

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000cbg0

 

 

 

 

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A movement that is not going to disappear

The Watershed site was set up by and for people who supported Jeremy Corbyn’s bid for the Labour leadership and – when it was successful – believed that this could be a ‘watershed’ in Britain’s history.

The title was chosen by Lesley Docksey for that reason when the mailing list was asked for suggestions. Those who replied approved of the choice.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn, a man of peace, compassion and justice, was and is a watershed in British history – so this website will not be closed.  Once more we were guided by Lesley, who answered:

“Where will we go?  Already there is a feeling that we will reorganise, get back on our feet and somehow retrieve our relationship with the EU.  Yes, it needs reforming – most of Europe knows that and are working on it. I was going to conferences about that reform well before the 2016 referendum. It makes no sense to leave the biggest trading block there is, but Brexit has been led by ideology, not sense.

“People are talking more than ever about reforming politics, getting rid of first-past-the-post and having genuine proportional representation, taking Parliament well away from Westminster (Manchester is an option!) 

“We need citizens’ assemblies and bottom-up politics, we need politicians that put the country and its people and environment before any party, let alone personal interests.  We need politicians that work together, irrespective of ‘party’ loyalty. 

“I personally would like to see English politicians respecting the fact that the island of Britain has three distinct nations, and respecting the views of the Scots and Welsh instead of ignoring them.  How can you claim that you belong to the ‘United Kingdom’  when the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish are walked all over?  I love driving over the Welsh border and seeing the sign ‘Croeso y Cymru’.  I loved visiting Scotland and knowing I was in a different country.  So I would support turning the UK into a federation of small countries that work together for our combined good”.

The next futures thinking posted on this site will be by the FT editorial board and George Monbiot.

 

 

 

 

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A.C. Speed’s open letter to Jeremy Corbyn: ‘one of the most important politicians of a generation’

Your compassion for people has inspired millions to fight for those who need it the most

Jeremy Corbyn

I am truly disappointed by today’s election result. During your campaign, I honestly felt a little bit of hope that the British people would finally see the damage the Tories continue to unleash on this once beautiful nation. You are, without a doubt, the most honest, trustworthy and heartwarming politician I have ever had the pleasure to vote for. Your compassion for others is inspiring.

Not only am I amazed the Tories won, but it is also mind-blowing to think that they won by an historic majority. That so many members of the British public seem to think this self-serving elitist party would ever hold anything else but their own interests, and wallets, close to their hearts is, quite frankly, astonishing.

Whilst I awoke with anger towards the many that supported the few in this malicious campaign to smear you as some sort of anti-patriotic economic danger to the country, I can’t help but feel it is incredibly important, now more than ever, to replace that anger with compassion for all, the same compassion you have shown to small communities, the vulnerable, and those who have needed it most in recent years, not to mention the British public. This compassion, that everyone should embrace, is the only thing that will hold our country together.

It is unfortunate that even those who supported the Tories in the 2019 election will undoubtedly feel the cruel austere grip that this small group of the wealthy elite preside over us with. Despite our differences, we will also need to show them compassion if this country has even the slightest chance of mending the damage caused by Brexit, and this election.

The country has never been more divided than it is right now. Hate will only divide us further. I will never agree with a Tory, I will never support a Tory, however, I will do my best to support a fellow member of the British society, regardless of their political stance, if they are ever in need. This is your ethos, a community for all, and it’s an ethos we all need to embrace for the country to survive.

When people are in need, they can rely on the compassion of the British people. When Nurses, Teachers, Police, and Firefighters struggle to keep public services from breaking point due to underfunding, the British people will always rally behind them. This is, of course, no comfort when financial cuts continue to devastate these services, ultimately preparing them for privatisation. However, the compassion you have shown us all during your time as the leader of the Labour party, and you were an incredible leader, will inspire millions of us to keep fighting for what we believe is a just and fair society. Future generations will have you to thank for the continuing spirit of every single person that refuses to give up fighting for this country.

You will go down in history as one of the most important politicians of a generation.

Thank You, Mr Corbyn.

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Author: Senior Editor A.C. Speed, senior editor, published in Raw Music TV

Posted 13.12.2019

 

 

 

 

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Jeremy Corbyn: an accurate tribute from three proud sons

 

 

 

 

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Seen six days too late – Monbiot‘s reasons for electing Corbyn

(Ed: the man and the child)

As no transcript has been found, Monbiot’s message has been paraphrased. For the full video message click here.

George Monbiot (below left) opens by admitting that Jeremy Corbyn has flaws – as we all have – but as he travels the country his care for other people and his ability to connect with them can be clearly seen.

That should be the norm in our society, but it isn’t.

It’s quite exciting to think of someone like that becoming Prime Minister, governing on our behalf – because things could really change then.

But unfortunately we have a system that rewards people who are in it for themselves, the egotists, the psychopaths who don’t give a damn about anyone else. They want to take power and use it for aggrandising themselves.

They do favours for business when in office and when out of office they enrich themselves by passing through the revolving door between politics and money-making, becoming directors paid thousands for doing nothing.

This is their reward for selling their country down the river when in office.

It’s impossible to imagine Corbyn doing what Blair is doing: flying round the world, meeting tyrants and being paid for telling them how to look good in their dictatorship.

Monbiot cites psychological research reviewed in the Harvard Business Review, which found that as people acquire power in this way, they become less interested in other people and this separation is compounded as the only public services they share are the roads. Power is concentrated in this small group who buy their way out of public education and health.

When he looks at Dominic Raab and Priti Patel he sees people who should be looking out for others but who don’t appear to care about the harm they are doing – psychopaths. If these people are re-elected, we are facing a dangerous situation: if Boris Johnson wins, so do the hedge funds, big banks and offshore capital.

Monbiot ends by stating that if Corbyn wins we as a nation win. If Johnson wins, the power exercised over us as a nation for centuries wins as he is a champion of those interests. We are faced with the starkest of political choices people have ever faced in the UK:

“Vote in the interests of all not in the interests of some”.

 

 

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Corbyn, please don’t apologise – it was a ‘propagandist elephant-trap’

Many who watched ‘a grandstanding Andrew Neil’ interviewing Jeremy Corbyn commented on social media or wrote to the BBC like this Yardley Wood reader – were “appalled at AN’s aggression and bullying manner. . . JC did remain calm but was not given a chance to fully answer any of the questions”.

In the Independent (28.11.19) Richard House expressed the reactions of many to the repeated ‘bullying demands’ for an apology for an uncommitted misdeed. He wrote:

It is simply false to assert that Corbyn “refused to apologise” for antisemitism in his party. Rather, he ignored a bullying demand for an apology for something for which he has no reason to apologise.

Corbyn thankfully has the nous to spot a propagandist elephant-trap when he sees one, and to simply ignore it – and he was absolutely right not to allow himself to be positioned into apologising by a grandstanding Andrew Neil, whose sole purpose was to create his own newsline that would then generate a storm that would consume Corbyn.

Mr Learmont-Hughes appears not to be aware of the new book by reputable academic researchers, Bad News for Labour: Antisemitism, the Party and Public Belief (Greg Philo et al., Pluto, 2019), which provides chapter-and-verse on the orchestrated establishment assault on Labour and Corbyn around antisemitism.

He might also be surprised to hear that since 1977, there are at least 50 instances of Corbyn having proactively supported challenges to antisemitism and having supported Jewish causes, Of course the critics can’t acknowledge the latter, as it would fatally disrupt their Corbyn-beating narrative.

The Chief Rabbi is merely the latest weapon to be deployed by the “Destroy Corbyn By Any Means” Project; and the BBC’s wall-to-wall reporting of this non-story in particular has been an outrage, and in flagrant contravention of their legal responsibility for neutral political reporting in general election campaigns. 

 

 

 

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London Imam and broadcaster Ajmal Masroor writes a powerful open letter to the Chief Rabbi about Jeremy Corbyn

Read about Imam and broadcaster Ajmal Masroor and listen to him on video, here. Text of letter follows, with added photograph. 

Dear Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis

My name is Ajmal Masroor. I have been an Imam for almost 30 years and I write to you today as your brother in faith and humanity.

I proudly practice Islam in our multicultural and multi-faith country, without fear or prejudice, despite the rising levels of Islamophobia. I take a keen interest in politics and believe in actively influencing change, which is why I stood for Parliament twice – once in 2010 and again in 2018.

I believe people of faith must play an active role in all aspects of our society, including politics. As such, I welcome your letter to The Times, where you urge us to vote with our conscience. Both our Jewish and Islamic traditions place conscience at the core of our Godly life on this Earth. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for reminding us of our innate, God-gifted tool: the conscience.

However, I vehemently disagree with the rest of your assertions, where you suggest that Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to be our next Prime Minister. You blame Jeremy Corbyn personally for the antisemitic behaviour of Labour Party members. In my humble opinion, you have made a severe error of judgment in calling Jeremy Corbyn unfit to be our Prime Minister. Before I express why, do you believe that Boris Johnson is more fit to be our Prime Minister?

In the upcoming general election, we are limited in our choices. We know that the Liberal Democrats will never achieve enough support to win the election. We are left with a choice between the Conservative party and the Labour party. Under the Conservative party, our country has witnessed unprecedented levels of poverty, inequality, austerity, homelessness and division.

The Conservative party has sold its soul to Nigel Farage’s UKIP, and now Brexit party. The true moderate and centre ground Conservative politicians have been pushed out or side-lined by the extremists within this party. If your assertion is that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour should not be supported, are you endorsing the Conservative party, that is deeply hostile to the multicultural and multi-faith fabric of our society? Inadvertently, are you telling the Jewish community to vote for a deeply Islamophobic party? Is this your idea of voting with our conscience?

We are men of faith, and you will agree that the practise of double standards in all faiths is abhorrent. When I read about your selective outrage – calling out the Labour party for its failure to stamp out antisemitism – while turning a blind eye to the Conservative party’s Islamophobia, I felt deeply disappointed. Antisemitism is evil and we should all stand against it with all our might. Islamophobia is also evil, and we should equally stand against it. I find it deeply hypocritical when people do not observe fairness and consistency when struggling against all kinds of evil. In Judaism, as in Islam, justice and fair dealings are considered closest to Godliness. Sadly, your letter did not display justice or fairness towards Jeremy Corbyn, and instead came across as a cheap attempt at political posturing.

If I was told to choose between a lying, philandering and narcissistic clown and a truthful, principled and humble socialist, my choice would be easy. I would never entrust the future of our country to the hands of a man who is an occupational liar. I would never ask the people of our country to vote for a man who makes a mockery of clean and principled politics. The only thing Boris Johnson is interested in is himself; not our country, and certainly not community cohesion.

Jeremy Corbyn has a forty year track record of selfless service to his constituency and the absolute interest of all people in our country. He has always been a genuine friend of the minorities, disadvantaged and vulnerable. Why would you suggest that he was unfit for the Prime Minister’s office?

What is Jeremy Corbyn’s actual crime that has led you to deeming him unfit for the job? Has Jeremy Corbyn personally been accused of antisemitism? The answer is an emphatic ‘no’! He has never been accused of antisemitism.

On the other hand, Boris Johnson has made many inflammatory and deeply offensive remarks about Islam and Muslim women, including citing Islam as the reason for backwardness, violence and economic degeneration within the Muslim communities. He has also likened Muslim women, who wear face covering, to “bank robbers” and “letter boxes”. In the week of his remark, anti-Muslim hate crime spiked by more than 300%. And he hasn’t stopped at the Muslim community alone. His opinion and remarks on minority communities has been abhorrent, including saying he was afraid of black men; that black people were “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”, and referred to gay men as “bum boys”. Is this the rhetoric you expect from the leader of our country?

I know the Labour party is accused of antisemitism, and the UK human rights commission is currently investigating it. I pray the investigation is thorough and where strands of antisemitism are identified, that they are promptly and swiftly removed and publicly admonished. But surely you would agree that the Conservative party should also be investigated for Islamophobia. Allegation alone is not enough for faith leaders like us to charge entire parties. Our claims must be substantiated, with credible evidence, and then we must wait for investigations to completed and for those findings to be made public. Both of our religious traditions have a rich, ethical parameter on how to deal with accusations, and how to challenge hatred. I am saddened to say that I believe you have violated this very principle by adding further fuel to an allegation; an act that is not only irresponsible but astoundingly dangerous in the middle of the most important election of our time.

I have always respected you as a man of faith and expected you to adhere to a higher standard of moral and ethical probity. I did not expect your high office to be compromised by spreading aspersions on Jeremy Corbyn. By doing so, you have become actively involved in what is essentially a smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn, who has never been antisemitic in his life. The plain truth is that there are numerous accounts of Jeremy Corbyn championing all forms of campaigns to eradicate hate crime from our society, including standing up for the rights of our Jewish communities in and around the UK. He has equally championed the right of the Palestinians too. He has recognised failings within the party, taken responsibility for these, offered an apology and vowed to do better. He has been honest and upright, and as a man of faith, I would expect you to follow suit.

Your statement carries with it a grave dishonesty, and I am deeply disappointed by it. In a time of political and social crisis across the world, let us adhere to honesty first and foremost. And in this very spirit, let me ask you: have you called Jeremy Corbyn antisemitic because he has been critical of the Israeli government’s policy of occupation, expansion of illegal settlements and dehumanisation of the Palestinian people? Using your pulpit to broadcast the same message as those who have weaponised antisemitism is plainly irresponsible. It beggar’s belief that you would find criticism of Israel or its political ideology of Zionism as antisemitism. No state or political ideology is beyond reproach. You falsely labelling Jeremy Corbyn as an anti-Semite will not silence people, nor will it deter people from standing up against Israeli aggression and violence against the Palestinian people.

It pains me to know that as a man of faith first and foremost, you have been a clear supporter of the Israeli government’s aggression against the Palestinian people. In August 2014, you wrote that Israel had “understandably and justifiably defended her citizens” by taking disproportionate and indiscriminate military action in Gaza, killing innocent men, women and children. Israel continues its illegal policies of assassination, destruction of Palestinian homes, confiscation of Palestinian people’s land, occupation, collective punishment and keeps an iron fist around the Palestinian people’s right to freely move – even within their own areas. It has built the disgraceful apartheid wall and it steals water from the Palestinians and then sells it back to the Palestinians. You have remained silent about the state-sponsored injustices perpetrated by Israel, and now you are criticising Jeremy Corbyn of anti-Semitism for championing the rights of Palestinians.

You have been a supporter of Benyamin Netanyahu, who has been convicted on many corruption charges, including fraud, breach of trust and bribery. You have no moral authority to lecture us on how Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to be the Prime Minister of our country. You have politicised your spiritual position to influence voters and I believe this is totally wrong. You are abusing your office to silence criticism of Israel, and that too is totally wrong. As a man of faith, you should know better.

If we believe that as men of faith, we should be leading our communities in the way of honesty and integrity, I would urge you to reconsider your position. Our people deserve better; we can and should be better.

Your brother in faith

Imam Ajmal Masroor

London

@chiefrabbi