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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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Jeremy Corbyn to receive the MacBride Peace Prize in Geneva

 

 

 

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“Corbyn’s policies based on peace, respect and our shared humanity”

Kate Hudson observes that the outcome of the general election marks a significant shake-up in British politics and a surge in support for qualitatively different policies:

“It is clear that the narrative of investment in homes, health, education and jobs, has been very popular. In fact, it has led to Labour’s first increase in seats since 1997 and its biggest increase in the share of the vote since 1945”.

She views the election as a significant shift towards the politics of hope, peace, inclusivity, justice and equality.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s long – standing opposition to nuclear weapons, and his personal opposition to Trident replacement, did not deter millions of people from voting for him. Indeed the likelihood is that many – particularly young people – have voted for him precisely because he opposes war, intervention and weapons of mass destruction.

“Support for Trident replacement is negligible amongst the younger generation and it is clear that the narrative of investment in homes, health, education and jobs, has been very popular. In fact, it has led to Labour’s first increase in seats since 1997 and its biggest increase in the share of the vote since 1945”.

The right wing of the Labour Party, and a small but powerful section of the trade union movement, have ‘peddled the myth’ that Labour needs to look ‘strong on defence’ to win – and that this means supporting Trident replacement.

But, Kate believes, support for the party has surged because it has a radical vision of a different society, and because everyone knows that Jeremy Corbyn does not support Trident replacement. When he first became leader, he commissioned an extensive Defence Review throughout the Labour Party. That review has been shelved – because it showed the extent of anti-Trident opinion within the party?

She calls for that review to be published and debated at the next Labour Party conference: “This issue must not be kept off the agenda any longer”. There is no popular mandate for a Tory security policy, or a Tory-lite security policy pushed on the Labour party by a minority of pro-nuclear forces that are living in the past.  Those trade unions that have put unreasonable pressure on Jeremy to keep Trident are urged to change:

“The way for them to secure and extend high quality, well-paid jobs is to support Jeremy’s policy on defence diversification. Rather than shunning this initiative they need to work with politicians and industry to develop a diversification plan, as part of a national industrial strategy that will secure their jobs without holding the rest of the country over a nuclear barrel”.

As she points out, there is now strong public backing for industrial planning and investment and this needs to go into sustainable industrial production to meet public needs, for energy, housing and public resources, not weapons of mass destruction.

Labour’s support has grown because of Corbyn’s policies based on peace, respect and our shared humanity. And this vision goes beyond national boundaries to his vision of how we relate to the rest of the world. No longer Blair’s ‘war-fighting nation’, ‘punching above its weight’, but a decent part of a shared community of nations.

Read her article here: http://www.cnduk.org/images/stories/Summer_2017.pdf

Kate Hudson,  British political activist and academic, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)

 

 

 

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