Letters to the Canary: what happened to ‘Lexit’, plus Labour, 1984, and patriotism

Letters to the Canary
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The Canary is excited to share the sixth edition of our letters page. This is where we publish people’s responses to the news, politics, or anything else they want to get off their chest. We’ve now opened the letters page up so anyone can submit a contribution. As always, if you’d like to subscribe monthly to the Canary – starting from just £1 – to continue to support truly radical, independent media, then you can do that here:

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This week’s letters

This week we have upset with the Labour Party, some thoughts on patriotism, Catalonian independence, and the ongoing question of whether George Orwell was a fiction or non-fiction writer. 

What’s left of Labour?

After a lifetime of voting Labour I feel I can no longer vote for the party. I am true left but are the Labour Party true left any more? I was naïve enough to believe in Tony Blair – but not so with Starmer. He has shown they are as right wing as the Tories, if not more so. Left with few options, pun intended, what and who are we left to vote for and to be my option for a party to follow – because its no longer Labour! Winning at any cost is not the way to be in power. We should stand for doing the right thing, because it is the correct thing. We should strive to put privatised companies back into public ownership, to make the NHS the priority – and we can then say we have the best health service once again, instead of the NHS being the White Star Line Titanic the Tories have provided the country with. And yes, Corbyn should still be the leader of the party, not the fake Starmer – who has lied to the party and destroyed the left of politics.

David Palmer, via email

If Starmer becomes Prime Minster, will he stop/cancel all hospital parking charges in England like the Welsh Labour Assembly government has done in Wales?

Michael Evans, via email

Read on...

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Bring back Britain PLC?

I often question what it is to be British, or proud to be patriotic. For some Americans it’s about the flag being flown from every school, college, church, and municipal building. You swear allegiance with your hand on your chest, singing the anthem, the land of the brave and the land of the free. And for some Americans, it’s about instilling a sense of pride in words that are meaningless when a country locks up huge swathes of its population. Yes, some people were extremely proud of their armed forces, until recently – when they’re beginning to get tired of seeing soldiers in wars that the US should, in their view, stay out of.

Recent polling shows that American patriotism is at an time low. So what about in the UK? Well, we have all seen Keir Starmer use the American way: flanking himself with the Union Jack, talking about British car making this week – while he’s chums with Gordon Brown, who allowed the collapse of Rover, and the foreign industries that now run the UK motor industry. Starmer is proud of the NHS – well, privatisation and the awful public-private partnerships they created under Tony Blair that Wes Streeting wants more of. All that has raised the cost of the NHS by hundreds of millions. Selling off our pride to US health companies for commercial gain? No thanks!

As for the Conservatives, they think we should be proud of our army like the US is. Proud of our “war heroes’ achievements” – harping back to WII… Since then, the UK’s record on the two Iraq wars, Libya’s mess, and Syria and Ukraine is nothing to be proud of. We killed civilians in their droves and left an awful mess behind.

The Conservatives sold off everything Britain should be proud of. British Airways, British Rail, British Steel, British Leyland, British Gas, British Nuclear Fuel, etc. Perversely, they were proud to colonise the world and proud of slavery. Now, they’re proud to sell off Britain PLC… Prices are high and inflation is out of our control – because we are owned as a country by the rest of the world. Be that our debt, business, infrastructure or land.

My conclusion of being proud to be British is being a socialist, and yes Corbyn made me proud to be British as he understood what makes me proud. To own and invest in Britain PLC. Not the rubbish reasons that Keir, Boris or Rishi give us.

Bring back Britain PLC. Let’s own it.

Andrew Macpherson – “Canary supporter for truth in journalism”, via email

Canary article on the Retained (EU) Law Bill

The arguments for leaving the EU in 2016 came from right wing narratives, from the Mail, Sun, Telegraph. JC, at the time, stood for Remain and Reform from within – solidarity with left groups elsewhere in Europe, e.g., DIEM25. He suddenly changed his mind – who knows, perhaps under the influence of Seamus Milne, or Andrew Murray.

Corbyn agreed with triggering Article 50, on the back of a very thin majority in favour of leaving the block of democracies. Anyone working in Labour was given the top-down message: ‘we must respect the result’. The Canary, amongst others, occasionally toed this line too, though was a bit ambivalent – occasionally we’d get articles implying the idiotically simplistic line ‘The EU is just a neoliberal club’, when there are clearly political reasons on the left to remain a part of the club of democracies. So, we are about to see the culmination of this far-right, authoritarian project now. I have basically given up on politics, and am left politically homeless – I have met JC by chance, and wouldn’t even bother speaking to him, now I realise that he too was just an instrument for wider forces at play.

Sad, isn’t it? About time the Canary called out the whole seven-year psychodrama out for what it is – a huge mistake on JC’s part, and the Canary’s, and Mick Lynch’s, Seamus Milne’s etc. I emphasise – if JC had clearly stated the case for ‘Left Exit’ in the run up to 2016, then we could say ‘the result’ was a democratic mandate for progressive ‘Leave’. But ‘the result’ was a mandate for what we are about to experience. And Starmer has apparently discovered the emotional reasons for backing the far-right project now too.

Craig Nicol, via email

Provocation by Spain and France towards the Catalan independence movement

On January 19, Spanish President Sanchez called a summit with French President Macron in Barcelona. Sanchez has stated that the summit can be held quietly in Barcelona “because he has managed to bring the Catalan independence process to an end.” The independence movement will prove him wrong.

When the European nation-states were formed in the 18th century, Catalonia had everything that constituted a nation (its own language, its own culture, differentiated worldview), at the same level as nations like Germany, Italy or England. But we were defeated in wars and the Catalan state was not born. We were divided between Spain (the big part) and France (a small part). Thanks to a great will to be, we have maintained our national identity despite the will of annihilation by Spain (and also by France). Spain has been conceived with a Castilian matrix, and has tried to eliminate the Catalan identity and language. That is why, for four centuries, the fit has not worked and has been provoking Catalan revolts against Madrid.

Since 2010, Catalan society has become mostly convinced that there was no possible solution within Spain and decided to undertake a process of independence that still lasts (52% of the Catalan parliament is pro-independence), with the high point the 2017 referendum of self-determination organised by the Catalan government – that was won by 90%. Catalonia presupposed that Spain would react democratically, seeing that the majority of Catalan society wanted a peaceful process of separation. It also trusted that the EU would prevent a violent reaction. But Spain sent 10,000 police to beat up voters who resisted non-violently and the EU said nothing.

Now, President Sanchez boasts that he has pacified Catalonia (as if we were a pacified colony) because there is less pro-independence activity than in 2017. He has taken the nine political prisoners out of jail (although he has continued persecuting, and 400 Catalans await trial) and has convened a negotiating table with the independence movement, twice in four years, which seems a mockery.

If there is less mobilisation it is because the movement had been mobilising for 12 years, the pandemic forced a halt and the harsh judicial repression has made a part of the independence movement slow down out of fear of an undemocratic and ruthless state. But as Sánchez has continued to ignore, the majority desire of the Catalans (80%) is to solve the conflict with a referendum and not with impositions. The desire for independence remains intact and the independentism remains determined to push for an independent Catalan state that can protect the Catalan national minority.

Jordi Oriola Folch, via email

1984 is getting very real

I believe the population of the dis-United Kingdom, mainly England, can now see the reaping of what they sowed with their racist Brexit Vote. There is no outside help for us. We are adrift in a rudderless ship being battered by a Tory shitstorm. I do not know which is worse: the majority of English voters who do not have a clue about what they voted to leave, or the Westminster English Tory governments which, in 13 years, have gone through five prime ministers – each being worse than their predecessors. The English government have, with the aid of the worst opposition in British political history, dismantled the NHS and the welfare state. They have also caused hundreds of thousands of needless deaths and pushed a huge number of poor people into taking their own lives.

The Tories have proved one thing and one thing only in their disastrous reign of terror. This is that the author of the brilliant 1984 did not create a fabulously terrifying work of fiction. The Tory and Starmerite political criminals have proven the magnificent author of 1984, George Orwell, was in fact a visionary, a prophet – who in his work foresaw the dystopian nightmare we the poor working class -and many middle-class – British people are now living through. He tried to warn us, but we paid no heed.

This dystopian life we are suffering is society’s own fault. We believe all the right-wing lies. Why? Well, because they are all rich so they must be correct. The only people to benefit from Brexit are, as is blatantly obvious, the rich, and the Tory and Starmerite political elite class. All these scum are liars and corrupt to their rotten, stinking souls. Let us eat cake, eh? Vive Le ‘Revolusion’!

Patrick McQueenie, via email

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  • Show Comments
    1. These are all excellent letters that I would have been proud to write myself. I have never understood why JC changed his position on Britain remaining in the EU. I was shocked then and am still perplexed as to why he would have done that.

      Britain needs a new party on the left to take on the current “Tory Lite’ Labour Party. They need to ‘split the vote’ to undermine the ‘establishment’ Kier Starmer right of center crowd that are seeking power for themselves and not the British people. Britain needs to see that Starmer and Co are powerless without British social activism propping them up. It will be better in the long run for the greedy imbeciles in the Tory party to win the next GE because of a Labour Party split as it would demonstrate that the Starmer Blairites do not represent British workers and must be brought back to the left of center or eliminated from serious leadership contention.

      It will be hard to recover from the Tory dementia of the last decade but Corbyn is better equipped to lead the country that another establishment puppet like Starmer.

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