Letters to the Canary: we’ve offended white men, and Donald Trump, plus do we need a guillotine outside parliament?

Letters to the Canary
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The Canary is excited to share the latest 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 to the Canary – starting from just £1 a month – to continue to support truly radical and independent media, then you can do that here:

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This week’s letters

This week we have people’s thoughts on Canary articles on Jeremy Vine and Donald Trump (lots of people are not happy – oh dear), plus some musings on the state of UK housing, and a question as to whether a guillotine outside parliament might be a good idea. 

Response to Canary article Jeremy Vine’s ‘brain dribbles out of his ears’ as he exposes his racism live on TV

I have just read the article on Jeremy Vine and although I agree with the writer regarding the term woke, its origin, and its misuse, I find the article very offensive towards white people; so much so that I will be canceling my subscription, which I have had for a long time.

I am a white male, of the left, who comes from a mixed heritage family. So, be very careful how your own writers prejudice manifests on paper if you are even going to upset someone like me.

I am assuming you want all people to read and subscribe to the Canary – but maybe not it seems. However, if so, please moving forward be careful with your tone and language, even towards white people. We are all one people, but believe me, from my own experiences, all are capable of prejudices and racism, even black people, yes. We need a strong left voice in the media and I thought you were one of them. Sad to leave.

Anonymous, via email

Read on...

ED: You find the article offensive to white men? Excellent, we’re very pleased. 

Have I no reason to complain?

I am nearly 90, I feel OK. I get good and interesting feedback on what I publish. I have children, grand-children and great-grand-children who live close-by, whom I’m besotted with. I still work, read (a lot), listen to my favourite classical music, use my computer, iPad, iPhone. I have little money, but enough.

So, have I no reason to complain?

Well yes, I have. There are many questions to be answered that are not, which worries me a lot. Why: because if we don’t ask questions about problems, we will not find or hear the answers we need. Not only are difficulties not overcome, but they gradually, with a shrug of the shoulders, become part of the established political pattern. “The rich will always win, nothing we can do” – and my questions go un-answered.

So here, in 400 words is my unique chance to ask some:

Q1. Why are state pensions in countries like Holland, Germany, France, so much higher than ours? Just for comparison:

  • German state pension: £26,000
  • French : £15,811
  • British : £7,488

Q2. How is it possible that even well-known journalists like Laura Kuenssberg ask “why is the housing question so difficult to resolve?”

The answer is “the market”. If I produce butter, and you can’t afford it or you simply prefer margarine, I will not sell my butter and I’ll stop producing it. To create a demand to which the free market will supply, people need to be both willing and able to pay.

Housing is a basic need, so everybody is willing to pay – but more than 30% of the population are not able to pay what is called “an economic housing cost”. The consequence is staggering in its simplicity: in a free market, homeless/low paid people don’t create a demand, so there will be no supply by the “market”, unless there are state interventions like Housing Benefit.

Secondly, the private sector is de facto always more expensive than the public sector, since their total of (land + building costs) also need to include a profit or “dividend”. So higher rents result: therefore more public money in Housing Benefit.

These extra costs amount in practice to “cuts’ to the real housing programme.

So, the answer to both questions is: “because it needs political decisions about spending money on poor people”. This will, of course, never happen.

Dr Jenny Backwell, via email

Is the Canary‘s Joe Glenton a Guardian neoliberal?

So sad to see the Canary coming up with a piece that could well have been penned by the arch neolib/con Guardian’s editorial team.

That the left fails to see the similarities between the neoliberal/neocon establishment’s vilification of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn on the left, with current demonisation of Trump on the right, is precisely why power in Western ‘shamocracies’ stays firmly in the hands of a deeply embedded and corrupt corporate and often feudal establishment elite.

I don’t agree with Trump’s policies, but do agree with his expressed wish to end the neolib/con monopoly of power – just as I agreed with Corbyn’s goal of breaking the British establishment.

Millions of US voters, disenchanted by the trickery of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, moved from Sanders to Trump in the 2016 election – and will do so again in 2024 if Biden or another neolib stands.

The right and left at the bottom of the power triangle must find a way of uniting around what they have in common – to oust the elite that divides and rules us from their pinnacle at the top of that same triangle.

Yes, Trump is a not very pleasant showman, but he can mobilise voters on right and left and would have not provoked war in Ukraine.

Personally I think Tulsi Gabbard is the candidate behind whom left and right could most feasibly unite.

Richard, via email

Joe Glenton’s response:

Hi, Richard. Thanks for getting in touch. Two points here.

I’m yet to see any evidence to suggest Trump will break with the Neocon/Neoliberal order, except perhaps in the sense he might steer us into something worse. In the same way that Trump tapped into anti-war feeling to get elected, he tapped into discontent with capitalism. He’s not an outsider, or a harbinger of change. He is the embodiment of rabid American capitalism.  He is the US establishment. I mean, seriously?! He’s literally Donald Trump, mate.

I can remember a lot of people being pulled in by Tulsi Gabbard when she first entered the political scene: a military veteran, an outspoken woman of colour, etc. A powerful and appealing image for many. But ultimately we have to look at her politics, not her political branding. For me, any notion she was worth investing ended when I realised she was a serial fangirl for Narendra Modi. That’s a red line. No pasaran, etc.

Trump: the better candidate?

Dear Canary

As one of your supporters, I am writing to express my disagreement with your recent letter where you seem to express your support for the attack on Trump from Biden’s allies in the Democratic Party.

Trump has many features which may put some people off. But with all that he is a much much better candidate for the future presidential elections than the current ragdoll, manipulated from behind by the likes of Victoria Nuland. We all are being held hostages to the politicians who are currency occupying Washington, and who are hell-bent on confrontation with anyone who dares to challenge their globalistic madness. You keep peddling “fascist” nonsense about Trump supporters while you do not even seem to know what fascism actually is. Poor, very poor journalism.

I don’t care what Trump says about all of those “agendas” which you at Canary seems to take so close to your hearts. I want someone there who is less likely to start the World War III with nukes, and it is crystal clear that that will be Trump rather than corrupt Biden and his clique. Let the US deal with its own problems, which ever way they may. Leave the rest of the word alone.

SK, via email

Joe Glenton’s response:

Thanks for your comment, SK.

It would be a gigantic stretch to suggest anyone at the Canary – a pirate rabble of socialists, anarchists, abolitionists, anti-imperialists, and anti-racists – is a strident supporter of Biden or his allies. A simple topic search on our website will clarify this for you very quickly.

There is no doubt that many people who backed Trump were disgruntled, disoriented Americans ravaged by capitalism. His base also includes a grim cast of fascists, white supremacists, and conspiracists. These two things are true at the same time. Fascist movements are always complex, chaotic and cut across and into conservative groups. If you need some help with this, I’d recommend Robert Paxton’s Anatomy of Fascism which tells us to look at what fascists do, rather than what they say.

On Trump’s taste for military force. The Yemen raid, the dropping of the MOAB in Afghanistan, the killing of Qasem Solemaini, his support for US military war criminals and more besides tell us where he stands. He came to power on an anti-war platform which was entirely performative. He railed against the neoliberal/neocon in the same register.

As soon as he got into power he became precisely as militarist as any Democrat or standard Republican. Particularly when he realised opening the proverbial gun cabinet was a surefire way to get American liberals off his back, and even recruit their support.

I’m groping for the term to describe a piece of analysis that suggests such a man, embedded in such a system, would simply be incapable of starting WW3. Answers on a postcard.

The Trump sideshow

Joe Glenton’s summary just touched the sides.

“The billionaire in him will come prepared” – if you’d seen any of the Fox News coverage, where a slew of male political commentators had tears in their eyes – they were calling for “donations” to help “beat this bogus rap”, along with declaring the US Constitution ripped up, and the end of a fair justice system. I kid you not. It was a grand jury made up of regular New Yorkers. Trump could not be allowed to continue with his seeming impunity. His connection to the Jeffrey Epstein case via Virginia Giuffre’s “working” at Mar el Lago aged 14 with her father, and who met Ghislaine Maxwell there, was weirdly mostly ignored.

Then we have the International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment against Trump for war crimes. His response? To criminalise the ICC, freeze their lawyers’ US bank accounts, and to revoke their visas. Afshin Rattansi highlighted on his RT show, Going Undergound, in a hilarious interview with ex-CIA analyst Melvin Goodman, that if anyone from the ICC should arrest Trump or any American official, that they can – legally – invade Holland. It’s true, check it out! Obviously, we can’t have this eejit in office again. What sort of a country allows an impeached former president to run again anyway?

Please don’t let the Trump sideshow distract us. The US is backing off from the Ukraine/Russian war, the one the Yanks intentionally escalated. Now its swivelling its gaze into China. The puppet this time is Taiwan. US intelligence sources are claiming they have impeccable information that president Xi is planning war with Taiwan in 2027. As China is now the number one country economically worldwide and the US owes them billions upon billions of dollars that they can’t repay, obviously they are picking an “ideological” fight with them.

Ironically, since the US carried out Taiwan’s biggest bombing in its history in 1945, the Yanks maintained a small base there which they abandoned in 1979 – and haven’t had a damn thing to do with Taiwan since. Interesting how, all of a sudden, they claim to need to go to Taiwan’s rescue now. The US spin on backing away from Ukraine is that they’ve done their bit, they had to as Europe wouldn’t step up to the plate and defend the Ukraine. But American citizens are paying over $3 dollars each to pay towards a war that German citizens pay just over $1 each towards. So, it’s not in the interest of the American people to fund the war anymore; Europe has been derelict in its duty – yadda yadda. So far, the US has spent more in one year than it cost them for the whole of the Afghan War – and they still never burnt the poppy fields.

So, yeah, good piece on Trump – but it’s going to fit in marvellously as the usual distraction, smoke and mirrors to hide what the US is really doing and its true motives. Throughout history, the US has done the same thing: protect its own interests. If we don’t call them out on this upcoming one – China – and show we see the US’s true agenda, we could all end up regretting allowing it to pull the wool over the allies eyes, yet again.

Mag Wildwood, via email

Do we need a guillotine in Parliament Square?

In a Sunday 2 April interview with Sky News’s Sophy Ridge, the home secretary Suella Braverman proclaimed that we have seen “vulnerable white English girls being pursued and raped and drugged and harmed by gangs of British Pakistani men”.

Regardless of ethnicity, the abuse and psychological scarring of any minor is abhorrent, such is the pity compassion and empathy never stirred for those sharing her complexion – the minors of South East Asia casually subjected to the half-century open-secret that is sex tourism – the infamy of white English men.

But behind the outrage appeared a well-honed tactic as invoked by Braverman’s predecessors.

In a year marked by a pandemic and the totemic Black Lives Matter, to seemingly evade scrutiny days before the Christmas of 2020 the then-home secretary Liz Truss levied an evil little gift to Brits of Black and Asian heritage. Decked in military fatigues atop an Estonian tank turret, she cannoned her verbal payload – a little something to ponder over yuletide in lieu of the anti-Black retaliation being readied for a New Year “culture war” – then returned to base. You may recall some of her impromptu protestation (to paraphrase) ‘racism and sexism was all I recall hearing about at my 1980s Leeds school’.

Alas the outrage was momentary as politics quickly pulled on its Chrimbo jumper.

18-months later, on the cusp of the 2022 summer recess, Truss’s successor Priti Patel would perform a similar slight-of-hand – railroading her abominable ‘Nationality and Borders Bill – Clause 9’ to relegate children of non-British-born parents (let’s be honest – those of Black and Asian heritage) to second class citizenship; summonsing the spectre of de-citizenship in reprisal of ‘70s National Front modus operandi.

Again, poison effectively dissipated, politics hit the beach.

Now with a fortnight’s Easter cabinet-hiatus in the offing, in an apparent leaf out of this playbook Braverman chose the Sunday before Good Friday to again declare racial open-season – this time on men of Pakistani heritage, to now vilify and traumatise this citizenry. But those of all political hues should be concerned at the tactic, the brazen chicanery employed by our elected – in contempt for our intelligence.

Who of course can forget that unsubtle glimpse into human-pain titillation: “I would love to be having a front page of the Telegraph with a plane taking off to Rwanda, that’s my dream, that’s my obsession.”

Might the revolting one day love to be having the freshly-cut lawn of Parliament Square adorn, centre-stage, a lovingly restored guillotine with a sharpened razor glistening in the crisp azure dawn?

Jonny, via email

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  • Show Comments
    1. If the Canary editor thinks “being offensive to white men” is inherently virtuous, then they are sadly deluded. The solidarity of the international working class includes white men, as well as every other category of humanity.

      1. Unfortunately, many of the white working class in the UK value social conservatism and hierarchy, look up to the wealthy, want to maintain a racial hierarchy, want to look down on people who have been racialised as minorities and will vote for a party that facilitates those things. Many such folks think that international working-class issues are none of their business. There is unlikely to be much solidarity as long as this particular type of English nationalism prevails.

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