Letters to the Canary: veganism, Diane Abbott, and the state pension

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 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 a Canary Lowdown on veganism, reactions to the backlash against Diane Abbott, and some musings on what’s left of the state pension. 

Responses to a Canary Lowdown on veganism

I have no doubt that this article whilst supporting veganism is also correct in attacking the environmental and human destruction caused by the ‘corporate food system’ – including that sector producing vegan food commodities.

However, the call to ‘drop’ the corporate food system is simply utopian. This system, as much as fossil fuel extraction, is driven by investment for profit and the skimming off of surplus value from workers’ labour. In other words, the system can only be ‘dropped’ when capitalism itself is dropped.

Thus the article implies revolutionary conclusions, which its author nevertheless sidesteps.

Richard, via email

Read on...

Puzzling piece really. Most vegans are not how you describe and just get on with doing what they feel is right. The article would have been better if you had left out the attack on Veganism. Yes the corporate food industry are the source and the driver of the problem so attack them with no reservations because we agree with you. I am not a vegan but close and the last people you need to antagonise and divide are those that agree with you over the heart of the problem?

Allan, via email

Thanks for this articulate/educational rant! Wish I could be a vegan. Lots of embarrassing (or not) health factors have stopped me from becoming so – though yes, I will reduce my dairy.

But your wider, most important point: just want to say I am glad indigenous people are finally being heard, and seen, and listened to, even as racialised capitalism is still winning for its minority-self, but destroying the rest of us.

Revolutions are circles. Let’s hope therefore that the increasing awareness of the need for positive change for millions is more like a spiral, and actually goes somewhere else towards feeding, and housing, millions more.

Sadly I am not optimistic today. I used to think increased awareness of the issues would make more of us resist, but the oppression is deliberately planned so we don’t have time. Too busy trying to survive

In the meantime, we can be held and encouraged by the little victories here and there. And Bolsanaro’s defeat was actually a biggy for the world.

The Amazon needs to be saved. Thanks for being a vegan.

Love and solidarity

Andria Mordaunt MSc, via email

Fantastic piece and uncovers the horse shit we are fed in mainstream media.

Krystal, via email

Diane Abbott: that letter

Abbott’s inept letter set out clumsily to clarify the hierarchy of racism in society as a whole, which the Forde Report discovered in the Labour Party. She demonstrated no hatred of Jews as Jewish people.

The Labour organisation, Jewish Voice for Labour, said:

“The suspension of Diane Abbott is yet a further attack on our freedom to debate very important issues in the Labour party. Her original letter was not antisemitic and the way some critics have rounded on her as if it were is cynical and unhelpful”.

Alan Marsden, via email

In August 2020, Labour MP Barry Sheerman, referring to the failure of two prominent Jewish businessmen to be appointed to the House of Lords said: “Apparently there has been a bit of a run on silver shekels!”. Following an outcry he apologised and said that his words were badly chosen and that he did not intend the meaning many people took from them. A Labour Party spokesperson said: ‘Barry has apologised. He deeply regrets the offence caused’. That was the end of the matter.

This is double standards.

Brendan O’Brien, via email

Pensions: only getting worse?

In response to Canary reader’s letter Have I no reason to complain?:

As the writer is nearly 90, then she was the lucky generation of women – as today’s pensioners are worse off than in the 1950s.

Labour prime minister James Callaghan took most women, and half of men, out of the state second pension, from 1978 onwards. The Labour right sabotaged the election against the party winning back in 1983, that would have given us a living amount of state pension. The prior version of the triple lock rise to the state pension had been stopped by Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher from 1980.

Labour continued that policy in the Tony Blair/Gordon Brown government from 1997 to 2010.

The Lib Dems left behind all pensioners, including those born in earliest years of 1950s on the lower old basic state pension – retired before April 2016.

The Lib Dems put small print in the new flat rate state pension (that is neither flat nor single tier), that reduced that down from the full rate for most women, and will do for those retiring decades into the future.

The attack on the value of the state pension has been extreme: ageist and sexist against women.

We’re trying to seek moral support for creation of our own Over 50s & Young Labouring Ages Party, that would grant all pensioners, including those 90 or even 100 plus, from the age 60 a full £448.12 per week state pension, regardless of National Insurance record and paid tax free, to make it admin minimal and not get hit by emergency tax codes for years after.

Christine Williams, Admin – Grey Swans www.over50sparty.org.uk, via email

Want to get involved? Email membership(at)thecanary.co and we’ll publish your letters, too! Terms and conditions of publication apply.

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