Letters to the Canary: our coverage of Corbyn, EveryDoctor, Israel, the Titan, and Scotland’s proposed rules over rape trials

Letters to the Canary
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Content warning: this article contains discussion of rape, which some readers may find distressing. 

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 our recent coverage around Jeremy Corbyn, a comment on the NHS sparked by the Canary‘s interview with Julia Grace Patterson, Israel, a letter around coverage of the deaths of the Titan’s passengers, and an open letter about Scotland’s trial of new rules on rape trials. 

Responses to Joe Glenton’s article on Corbyn

Why the sudden unprovoked attack on Corbyn – under the guise of his ‘provisional wing’? Looking for jobs with the Starmeroids? I just don’t get it. Just when I thought the Canary was actually improving.

Looks like your rivals at Novara also decided to put the boot in on the old boy – by supporting the Glastonbury ban on a film about him.

Rotten decisions. Worse timing.

For goodness sake get your act together.

Read on...

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John Sexton, via email

What a pointless piece by Joe Glenton.

First of all, the attack on Corbyn continues and it is only right for Corby to defend himself (better than he did at the time), and others to defend what he stood for, especially in the absence of anything in politics that could act for the betterment of the people. I expected Glenton to provide some alternatives the way that he goes on, but no, he offers zero solutions at the end, just the usual fart of mist as a goodbye.

The truth is that most of us who supported Corbyn and a fair politics can not currently see any possible hope in a fairer politics other than let everything turn to shit and see if the idiot majority learn from that – which it has and they haven’t. But that is the stupid selfish majority for you. Memories of that movement under Corbyn is all that remains, sadly. Most of those that were behind it and for it are not wallowing in it or trying to stir something up anew, we merely remember it and naturally we mention it and criticise everything else because there is nothing else to get behind of any size or force to matter.

Paul Higson, via email

All so called alternative media outlets seem to be reading from the same script at present: ‘time to move on from Corbyn… no need to investigate… I haven’t actually seen the Big Lie, but… blah blah blah’. Just another load of gatekeepers herding socialists into a harmless focus group, while keeping one foot firmly planted in the establishment themselves.


Catherine Hughes, via email

Responses to Maryam Jameela’s article on Corbyn

Another stupid article on Corbyn. As you say, your colleague Joe got a bit of a backlash for his article. He responded by calling his critics ‘cunts’. So a period of reflection might be better than doubling down. Plus the rest of the article is idiotic. You say ‘white folks on the left’ look for saviours. Well blow me down I never heard of Dr King, Malcolm X, Chairman Mao, Ho Chi Minh.

John Sexton, via email

Dear Maryam,

I just read your article on Corbyn, and I think I am one of the left-wing white people who saw him as a saviour!

It was really interesting to read what you wrote, and I’m grateful for it because it’s helped me understand the discomfort I felt about seeing him in that way, and the hopelessness I’ve felt since he and the policies in the manifesto were so roundly rejected.

This may seem disconnected, but I listen to the ‘Conspirituality Podcast’, and through that heard about the Death Panel podcast with Beatrice Adler-Bolton. You may very well already know about it, but if not, I think you’d be interested in it.

Thanks again, and best wishes.

Emily Syme, via email

Dr Patterson’s book on the destruction of the NHS

It’s hard to understand how so many of the population fell in love with Tony Blair and his abomination New Labour who, up until now 2023, were the worst party ever to include the legend Labour Party.

PPI, a get rich quick scheme for Blair and his inner (and some fringe) circles was a lifelong, grinding stone around the neck of the poor tax payer. I use ‘poor’ because the poor are the only ones who pay tax. The rich don’t pay – they evade.

Then you have Balfour Beatty handed a builders dream: a lifetime tax payer-funded cash cow. Not even Margaret Thatcher caused such destruction to the NHS. The alleged New Labour government in waiting under Keir Starmer is more of an abomination than Blair’s nightmare. This person and his gang of right-wing thugs are taking a giant shredder, and shredding what remains of the politicians who care about the people and the remains of the socialist Labour Party.

The NHS will become like a backstreet operation specifically for the working-and middle-classes. Yes, you will not be able to afford the health insurance for the private hospitals and you middle class will be in the back streets with us plebs.

Dr Patterson has highlighted the catastrophe that faces not only the NHS, but 98.7% of the entire population of Britain within not a 25- or 30-year time scale. This destruction of all we love and rely on. The NHS is fucked because we the people have allowed the right wing bullies to destroy the greatest gift given to any nation of people.

Dr Patterson is right. Listen to her, and read her book.

Patrick Mcqueenie, via email

Israeli interference in UK elections?

The image below is from “Weaponising Antisemitism” by Asa Winstanley.

Is this true? If it is, why have we not expelled complicit Israeli Embassy staff especially those with form in this area. Why is Starmer still an unreserved supporter of Israeli Apartheid?

Alan Marsden, via email

As a perpetual complainer about lack of ‘proper’ thinking… re. the Canary‘s Titan coverage

The question Eliza Egret tackles, (“why should we care about billionaires?”) is indeed more than just important, it shows the massive privilege as well as our societies’ interest when rich or famous people are concerned. In fact only two of them were billionaires, a third one was the son who badly didn’t want to go but went because it was his father’s birthday who said “it would make my father’s day” if he came; two of them are ”just” famous scientists/’adventurers’ interested in ocean diving, and pushing the boundaries of their and our scientific knowledge.

However, as a perpetual complainer about lack of ‘proper thinking’, I take issue with Eliza’s answer.

We should care about these billionaires simply because they are people.

No, please wait, let me explain.

If we don’t, if we even make one exception, we lose the main argument underlying any attempt at democracy: that all people are people, and every person has the right to our respect and care. If we don’t, we give the very billionaires the right to flip our premise and use it as a declarative statement in reverse: ‘If they don’t care about us, why should we care about them?’ And, what’s more, we also give all people the right to choose their own category of ‘unwanted’ or ‘not needed’ to dispose of without regret.

This is exactly where we are now, miles away from a universally acceptable declaration of a democracy. And there is plenty of ground to cover on both sides. Every paper, every TV news bulletin, covered the Titan rescue effort a hundred times over, but, importantly, they do so because they know that that is what people like to read or to watch, which means in fact that those people too are less interested or emotionally involved with refugees. And that has got to change. In fact the ‘No-one’ in the title of Eliza’s article ‘No-one cares…’ is quite revealing.

The message must be, of course, that it is right to make a massive effort to save five lives, but what needed to happen is that an equal, proportionate effort should have been made to save any life in danger by the Greek coast. Have you seen that argument being pushed widely in any papers?

No ifs, no buts. Every person is a person. If we don’t accept that as a principle, democracy is but a dream.

Jenny Backwell, via email

Scotland removing juries from rape trials?

I strongly disagree with the proposal to take away juries from rape trials in Scotland because of my own experiences.

In 2005, my 15-year-old daughter was raped and it went to trial in 2006. The police investigation was incompetent and they lost vital evidence. For example, it came to light during the trial that police hadn’t saved phone evidence of him setting her up to meet. The CPS barrister was useless and the DPP later apologised for this. This same barrister later became a rape-ticketed judge.

The judge was an absolute disgrace and shockingly biased in what he allowed and disallowed in court. He made comments such as my daughter’s clothes weren’t ripped, she didn’t have any bruises, and instructed the jury to disregard her age as irrelevant though she was underage and the man was 29. He told the jury that the accused was an honest man with a clean record, but we later found out that he had a criminal record, and that another girl had reported him for rape.

The rapist had threatened my daughter with throwing acid in her face if she testified against him, later claiming that he’d never left the house that day, but his girlfriend contradicted him in court saying he’d gone out. The girlfriend asked for a screen when she gave evidence because she was scared of him but the judge refused her.

The judge then directed the jury to disregard her evidence because it contradicted an earlier statement she made under duress from the rapist. It was really brave of her to give evidence but the judge undermined her testimony. He also allowed the defence to trash my daughter, accusing her of being loose and sleeping around – which was totally untrue and in any case irrelevant. Having never been through a court case before my family were in total shock at how biased the judge was. We made a formal complaint but he retired so no action was taken.

The jury were out for three days trying to reach a verdict, with the judge pushing them for a unanimous decision saying he didn’t want it to go past the weekend; then he asked for a majority. This must have been really hard for them as the police had lost factual evidence and witnesses were not interviewed. With half the puzzle missing, the man was acquitted.

Since then, as a volunteer with Women Against Rape I have been to several trials supporting victims and I have witnessed many failures. In one rape trial a witness for the accused was allowed to sit in the public gallery before she testified; when she was called she’d obviously changed her story on the basis of what the accused said in court. We gave a note to the judge explaining what had just happened, but he refused to dismiss the woman’s tainted evidence and the man was acquitted.

Juries will only convict if they’re given the evidence. From my experience the police do not gather the evidence, the CPS don’t press them for it and don’t prosecute with conviction, and the judges undermine victims. No wonder juries don’t convict.

That’s why I’m against removing juries from rape trials. Members of the public are not more sexist and biased than the police, CPS, and judges who ensure rapists walk free to rape again. Most juries are more concerned with getting to the truth than the professionals who run the system. They should be better served not removed.

Melanie (not her real name), Women Against Rape, via email

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  • Show Comments
    1. I sympathise with Melanie’s daughter and herself the terrible ordeal experienced. I am pleased that she, eventually, got satisfaction from the court. Very few alleged rape cases actually go to court – in any country – and even fewer result in a prosecution, as happened here.

      I have written ‘in any country’, because Scotland has a different legal system from England. This is not asserting it is better or worse that the system in England, just that it is different and derives from the principles of Roman law rather than England’s common law system. (I am not a lawyer, and apologise if my very brief explanation of the basic difference is lacking in accuracy.)

      The Lord Advocate – a woman – is seeking to make changes to encourage more women who have experienced sexual assault to report it, to widen the criteria by which Procurators Fiscal can take cases to court and to obtain more successful prosecutions. One of the proposals put forward is to have trials without juries. Research has been done looking at how different legal systems across the world deal with the issue of crimes of a sexual nature and the proposals by the Lord Advocate are based on research in Scotland and elsewhere.

      Another matter specific to Scotland is the question of ‘corroboration’, which requires two pieces of evidence before a ‘fact’ is established to the court’s satisfaction. (Again, apologies for possible incompleteness and accuracy). The Lord Advocate is also seeking to change aspects of the need for the current standard of corroboration.

      This is particularly important in cases of allegations of rape, because in almost every case only the alleged victim and perpetrator were present and so corroboration is often difficult to provide. However, there are successful prosecutions for rape, so it is possible to get corroboration on occasion. But, the success rate is still low.

      A third aspect is that in Scotland juries can give one of three verdicts, guilty, not guilty, or not proven. In essence, the final verdict is acknowledging that there is some evidence of guilt on the part of the accused, but, for some of the jurors it is not strong enough to be reasonably sure of guilt. Some people argue that not proven, gives some jurors who are loath to make a decision of guilty a ‘get out’. And, to return to the issue raised in the letter, some feel that the experience judges have enables them better to look objectively at evidence than some jurors who might be swayed by other considerations.

      I have served on juries in Scotland and in my experience almost all jurors take their duty seriously, but it is clear that some members find the responsibility of deciding someone’s fate onerous. They are worried they might err.

    2. It is hard not to to angry upon being told to move on from the only genuine political hope most of us have seen in our lives, when that hope was treacherously backstabbed by congenital liars, con-men and manipulators, – who themselves are doing rather well.

      Even as ‘ar cuntry’ burns around us in poverty, desperation, kicking-down, LITERAL FUCKING STARVATION, and yes, come winter frozen to death pensioners and those on what remains of ‘welfare’.

      While ‘They’ play “Great Games” in Ukraine that has cost >200,000 Ukrainian CONSCRIPT LIVES, and 22,000 Russian lives, and risk the ENTIRE WORLD in a “Game of Global Thermonuclear War”. Movie spoiler – everyone loses that one.

      Because Corbyn would even have seconded Putin’s request for a “New Security Archicture for Europe”, and so the “SMO” need never have happened.

      And oh yes, 120,000 of the poorest pensioners in the corporate ‘care home’ sector would still be alive.

      That’s not even BEGINNING TO SCRATCH THE SURFACE of just how much we have lost from this betrayal.

      So yes, “Folk” are still tender about it, and being told to move on is salt.

      At the same time, the article’s point is well made. No, we should NOT be “looking for saviours”. We have to BE the saviour.

      Corbyn is burned out, something I can entirely identify with.

      Labour PLP is TOTALLY lost to the US Clintonite faction.

      Up until recently, I would have said vote ‘Green’, but they’ve also gone NATO warmonger this year. :'(

      Maybe if enough (new?) members make enough of a fuss, they’ll come to their senses?


      AlasdairMacdonald: “They are worried they might err.”

      I would be far more concerned if jurists did NOT have that attitude. “Before your peers” is a SAFEGUARD, and once cast away – just like the right to protest, the right to express independent thoughts in social spaces, the right to squat, and the rights of refugees – the Establishment is most unlikely to re-instate it.

      It is worth bearing in mind that the high corruption in the trial of former First Minister Salmond considerably undermines the claim that “Scottish Justice can be trusted”. Let alone the Al Magrahi case itself.

      From the outside of course, the motives can look both well intentioned, AND sinister.

      Remember, ‘The Road to Heaven is paved with Good Intentions’ – do you REALLY want to spend eternity with Pat Robertson?

      A decent principle to live by is ‘First, do no harm’. Surely the OBVIOUS FIRST STEP is to improve the behaviour of the police forces so there is more evidence collected and victims feel more confident about coming forward.

      TBH, I lack the essential stable genius gene though, so…

      I’m sure Assange fx would have had a PERFECTLY fine court case up in Scotland.

      No, really.

      I’m sure there’s good arguments by good people on both sides. I’m also sure there may be other ways potentially, to improve the situation than removing legal and constitutional rights and protections.

      Who in all heaven is giving the SNP all this terrible advice recently?

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