Letters to the Editor

Not just business sector who shares a dread of a Corbyn government

The current Brexit debacle appears to be providing a welcome distraction for Jeremy Corbyn and his leadership deficiencies in the Labour Party.
Whatever game he is playing; in trying to oust the Theresa May-led government by a failed vote of no confidence, it is not working. Despite the hollering from the Labour front benches for a second general election, it would seem that this is another example of how Corbyn is out of step with popular feeling.
A recent YouGov poll conducted on behalf of The Times conveyed the result that a continuation of Theresa May’s government was almost twice as popular as a potential Corbyn-led government – 89 per cent of Conservative voters backed May as leader, as opposed to 61 per cent of Labour voters who would be content in seeing Corbyn remain their leader.  These statistics have raised important and pressing issues for the Labour Party head. 

Last year the Labour Party was plagued by concerning allegations of anti-Semitism. 
It was felt by some commentators that the issue had been exacerbated by Corbyn’s leadership of the party. It was partly for this reason that former Labour MP, John Woodcock, felt justified in defecting from his Labour heritage. During last year’s summer recess, Mr Woodcock expressed his concern that Labour, under Corbyn, was not the “broad church” of mainstream opinion that it once had been. Instead, he argued, it had become swamped by the “hard-left” and was at odds with working-class, grass roots opinion. Woodcock went as far to say that a Corbyn government would be “a threat” to UK national security. 

Mr Corbyn’s front-bench comrades have been long standing associates of his from his years of mingling with the hard-left.  His distinguished shadow chancellor John McDonnell is a self-proclaimed Marxist who, only last year, identified the Marxist ideology as a bastion of “freedom” and “democracy”. Evidently, his judgment was somewhat devoid of any practical reasoning; given that Marxism was the very ideology which led to the birth and death of the USSR police state.  

Unsurprisingly, the business sector in the UK share a common dread of seeing the dawn of a Corbyn government; a potential catastrophe for the UK’s economy. Alasdair Haynes, chairman of Aquis Exchange, a London-based equities firm, labelled the combination of a hard Brexit and a Corbyn government as “Armageddon”. A German employee of a prominent European Bank in the UK said Corbyn would turn “a successful capitalist country” into “a socialist country where you are punished for being successful and being a banker.”

Last week’s political turmoil has most certainly set historical precedents; for, it has to be said, all the less attractive reasons.
All of the previous uncertainties surrounding the Brexit debate are yet again at the fore – more so than ever before. Perhaps the same could be said for Jeremy Corbyn and his position at the helm of the Labour Party, who is perhaps on a much more slippery slope than Theresa May. 

Co Down


Councillors turning blind eye to human misery

Belfast City Council’s recent decision to allocate upwards of £200,000 to ‘bonfire diversionary projects’ is little more than a sectarian carve up coming at a time when this city needs serious and sustained investment in  health and well being projects, in jobs and in its young people.

It is appalling that as we come to terms with the news of 10 drug-related deaths over the Christmas period, an increasing reliance of food banks, rising fuel poverty and some of the highest levels of social deprivation, that public money is squandered in this manner.

It beggars belief that with all these problems on our doorstep that some city councillors can turn a blind eye to the levels of human misery that exist locally in favour of a rave in the Falls Park and a big night out in Woodvale.

People in west Belfast have the lowest life expectancy in Northern Ireland, 34 per cent of local children live in poverty or in low income families and more than 40 per cent of houses are in fuel poverty, meaning that people can’t afford to heat them and the number of local people suffering with mental health problems is three times higher than in other areas.

Add to that the problems of homelessness, addiction and low educational attainment and the very idea that these should take second place to a rave and a concert is deeply offensive.

The promise of Sinn Féin lord mayor Deirdre Hargey to build a “...healthy, harmonious and prosperous society” will mean nothing to people facing hardship and hopelessness when they see the resources that could have made a difference to their lives, and the lives of their children, frittered away on a musical one-night stand.

Workers Party, West Belfast


Paisley has no shame

We have learned recently that DUP MP Ian Paisley had, yet again, abused his position in attending an event in New York hosted by the charity Co-operation Ireland and claimed more than £6,000 in expenses by flying first class. Also attending were members of the Irish government, all travelling economy class, with Pat Doherty of Sinn Féin staying with relatives to reduce the expenses charged to the charity.

It takes a truly shameless public figure to treat a charity in this way. 

Mr Paisley is no stranger to taking advantage wherever the opportunity may arise, in recent times he and his family have enjoyed lavish holidays in the Maldives and Sri Lanka, with all expenses covered. The Maldives has been criticised on many occasions by the UN for numerous human rights abuses. 

The Sri Lankan government has been responsible for the disappearance and murder of 40,000 Tamil people. In return for his lavish holiday Paisley returned to the UK and lobbied members of the Conservative government to assist in preventing the UN from investigating the genocide of the Tamil people. This MP has no shame.

Cricklewood, London


Thanks for 50 years of help

On behalf of Concern Worldwide, I would like to thank the readers of the Irish News for their continued support last year.

For more than 50 years, Concern has been at the forefront of transforming the lives of vulnerable people in some of the world’s toughest places. However, that has only been possible through the generosity of local supporters and volunteers who have given their time and money to make a lasting difference to communities faced with the most unimaginable hardships.

Last year, we supported tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled violence in Myanmar and are now living in the vast Cox’s Bazar camp in Bangladesh. We have helped bring malnourished children – many of whom endured long and harrowing journeys – back from the brink with life-saving therapeutic food.

In Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, we are responding to help displaced Syrian families who have been left homeless and hungry as a consequence of almost nine years of war. We are providing emergency food supplies, clean water and places of shelter to make sure their basic human needs are met.

The commitment of our local supporters to our humanitarian work last year and over the past half a century is incredibly inspiring and I hope that they will continue to be a part of all that we do in 2019.

NI Director of Concern Worldwide

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