Gazette letters: Anti-Semitism in Labour, Market Estate, council tax and Highbury Corner

Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: JANE BARLOW/PA IMAGES

Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: JANE BARLOW/PA IMAGES - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Jenny Kassman, Julia Bard, Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Louisa S Kaplin, Julian Lousada, Sue Lukes, Prof Mica Nava, Jenny Richardson, David Rosenberg, Monika Schwartz, Prof Lynne Segal, Annabelle Sreberny, Ruth Steigman, Annette Thomas, Dr Gillian Yudkin and Prof John S Yudkin write:

As Jewish Labour members in Islington North we know from experience our MP, Jeremy Corbyn, respects and values minority communities here, including our Jewish one.

We are dismayed by unbalanced media reporting of allegations of anti-Semitism against Jeremy. We believe this partly results from his legitimate criticism of Israel’s cruel and racist treatment towards its Palestinian and Bedouin populations. This is because one definition of anti-Semitism includes criticism of the Israeli state as racist. We reject that definition. Indeed, many Israelis criticise actions of their state.

We dissociate ourselves from the accusations of anti-Semitism made against Jeremy by the Board of Jewish Deputies and some Labour MPs. We confirm our confidence and support for Jeremy as MP and as a future prime minister of this country.

After reading your article about the Market Estate I could not help feel a twinge of sadness that the estate will be remembered in such a way, writes Matt Langrish, full address supplied.

We moved into the adjacent estate, Shearling Way in 1980, and Market Estate already had a bad reputation mainly because of the prevalence of glue sniffers, or the “glueys” as we used to call them. There was indeed a sense of staying away from the “red flats” but the “grey flats” enjoyed a much nicer reputation. These were and still are at the western end of the Caledonian Park.

We in Shearling Way (I lived in Ewe Close) were very much a new influx of people to the area, and were very proud of our lovely new houses which, on the whole, were looked after by the new tenants; community areas were immaculate, and gardens tended to by a very observant and hardworking caretaker Bob.

I have great memories of growing up there in a trouble-free environment, although occasionally trouble did raise its head by way of a few minor skirmishes within the community but by no means at anytime was there an undercurrent of gang related violence. This may have come later prior to demolition, but my parents lived in Ewe Close till 2010 without any trouble and a real sense of neighbourly togetherness that came from having the same neighbours for 30 years.

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In the aerial photograph you can see my old house and remarkably my father’s black taxi parked up. This was nearly always garaged in nearby Surr Street, so truly a rare photo!

Islington Labour has published a 15,000 word manifesto, setting out how, if we are re-elected, we will redouble our efforts to make Islington a fairer place for all, writes Cllr Andy Hull, Highbury West.

Your editorial (“Voluntary tax increase is oddly familiar”, Gazette) focused on 34 words within that radical manifesto.

Unfortunately, the editorial made a fundamental error in that it sought to portray last year’s attempt by the Green councillor to impose a 10 per cent council tax bombshell on every Islington household as similar to our proposal to ask residents living in the highest value homes in the borough to pay voluntary council tax supplement, should they wish.

Islington is the 24th most deprived local authority area in the country, with many local people struggling to make ends meet. We do not think it is appropriate to impose a blanket 10pc council tax on all residents, as the Greens proposed, which in reality would have been higher still after other precepts were included.

By 2020 the Tory government will have cut Islington Council’s core government funding by 70pc in a decade. Our manifesto proposes an innovative way to ask some residents to contribute to a “Fairer Islington Fund” if they wish. This fund will help us work with others to provide additional support to local people, intervening early to prevent complex problems from developing and so helping our community become even more resilient.

Our manifesto also makes the clear commitment to keep council tax in Islington below the London average, if we are re-elected on May 3, helping to support local people.

• Editor’s note: I don’t agree that the difference between the Greens’ proposed referendum last year and Labour’s proposed voluntary tax increase this year was unclear in either my editorial or the news report that accompanied it, but I’m happy to give Cllr Hull space to respond.

Just when an end to the repaving work outside Highbury station was in sight, all activity appears to have stopped. Certainly, nothing has happened for the past two days, writes Tim Sayer MBE, full address supplied.

The final phase was to replace the grey tactile paving stones that had been wrongly laid with red ones.

Does no one at TfL take responsibility for this shambles? The work should have been completed weeks ago, and the full vehicle lanes restored. Instead, the dangerous two lanes remain.

Our money is being wasted. There should be a public inquiry into this scandal.