Gazette letters: Brexit, elections and anti-Semitism

Stronger In campaigning ahead of May 2016 referendum. Picture: STEVE POSTON

Stronger In campaigning ahead of May 2016 referendum. Picture: STEVE POSTON - Credit: Archant

Over recent weekends, a 20-strong group of volunteers from Islington in Europe has taken to the streets to gauge the issues around Brexit that most concern people here, writes Luisa Fulci, Lambs Mews, Islington.

Just under 300 put pen to paper for us. They had an entirely free hand in citing whatever issues were uppermost for them: we gave them no prompting.

Most frequently cited, by over a third of respondents, was the economy. Next on the list (28 per cent) came issues around migration and freedom of movement. About a quarter listed political bungling as a worry. And about 19pc listed issues around security, the EU peace dividend, UK unity and the diminution of the UK’s global standing and influence.

It was clear people are thinking about Brexit a lot, and have identified a wide range of issues that concern them. Most recently, people used the opportunity to ask for a new referendum. We will be forwarding the results of this exercise to the various MPs who, in theory, represent all these people. We hope they will take it into account when voting on the withdrawal bill.

Perhaps the Lib Dems, before they pledge to build more social rent homes (Gazette), should reflect on the actions of their parliamentary colleagues, writes Barry Edwards, Holloway, full address supplied.

It was the Lib Dems in the coalition who agreed to changing the planning rules so office blocks could be converted to housing without planning permission and without any provision for affordable housing!

We were shocked to read in the Gazette last week members of Islington Labour referring to “unbalanced media reporting of allegations of anti-Semitism against Jeremy [Corbyn]”, write Victor Kaufman and Ilana Lever, Liberal Democrat candidates, St Mary’s ward.

In their letter, they effectively downplay incidents of anti-Semitism within the party, by stating that incidents reported were often miscontrued anti-Israel sentiment.

We believe there is a firm distinction between racist anti-Semitism – as per the mural that Jeremy Corbyn overlooked – and criticism of the actions of the Israeli government. We believe that, as Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn is responsible for stamping out the anti-Semitic elements in his party, which he himself has acknowledged exist.

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As Jewish candidates for local council in Islington, we are proud to be standing for a party that takes anti-Semitism as seriously as any other form of racism, and continues to champion equality and fairness for all across society, irrespective of religion, race, gender, sexuality or any of the other differences that make the fabric of our society so rich and wonderful.

Jeremy Corbyn has been the MP for Islington North since 1983 and has consistently fought for his constituents’ human rights in complete opposition to anti-Semitism and any other form of racism, writes Alison McGarry, chairman, Islington North Labour Party and Stephen Moorby, communications officer, Islington North Labour Party.

Along with Jeremy, we in Islington North Labour Party are committed to challenging racism and anti-Semitism at all levels of political life and overcoming the global rise of the far right and the toxic anti-immigrant rhetoric of the tabloid press. To this end we fully support Jeremy and his actions to ensure that there is no place for anti-Semitism anywhere in the Labour Party locally and nationally.

We are confident the new general secretary of the Labour Party will implement the Chakrabarti inquiry’s findings and deal seriously with any allegations of anti-Semitism in a just and timely manner. We therefore call upon Labour Party members and MPs to unite in support of Jeremy and Jennie’s efforts to improve the party’s procedures and eliminate anti-Semitism from our movement and wider society.

It’s no doubt a nervous time for politicians as there is an election en-route. It could all change for those individuals who have had a four-year contract, writes Michael McElligott, Amwell Street, Islington.

The top people have taken home £200,000 but I question: where is the value when there has been no opposition?

I think the law should change so that in local politics you have to have a 25 per cent minimum opposition. That way at least you can claim you have some form of political conversation.

Further, I fail to understand why £4million has been wasted in PR considering we all walk around leafy Islington and, unfortunately, we observe that people sleep beneath trees and under bridges. £4m would have dissolved that problem.

So may I ask: IF Labour gets a full house, could it reduce that spend? Surely the community should come before the politician who needs PR. A genuine politician creates their own and moves up the political ladder.