Gazette Letters - Confusion over Corbyn visit to Islands

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Dear Sir,

I cannot be alone in my confusion concerning the UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s impending trip to Lewis.

Mr Corbyn’s trip is being organised by Labour’s former candidate for Westminster Ealasaid MacDonald, despite the fact she had previously indicated she would “give up on life, politics and move to a hermitage” if he became Labour leader.

And two years ago, Ms MacDonald was election agent and campaign manager for former Labour MSP Alasdair Morrison’s own unsuccessful bid for Westminster.

He regularly describes the leader of his own party as incompetent, a lightweight and a “terrorist loving clown”, accusing Mr Corbyn of supporting the IRA.

On the issue of nuclear weapons, Mr Corbyn opposes Trident while the UK Labour party endorses the prospect of spending up to £179 billion on this morally repugnant weapons system. Naturally, the Scottish Labour Leader supports the renewal of Trident while the Scottish Labour party opposes it.

Locally, there are a double digit number of Labour councillors working together on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, despite none of them declaring their political party membership on their declaration of interests, or being brave enough to stand under their own party’s banner.

I acknowledge that there are a number of genuinely independent councillors. To be fair, the last two councillors to be open about their Labour party membership were promptly rejected in this year’s election.

Labour’s position on any issue can change at any time and for any reason.

How on earth are people supposed to take this as a serious and credible political party?

On the most pressing and challenging political issue of our time, Brexit, they have been completely flaccid in their role as the official opposition. By refusing to support calls to remain in the single market they are allowing the Tories to railroad through a hard Brexit that will irrevocably damage our island economy. Where is their active opposition?

This is a precarious time for us. Sadly - beyond fuzzy words - neither of the major UK parties have shown themselves capable of understanding or caring about our needs.

I shall be going along to hear Mr Corbyn speak tonight (Wednesday). I always enjoy listening to a skilled orator at work and Mr Corbyn has few equals in that regard.

However the real question facing these islands, and Scotland as a whole, is whether we continue to be governed by the Westminster Tories indefinitely, or whether we choose to be a self governing nation?

Mr Corbyn, for all his talents, cannot offer a third option.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Flett

submitted by email