No doubt Peter Wilby was pleased with his comparison of Jeremy Corbyn with Mrs Jellyby`s "telescopic philanthropist", but the fact that it was based entirely on what he "suspects", without any evidence to substantiate it, rather diminishes its cleverness (First Thoughts,08/01/16). Apparently, the Labour leader does not care "as much about such issues" as the damage inflicted by the Tories on the NHS, on social housing, on "in-work benefits", on "flood defences" and the threats to state schools, as on "nuclear disarmament and liberation struggles across the globe".
Yet in an interview with Nick Robinson on the Today programme, on Radio 4 this week, despite the presenter`s efforts to divert him, Corbyn was emphatic in his criticism of the government for its handling of the junior doctors` dispute, and rightly asked how many doctors would be leaving the country to work elsewhere as a direct result of Hunt`s actions. He also promised a "different approach to economic problems", and highlighted how government policies are making the housing situation worse, creating a "more divided Britain", and developing an education system which has decreased prospects of social mobility.
In the same interview, and in various newspaper articles, Corbyn has rightly claimed credit for government U-turns on cuts to "in-work benefits" and police numbers, whilst in PMQs he attacked the Tories for their appalling record on "flood defences".
What is clearly required is for respected political commentators, like Wilby and Eaton, to listen to what Corbyn actually says, and not hear what their suspicions tell them what he is saying. He is appealing, as they admit, to "idealistic young people", and given a fair chance by the media, he can lead Labour to an election victory in 2020; it is not only young people who are anxious for transformation of our society!
Matthew d`Ancona won`t approve, but as a Guardian reader of too many years to remember exactly, I confess I am not "unburdened by anti-Tory prejudice" (Hunt can take on the doctors by showing he`s for the NHS,11/01/16). My bias is not the result of blinkered asessment of Tory policies, but of first-hand experience of, and observation over many years.Teaching in state schools under Conservative governments, with the consequent shortage of teaching materials, low pay and morale, whilst observing the unfairness of Tory policies, unnecessary and inequitable austerity measures, and the failure to apply a fair system of taxation and regulations to prevent inequality increasing by the day, gives me every right to take an anti-Tory stance. I do not need to be told, by a Guardian writer of all people, that I am unable to view "the junior doctors` strike" without prejudice.
d`Ancona would do well to take heed of the basic message in Zoe Williams`s column; David Cameron already has his "detractors" silenced by the Barclay brothers and Rupert Murdoch, and by contraventions of "the BBC`s duty of impartiality", so another pro-Tory article in a left-leaning newspaper is hardly necessary (Labour`s disputes should not always be seen as chaos,11/01/16). Bring on Williams`s "meaningful reporting", which solicits "both sides of the argument"; anyone who can seriously suggest that this government will "bulldoze the worst sink estates", and provide "decent housing " instead, simply has not been studying the empirical evidence, a symptom, I believe, of being burdened with a very severe case of pro-Tory prejudice!