Letters

Submitted by AWL on 30 October, 2019 - 10:49

Last week, you reported on the Morning Star coming out clearly in support of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

Events have also pushed Socialist Worker to clarify its stance, in fact to show how bad it is.

For some time now SW’s basic line has been: “Shout about something else loudly enough to drown all thoughts about Brexit”.

SW of 22 October, however, explicitly applauded the victory of the nationalist-minded big union bureaucracies against the left-wing rank and file at Labour conference (Brighton, 22-25 September).

It complained that leading Labour MPs’ speeches on 19 October “flew in the face of a decision by ordinary Labour members [sic] at their party conference just last month to reject campaigning for Remain” (no motion against Remain was voted through or even proposed. Conference voted down an explicitly pro-Remain motion, but voted for a second referendum, which SW rejects as much as it rejects Remain).

“The Labour Party”, fumed SW, “has taken a big step towards full support for remaining in the racist, neoliberal European Union”. As if racism and neoliberalism come only from Germany, France, etc., and Boris Johnson’s Britain will be ok just as long as it builds high barriers in the channel against such “un-British” ideas!

Another article in SW named “good reasons” and “bad reasons” to be against Johnson’s deal. It hinted that for SW the “good reasons” outweigh the “bad”, and on balance SW is against, but did not say that explicitly.

“The alternative to Johnson’s deal…”, it said, “is to fight to get the Tories out”.

And then? No very different Brexit deal is possible now. And SW indicates that the worst thing, from its point of view, would be a Labour government agreeing to keep Britain integrated with Europe.

So, if SW succeeds in getting the Tories out, basically it will campaign for Labour to do another Brexit deal, inevitably similar to Johnson’s?

Alan Gilbert, London

A crass flourish

Matt Kinsella’s intervention in the Hijab in schools debate from Solidarity 522 has some useful information regarding the 2017 National Secular Society report.

But then he undermines his argument with what I hope is a rhetorical if crass flourish.

To suggest that opponents of a ban on the Hijab are going to “give a single inch to people who think that if an unveiled four-year old is raped, they had it coming” is mistaken.

The veiling of young children is reactionary, but does Matt believe that the parents of unveiled girls who are attacked are definitely to blame? This seems like a stretch that obscures rather than clarifies the lines in the debate.

If being an opponent of a Hijab ban makes me akin to someone who would blame a child for sexual assault, then I think the debate should be re-grounded in reality.

I support the right to cause offence. I’d like to think there is a point to this argument beyond shock value. But I don’t believe there is.

In David Pendletone’s article in the same issue he makes the case for providing additional lessons for children who do not remove the hijab. Is a young child refusing to remove a hijab likely to be refusing of their own volition?

David rightly puts the charge of responsibility on the parents. But such additional lessons seem counterproductive for the child. They after all may well agree, but be fearful or concerned about the reaction of their family or members of their community who are seeking to pressure children against a ban.

Stephen Wood, Haringey

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