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Goodbye Berliner, auf wiedersehen Berlin, so long Labour? | Letters

Jeremy Corbyn and Labour's Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, outside EU headquarters
Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, outside EU headquarters in Brussels. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Martin Kettle’s Brexit advice to Jeremy Corbyn (On Europe, Labour was right to be cautious. No longer, 12 January) bears striking and therefore credible resemblance to Tony Blair’s recent intervention (Tony Blair: timid Labour risks becoming handmaiden of Brexit, 3 January). For those who have swung behind Corbyn in the spirit of a party unity that Kettle rightly says matters, it is now time for the Labour leader to have the courage of his office to make the audacious case for as close a relationship with the EU as is possible.

Readers of these pages today say a fond au revoir to the Berliner Guardian with faith in the editorial drive to embrace change while maintaining the highest journalistic integrity. Likewise, Corbyn has a chance to take inspiration from Blair’s and others’ wise pro-EU counsel to deliver an audacious plan for collaboration with a reforming and improving EU.

Be it the Guardian or the EU, the format can and must change but the invaluable substance is to be safeguarded; Corbyn must use his political capital and grasp the chance to lead the UK back to the heart of an ever better EU that we can all embrace, even if the Berliner is no more.
Nick Mayer

• Sarah Ansell (Letters, 11 January) praises Larry Elliott on his take on buyer’s remorse for Brexit. Her view is that the EU never works in the interests of workers. But years of peace worked in the interests of us all, including workers. Safety regulations, food quality rules, workers’ rights, paternity leave and sick leave all work to the benefit of employees.

In 1974, this country was the sick man of Europe and our economy was a basket case. We entered the EU and over the following years our economy improved – much to the benefit of the working class. The increase in trade benefited workers as well as bosses, and the right to travel and work meant that, in the 1980s, many tradesmen from these islands travelled into Europe for jobs – remember Auf Wiedersehen, Pet? It wasn’t science fiction.

She says EU treaties have allowed the capitalist class to cut public spending, privatise and sell our assets abroad. No, that was the Tories from Thatcher onwards and has nothing to do with the EU. The rest of her letter is sadly pie in the sky, Labour cakery. An “alternative workers’ sovereignty”? What’s that?

Only Corbyn understands all this, she claims. I’m 73 and have voted Labour all my life. I stood on platforms with Tony Benn, Ann Taylor, Dennis Skinner and Arthur Scargill, and fought for the left all my life. This year, more left than ever, I tore up my Labour party membership card in disgust.

An insular, sloganising, Leninist little England run by a party that is eating itself and has failed in opposition (we should be creaming the Tories now) is something I no longer want to be part of.
Mike Harding
Langcliffe, North Yorkshire

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This article titled "Goodbye Berliner, auf wiedersehen Berlin, so long Labour?" was written by Letters, for The Guardian on Friday 12 January 2018 06.22pm


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