ANENT Starmer’s decision to block Jeremy Corbyn from standing for Labour in the next election, I am convinced of four points (Corbyn barred from standing as Labour MP, Feb 16).

First, that Corbyn was not anti-semitic. His objection was to the Israeli government’s treatment of the Palestinians, and did not reflect his view of the Jewish people. Second, that he was not a friend of terrorists. In having private talks with the IRA and Hamas, he was trying to find a way to promote a peaceful resolution out of the constant glare of publicity which was hindering it.

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Third, that these two accusations were used by those who felt that one of them deserved the leadership and who mocked him when he first put himself forward, to engineer his downfall.

When he was elected, we discussed the effect it would have on his detractors and we agreed that they were likely to be so enraged at his success that they would try to undermine him and prove to those who voted for him how wrong they were. Digging up the above accusations eventually gave them that satisfaction, though not another chance of the leadership.

This leads to my third conviction, that Starmer is now blocking him because he is scared of him and the influence he might have if re-elected. If he believed that Corbyn was no threat, he would allow him to stand. That surely indicates that he knows that there is still a strong element of support for Corbyn in the party, and I believe that, in reality, had he been given the support of the defeated candidates, he would have been able to restore the fortunes of Labour as Starmer never will.

P Davidson

READING the article, “Polling shows 'no electoral impact' on SNP after FM announcement” by Adam Robertson (Feb 19), I almost fell off my chair with laughter when I read “the results showed that 19% of 2019 Tory voters said they would now vote Labour”.

There are NO political lines differentiating Labour and the Tories, only the colour of the badges they wave as the SNP independence bandwagon rolls on past them.

It’s well known that the Tory aim is to first fill their own pockets and then those of their backers.

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In “The Worst of Westminster” on February 18, Steph Brawn reports that Keir Starmer “claimed Labour had changed and people who didn’t like it could leave”.

The same article reports that Starmer said Labour was “unrecognisable from 2019” and would never go back, and “if you don’t like that, if you don’t like the changes we have made, I say the door is open and you can leave.”

So, all those “founding principles” the Labour Party was built on can be flushed down the toilet, but keep paying your union dues to fund me and my new political dream.

It’s clear when you vote Tory you get Tory, but remember when you vote Labour you also get Tory.

Jim Todd

KEIR Starmer is deeply mistaken if he thinks that Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP turned Scots against the Labour party. It was the Labour party themselves who turned Scots against them.

Peter McLaughlin
via email

WHILE we can agree that Nicola Sturgeon will be hard to replace, we must nevertheless try.

In our considerations we must decide on the best leadership to achieve three aims: a route to independence; a fair, equitable and prosperous Scotland; and a united party and wider independence movement.

Can one person achieve so much? It may be that the First Minister is left to focus on the day-to-day running of the country with someone else, as Richard Walker suggests, having a laser focus on achieving independence.

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That leaves the issue of unity. The most amazing thing about being part of the independence movement has been the respectful and good-humoured way in which those who disagree on detail have been able to work together for a common cause. There was acceptance that the varying visions for our country’s future would be debated in the first election in our newly independent country; culminating in Scotland having a government we voted for.

This atmosphere has eroded in recent times but is not beyond repair. A deputy who understands the differing views and can both bring people together within the party and reach out to the wider movement would be invaluable.

The leadership election gives us a chance to make the most of the significant talent, experience and enthusiasm within our party. A leader and deputy team that includes experience and youth and can bring differing factions together, coupled with a separate role for someone whose main task would be building the road to independence, could be the best of all worlds.

It might not be the same as having the best leader this country has ever seen but it may nevertheless be what we need right now. And who knows, we may yet see a return. As we know, it has happened before.

Vicky McGraw
Address supplied