Today I rather enjoyed two politically-related pieces to be found on the website of The Independent, not normally a ‘broadsheet’ that in my experience offers the best heavyweight insights on the subject.
Firstly, on the topic of the UK’s EU referendum in June, yesterday Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – hitherto a well-known EU sceptic of many decades’ standing – finally broke cover to confirm that he and the Labour Party were in favour of ‘Remain’. The media had been speculating if and how he would do this for several weeks, given received opinion that he was being leaned on by members of the Parliamentary party to do so against his better instincts.
In the event it seems that when making his announcement he virtually confirmed the rumours by hinting that, whilst he remained deeply sceptical, he leads the Labour Party and he was now recommending ‘Remain’ because that is what his party wanted.
From my strictly neutral standpoint on the Referendum issue, one of Mr Corbyn’s key reasons for remaining in the EU seemed slightly at variance with the prevailing facts.
On this he began by stating that the EU was badly in need of reform and the best way to achieve this was for Britain to be within the EU, working with others of similar mind to achieve the desired changes that everyone wants.
I just wonder whether – given the mixed reaction around the EU to the Prime Minister’s recent supposedly game-changing ‘renegotiation’ of Britain’s terms of membership and the continuing widely varying speculation from all sides as to whether or not half the ‘improvements’ that Mr Cameron has achieved are what he claims [for example, a story in today’s Daily Telegraph claims that an official EU Referendum document ‘that Number 10 doesn’t want you to read’ admits that Britain is obliged to accept all EU laws and judgements] – the idea that any further reform of the EU, given that perhaps two-third of its country-members and 100% of its bureaucrats are perfectly happy with how it is now, is actually achievable. Or even a rational aspiration to hold.
Anyway, for the benefit of Rust readers who might be interested, here is a link to the Indie’s parliamentary sketch writer Tom Peck’s piece on Mr Corbyn’s speech yesterday – CORBYN ON THE EU
Secondly, on the subject of the recent Panama Papers revelations and ‘tax havens’ scandal.
Mark Steel, whom I believe is a comedian in another context, is an occasional columnist for The Independent who writes from a leftist pro-Labour standpoint. Whether I agree or disagree with someone’s views, I can forgive them anything if they are entertaining or, even better, can make me laugh.
Mr Steel’s effort on this subject certainly ticked both these boxes for me – and hopefully for Rust readers too, if they should choose to follow this link to his piece today – MARK STEEL ON TAX HAVENS