ronnie mcgowanLong-time Labour member Ronnie McGowan has written a heartfelt open letter to Jeremy Corbyn on the subject of the Syrian crisis.


Dear Jeremy,

I appreciate the opportunity you gave me to express my opinion on the Syrian crisis. I’m not wholly in agreement with Friday night e-mail surveys as a means of sounding out opinions. I remain unconvinced my response would have even been read.

Over the past few weeks we have been led to believe that what the Islamic State and its campaign of terror fear most is unity between its perceived enemies. I think you, as leader of the Labour Party, should offer that unity in the face of the recent violent events.

I’m sure you saw the photograph of the audience at the Bataclan, moments before the slaughter commenced. Did you recognise opponents of Islam in that picture? Were you able to tell from their youthful smiles and expressions who did or didn’t support French or western foreign policy in the Middle East? Or did you see a typical Friday night group of people out enjoying the freedoms that a social democratic society offers?

Social democracy has no quarrel with Islam, which plays an integral part in many social democratic societies. But when a terrorist Islamist fascist element runs amok in our capitals, then it is time to fight back.

I hear you say that Cameron doesn’t have a plan. Do you? Was a newly transformed German state uppermost in the thoughts of the people of the United Kingdom between 1939 and 1945? I doubt it. But a plan did emerge which saw Germany flourish into the country it is today, thanks to its social democratic institutions.

Your plan needn’t mirror that successful post-war story, but the Labour Party working hand in hand with our allies in the European Union and NATO could offer the region a vision where the principles of social democracy can be accepted alongside the religious beliefs and aspirations of the people living there.

No-one, including me, wants to see human suffering as a result of warfare. What I and many others do want is to live in harmony with the rest of the world. But when that equilibrium is disturbed by wanton terrorism, and killings based on an intolerant belief of what social democracy stands for, then it is time to stand strong and firm with our allies.

France has asked for our support. Let us give them that support, wholeheartedly.

I have come to this view today, after over half a century of being a loyal foot soldier in the Labour Party, recognising that there are times when a way of life is worth fighting for. The terrorists are no friends of working people. They are the enemy of our common humanity.

I wish you well in your leadership. It is no easy task. Please lead our Labour Party to stand up and support the fight for the values we hold so dear.

Yours sincerely,

Ronnie McGowan

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22 thoughts on “A letter to my leader

  1. I respect the views expressed but those who oppose bombing do wish to “stand with France” Other methods would be more effective. I draw Mr McGowans attention to the excellent article in the FT re how ISIL gains arms and difficulties gaining ammunition.There are different more intelligent ways to help allies.

    1. “other methods would be more effective”..such as? and backed by exactly what evidence?

  2. It is not a matter of grand moral stances, but a matter of showing solidarity with our allies in very difficult, very pressing circumstances. Our allies have asked for this show of solidarity. Our showing it may not make any great tactical difference but it is vital to the long term defeat of IS. Thank you for your reasoned comment.

  3. If you want unity then join those who are against murdering innocents with airstrikes and trying to get us into yet another unwinnable conflict because the US has an agenda of domination over the world.
    You don’t want unity you want people to compromise the principles you have no problem compromising.

  4. Lets no compare this war to the one against Fascism in the 1940’s. If you want to comapre it to anything, compare it to the disasterous campaigns in Libya and Iraq. No good will come of this. We are standing in solidarity with France, we do not need need to contribute a few bombs to do this.

    1. I didn’t actually compare “this war to the one against Fascism in the 1940’s” but I could if you wish.

      Your claim of standing in solidarity with France is short on substance. They asked for support as a result of the attacks on November 13th – the UK has now given that support.

  5. Despite Syrian civilians stating clearly that Daesh hide in tunnels, hospitals and civilian homes under bombing….therefore all we do is kill children and innocent adults……
    Despite 10 other countries reducing Syria to rubble over the past year….to no effect……
    Despite the fact that the french attacks were carried out in the main by European nationals……….
    Despite the fact that Turkey buys oil from Daesh….and Soudi Arabia supply weapons….

    Labour MPs are happy to pile on more misery in the form of UK airstrikes?

    Appalling, abhorrent, morally bankrupt form of argument

    1. Surely you mean “Tory MPs”? Most Labour MPs oppose the bombing, most Tories back it. Why on earth would you only direct your ire towards the former? Oh, wait, sorry, we all know the answer to that.

      1. Duncan – ‘Most (Scottish) Labour MPs oppose the bombing’

        Please check out latest ‘Wings over Scotland’ – Only Neil Findlay and three chums have an opinion on the subject. No aboot time you lot packed in?

        1. What a very odd reply. I said most Labour MPs, not most (Scottish) Labour MPs, because there’s only one Scottish Labour MP, and he does oppose the motion. Neil Findlay is an MSP. You’d think even a mindless Nat would understand the difference.

          1. Mmm, UK wide 231 labour MP’s, 71.5% voted NO/ = 165 Mp’s and 28.5% voted YES = 66 MP’s.

            Scotland 59 MP’s, 96.5% voted NO = 57 MP’s and 3.5% voted YES = 2 MP’s.

            Says it all really.

            Did anyone abstain ?

      2. The level of contempt for Tories is a foregone conclusion….Labour are supposed to be an “opposition”.

        Since a fair number including the shadow cabinet voted with the Tories the war vote was assured….

        Had Jeremy whipped the Labour party there is a fair chance the vote wouldn’t get off the ground..

        Labour facilitating the Tories ….as usual….

        By their actions shall ye know them

        1. A couple of facts for ya:

          The vote would have carried with a clear majority had every Labour MP chosen to vote against.

          Being in opposition doesn’t just mean naysaying everything the government does.

          I think Labour MPs on both sides of the argument were brilliant yesterday. Honest about their doubts and concerns, open about their conclusions and hopes.

          1. Being in opposition doesn’t just mean naysaying everything the government does.

            What it means to Labour is naysaying everything the SNP says and does but going along with most of what the Conservatives say and do because there are still far too many Blairites left in the Labour party such as yourself Duncan.

          2. 397-67 labour ayes = 330 votes for – 10 abstentions = 320 which is not an outright majority….

            Had Labour been whipped and followed it – Cameron would still have had his way thanks to the spineless lib dems….

            but at the very least the Labour party would have looked like a cohesive unit ready for the role of opposition…

            As they stand…with Tories showering praise on senior labour figures for their aligned views just makes Labour look like a poor divided weak copy of the Tories…with no point….

            right now we have voted to send Syrian civilians and children to their deaths as the result of UK bombs – as all bombs before it have already…

            Not in my name, foul abhorrent act

  6. “Over the past few weeks we have been led to believe that what the Islamic State and its campaign of terror fear most is unity between its perceived enemies.”

    If anyone has led you believe this I’ve a bridge you might be interested in.

    ISIS want a holy war, they want the crusaders banging on their doors and bombing their houses, they want slaughter and bloodshed wherever they stand. Their every action is taken to ramp up conflict,; their values, both internally and externally, are based on a global conflict leading to an eternal caliphate.

    The quotation above appears to have come from “The Ladybird Book on ISIS”, try reading a little more widely next time.

  7. “France has asked for our support. Let us give them that support, wholeheartedly.”

    Ronnie so sorry to say you are harping back to the days of Empire we that is to say UK and France to name a few have been the cause of all that is happening in the Middle East and Africa we exploited and robbed lots of countries in these continents and left them in turmoil. The bombing of Syria will act as a recruiting sergeant for the terrorists and it is likely that they will have a pop sooner or later in the UK because of that. Anyway to bomb in any case without a plan and boots on the ground will accomplish Zero we should keep our noses out of these other countries business and let them sort it out amongst themselves. How come the UK and France want to get involved in Arab countries but don’t want to sort out the Palestine and Israel conflict what’s the difference the UK drew a line in a map and gave the Palestinians country to Israel and left them to fight it out I can’t see us doing anything there. Let’s spend our money on bairns not bombs.

  8. To see labour MPs clapping and cheering with the Tories over the realisation that the aye’s had it and the vote to bomb Syrian civilians (women and children will be among them) is sickening

    1. Something you made up is sickening? MPs clapped a speech, not a vote. You want to manufacture offence or grievance, find your own website to do it on.

      1. Duncan,

        You are quite mad. ‘touched’ as my gran would say.

        No expectations of this getting published, no wish for it. Just a genuine attempt at getting you to stand back and take a look at yourself.

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