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