Political lessons of row over Rochester ‘White Van Man’

From: Brian Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

LIKE other conveniences, stereotyping should be treated with caution. Emily Thornberry, the shadow attorney general, was forced to resign for appearing to characterise the Rochester and Strood electorate as White Van Man with his house draped in flags of St George (The Yorkshire Post, November 22).

She was immediately labelled a Champagne socialist, disconnected from her party’s core-vote. Yet she grew up on a council estate and attended a secondary modern school. It also transpires that, far from being an active Ukip supporter, the victim of her mischievous Tweet is reported not to have even been aware of the by-election in his constituency, but is now revelling in his new-found fame.

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Although she was wrong on this occasion, Ms Thornberry is not stupid. She knows that the issue of immigration, rightly or wrongly, is robbing her party of its traditional supporters. Where the BNP failed, Ukip appears to be succeeding.

From: Tim Mickleburgh, Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.

A CORRESPONDENT (The Yorkshire Post, November 27) claims that unlike Labour, other political parties do what they say on the tin. But is this true? Many voted for the Liberal Democrats in the last election, only to find that their party was to enter a coalition with the Conservatives. This immediately meant them abandoning their pledge on tuition fees.

Similarly, did Tory loyalists really want their brand to be diluted by a coalition, or to support gay marriage?

As for Ukip, they claim to be Thatcherites to gain the backing of disillusioned Conservative voters, yet adopt a different approach to attract working-class voters who feel Labour isn’t doing enough for them.

The fact is all parties need to appeal to the electorate at large to get voted into power.

From: Hugh Rogers, Messingham Road, Ashby.

PEOPLE who clamour for a VAT reduction forget that the purpose of VAT, like any other tax, is to raise money. The Chancellor simply can’t afford to give away chunks of his income just to help a particular industry, however deserving those who work in it think they are. Next thing you know it’ll be the British Association of Toilet Roll manufacturers, or the Iced Lolly Federation.

VAT was designed as a broad-based tax applicable to the supply of most goods and services – a principle which helps to keep the standard rate relatively low.