The New Zealand attacks, once again, are an attempt to radicalise religion and divide us. The far-right supporter who is alleged to have murdered 49 Muslims in a terrorist attack Christchurch, publicly announced his hate for Muslims and immigrants. He also praised Trump, saying he was a “symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose”, while his guns had the names of Christian leaders who had fought Muslims written across them.

Populists are attempting to sow division between “us” and “them” – to create a culture war. We must stop this ideology now, before it grows out of control.

In our current climate, it is essential we unite to overcome this extremist ideology – an ideology that is spreading.

Imam Ataul Fatir

We are socialist MPs who will fight for a Final Say

Yesterday, parliament voted on an amendment for a fresh public vote on Brexit. Parliament is in deadlock, and a growing majority of people want to have their say in the most important issue our country has faced in recent years.

As socialists, we are firmly committed to getting a Final Say for the people on Brexit. 

Brexit is a Tory project, and this is the Tories’ mess. The labour movement must unite against the divide and rule politics that Brexit represents, against this attempt to deregulate our economy, and against attacks on migrants and workers. The politics of internationalism and solidarity must be at the heart of Labour’s programme. 

We hear the concerns of those who are worried about what a ratification vote would do to our society. We need to come together to make sure that we learn the lessons from last time, deliver a referendum allows for a deliberative process, and look at ways of bringing as many people on board as possible, listening to their views and experience.

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Within parliament, we are working to build support for the Kyle/Wilson amendment, a ratification vote on Brexit, which was not voted on yesterday and should be heard in the coming period. 

Yesterday’s priority was about securing an extension to Article 50. Yesterday was not the right moment to go ahead with a vote on calling a fresh public vote. Like both Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson, we abstained on the amendment. We welcome Jeremy Corbyn’s reiteration of Labour’s policy, which is to support a public vote on Brexit to break the deadlock in parliament.

We ask our supporters and constituents outside of the House of Commons to get active in their local communities in the campaign for a Final Say. On Saturday March 23, we will be participating in the Left Bloc at the national Put It To The People march. We urge everyone to join us.

Clive Lewis MP
Marsha de Cordova MP
Paul Sweeney MP
Kate Osamor MP
Preet Gill MP
Lloyd Russell Moyle MP
Sandy Martin MP
Rachael Maskell MP
Luke Pollard MP

Slipping through the net?

If I apply for a passport, an overdraft, an ISA or many other products and services, I have to verify my identity and provide bank account details. In some instances I have to obtain a character reference. It’s a bit burdensome on occasions, but not difficult. Signing up to social media is free, instant and can be done anonymously.

In the important cause of tackling the global networks of hate that cheer on the sort of atrocities we have just seen in New Zealand, why is it not a mandatory requirement of all social media companies to demand personal verification and insist on a small monthly charge?

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In the UK we have consumer credit reporting companies such as Experian. Surely the social media companies could set up a global equivalent to check out their users and make them identifiable and traceable. The smaller number of moderators then required would have fewer unpleasant images to see, and could work effectively with police forces and security agencies.

I’d happily go back on Facebook and Twitter if that happened. At the moment I want nothing to do with them.

Patrick Cosgrove

Democratic deficit

Why is it so undemocratic to go back to the people with a second referendum when parliament can have any number of votes?

I heard a similar sentiment throughout the Brexit chaos but since the first referendum was carried out in ignorance surely democracy cries out for another vote from the people now we know better what is incurred.

What is undemocratic is allowing a Theresa May to stubbornly push us over the precipice.

Adrienne Van Den Tooren​
Address supplied

Progress on mental health

My organisation helps support vulnerable children and young people with mental health problems.

We were therefore pleased to note the call by Holyrood’s Public Audit committee for comprehensive research to be commissioned on the impact of social media on children and young people’s mental health, against a rising demand on services.

Mental health referrals for children and young people increased by 22 per cent over the five years to 2017/18, when 33,270 were made. This has included an increase in issues around emotional distress in young people at school arising from bullying, body image, depression and anxiety.

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There are links between unhealthy social media use and poorer mental wellbeing in children and young people, but we need to gain a better understanding of this and the impact on rising numbers.

Education has a vital role to play in helping young people to use social media appropriately, including the pressures that can be associated with its use. It should be noted that many schools in Scotland are doing fantastic work to educate young people on how to use social media more responsibly and how to deal with the multiple demands that are made of them.

Preventative action and early intervention measures have key roles to play in addressing issues around children and young people’s mental health, and research on the impact of social media must play an essential part in this.

Lynn Bell, CEO LOVE
East Kilbride

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