Brexit not boring

Graham Jackson in his letter( May 3) says he's bored with reading about Brexit in the recent duel between Steve Cowdry and Des Morgan, and he'd rather read about more interesting things like potholes?

I don't agree. Brexit is the biggest political event for the UK in our lifetime. It has hardly begun to be implemented and can't be made to work without massive disruption and changes to the whole of the UK. I can only imagine Graham hasn't yet comprehended this. Who can blame him? Covid has helped Johnson's government mask the effects of his ultra-hard Brexit deal, and a determined campaign of silence has dampened media reporting and chased the opposition into silence.

I congratulate Steve on his courage and honesty because he has persistently spoken out against this English nationalist disaster known as Brexit and called it out for what it is: a massive case of the Emperor's New Clothes. Brexiteer Des rails against Steve's assumption that his pro Brexit views must be right wing , saying he's never stated his political stance, but simply believes membership of the EU 'never held many advantages for the UK'.

I can only think Des must have lived a sheltered life. If he had worked and travelled extensively in Europe, or employed European nationals during the 1980's and then in the 90's he would know the huge difference and advantages our EU passports suddenly gave us. If he'd been involved in import/export he would understand the enormous new burdens on our trade inflicted by Johnson's Brexit. If his spouse was European he'd know first hand the onerous process and reduced status the new Settled Status infers. Similarly if he'd planned employment, retirement or semi retirement anywhere in the EU he'd know how easy it would have been if we were still in the EU, but how awkward this is now. Studying or training in Europe is also now much more costly outside of the European Erasmus exchange scheme. This is to say nothing of our lost security cooperation, environmental cooperation, potential for joint climate action, increased risks to cyber security and corporate tax evasion, plus trillions leaving the City for the financial hubs of Europe, therefore less tax receipts for public services.

If Des was Northern Irish he'd know Brexit has lead to a resurgence of the 'troubles' and if he was Scottish he would feel how Brexit is recruiting support for Independence. However the doughty, ultra patriotic Des speaks up for plucky little England (not Scotland, Wales or NI), and says it's all the big, bad, naughty EU's fault.

Des credits Nato for peace in Europe and says it's mostly thanks to British and American money. What about France's massive contribution? Or the fact Germany was divided up, post war and discouraged from militarisation? What about the present day Baltic and Eastern European EU Nato states acting as a bulwark against potential Russian aggression? Nato was formed to contain the USSR and has always been bound up with further European cooperation. The Yugoslavian war happened outside the then EU, before the ex-communist countries joined, and that lead to the formation of a pan-European rapid reaction force, of which the UK was a keen contributor. Des seems to misunderstand all of this in his enthusiasm for the Emperor's New Clothes of Brexit.

So I say thank you to Steve and please don't stop writing about Brexit. From Graham I await riveting tales of potholes with bated breath.

Steve Rouse

Woodland View


Voter ID a threat

Voter ID is not about protecting our democracy. It’s about limiting our democratic freedom. It might stop a dozen complaints of fraud, but could disenfranchise millions. Best for Britain has pointed to data which shows, as of 2015, 3.5m citizens, or 7.5 per cent of the electorate, did not have access to any photo ID.

The Government also plans to dismantle the Electoral Commission watchdog and defang the Judicial Review, which overturned the Prime Minister’s unlawful prorogation of Parliament in 2019. Mayoral elections in England will be returned to First Past the Post – the only countries in Europe which still use this antiquated system for national legislatures are the UK and Belarus.

If you take all these measures together, as a coordinated and insidious attack on the fabric of the United Kingdom’s democracy, clearly the Government wants to avoid accountability, in parliament, in court and at the ballot box. It is obvious progressive parties should work together to stop these measures, not just so they have a hope of enacting their own agendas, but to protect our democracy.

It’s about time we made our voting system fair so that election results actually reflect the will of the people and every vote is counted. I think it’s about time we worked seriously to restore trust in our political system. And until we have a fairer voting system, progressive parties must unite to resist the unchecked concentration of power in the hands of those at the top.

Sarah Bowles