Letters - 15 December 2017

From Brexit to education

What can we do about Brexit?

I do not share Clive Ashwin’s optimism (24 November) about the future of the UK post-Brexit. The media have recorded downside risks that concern many politicians, economists, bankers, leaders of industry and others whose views should be considered with respect.

Clive bases his views on four issues: welcome of refugees, protection of human rights, the environment, and the relaxation of protectionist tariffs so as to trade freely with economies outside the EU. However, Brexiteers won the 2016 referendum, I believe, largely because many ordinary voters do not want more refugees.

Many UK citizens may be hostile to the EU interpretation of human rights and wish these to be judged only by the UK Supreme Court. While British scientific and technical resources may be admirable, it seems overmuch to claim that the UK should lead in environmental matters.

The present trade situation is that over forty per cent of British exports are to the EU. Is it not irresponsible to dispense with what exists in favour of what Brexiteers hope? Thus far the government’s policy has focused on three nations: the US, China, and Saudi Arabia. President Donald Trump has made clear that his trade policy is ‘America first’. China is pursuing a ‘China first’ policy.

China has a lamentable record on human rights. Not only is Saudi Arabia’s human rights record deplorable, its interest in UK imports is in armaments.

I find these facts difficult to reconcile with Clive’s advice to Friends to be positive, loving, compassionate, cheerful patterns and examples.

Paul Honigmann

I do not believe that Clive Ashwin’s admirably positive response to the self-imposed calamity bearing down on the UK can offer any hope of betterment.

The 2016 EU referendum revealed us as the not very nice people we (mainly the English, I fear) are. In the UK there is an enfeebled political class, a stultifying ignorance is also widespread in the electorate, and a persistent low-level xenophobia. It seems to me that these ‘drivers’, not a helping hand to strangers, will edge us on to our miserable future in ‘reduced circumstances’.

Colin Rendall

You need to login to read subscriber-only content and/or comment on articles.