Our politicians have failed us – it’s time for a second referendum

The deadline for a catastrophic exit from the EU looms, parliament is a clueless shambles, and our democratic representatives are about to head blithely off on their hols.

What further evidence could anybody possibly want that the final decision on Brexit needs to be made by the electorate and not by their supposed representatives?

D Maughan Brown

Don’t forget the workers

Chi Onwurah’s article on the need for a rebirth of UK industry was lucid and convincing. However, she did not touch upon the elephant in the room: the role of trade unions. As was proven by the destruction of the UK shipbuilding industry and others, and being repeated now with conductorless and driverless trains dressed up as a safety issue, unions still have the ability to stop industrial transformation in its tracks.

The proposal to require worker representation on executive boards appears to have been dropped. Until we modernise our industrial relationships, require decent living wages for everyone, prevent abuse of remuneration packages by executives, and require sustainable strategies, any plan to replace financial services with modern industry has about as much chance of success as Brexit has.

Like a child leaving home, the UK had better get its employment and finances in order before it stomps out of the current situation – otherwise we will swap the comfortable present for a garret and poor diet, and certainly no holidays or luxury cars.

Michael Mann

All hail the Brexit backers

I must admit, I had previously harboured doubts that any form of Brexit, let alone a no-deal hard Brexit, would turn out to be the path to a promised land of milk and honey; yet now that I have seen it so vehemently supported by such esteemed luminaries as not only Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Tommy Robinson but now also Donald Trump and, it seems, Vladimir Putin – well, what more convincing endorsement could anybody wish for?

Julian Self
Milton Keynes

Is the waning of American influence really such a bad thing?

In regards to yesterday’s editorial, in fact, the emergence of international disorder predates Trump. Dare one mention Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, the death of a two-state solution and Syria where the West helped prolong the jihadist insurgency against a secular regime?

Europeans slavishly adhered to a unipolar world. It was assumed that Washington always knew best. Now they are increasingly confronted by Washington’s unilateral actions, such as its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement and its use of extraterritorial jurisdiction to punish banks and companies that do business with Iran. This should finally drive home to Brussels as well as London the perils of continuing with a unipolar world, especially one in which the hegemon is unduly influenced by Saudi Arabia and Israel.

It’s time to dethrone the dollar. Also, Europe needs to pick up the tab for a revamp of Nato so that it more faithfully reflects Europe’s interests.

Could it be that Russia’s real crime is its advocacy of a multipolar world?

Yugo Kovach
Winterborne Houghton

Brexit will scar the country for generations to come

The blame for the current crisis does not lie with Brexiteers or Remainers but with David Cameron’s inept referendum question: do you want to remain or leave the EU? To remain was to continue the status quo and we each had an opinion on this. However no destination was given for leave. It’s like being at home and asking your partner “do you want to stay or leave?” It would prompt the question “where to?” And no decision could be made until this was settled.

Even after we leave the EU this question will remain hanging. Sure, one side or another will win, but the question will remain unresolved dividing the country. The UK will be like Ireland after the civil war: divided for generations over what should have happened back at the peace conference in 1921. And, like Ireland, only when those who lived through it are dead will the country be able to move forward.

John Simpson
Ross on Wye

Sturgeon has overreached

The Scottish government has thoughtfully produced a little film about how “public bodies like the Scottish government are required by law to promote the interests and wellbeing of looked after children”. That is all very laudable. However, the film begins with Nicola Sturgeon hugging a young girl, with the voiceover telling us that “this could be the first time that they’ve actually had a parent look after them and show them affection and love in their entire life”. Sturgeon, it seems, is not only our great leader and the Grand Marshal of the recent Pride event. She is also mother of the nation.

This politicisation of welfare comes hard on the heels of the Scottish government’s appeal to children aged from eight to 18 to join their “Children & Young People’s Panel on Europe” via a website. The SNP’s attempt to mobilise children for their own purposes – and the only one that matters to them is separatism – could not be more transparent.

Jill Stephenson

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