As we approach the time of year when the UK  together with other nations across Europe and elsewhere – takes part in ceremonies to remember the millions who lost their lives in the two catastrophic wars of the 20th century, perhaps it should also be an opportunity for this country to take a moment to reflect seriously on the issues surrounding Brexit.

Whatever the current government may say about its likely outcome, the fact remains that the UK, in striving to leave the EU, is effectively turning its back on its European neighbours. It is walking away from a project that in its infancy was specifically designed to prevent further conflict in Europe, and no matter how, or what it has since become, the EU’s fundamental raison d’être remains one of maintaining the peace that we in Europe have enjoyed for so many years.

So, when we remember the fallen millions of the last century, we should think very carefully about how Brexit will affect future generations, and hope beyond hope that the UK’s exit from the EU will be a catalyst for good not only for the UK, but also for those 27 states that remain within the union.

We must fear the alternative scenario, where the UK’s departure is the catalyst to other EU nations beginning to have reservations about their membership. The growth of far-right political movements across Europe coupled with instances of sociopolitical fragmentation within some member states and the uncharacteristic instability of Germany’s politics, could lead to some of them wanting to follow the UK’s example.

We should not automatically assume that these member states will form an orderly queue to invoke Article 50, and in such a scenario the EU is at risk of unravelling in a relatively rapid and chaotic fashion. Without the cohesive forces of the EU, we could see the nations of western Europe returning once again to watching each other suspiciously over closed borders and, dare I say, entering eventually into renewed conflict.

We should hope the history books will record that not only the UK but also the EU changed for the better post-Brexit, but in the event the EU takes the alternative darker path, there will be no greater irony than this country’s role in the affair and for that, we would have to be forever ashamed.

Jerry Wells
Address supplied

Elitist poppies

I don’t understand the furore over prisoners contributing to the manufacture of poppies and their maximum weekly payment of £10. Would anyone complain if part of the prisoners’ punishment and rehabilitation was to contribute something charitable without payment?

Unlike people on the outside who earn the minimum wage, prisoners do not have to pay for food, clothing or accommodation.

Our prisons are currently unfit for purpose and any scheme that enables prisoners to feel a little pride and purpose in their existence is to be welcomed.

Tim Devas
Oakham

Commonwealth soldiers

I am in a state of shock as to what the hell the government is doing with the armed forces. Apparently it intends to let people who have never even lived in this country join the army because of falling recruitment. What a choice. There is a pick and mix of foreign recruits, a foreign legion of soldiers who have no real desire to protect our country (#justforthemoney). Or there’s an army of snowflakes that will melt when the heat of battle is applied.

I totally blame Theresa May for this as she has continually refused to stop the witch hunt of former soldiers for spurious claims in Ulster, Afghanistan and other conflicts. As an ex-soldier who served three tours of duty in Ulster in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I live in terror of a letter threatening prison for doing the job my government sent me to do. It’s about time that the government stepped up and sorted this mess out. We don’t need foreign soldiers, we need British soldiers that we can trust. The wishy washy government must alter its position, or God help us in the next conflict.

John Bowyer
Lincoln

What do our health secretaries know?

Like his predecessor Jeremy Hunt, Matt Hancock has no qualifications to be health secretary. Like Hunt, he thinks it’s amusing to disagree with a BBC Breakfast presenter over NHS finances, and tell outright lies with that puerile grin. “We” need to look after ourselves properly, he advises, so that GP surgeries and hospitals don’t have to treat people who could otherwise maintain their own health.

How long before “we” are prevented from getting treatment unless “we” can prove “we” exercise daily, or eat “healthy” (as ignorant MPs say because these days, they have no command of grammar). We’re putting more money in, he states. No mention of cuts in training budgets and equipment. No mention of young people with eating disorders having to travel to other countries for treatment, or the overall drop in recruitment of student nurses.

I issue a challenge to you, Hancock, just as I did to Hunt but got no reply to: tell us EXACTLY which model of mental health you use to underline your policies. Which definition, as opposed to model, of mental health do you refer to when formulating policies? What is your understanding of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and mental illness in general? Which risk factors are most likely to lead to suicide?

Please answer these questions without recourse to your advisers and researchers who do the actual work and write your speeches for you. I look forward to your no doubt well-informed reply. You don’t need to check out psychopathy – just look at what the people you work with are doing to vulnerable people, particularly the two associated with the department for work and pensions and work capability assessments.

R Kimble
Leeds

A career change for Liam Fox?

I desire to be associated with the sentiments expressed by Robert Boston in his letter yesterday (Thank you, Tracey Crouch). But whatever makes him think that Liam Fox could be trusted to run a jumble sale?

Bruce Napier
Willington

Change is in the hands of the voters

In his letter which (rightfully) criticises the incompetent fools and clueless amateurs populating the Tory and Labour parties (5 November), Michael Mann also dismisses the Lib Dems as being irrelevant most of the time as their “good” policies are undeliverable. The latter sounds like a restatement of the old chestnut that there’s no point in voting for a party that can’t win. However, the solution is in the hands of ourselves, the voters. We can choose (preferably sooner rather than later) to support the Lib Dems’ “good” policies and thus give them a better chance of being delivered.

We need to call time on the tired old dinosaur parties and relegate them to the pages of history. As Mann says, we need politicians who stick up for us rather than themselves and their outdated ideologies.

Sam Boote
Nottingham

As a fairly frequent contributer to your letters page I sometimes am slow to put pen to paper. I had been thinking of expressing a view on the state of British politics but too late. Today I read the letter from Michael Mann (Nothing in this country will improve until politicians do). Mann said exactly what I would have said but probably more eloquently. So, thank you.

Chris Elshaw
Hampshire



The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

Comments

Share your thoughts and debate the big issues

Learn more
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

  • Newest first
  • Oldest first
  • Most liked
  • Least liked
Loading comments...
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.

Community Guidelines

  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

  • Newest first
  • Oldest first
  • Most liked
  • Least liked
Loading comments...