There is nothing surprising about the reports of discussions over dinner between Prime Minister May and Commission President Juncker.
Up until now the UK has been a member state seeking special accommodations for its own interests – opting out of the eurozone, opting out of Schengen and so on. These have been granted, because the UK was opting out of parts of an organisation that it was committed to staying part of. Now it appears that the UK thinks it can just as easily opt in to parts of an organisation that it is leaving. But that is quite a different thing.
The UK fought its way into what became the EU through two vetoes and several changes of government, finally confirming its membership through a referendum in which people voted 2:1 to stay in the EEC and the Daily Mail published a headline proclaiming “Yes: We're in business”. Now it has decided to give up what it fought so hard to achieve and it is bound to suffer as a consequence.
The first experience of the loss of power consequent upon leaving the EU will be the experience of the terms of departure. If Theresa May doesn't understand that, she is indeed in cloud cuckoo land.
Dr Mark Corner
The EU is vulnerable – we shouldn't underestimate the UK's position
Referring to your various articles and Leader on Brexit today, I am sorry but it is clear to me that the Independent along with many others in the Remain camp do not get it!
Away from the metropolis I have only found a large majority now in favour of leaving including many who voted to Remain such as myself. I surmise that the main reason (there are other reasons also) is that being democrats they accept the result of the referendum and correctly perceive that many of the arguments about hard or soft Brexit are a re-run of the referendum
What is going on now is shadow boxing. We shall only begin to get a more clear picture after negotiations start in June although I do not think much will happen until after the German elections in the Autumn.
Meanwhile the correct negotiating stance is to play things cool. No one knows what the results of the negotiations will be nor the consequences and contributing to EU scaremongering at this time does not aid our (UK) negotiating position. The EU is vulnerable – Juncker's sweetheart tax deals, protection for French Farmers, German aggrandisement in gaining both security via eastward expansion of the EU and its economic strength and just for starters its bullying of
Greece. We might want to ask do we want to stay in a club like that. No, I prefer to get off my knees.
We need a second referendum not a general election
Theresa May continually states that she has called the general election as the government needs a strong majority to strengthen its hand in the upcoming negotiations with the European Union over Brexit.
She has a very short memory!
Only a couple of years ago, another European country, facing a totally united EU, called a referendum specifically to give their own government backing in their stance against the might of the rest of the union. The country, Greece, gave that strong support to their government's stance in the resultant referendum – but without any influence at all in the consequent EU action, which retained its hardline stance.
The weekend comments from Angela Merkel, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk demonstrate that the EU will be unbending in their negotiations, irrespective of the government's performance at the election.
If Theresa May wishes a proper plebiscite, then it is not a general election that she should have called, but a second referendum when, and only when, the full details of our exit deal are confirmed. This would not be a re-running of the original referendum, but a proper and fair vote when the full implications of our leaving are known.
David J Williams
We need MPs with varying viewpoints – this includes devoted Christians like Tim Farron
Over the last few weeks I have listened with interest to the interviews held with the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron. As has been highlighted all over the British press, he has been evasive about giving his personal opinions on gay sex. Finally, he spoke openly, stating that he believed being gay was not a sin. But, why such furore? It seems we have reached a point in our society where divergent opinions cannot be held by any politician, or person in public office. And if we have: what does this say about our society’s views on freedom of speech, and about the future of diverse debate and discussion?
Let’s remember that in these interviews, Tim Farron was not volunteering his thoughts on gay sex. In 2014, he voted in favour of gay marriage (after previously abstaining), and he has spoken up in support of LGBT rights and equal marriage. One suspects, however, that he may believe gay sex to be sinful; as, one imagines, he may believe is unmarried heterosexual sex. To take it further, he might also believe that adultery is sinful, as is coveting a neighbour’s house or wife; and that you should not murder, steal, or give false testimony against your neighbour.
Imagine for a minute that Tim Farron held a different faith. Were he Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist (to name a few), I doubt if he would have been cross-examined with such dogged determination. I challenge you to find an interview where a politician holding a faith other than Christianity is challenged repeatedly in this manner, about their views on homosexuality. However, even if there were equality between the media’s treatment of different religions; it would still be alarming if our politicians were not permitted to hold personal faiths and private opinions on religion, life, sex and marriage.
To envisage a future where the Houses of Parliament are filled with MPs seemingly holding the same, mainstream, media-acceptable views on every matter, should be one that worries us all. If all our MPs purport to hold the same opinions, they may as well hold no opinion at all. We need MPs of differing faiths, and no faith, to work together. If we are to build a multicultural, diverse, tolerant society, we simply must have MPs who represent that multiculturalism and diversity of opinion.
A wise man once said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Judgements have been made about Tim Farron’s suitability to act as an MP, based upon assumptions about his personal beliefs; rather than an assessment of his actions and words as a member of parliament.
It is time the media lay off people like Tim Farron, and recognised that personal beliefs and conscience are attributes to be celebrated rather than despised. We may not like all the opinions held, but we absolutely need politicians who dare to hold one.
Why can't Diane Abbott count?
Surely I am not the only person who thinks that a possible future Home Secretary, a lady in possession of a Cambridge degree, should be able to do very simple arithmetic in her head?
I am so glad that she is never going to be Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Theresa May needs a new slogan
Theresa May's campaign may be little more than slogans and sound bites, but probably for good reason. Many people are foolish enough to be taken in by them. So here's my suggestion for a concerted opposition fight back. Start calling her "Maggie May", and begin the lyrics to the music that opens campaign speeches and election broadcast with this line, "Wake up Maggie I think I got something to say to you..."
I'm sure the remainder of the verse will easily fall into place.