The posturing over deployment of the royal navy is a distraction from real Brexit problems

Please send your letters to

Sunday 13 December 2020 19:32 GMT
The use of the royal navy post-Brexit has been in the news in recent days
The use of the royal navy post-Brexit has been in the news in recent days (PA)

Boris Johnson’s great hero Winston Churchill is said to have asserted that “jaw, jaw was better than war, war”. And yet at the very moment the UK finally breaks with the EU, rather than using diplomacy, we are firing up the gunboats in sabre-rattling provocation towards our closest neighbours.  

I just wonder if tales of high seas derring-do, performed by the gallant British navy against the dastardly French boats trying to steal “our” fish, are just the sort of headlines required to divert attention away from huge lorry queues outside Dover and shortages of fresh food and medicines.

 Surely no government could be so cynical!

M T Harris

Address supplied

I would like to say to the people of the EU that I am so, so sorry.

Sorry that Boris Johnson and his self styled “people’s government” are planning to deploy royal navy gunboats to protect UK fishing waters in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

I feel ashamed to be English, but please understand that many of us in the UK did not vote for this. Many of us are mortified that such an aggressive stance has been taken against our closest allies – please forgive us.

I thought that Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party MEPs turning their back on the EU anthem in Strasbourg was humiliating and filled me with fury but this is far, far worse .

So please remember that many of us in the UK are devastated at leaving the EU and will always see ourselves as Europeans.

We are your friends, not your enemies.

Lindsey Helm

Address supplied

The prime minister purports to model himself on Winston Churchill.

If we end up with the disaster of a no-deal Brexit, Churchill would surely have observed that never in the history of the modern Conservative Party would so much damage have been done to so many by so few.

Philip Goldenberg


Opinion matters

John Rentoul argues that because the opinion polls in the early 1970s were against joining the common market yet the referendum at that time was in favour, we should conclude the British weren’t keen on joining.

By that logic with the 2016 opinion polls indicating a strong Remain win – but the referendum giving Leave a narrow victory – we must have been positive about staying in the EU.

Nick Bowers


Procurement problems

I thought Chris Blackhurst’s recent article hit the nail on the head about procurement systems.  

The preference for people ministers know is part of the problem, but so is the civil service’s need for auditable systems for letting contracts. Being auditable is obviously desirable, but a civil servant is unlikely to have direct experience of the industry they are dealing with.  

The consequence is to end up with a mechanistic process which the experienced game players constantly win. The end product is a substandard product – I have some direct experience of this from within the civil service.  

Giving people the opportunity to advance within a speciality and gain some deep expertise is the key to this. The problem would of course be pay. Anybody any good would be poached of course, but that is a question of pay.  You get what you pay for.

Laura Rennie

Address supplied

A year to remember

I enjoyed Sean O’Grady’s summary of Boris Johnson’s first full year as PM. So much so that I’ve printed it off to stick on my kitchen wall as a quick aide memoire as we blunder on in to 2021.

I was reminded of the old saying about fooling people and its last line: “You can’t fool all of the people all of the time”. Methinks there should be additional lines saying: “You can fool enough of the people enough of the time” and/or “you can fool too many of the people for too much of the time”.

As an old fogey who has lived through every government since 1945, I have to say the present lot sets a new low in short-sighted ineptitude.  

Vic Gaunt


Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in