Following assembling her new cabinet, negotiating the UK’s relationship with the EU is of course at the top of Theresa May's in tray. Our new Prime Minister will have to balance access to the single market with the desire, expressed by many Brexiteers, to cut immigration. One wonders if perhaps she could negotiate a deal whereby, whilst having a compassionate and open immigration system, it were possible during times of particularly heavy immigration to apply a short term restriction? She could perhaps call it an 'emergency brake'. Likewise, with regards to trade, perhaps she could negotiate full access to the single market whilst securing guarantees that we would never have to join the euro. She could ask for us to not have to bail out eurozone countries, and for a guarantee that we would be exempt from "ever closer union".
Surely if any Prime Minister were able to negotiate such favourable terms with Brussels then they would return home to a hero's welcome. Then they could put the terms of this agreement to the electorate in a referendum. The public would have to be crazy to turn down these terms – wouldn't they?
No laughing at the back, Boris
Dear Boris, Congratulations on your appointment as Foreign Secretary. There are a few things that Theresa May might not have felt able to say bluntly, so I will.
Your appointment is a big gamble for her – frankly, a surprising one. You will now be representing the British people on the world stage, and we expect you to take that responsibility seriously and behave appropriately. That means no lies, no scandals, no insulting of foreign leaders to get a cheap laugh. Britain, particularly now, needs strong, constructive relationships with the rest of the world and to help build those. We need our Foreign Secretary to be professional, not the class clown.
You are apparently an intelligent, charismatic and likeable man, who connects with people and communicates well. Let us see you use those qualities and skills to help make Britain a better place, perhaps even a great one.
Boris Johnson is derided for saying that the West should work with Russia and Assad to destroy Isis in Syria. On this occasion, Boris Johnson is right. Isis cannot be defeated except by working with Assad (this does not mean befriending him, as many imply) or by waging all-out war against Assad and Isis, the consequences of which are incalculable.
If Western leaders have serious concerns about human rights in Syria they can work for internationally observed elections. If Assad wins, they can ensure human rights are respected in the aftermath. If Assad regains power with peace in Syria it does not look likely that he would jeopardise that wonderful state of affairs. Syria under his rule before the war was a comparative paradise.
Corbynites of old
As one of the 120,000 supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, I am excited to be mistaken for an idle Trotskyist who is under the age of 30. Do I need a beard and a dodgy t-shirt? Please tell no one that I am a 60-year-old woman who has voted Labour all her life and has finally joined the Labour Party because I want a part in making it something I can be proud of again.
There is currently much talk on the centre left about the possibility of a "rainbow alliance", comprising Greens, the Lib Dems and Labour. As a committed member of the first, I have considerable concerns about whether such a trio could function effectively.
Greens and Lib Dems have much in common and their concerns speak to the hearts and minds of many voters. However, an alliance with Labour would surely be like shackling ourselves to a corpse. The party has been in decline for many years and is now manifestly in its death throes. Better a happy duet than a tragic trio.
I think Andreas Whittam Smith presents a convincing analysis of what is wrong with our parliamentary system – and specifically the reasons for the ineptitude of our politicians – but I am not sure about his proposed remedy. What happens in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia? Do they also have many politicians who have never done anything other than politics? Is this a just a British problem?
What would happen if the UK had a proper proportional representation electoral system: would we still be lumbered with inept politicians? If not, then perhaps getting PR has a better chance of success than Andreas’s proposed solution.
Ian K Watson
While watching a recent evening news bulletin showing the Proms audience, bathed in the tricolour's colours and standing to the Marseillaise in solidarity with France and the French people, I was deeply moved. And then my mind switched to the events of 24 June, and my thoughts were, “but we have just turned our backs on these people”. Sadness indeed.
Saturday’s editorial claimed, “These acts, although committed in the name of Islam, have nothing to do with Islam”, but that is a profound misunderstanding of the situation. They have everything to do with Islam just as the activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army have everything to do with Christianity.
Both are on the lunatic fringe of their religion, but their underlying philosophy is firmly based on their religious beliefs. The various sects of Islam have been murdering each other for almost as long as the religion has existed and Christianity is little better having left its original principles in abeyance when it became the dominant religion in the Roman Empire. Responsible adherents of any religion have a duty to disassociate themselves publicly from the extreme behaviour of their murderous co-religionists and not to secretly identify with them and condone their activities on the grounds of shared religious beliefs. That they, by and large, choose to excuse their fanatics rather than criticise them diminishes both themselves and their religion.
A point about Hinckley
When James Moore says that Hinckley Point is "worth the cost", has he also factored in the inevitable cost of decommissioning? Yet another charge on a generation as yet unborn.
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