I will not be used as a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiations

Please send your letters to letters@independent.co.uk

Thursday 02 March 2017 17:00
A packed House of Lords as the Government faces defeat over its Brexit Bill
A packed House of Lords as the Government faces defeat over its Brexit Bill

I am not a bargaining chip. I am a proud adopted son of Liverpool who swapped the Netherlands for the UK 24 years ago. I have a beautiful British wife and two gorgeous British daughters who are proud to call me “papa” rather than “daddy”.

I have lived in Liverpool all of my adult life and have been lucky enough to play a small part in the regeneration of this wonderful, international city, whose inhabitants voted overwhelmingly in favour of Britain remaining part of the EU.

I have witnessed first-hand the positive difference the EU has made to Liverpool and other parts of the UK that for years were ignored and left behind by those in power in London and the South-East. I am very proud of the positive contribution made by EU immigrants like myself. We are nurses, doctors, teachers, cleaners, chefs, carers, marketing professionals, musicians, sales assistants, drivers, social workers and so much more. We are also your family, friends and neighbours.

I didn’t have a vote in the EU referendum and I can just about accept that. I am proud of the people of Liverpool for getting their vote right but feel desperately sad about the overall referendum result and everything that has happened in the UK since.

I am astonished by Theresa May’s determination to press ahead with a hard Brexit and feel angry about the government’s refusal to guarantee the rights of EU nationals currently living in Britain to remain, which is something all sides of the debate agreed should happen. Do I think I will be asked to leave? Probably not. Do I feel less welcome, less valued now than I did a year ago? Absolutely. And I am worth more than that…

Jonne Quint Liverpool

The Lords should be applauded for their performance

How heartening to watch the high quality debate in the House of Lords on Article 50, with amendments seeking to protect the rights of residence of EU and UK citizens. The moral and humanitarian case to grant residency before Article 50 is triggered was overwhelming.

It is surprising that none of the Lords backed up the moral case, with the economic/social one. The three million EU citizens living in the UK are mostly economically active, paying taxes, are younger, with many working in rather than using the NHS and social care provision; thus are significant net contributors to the UK economy and society. By comparison, of the 1.3 million UK citizens living in the EU, with for instance some 400,000 living in Spain. Many of those retired, supported by UK funded pensions but with their health and social care paid for by the Spanish Government under EU reciprocal arrangements.

If the UK fails to guarantee right of EU citizens residence, then many will leave; as already reported in your columns. That will mean the UK will be both short of workers, many in skilled professions such as healthcare, and tax revenue. In return, those UK retirees currently living in Spain and elsewhere in the EU, may have their right to health and social care removed, causing many to repatriate to the UK. Net result, increased pressure on the NHS, social care provision and housing, with no corresponding increase in tax receipts.

But to the myopic, BREXIT obsessed, economically illiterate May Government, the will of the people (52 per cent who voted but only 37 per cent of those entitled to vote) and her rabid right wing will have been sated, even if the UK economy and society are infinitely poorer.

L N Price Address supplied

Brexit will decrease government spending

Hospitals and general practice, social services, local authorities, schools, the military, the railways, prisons and the probation service and now the police have all been declared by authoritative reports in recent months to lack sufficient staff, resources, and finance to carry out their functions competently. Have we ever had such failure and administrative chaos across such a multiplicity of different state-funded organisations?

When these issues are raised with this Brexit-obsessed Government, the response or lack of it seems by implication to be a mix of “there isn't a problem,” or “it isn't a priority,” or “we can't afford the appropriate solution,” or “it is not something for government to resolve”. But a failure to deal with these issues, however complex they may be, must inevitably lead to larger problems of social breakdown in the future. Yes, we have a major debt problem, and money cannot be thrown around carelessly as socialist governments in the past have had a tendency to do. But a conscientious government has to come up with credible and affordable solutions and to make practical moves to carry them through.

If the outcome of Brexit is as financially disastrous as many of us still fear, with Treasury predictions of a 10 per cent drop in GDP and a collapse in the UK tax take of up to £66bn (and therefore a large decline in government spending power), most of these problems can only get a great deal worse. The staffing crises especially in health and education will certainly deteriorate further, as more EU professionals return home, and if we are to pursue much more restrictive immigration policies.

Gavin Turner ​Gunton

The death tax is justified 

With the report of government's proposals for social care costs to be paid out of inheritances, there is the emotional cry to reject the “death tax”. Let us remind rejecters that in the vast majority of cases significant inheritances are to the well-off and are “something for nothing” – and we know how greatly that “something for nothing” is typically condemned by the well-off when manifested as social benefits for the poor, disabled and the elderly struggling to get by.

Peter Cave London, W1

When will Sturgeon start representing all Scots?

Nicola Sturgeon tells us that “time is running out” for the UK Government to come up with a solution to her grievance about Brexit that will satisfy her. Why is time running out? We do not yet know what the terms of Brexit will be. Ah, but the point is that Sturgeon is itching to call for another Scottish referendum. After all, there hasn’t been one since September 2014. Do election-weary Scots really want another referendum? The polls suggest not. Is there any point in having a referendum before we know what the terms of Brexit are likely to be? No.

I am aware that Sturgeon has a single-minded one-item agenda and a mass of party members who are baying for a new referendum. It would be refreshing if she were to put the interests of Scots ahead of the interests of her party and her single agenda and desist from threatening, demanding and complaining.

Jill Stephenson Edinburgh

We should not tolerate gender inequality

Charlotte Gill is right that gender inequality remains an unfinished business. Women still face an uphill battle to demonstrate their mettle and worthiness. We must arm ourselves with economic inclusion, humility, humanity, honesty, equitable education, social justice, gender equity, mutual respect, political pluralism, religious tolerance and cultural diversity.

This is important nowadays when there seem to be no easy solutions to global warming, rising income inequalities; when our societies seem to be drifting towards polarization, populism, protectionism, homophobia, deep public disenchantment with globalisation and when some parts of the world are simmering with anger, resentment, separatism and rancour and experiencing a steady stream of refugees and asylum seekers. We should not tolerate any socially tolerated violation of human rights towards women and allow them to fulfil their unmet aspirations.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob London

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