The UK has shown its hand in the Brexit negotiations

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Friday 01 September 2017 17:37
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Liam Fox seems to be losing his temper over Brexit, accusing the bloc of blackmail
Liam Fox seems to be losing his temper over Brexit, accusing the bloc of blackmail

Could someone advise Liam Fox to urgently arrange some personal coaching sessions with Iain Duncan Smith?

His blunt accusation that the EU is “blackmailing the UK” (to pay a divorce bill) is a tacit admission that the UK has a weaker negotiating hand in the current Brexit negotiations.

IDS would be delighted to lend a helping hand as he has unequivocally stated that Brexit, “like all negotiations, begins with belief in the strength of your own position”.

This may help boost morale amongst “Brexit-tears” and stop a few toys being thrown out of the Brexit pram, before the EU clock stops ticking the same way as Big Ben has recently stopped chiming.

Antero Touchard
Madrid

We need a national campaign about antibiotic resistance

The Independent reported that the threat level of antibiotic resistance “has been compared to climate change or nuclear war”. However, this threat is relatively new in the public conscience, and there is a need for better education on the subject. This could prevent patients from hounding their GPs for drugs, or not completing their full course of antibiotics, both of which worsen the resistance problem.

The government can look to the 1980s AIDS campaign for inspiration. The combination of TV campaigns and a leaflet to every nation in the country helped clear the untrue stigma of AIDS being the “gay disease” and cut new cases of HIV by a third in three years. A similar effort to boost awareness of antibiotic resistance could save many more lives in years to come.

Neil Gibbons
Yaxley

How generous of Trump to donate a small amount of money to Texas

Isn’t it heartwarming to learn of President Donald Trump the philanthropist? According to his press secretary, he will “proudly pledge a million dollars of his own personal money to help the people of both Texas and Louisiana”.

When we do the maths and compare a multibillionaire’s fortune with the average pension pot, it is clear that such a donation is hardly a great sacrifice. I wonder whether Trump will be expecting a letter of thanks. Perhaps he hopes those thanks might be reflected in popularity ratings – and cheap at the price, I’d say.

Reverend Peter Sharp
Chester

We need to talk about pay inequality in sport

After the just-completed cricket test match between Australia and Bangladesh, it is interesting to reflect on pay and value for money in sport. The Australian players are paid about A$20,000 (£12000) a week and the Bangladesh players are paid about A$20,000 a year. Bangladesh won! Fortunately the Australians are on a base salary, and not a performance contract.

The inequalities in sports payments are concerning; the payments to top football and basketball players are ridiculous and the recent boxing match payments were even worse. How much is the ability to kick, hit, catch or run better than others really worth?

Although they provide entertainment, so does YouTube and a bunch of kittens. The fact that they are paid at least 10 times more than those who protect, defend, nurse or teach us shows that society’s priorities need re-evaluating.

I think my 35 years in teaching did more for the world – although my lack of sporting ability removed the option of a sporting career and the adoration of millions. Nevertheless, the thanks of students means more.

Dennis Fitzgerald
Melbourne, Australia

Will Japan return the patriotic favour?

It has been suggested that Theresa May arrived in Japan attired in the colours of their national flag. I can only hope her choice was coincidental, since if intentional it was a gesture of the utmost crassness. If there is a return visit, I look forward to Mrs Abe sporting a Ginger Spice-type Union Jack dress.

Dr Anthony Ingleton
Address supplied

Whatever happened to being strong and stable?

In June it was all being about strong and stable, and now it’s all about flexibility and imagination. It’s a pity the EU seems to have taken the Brexiteers’ earlier advice!

Gordon Whitehead
Scarborough

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