If Theresa May could change her mind on Brexit, so can we

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Tuesday 16 October 2018 14:02 BST
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Theresa May campaigned as a Remainer, but she says we cannot have a second referendum
Theresa May campaigned as a Remainer, but she says we cannot have a second referendum

The prime minister continually tells us that there is no going back on the referendum result. But, surely, she was once a Remainer who changed her mind. Now she tells us that we cannot. If these things are set in stone then surely she must honour the much later plebiscite of the last election, which gave no overall majority to anyone, especially the DUP.

DG Leddy
Ottershaw, Surrey

I’d trust a business person over a politician

I recently watched some Tory Brexiteer effectively say the head of Ford UK was an idiot and just couldn’t or wouldn’t see how he could get his company to make money if we leave the EU without a deal.

I’m sorry, but as someone who spent his entire working life in private industry, I know who I would believe. Whatever you might think of Brexit, you clearly don’t get to be the head of a worldwide company by being an idiot. And it’s not like he’s the only person from industry to have spoken this way.

I expect strongly that the MP couldn’t, as the saying goes, find his way out of a paper bag. I wouldn’t trust him to make any decision for me unless it involved his personal self-interest. I can make a decision for myself and I want to be able to. I want another referendum.

Steve Mumby
Bournemouth

Leavers are on the ‘wrong’ side of this debate

Anyone paying attention to history over the past century may have noticed that a prime source of cruelty in this world is nationalism. The irony is that the European Union, with its core value of anti-nationalism, is probably the only institution of global significance to show any sense of moral respectability. Fortunately, MPs will be able to kick out a “no deal” and demand another referendum. Leavers will then have a chance to redeem themselves by jumping over to the “right” side of each hurdle.

David Parsons
Portsmouth

My story with prostate cancer

Ben Chu’s article on prostate cancer has missed a point, I believe. I had a routine blood test and I did not know that my local doctors choose to test for “prostate-specific antigen” (PSA), amongst other things. Mine had gone up since last year and my doctor recommended an MRI scan. The article states that “a positive PSA result does not tell the doctor the precise location of a cancer. This can lead to multiple needle biopsies in search of a tumour which may, or may not, be there.”

This implies that after an acknowledged, imprecise test, the doctors take a needle to the prostate searching for a possible cancer. After a PSA test I was sent for the next check, which was an MRI scan, which Ben Chu omitted. This located a lump and the oncologist stated that there was a 70 per cent chance of it being cancer. I had the biopsy. The hospital knew where the lump was and it was found to be a moderate grade cancer, thank goodness.

There are several types of treatment, which can be confusing, but I read, talked about and considered all. As I had no symptoms I was fortunate to find it at an early stage and may well be taking, now, the steps to ensure that I am one who will live by having a targeted form of radiation treatment. There is more I could dispute but I would rather it was found at an early stage, and survive, than be someone who left it too late, and suffered. Fitness, good health and good diet are as important for long-term health with prostate cancer, as with many other conditions.

Dennis Allen
Address supplied

Why can’t we show more compassion to child refugees?

This November marks 80 years since Britain demonstrated its great humanitarian spirit by helping 10,000 child refugees escape Nazi persecution through the Kindertransport, while other countries just stood by.

Today, tens of thousands of child refugees in Europe and across the world still need safe passage. Children continue to live in horrendous conditions, where death, disease and people trafficking are ever-present risks. Our country has a proud record of helping those in desperate need and I believe we must continue that record, not turn our back on vulnerable children.

Today’s government has a responsibility to offer child refugees sanctuary, just as it did 80 years ago.

I am asking our councillors to get behind the It’s Our Turn campaign, run by the charity Safe Passage and Lord Alf Dubs, himself a child of the Kindertransport. The campaign hopes to convince the government to resettle 10,000 children over the next 10 years and is asking councils to make pledges to provide places for the children, if the government provides the funding. We can rescue 10,000 children if every council takes just 3 children a year.

Clementine Koenig
London

Jeremy Corbyn could save Northern Ireland

The DUP has a taste of power, momentarily, a mere flicker in the slipstream of Irish and British history. There they go, shoring up their hold on a kingdom, united only in name, with a high five to the Brexiteers’ wet dream of an empire lost and found. The majority of people in Northern Ireland did not want to leave the EU – how convenient that Stormont is not functioning at present. Arlene Foster can push her party political agenda rather than respecting the vote of the nation she represents.

The greatest sadness is that no one really wants Northern Ireland. Ireland can’t afford that six county nation with its engorged public sector costs. Neither does the EU want Northern Ireland (unless it comes with Ireland).

In this log jam Jeremy Corbyn has an opportunity. Having voted against every EU treaty in the past he could reassure the members of his party who will be canvassing — I have no doubt, very soon — that, on mature reflection, he is pro-EU and wants to give the people another vote on membership. Is the gentleman for turning?

Alison Hackett
Dublin

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Trans people are not being treated with fairness or respect

We strongly condemn the way the British media has given significant coverage to small groups who wish to push organisations to break existing law with regards to trans people. The Equality Act protects trans people from discrimination and automatic exclusion from same-sex spaces, yet over recent days, weeks and months, the media has given significant space to activists who wish to roll back trans people’s existing rights.

This coverage has often conflated trans women and girls with sex offenders, implied that all trans women and girls are threats, and has usually been insufficiently challenged. The reality is that trans people are far more likely to be targets of violence than other women. Isolated extreme and abhorrent cases cannot be extrapolated to infer the behaviour of all trans people. Those countries where gender recognition is operated on an administrative rather than a quasi-judicial process also do not provide any evidence to support the assertion that trans people are a threat or misuse the process to cause harm to others.

The relentlessness of the hostility across the media and the media’s inability to adequately challenge the false claims put forward have led to a significant decline in the mental health of many trans people. Reports of suicides of trans people are on the increase. Free speech does not give free reign to cause people harm.

We call on the British media to revise the way they cover trans stories, to look at the reality faced by trans people rather than focus on extreme theories which have no basis in fact, and to apologise for the significant emotional and mental stress they have caused to trans people over the past year.

Helen Belcher, chair, LGBT Consortium
Baroness Barker
Dr MJ Barker
Michelle Brewer, barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Baroness Brinton, president, Liberal Democrats
Christine Burns MBE​
Baroness Burt of Solihull, women’s spokesperson, Liberal Democrats
Lord Carlile of Berriew​
Lord Cashman​
Prof Brian Cathcart, School of Journalism, Kingston University
Dr Louise Chambers. lecturer, Goldsmiths College, University of London
Sarah Champion MP, former shadow secretary of state for women and equalities
Dominic Davies, Pink Therapy UK
Martha Dunkley, ClinicQ 
Jane Fae​
Fox and Owl Fisher, filmmakers, My Genderation​
Kate Green MP, former shadow minister for women and equalities
Susie Green, CEO, Mermaids UK
Dr Adrian Harrop​
Prof Sally Hines, School of Sociology, Leeds University
Jennie Kermode, chair, Trans Media Watch
Fiyaz Mughal, TellMama​
Claire McCann, barrister, Cloisters Chambers
Monty Moncrieff MBE, CEO, London Friend
Layla Moran MP, education spokesperson, Liberal Democrats
Prof Surya Munro, School of Human and Health Sciences, Huddersfield University
Nik Noone, CEO, Galop​
Lord Paddick​
Prof Julian Petley, professor of journalism, Brunel University
Tris Reid-Smith, owner, Gay Star News
Linda Riley, publisher, DIVA Magazine
Paul Roberts OBE, CEO, LGBT Consortium
Cat Smith MP, shadow secretary of state for young people
Dame Caroline Spelman MP
Jay Stewart MBE, CEO, Gendered Intelligence
Dr Damian Tambini FRSA, London School of Economics
Peter Tatchell​
Dr Ben Vincent, chair, GIRES​
Dr Paul Wragg, School of Law, Leeds University
Dr Tray Yeadon-Lee, School of Human and Health Sciences, Huddersfield University

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