The next step for Italy could be a worrying partnership with Russia

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Friday 19 October 2018 19:24
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The trouble for the EU is that Italy is a net receiver and not a net giver
The trouble for the EU is that Italy is a net receiver and not a net giver

I find it a little worrying, as a bystander in the likely coming war between the EU and Italy, that as usual the EU has adopted the “you will do as you are told” stance that upset so many Brexiteers. The trouble for the EU is that Italy is a net receiver, not a net giver – in other words, Italy owes the EU lots and lots of money.

This means that although they are in debt to the EU, they are in the driving seat, and if the bloc pushes too hard, Italy can just walk away. I think this is in part why the country has altered its stance on Russia, threatening to veto the EU vote on a renewal of sanctions against the Russians.

It’s easy to imagine Italy walking away from the EU and inviting Russia to erect a base on the peninsula, for a generous donation, of course. That would be such a shock it would probably kill off the European project for good, and don’t forget, the Italian government has been visiting Putin.

I know it would not be ideal, but in a way I hope it comes to pass just to annoy the hell out of those smug European bureaucrats.

John Bowyer
Lincolnshire

Trump’s relationship with Saudi Arabia has been worrying for some time

It is hard to read Jamal Khashoggi’s last column and not be utterly and categorically dismayed, and moved to tears by his likely loss. The alleged grisly dismemberment of the journalist stands as an antithesis to the inalienability of human rights, and the sacredness of freedom of speech, opinion and diplomatic niceties.

This case depicts human bestiality in its most ugly manifestation, and proves the hypocrisy of the American administration. However, long before President Trump and his secretary of state came to power, American foreign policy was responsible for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the killing of millions of innocents, and for the long standing Arab-Israel conflict. Successive American administrations have always put lucrative arms deals with Saudi Arabia and other despotic regimes above human decency, international relations and democratic politics.

Munjed Al Qutob
Address Supplied

We should celebrate diversity in this country

Hope Not Hate’s research, highlighting the increase in hostility and suspicion towards minority communities, should encourage everyone to take a more proactive approach to community engagement.

At Faiths Forum for London, we believe bringing communities together for meaningful engagement on a personal level is the best way to tackle the myths and prejudices that fuel hostility and suspicion. There will always be a small number of individuals who try to feed these prejudices and actively seek to undermine the ideals that unite us – democracy, free speech, mutual respect and the rule of law.

Across the UK I have witnessed the amazing work done by mosques, synagogues, gurdwaras, temples and churches, who increasingly celebrate and share their faith. Diversity is one of our nation’s greatest strengths, and in the years to come communities must not ignore the challenges we face.

Only by celebrating our differences and educating our neighbours can we hope to build a Britain everyone can call home.

Mustafa Field MBE – director of Faiths Forum for London

Things haven’t changed as much as we think they have

The recent suggestion children should be weighed every year is far from a new idea.

As a young boy, during the Second World War, I was sent to a boarding school, and from time to time all the boys had to be weighed, and those of a certain weight, age and height had their ration card amended to receive an additional amount of some foods.

The headmaster always told the boys to drink lots of water and refrain from going to the toilet for as long as possible, in order to try to increase their weight.

Besides the additional food, we were measured for our height, and those who were growing like weeds received additional clothing coupons.

Colin Bower
Address supplied

How can an environment be compliant?

So the Home Office’s “hostile environment” has apparently transformed itself into a “compliant environment”, when nobody was looking.

As a cynical example of 1984 newspeak, this could hardly be bettered. The absurdity of describing an environment as “compliant” would be laughable, if the experience of so many refugees, asylum seekers and long-term UK residents did not, in fact, so closely resemble an Orwellian nightmare.

D Maughan Brown
York

Every Brexit cloud has a silver lining

When we leave the EU, surely British teams should no longer be eligible to play in European football competitions, reducing violence by English fans at a stroke. The way things are going, the only Home International would be England v Wales – an unexpected Brexit bonus?

Richard Greenwood
Bewdley

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