Letters: Scots await England’s EU vote meltdown

The following letters appear in the 4th March edition of the Independent

Thursday 03 March 2016 19:42
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has was outlined her government's plans for local taxation.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has was outlined her government's plans for local taxation.

Cameron comes back with a wee deal in the hope of satisfying the critics of the EU primarily within his own party. Now it has become a full civil war of claim and counter-claim, fear and counter-fear within the English body politic and within the English Tory party and Cabinet.

Ukip, primarily an English party, looks on and awaits with glee the resultant exodus from Tory to Ukip after the result is known.

What result? Many of the pollsters indicate that a Brexit may be denied as a result of the combined Remain votes from outwith England. With current indications that England is split down the middle at present and the Tory party and followers largely in the Leave camp, there will be an existential crisis in England if it is kept in due to the “provinces”.

How does Cameron, the architect of English Votes for English Laws, sell that to the disaffected Tory local associations in the shires? Would he say that the UK has spoken and the majority votes have been gained through voting in the “peripheral” nations of the UK? Usually, it is English Votes for Everyone’s Laws that must carry the day! Interesting times when viewed from north of the Tweed!

John Edgar

Blackford, Perth and Kinross

Apologies for yet more scaremongering, but imagine a world in which the UK has exited from the EU, and so Scotland has exited from the UK. The rump of the UK is ruled for ever by the Conservative Party, led, at least for a while, by Boris Johnson, and our closest ally is President Trump of the USA.

All these scenarios are possible separately, and if they all happened together they would be a disaster for the world.

Marilyn Mason

Kingston upon Thames

Young people under too much pressure

Geraldine Bedell’s article on the teenage mental health crisis (Magazine, 27 February) was sobering and disturbing.

The dominant narrative of the time we live in is of austerity and competition. In both public and private sector consulting rooms across the country our psychotherapists and child psychotherapists increasingly see anxious and traumatised individuals, troubled by matters such as work pressure, money worries, addiction to social media, and loss of control over one’s life.

As a society, we will likely face worsening adult mental health if we do not begin to challenge the expectations and unrealistic pressures foisted on young people today. With the enormous pressure placed on young people, where the prevailing narrative is that everything is down to individual endeavour and anything less than the highest grades in exams is failure, is it any wonder that so many teenagers are suffering?

Helen Morgan

Chair, British Psychoanalytic Council

Heather Stewart

Chair, Association of Child Psychotherapists

London, N19

Richer or poorer outside the EU

The British public are getting fed up with the stream of lies coming from those who wish to stay shackled to the chains of the European Union. These lies are intended to scare voters to remain in the EU.

Lord Rose of the BSE campaign wrongly believes there would be new trading tariffs “overnight” should Britain leave the EU.

Lord Rose should already know that current tariff barriers can hinder access to the EU market, preventing those outside the EU, who produce cheaper clothing, from trading inside it. The impact of these tariffs on bills for working-class households is particularly damaging – drastically pushing up the cost of clothes and other household goods.

Business for Britain estimates an average household can save around £146 per year as soon as tariffs applied at the EU border are removed.

When Britain decides to leave the EU on 23 June the sun will still rise as usual the next morning – however, Britain will be full of optimism. After any election there is uncertainty. What is certain is that it will be up to the British Prime Minister after Brexit – whoever this may be – to secure free trade agreements with the rest of the world, securing a much better deal than the one we have now with the EU.

Jayne Adye

Director, Get Britain Out

London SW1

John Hudson (letter, 1 March) demonstrates the fallacies in Nigel Farage’s opinion that “Toyota would be better off if we left the EU”. To a non economist it would appear that following a Brexit it would be advantageous for such firms to move into Eastern Europe where wage costs would be considerably lower and they would be sited in the middle of their market. At the same time the creation of work opportunities on the European mainland would probably lead to a mass exodus of “unwanted foreigners” and fulfil one of Farage’s aims.

The loss of significant manufacturing output would help to send the UK well down the world industrial ladder and we would not need George Osborne to be dreaming up even more austerity.

Peter Erridge

East Grinstead, West Sussex

Neither the Government nor any UK political party has a policy, mandated by the electorate, to cover the eventuality that the UK would leave the EU; the Government’s current policy is to remain a member of the EU.

Should the referendum return a vote in favour of leaving the EU, would it not be a constitutional requirement to hold a general election?

That would ensure that the administration responsible for negotiating the terms of the UK exit from the EU would have a clear mandate to do so.

C J Baker


French market for British scallops

Thank you for the scallop article featured on 2 March. I was involved in the original promotion of the Rye Bay catch some 15 years ago.

The scallop catch up to that time had mostly been sent to Boulogne along with most of the fish caught in Rye Bay. This was because the French market is so much stronger than fish purchasing in Britain. That is still true today.

It is true that British fishermen have not had an easy life. Successive governments of both colours failed to secure the best deals for them, but the market over the Channel has sustained a living for the depleted fleet.

If we now leave the EU, they will certainly suffer further. All sales to Boulogne will have to be renegotiated with undoubtedly less favourable rates. New tariffs will be set, and that will take a long time. By the time all is agreed the already small fleet will not survive.

The British market which has been built up over the last decade is still too small to sustain the fleet. So the scallops and the fresh fish from Rye won’t be available for the home market either.

Kate Roy

Heathfield, East Sussex

City profits from men’s criminal traits

Olivia Hill (letter, 3 March), while highlighting the fact that London is deemed the most successful city in the world, suggests that gender imbalance is preventing it from doing even better.

But is it not obvious that London owes its premier position at least in part to that male dominance? We don’t have to look very far past the much greater gender imbalance within the prison population to realise that in reality men and women are not so much equal as different, with different strengths and weaknesses.

Those traits that lead men into prison in much greater numbers are very similar to those that lead to success in business and in particular to the type of financial chicanery that has made London so successful.

Roger Chapman

Keighley, West Yorkshire

London shuns European flag

I thought to pin my colours to the mast – or, rather, to my hat – by wearing a European Union badge.

I searched every souvenir shop in Oxford Street. They had the Union Jack, the Queen, the Duke of Cambridge and his missus, London buses, red telephone boxes, Diana and Paddington Bear – but nothing of the Union to which we all belong.

St Pancras International, our gateway to Europe, was no less insular.

I should have thought of getting one last year when I was in Holland. The circle of stars was all over the place and everyone spoke English.

Peter Forster

London N4

No clue in Savile’s dress sense

I am shocked by Will Gore’s statement that Jimmy Savile “was an abuser who dared to wear the costume of a paedophile” (The Only Way is Ethics, 29 February). This is dangerous nonsense.

There is no distinctive dress by which paedophiles can be recognised; many people dress eccentrically, but pose no threat to anyone; and most abusers are known to the children they abuse, and appear perfectly normal.

John Dakin

Toddington, Bedfordshire

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