When it comes to issues of migration, we could all do with exercising empathy

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Sunday 30 December 2018 19:17
Group of migrants from Syria and Iran rescued from English Channel before being treated for hypothermia

With regard to the migrants crossing the Channel, I cannot help but recall some of the words that Shakespeare gave to John of Gaunt in Richard II:

This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall

Or as a moat defensive to a house,

Against the envy of less happier lands,

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

What now for these people of “less happier lands”? We may stop some from risking their lives in small boats, but what happens to those left in France?

Bradley Hillier-Smith I am sure is right to highlight the faults on both sides of the Channel, but there seems to be no easy answer, and certainly no obvious one, to a world where people are desperate enough to risk their lives and pay small fortunes for the chance of a better existence.

Perhaps we need to ask ourselves what we would do in their circumstances.

Viv Robson
West Sussex

Every year in the UK thousands are forced to use food banks. Thousands sleep rough on our streets with increasing numbers dying. Thousands live through rape and domestic abuse.

Few people cross the Channel in a rubber boat, yet that’s the one the government treats as a crisis.

David G Leddy

The Independent is right to call on the home secretary Sajid Javid to take urgent action against human smuggling.

However, the government seems to use this as a way of point-scoring in its battle to win votes over Brexit. When we talk about Islamist terrorism, why not talk about Christian terrorism, child sex abuse, the Holocaust, domestic violence, homophobia, antisemitism (the highest in Europe), Islamophobia, populism, anti-immigration sentiments, xenophobia, feral knife stabbings, homelessness, child poverty, food banks, the greed of pharmaceutical companies or acid attacks?

Let’s hope that 2019 will usher in a new government to extricate us from the mess we are in.

Munjed Farid Al Qutob
London NW2

Juncker is right, we do need to get our act together

In recent days Jean-Claude Juncker has called on the UK to get its act together over Brexit.

It is, of course, wholly unreasonable to expect Brussels to formulate a solution for Britain. It’s also up to us to decide if the final decision is put back to the people in a second referendum.

Some have insinuated that the EU wants to trap the UK, but nothing could be further from the truth. The problem is that the muddled, labyrinthine negotiations have left many distrustful of Westminster’s querulous, self-serving political class.

John Cameron
St Andrews

The EU is a lot more democratic than the UK

The Leavers who have been persuaded to take us out of a united Europe site the lack of democracy in the EU as their reason. They have been deceived.

Every one of the 28 nations within the EU, no matter how large or how small, has equal authority. No decision, no law, no agreement and no constitutional change can take place without the agreement of every leader of every nation within the EU. The process is cumbersome and difficult, but that is true democracy at work.

Here in the UK two of our nation states voted by a large majority to remain part of a united Europe, yet their desires are overturned by a tiny majority in England and even tinier one in Wales. Democracy is overturned by the dominance of England and an incoherent policy is enforced by its predominantly English parliament. Because England is bigger and more powerful. The smaller nations have no choice.

That is not democracy.

Martin Deighton

A memorable encounter

Dame June Whitfield has passed away at the age of 93. I remember that she was known for her roles in shows such as Happy Ever After, Terry and June and Absolutely Fabulous.

Many years ago when she was at the height of her fame, I was astonished to bump into such a famous star browsing in the aisles of a large store in the middle of Cardiff. I cannot remember how we started to chat among the pink and blue dressing gowns, but she was very friendly and agreed that though our jobs and lifestyles were very different that we had one thing in common – we both bought out knickers in Marks and Spencer.

Barbara MacArthur

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