Nigel Lawson should wait in the customs line like the rest of us

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Friday 01 June 2018 18:20
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With people as hypocritical as Lawson in charge, it's no wonder Britain is now facing a disaster
With people as hypocritical as Lawson in charge, it's no wonder Britain is now facing a disaster

Your article “Brexiteer Nigel Lawson branded a ‘hypocrite’ for applying for French residency” makes me think that the only Brexit “success” so far, the return of our blue UK passports, is as rotten as the rest of Brexit.

I look forward to queueing with my “British” passport, knowing that Lord Lawson, chair of Vote Leave campaign and vocal “hard Brexit” supporter in the upper house, is in a different queue thanks to his application for French residency. It seems that Lord Lawson loves Brexit Britain so much he wants to live in France. Perhaps he should give up his title and become “Citoyen” Lawson.

Rather than avoiding the hassles Brexit will cause, the least he could do is wait in line with the rest of us and face a fraction of the misery he is inflicting on so many others. What about the people waiting for hours or days in NHS hospitals that can’t recruit medical staff? What about the people who will lose their jobs as the economy slows due to contradictory and fantastical negotiating red lines? What about the farmers who can’t get their fruit picked? What about the people living and working near and across the seemingly inevitable hard border in Ireland? The list goes on. They can’t just up sticks and head to France to escape the consequences.

The irony, mirroring so much of Brexit, is we could have changed the colour of our UK passports at any time while still benefiting from staying within the EU. With people as hypocritical as Lawson in charge, it’s no wonder Britain is now facing a disaster. If he can change his mind and move to France, surely the British people should get an opportunity to change their minds as well?

James Cockburn
Edinburgh

Rwanda has made a bold decision sponsoring the Arsenal kit

Rwanda has been criticised in tabloid media for sponsoring the Arsenal kit. Yes, it’s a deal with a hefty price tag, but one that has been paid for by its thriving tourism sector. Once again, the West has jumped on its high horse and proclaimed injustice rather than considering that this deal might actually make sense.

Rwanda’s tourism industry is booming. In the past seven years, visitor numbers have doubled to 1.4 million per year, generating $400m (£300m) for the economy. But this is no accident – it’s part of a concerted effort by the government to build a tourism sector that is profitable and ecologically sustainable. That takes investment, and a marketing strategy to drive awareness. What better place to start than to target Arsenal’s global fanbase of 100 million people?

So, why are Rwanda’s marketing decisions being dissected and critiqued by the British media? Just as the UK was free to spend £9bn on the 2012 Olympics to boost its post financial crisis economy, surely Rwanda is also free to spend the rumoured £30m on growing its tourism industry.

Earlier this year, Rwanda, along with 43 other African countries, signed up to a $3 trillion trade bloc that will see the removal of tariffs on 90 per cent of goods. In stark contrast to the Brexit decision, the African Continental Free Trade Area is a significant milestone, but one that few Western media titles chose to report on.

Controversy aside, it makes sense for Rwanda to invest in tourism. I, for one, hope the deal will spur on other African countries to follow suit with similarly bold strategies.

Ashish J Thakkar
Dubai, UAE

A new Brexit vote is looming

Expect the clamour for a People’s Vote on Britain’s withdrawal deal from the EU to increase (“Welsh Labour politicians break ranks from Corbyn to call for a new Brexit vote”).

With the prime minister’s “have cake and eat it too” and the opposition leader’s “pie in the sky” ambitions being equally delusional, it’s likely more and more Leavers will conclude that better the EU we know than a Brexit we don’t.

Roger Hinds
Surrey

What special relationship?

To add to Brexit woes, we now have a tariff war with Trump’s pipe dream of the US to deal with. Strength in numbers makes more sense than the deranged idea that a “special relationship” exists between one inward looking, self-obsessed nation and another where the self interest of the powerful will swamp the pitiful hopes of the dispossessed. Dommage, as no doubt Nigel Lawson would have it.

Alan Mackay
East Lothian

It appears that the US, or more specifically its most stable, healthy and smart president, is no longer interested in maintaining an amicable relationships with its, up till recently, closest allies in Europe. Trump believes trade wars are easily winnable. He may possibly base his opinion on the vast experience he has gained as a reality television star and avid golfer.

Could this possibly be a cue for the European countries to sit down with Russia and to finally resolve their differences? To negotiate disarmament and trade agreements? To normalise relationships and to openly speak with each other for the benefit of the whole continent? And to then reach further towards India and China?

Is it not time that American world dominance is being curtailed?

That the flute is taken away from the piper and the dancing stops?

Gunter Straub
London NW3

Peru should follow Chile’s lead and ban plastic bags

What good news to read that Chile is to become the first South American country to ban plastic bags. I hope, but am not optimistic, that Peru will soon see the light and do likewise. I visit about every 18 months, and each time the roads and waterways are more clogged than ever with discarded plastic bags and bottles.

In January I visited the Paracas Nature Reserve and watched plastic bags blowing into the Pacific Ocean. One answer, of course, is to take a leaf from Costa Rica’s book and invest in clean water infrastructure that greatly reduces reliance on bottled water.

Patrick Cosgrove
Bucknell

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