As Trump re-imposes sanctions on Iran, we should revoke his Scottish golf course licence in protest

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Friday 11 May 2018 17:42
Donald Trump withdraws from nuclear deal with Iran

With Donald Trump issuing veiled threats of secondary sanctions against non-US companies daring to do business with Iran, it should be clear to even the most diehard Brexiteer that the much touted, preferential post-Brexit Anglo-American trade deal is dead in the water.

Time to jam on the brakes and throw Brexit into reverse? I think so. If we can’t count on Trump to step in with his much-vaunted “great” trade deal (and even if we could, who’s to say he wouldn’t abandon it the following day?) then let’s re-embrace the EU and go all out to develop new and better trade relations with our European partners, and with the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, if “The Donald” insists on playing hardball with the UK, then let’s play hardball right back. We could start by cancelling his 13 July “working visit”, and then hit him where it really hurts: namely by revoking his Scottish golf course licence.

As for a trade war, secondary or otherwise, these things cut both ways. While some say the US is too big an economic entity for any sanctions we introduce to have much of an impact, if we act in coordination with France, Germany and other affected nations, then even the US might have to sit up and take notice.

We might also look at whether we want to continue acting as an offshore aircraft carrier for a president who seems to have more in common with the likes of Kim Jong-un than Theresa May. Kicking the US military out of the UK might seem like an extreme and unlikely measure. But the way things are going, it might yet come to that.

Rob Prince

Boris has backed the wrong horse

On Monday Boris Johnson was calling for president Trump to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On Tuesday Trump terminated his country’s nuclear deal with Iran. Trump also imposed new sanctions against Iran on the advice, no doubt, of his national security advisor, John Bolton. Bolton is a hard-right hawk who has long argued that the US must force regime change on Iran.

Trump’s aggressive stance has encouraged Israel to take military action against Iran. On Thursday Israel attacked Iran’s military infrastructure inside Syria. It is highly likely that Israel will attack Lebanon following Hezbollah’s recent electoral success there. Trump’s actions have opened the door to yet more Western-directed bloodshed and misery in the region. Yet the UK’s foreign secretary wants the Nobel Peace Prize to go to Trump.

All that expensive public school education was completely wasted on Boris Johnson – wasn’t it?

Sasha Simic

Akala shows the way to a new kind of politics

Question Time had one articulate politician with a clear grasp of the issues, facts and figures, combined with solid reasoning on contemporary problems and pathways to resolution: all done without resorting to personal attacks (what has fast become the preserve of a Corbyn/Rees-Mogg monopoly), in an engaging manner, while inspiring confidence.

Alas! Once more ’twas but a hobby politician, one Kingslee James Daley aka the rap-poet Akala (no, I hadn’t heard of him either). The professional politicians and lobbyists were a disgrace. I wasn’t expecting much from Chuka Umunna, still playing that broken record for repeat referendums until he gets the results he wants (from Brexit to his party’s leadership), but the patronising Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, was a disgrace, talking at the mainly elderly audience as if they were her infant class.

It raises the frightening possibility that those who ought to take up politics never will, dissuaded by a political class dumbed down beyond repair since Blair – all attitude and platitude, yet towards the electorate who put them there, little in the way of gratitude.

Mark Boyle

We need a new media regulator with real power

Wednesday’s vote on Leveson 2 did no service to the memory of the tragically murdered Milly Dowler. It was of course the revelation that her phone was among those hacked by the News of the World which led to the setting up of the original inquiry.

The job remains only half done. Under pressure from the press barons, it would appear, the government has refused to do anything more.

It is not that more devilling is required. The key recommendation of the original report lies on the table and only needs to be enacted. This was to create an alternative to the discredited Press Complaints Commission with a new regulator which would be statutorily supported. What did come about – IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisation) – does not have the independence and powers which Lord Justice Leveson called for.

A government which seems incredibly lacking in moral fibre has failed the nation once again.

Rev Andrew McLuskey
Address not supplied

Jack Straw should take some responsibility for his department’s actions

The issues raised by the rendition of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Fatima Boudchar are hardly put to rest by the statement of Jack Straw. Straw was one of a number of foreign secretaries to also be a qualified barrister. Despite his legal background he states of this case: “Although my recollection of what took place is limited ... In every case where my approval was sought I assumed, and was entitled to assume, that the actions for which my approval was sought were lawful.”

This begs the question, if this blanket practice was the level of scrutiny he was bringing to his department’s operations, what was the point of asking him for approval?

Dr Gavin Lewis

Corbyn thinks the answer to renationalisation is leaving the single market – he’s wrong

Jeremy Corbyn is making a catastrophic mistake not backing Tory rebels on the single market – by far the best option to protect jobs and prosperity in the UK. His argument is that should he find himself in government, he wants to renationalise the railways – which he believes is problematic under existing single market rules.

Firstly, he will never find himself in government if he doesn’t back the amendment. Secondly, while our railways are beginning to look like they’ve been nationalised by other European countries, the way to improve them is to break down existing monopolies. Thirdly, if the UK remains in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) with access to the single market, he may have more leeway than he currently believes as the UK will not be subject to the European Court of Justice.

When even the Daily Mail reports that a 10 per cent majority now want to stay in the EU, we can be pretty sure the vast majority want to remain in the single market – which wasn’t even on the ballot paper. Moving to EFTA in the medium term is the best reflection of the referendum result as it was – and will allow us to come back into the EU in the future with little disruption as well as exploring hitherto unknown technical solutions in more detail.

Stefan Wickham

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