My business is already struggling because of uncertainty over EU trade – it’s completely unreasonable to extend the Brexit transition period

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Saturday 24 February 2018 17:00
Businesses are being left in further limbo at the prospect of extending the UK-EU negotiating period
Businesses are being left in further limbo at the prospect of extending the UK-EU negotiating period

In regard to whether we should pay more for a longer transition period in our sluggish rush to Brexit, it’s about time we told M Barnier and his mates to do one.

Our craven politicians gave away a reported £40bn to get through phase one, which they had stated unequivocally that they wouldn’t. That’s our taxes going west, quite literally. They lied.

Now we are into the meat of this deal, for dealing it now is.

Time to fight back. As a Remainer I hate this situation. But as a Briton and a businessman I cannot stand this havering any longer. We either stand our ground or cave in again.

My businesses will not survive further prevarication. I will have to fold them up as they rely on EU trade. The present uncertainty after years is strangling them to death.

May and her divided Cabinet must understand that they are not the agenda. We, the British people, and our economic and societal future are what they are there to represent.

I no longer care if we are represented by Tories or Labour or SNP. They are all too far gone to realise that we, the people, must have them stop any further bickering and negotiate properly for our collective benefit.

If the Tories don’t finally get this we may see their end as a political force in the UK as the pain for the taxpayer will be ever more expensive.

John Sinclair

Trump’s plans will see everyone shoot anyone

So Trump plans to give guns to schoolteachers so they can protect children from guns. That’s a great idea. And when a teacher has a bad stress day and manages to kill the whole class, then they’ll have to give every student a gun to protect themselves from teachers.

The question then will be whether students can take the guns home and, if they’ve had a bad day, kill their parents, or will have to hand them in to the school armoury before leaving. So schools could perhaps have hundreds of firearms available at a moment’s notice, and on a really good bad day everyone could kill everyone.

Buy shares in the arms industry now, before they explode.

David Buckton

Portugal has a historical connection to Arab culture

Robert Fisk’s excellent piece on Portugal notes the country’s proud Arab connections. There is so much more outside of, and especially to the south of, Lisbon.

The Portuguese never claimed to have “discovered” India. They knew perfectly well where it and the Spice Islands were. Their achievement was to work out how to get there in small sailing ships that were vulnerable to currents and reliant on seasonal winds. This may be what surprised the Arab trader when they turned up.

The Lisbon suburb in which I live has an Arab name. As they still say here “oxalá”, by all means look that one up.

Tom Bloomfield
Algés, Portugal

The difference between Calicut and Calcutta

In his piece “There’s a reason why anti-Muslim ideology hasn’t found a home in Portugal” Robert Fisk mistakenly describes Calicut, where Vasco Da Gama landed in 1498, as Calcutta. Calicut is located in the southern state of Kerala and Calcutta is the capital of the eastern state of West Bengal. It may interest your readers to know that the textile known as calico owes its origins to Calicut. Moreover, Calicut is now known as Kozhikode, and Calcutta as Kolkata.

Kanika Datta
New Delhi, India

[Editor’s note: This mistake has now been amended]

We must support the ‘good’ aid workers

Andrew MacLeod is right to illustrate in his piece the dangerous conditions in which aid workers carry out their work. Several aid workers have made incalculable sacrifices to give a voice to the voiceless and to help people in the most volatile regions. Many were beheaded, kidnapped, detained and assaulted during their line of duties.

One could only imagine seeing first-hand the harrowing scenes of children trapped under the rubble of their neighbourhoods, or men, women and the elderly desperately searching for the smallest morsel, barely able to walk, with little flesh on their bones in war-stricken Syria or Yemen, or catering for the needs of desperate refugees taking treacherous voyages to reach safety in Jordan, Lebanon and far beyond.

It is time to salute humanitarians who chose to work and speak out against the unconscionable atrocities committed against humanity. In doing so we will keep the flames of hope, coexistence and dialogue alight.

Dr Munjed Farid al Qutob
London NW2

Spain: whatever happened to freedom of speech?

Last Wednesday Arco, Madrid’s international art show, opened after a work entitled Contemporary Spanish Political Prisoners – which included pixelated portraits of three of the leaders of Catalonia’s independence movement – was removed at the insistence of the organisers of Madrid’s trade fairs, where Arco is being held.

The next day Valtonyc, a rapper from Majorca, had his 3½-year prison sentence upheld for having sung a song six years ago, when he was 18, that was rude to the Spanish crown.

That same week a judge demanded the seizure of Fariña, a book on drug trafficking in Spain by the Galician journalist Nacho Carretero.

That’s three attacks on freedom of speech in Spain in a single week!

Henry Ettinghausen, Emeritus Professor of Spanish, University of Southampton
Catalonia, Spain

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