ES Views: Brexit is bad but the idea of going to war is much worse

Gibraltar: Could the UK and Spain really go to war over the territory?: PA

There are valid concerns that one of the consequences of Brexit could be increased tensions with Spain over Gibraltar. However, I don’t believe Spain would be foolish enough to use this to prevent a trade deal with the UK.

The most recent figures show that in a year the UK imported £5.1 billion more in goods from Spain than it exported to the country and that UK residents made 13 million visits to Spain, spending £6.5 billion. These are vital sources of income for the struggling Spanish economy and something it cannot risk losing.

Recent interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria — albeit for very different reasons — have alienated the public against the idea of conflict. The admittedly unlikely scenario of military intervention over Gibraltar would make Theresa May unpopular even with Conservative voters.

While I am resigned to Brexit happening, I am sure many Leave voters would be outraged if Brexit meant us going to war with a fellow Nato member. That is definitely not what we voted for.
Jessica Moore

I used to believe that Gibraltar’s sovereignty should be for its people to decide upon. However, with British and Spanish relations suffering perhaps now is the time for Britain and Gibraltar to at least consider joint sovereignty?

Spain has similar and real issues to deal with in Ceuta and Melilla, its enclaves in Morocco. However, any talk of war over the Rock is pure nonsense.

In these modern times the feelings of a combined 33,900 people cannot be allowed to interfere with the international relations of 151 million people, however undemocratic it may seem.
Dominic Shelmerdine

Ceuta, just 18 miles across the strait from Gibraltar, is a vital strategic foothold for Spain in Africa. Between them these two scions of respected democracies command important access to, and exit from, the western Mediterranean.

Is Spain ready to abandon her African colony, regardless of its people’s wishes?
Roger Juer

We hope and pray that Brexit will prove to be a huge success and silence all the sceptics but what if the unthinkable happens and things do go awry?

What if we are confronted with businesses going bust, mounting unemployment, rising prices, hospitals closing because of immigration controls and people being denied work permits?

I wonder which countries in this case would welcome millions of fleeing UK refugees desperately seeking a better way of life?
Rudy Otter

Royal Marines are vital to our defence

In response to your article [“Marines cuts would harm defence, Fallon told”, March 31], the £10 billion defence budget shortfall is partly down to Gordon Brown’s decision in 2008 to slow down the aircraft carrier project, adding some £1.6 billion to the cost. The Navy should not be blamed or punished — it has already been cut too much.

The Royal Marines are part of the Navy and they are a proven first-class defence resource, a national asset and remarkably cost-effective. To reduce the number of Marines while keeping the Red Arrows and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight would be grossly irresponsible.

The UK is an island trading nation reliant on the sea and protection of maritime trade, and our overseas territories are a prime responsibility of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

If Defence Secretary Michael Fallon is even thinking of further naval service cuts to satisfy the bottom line, while letting flourish parts of defence that have no role on the front line, Theresa May must question whether he is fit for office.
Lieutenant Commander Lester May and 10 other Royal Marines and Royal Navy officers

Overseas aid must truly help the poor

Supporting economic growth in developing countries could lift millions out of poverty but it must be done in the right way [“City of London ‘will become global financial centre for poorer countries’”, March 31].

One in three young people in the world is either unemployed or working but living in poverty. Women are particularly badly affected — the gender pay gap and limited access to education means they are held back from a young age.

It is encouraging to see politicians and business championing jobs and industry in developing countries. Investment in new industries in such nations could change lives, especially those of women.

But the devil is in the detail. It is vital that the investment goes beyond inflating growth figures and actually reaches the poorest people, creating more and better jobs for them.
Charlie Matthews, head of advocacy, ActionAid UK

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Khan is falling short on pollution pledge

While I agree with Sadiq Khan’s plan to bring forward the Ultra Low Emission Zone [“Diesel cars ‘12 times over toxic limit in London’ as Khan brings charge closer”, April 4], I would question why black cabs are exempt from the planned charges.

By seeming to refuse to target this group, the Mayor is only showing his lack of conviction on the issue. He has struggled to sort out the problem with the RMT over rail strikes and now he won’t stand up to cabbies.

They are one of the biggest polluters in central London and to not bring them in line suggests that the Mayor doesn’t care as much as he claims to about pollution.
Fred McBrown

Roadworks at the junction of Highbury Corner and Holloway Road have been causing problems for more than two years, so you would think there would be some kind of urgency to finish them. Yet this is not the case. I have seen no sign of work being carried out after 4pm on weekdays or during the weekends.

Sadiq Khan must address the problem of roadworks and many other pollution issues if he is serious about speeding up traffic and cleaning up London’s air.
Tim Sayer

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Slaven still fits the Bil for West Ham

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic may have been given the dreaded vote of confidence from his board but he needs more time to turn things around. His side overachieved last season with a seventh-place finish and reaching those standards was always going to be difficult.

It takes time for a club to adapt to a new ground and the Hammers have clearly struggled to adapt to the London Stadium. Bilic has had to deal with multiple injury problems and was forced to sell Dimitri Payet, so the only surprise is that West Ham are not in the relegation zone.

Bilic understands the club and the fans. West Ham need stability to become regular top-half finishers.
Dean Goodacre

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