Your leader [“Mrs May’s EU divorce letter: let’s be friends”, Comment, March 29] was not, I am afraid, how the rest of the world sees it.
In short, Brexit hurts Britain’s influence, not just in Europe but across the world. While America appears to be disengaged and a bit scary under Donald Trump, and with the threat of Vladimir Putin’s Russia to our security, we need now a sense of common interest with the EU as we head towards even greater disunity.
I am sure Trump and Putin are both gleeful at the sight of a weakened Europe, as this means that the EU will have less influence in America over the long run.
These strategic issues have been little discussed or truly debated. This includes Wednesday’s Commons debate and Theresa May’s statements and letter to the EU, which failed to recognise these major internal and external dangers.
It is not enough to say that “It is time to come together” or speak about “liberal democratic values” while acting in ways which undermine those values.
Harry C Blaney, Center for International Policy
In his press conference following the delivery of Theresa May’s letter triggering Brexit on Wednesday, President of the European Council Donald Tusk remarked “We already miss you.”
The sad fact is that had Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker, Angela Merkel, François Hollande and the rest of the Eurocrats listened to the legitimate concerns voiced by the UK over the way the EU was heading, Brexit might well have never come to pass.
Instead, they stuck their heads in the sand and dismissed the UK as nothing more than a troublesome and irritating non-entity.
Brussels only has itself to blame for the fact that the UK people decided enough is enough and voted to quit their blinkered political union.
While I concur with your editorial which stated that Brexit was “a momentous day for Britain and for London”, a further statement claiming “most of us are sorry to leave the EU” emphasises your pro-EU position.
While 59.9 per cent of Greater London electors voted to Remain, a sizeable proportion — 40 per cent — voted for Brexit. It should be remembered that our withdrawal from the EU was a democratic decision made by the majority of the British people.
Regardless of one’s political opinions, it is incumbent upon all concerned to now fully support the negotiators in their attempts over the next two years to obtain the most beneficial arrangements for the country.
UK needs to ensure research innovation
With Article 50 now invoked, the Government must ensure we continue to enhance and safeguard the UK’S world-leading research, innovation and higher education systems.
Our continued partnership with Europe on matters of research and innovation must not only be protected — we must also invest to make it stronger.
We attract some of the finest research talent in Europe and the world. It is essential that the Government negotiates the right for EU research and higher education staff — currently employed and those accepting employment in the UK — to remain indefinitely.
Any discussions in relation to higher education and research should also take place at the earliest opportunity. This will ensure the UK remains a competitive environment and attractive proposition for the world’s most talented researchers.
Lord Stern of Brentford, president, British Academy
Council tax increase will hit the poorest
In London, 29 out of 33 local authorities will increase council tax next month, with half raising it by almost five per cent. This will hit the poorest families the hardest.
Following the localisation of council tax support in 2013, families previously deemed too poor to pay council tax would make a minimum payment. The financial squeeze on local authorities is putting upward pressure on council tax and will weaken protection afforded by local support schemes.
In the past three years London’s boroughs have instructed bailiffs to recover outstanding council tax from over 48,000 households. With this in mind, we strongly urge local authorities to abolish their minimum payments and introduce 100 per cent support, or reduce their minimum payments to under 10 per cent.
Despite the financial pressures they face, we hope they consider this to ease the financial burden on the capital’s poorest.
Alison Garnham, chief executive, Child Poverty Action Group and Raji Hunjan, chief executive, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust
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