ES Views: A ‘historic mistake’ that no one will admit making

Boris Johnson was heavily involved in the Leave campaign in the EU referendum: PA Archive/PA Images

While I respect and may even agree with your proposition that leaving the EU is “a historic mistake” [“A paper committed to freedom and optimism”, Comment, May 2], I have never heard those people who are directly responsible for taking such a decision acknowledge their cataclysmic mistakes.

First, the leaders at the heart of government called a referendum that was totally unnecessary after conducting a disastrous negotiation with their EU counterparts, resulting in a shamefully weak and unconvincing set of “concessions”. They also managed a shambolic Remain campaign.

No words and pontification can undo what was a gross series of errors. While a politician can change tack, those who run their own businesses and face ruin as a consequence of poor decision-making cannot.
Darrell Ponniah

Your leader column hit the nail on the head. On June 23 last year people voted for a departure, not a destination. Yet the Prime Minister is pushing the hardest form of Brexit out there.

This general election is our chance to change the direction of the country but to do that we need a real opposition and Labour is clearly not up to the job. The Liberal Democrats are offering a credible alternative and a strong opposition voice.

A vote for the Lib-Dems will ensure that Theresa May cannot just sign off a blank cheque on our future.
Sarah Olney, Candidate for Richmond Park (Lib-Dem)

We should not be cowed by the threatening noises coming from Brussels over the Brexit negotiations. Like all bullies, they will back down when confronted.

It is not surprising that Jean-Claude Juncker et al, dancing as they do to Berlin’s tune, feel emboldened by the fact that this fight is 27 against one. One would think by now that Eurocrats know we never fight better than when our backs are to the wall. We will certainly not roll over and capitulate in the face of threats from politicians such as Juncker.
Robert Readman

It is not the case, as your leader suggested, that the great majority of Londoners voted Remain: the proportion was 60:40. That was a decisive majority for Remain but not an overwhelming one. London is not homogenous on this issue, although obviously it has special interests in respect of the City.

Where London does have an interest is in securing the rights of EU citizens who live and work here, including access to benefits. Once Brext is a reality, the Government could give priority to EU citizens in obtaining work visas. That would reflect the contribution they make to the economy and society.
M Dauti

Time to lower the voting age to 16

The Brexit vote showed that young people felt strongly enough to visit the ballot box, and the obvious question is whether the result would have been the same if 16- and 17-year-olds had been allowed to have their say. At Barnardo’s, we support lowering the voting age to 16 to ensure greater representation of young people.

With yet another vote looming on June 8, young people have another chance to influence politics — including the 750,000 teenagers who were too young to vote in last year’s referendum.

Failure to include them could result in more of them drifting to politics outside the establishment — hardly a sign of a healthy democracy.
Lynn Gradwell, director, Barnardo’s London

Abbott is clearly out of her depth

Labour’s public spending wish-list goes on after shadow home secretary Diane Abbott’s demand for 10,000 “extra police”. Aside from her bizarre costing estimates and the swelling deficit, her model is flawed.

It is up to local police forces to decide how many police they need, not central government. All this points to a worrying obsession with big government and splashing taxpayers’ cash as Labour’s answer to every problem.

Ms Abbott presiding at the Home Office would not just put society at risk, it would also probably bankrupt Britain.

She is a walking disaster and should have no place in any government.
Anthony Rodriguez

Welcome return of the political cartoon

I don’t know if we should thank your new editor, George Osborne, for this but it’s great to see a political cartoonist back in the Evening Standard.

Christian Adams brings back memories of Vicky drawing for the Standard. I hope we shall once again enjoy the pleasure of seeing the great and good pursued, parodied and persecuted whenever they try to fox us with hyperbole and flummery.
Barry Hyman

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Too many planes add to toxic mix

Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, warns of the cost of toxic air to the capital [“The war against London’s killer pollution can be won”, Comment, May 2]. Bloomberg says London’s pollution reduces its attractiveness to foreign companies at a time when it is being challenged by other financial capitals. Although fumes from traffic are a huge problem, planes crossing London add to the toxic mix.

The Airports Commission’s final report says “noise and air quality have consequences for health and wellbeing”. At a time when it is important to make London attractive to foreign firms, I am amazed that the Government will allow a third runway at Heathrow, which can only exacerbate noise and pollution.
Dr Richard Bloore

Sadiq Khan and Transport for London need to realise that their “green policy” of encouraging cycling by building superhighways across London actually creates pollution.

Why painted lines haven’t been adopted for cyclists instead of kerbed lanes is beyond me. The superhighways narrow the available space on roads and slow down the flow of traffic, causing congestion and more toxic fumes.
Chris Greaves

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Ronaldo just gets better and better

Every time Cristiano Ronaldo is dismissed as being past his best, the Portuguese star proves us wrong with an incredible individual performance.

His hat-trick in the 3-0 semi-final first leg win against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday was typically special, given the magnitude of the game and that it was against Real Madrid’s bitter rivals. It is easy to forget that Ronaldo is 32 and supposed to be in decline. Clearly he doesn’t accept that.

The debate often rumbles on about who’s better, Lionel Messi or Ronaldo. The latter’s recent performance will serve as a reminder that he is every bit as good as the Barcelona genius.
J Curton

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