As Sir Keir Starmer outlined Labour’s Brexit manifesto [April 25], it became clear that the party has given up on defending millions of people who voted Remain in the referendum.
Labour’s position appears to be that “we are going to have our cake and eat it too”, cherry-picking what they think they can peddle while excluding the benefits that have become harder to sell, such as contributions to shared institutions and freedom of movement.
Freedom of movement should be seen as a benefit. It enables British businesses to bid for contracts and workers to take up jobs in 27 other countries, allowing our young people to explore the continent.
Starmer, at last, outlined Labour’s position clearly when he said: “As it currently stands, membership of the single market is incompatible with our clarity about the fact that freedom of movement rules have to change,” adding “freedom of movement will have to end”. Labour appears to be saying that curbing immigration is of greater importance than the British economy and, by default, our ability to better fund education, the NHS, infrastructure and other areas.
With both the Tories and Labour now supporting Brexit, only the Lib-Dems are providing a clear and progressive alternative.
Stephen Crosher, Lib-Dem parliamentary candidate for Holborn and St Pancras
Sir Keir Starmer wants to “retain the benefits of the single market” but provides no evidence that any actually exist.
A recent report from the think-tank Civitas claims no data-based, peer-reviewed evaluation has ever been undertaken by the EU, the Government or any university or economics institute to demonstrate these supposed benefits. Indeed, while our exports to the single market have shrunk in recent decades, 14 major economies outside the EU have increased their trade with the continent under World Trade Organisation rules.
During the referendum, wild exaggerations emanated from both sides. In the weeks before we vote again, can Sir Keir, Tim Farron or anyone else produce evidence that the single market is beneficial?
Most UK voters have accepted that Brexit is going to happen but there appears to be a lack of compromise within the parties.
Theresa May is pursuing an all-out hard Brexit approach; the Lib-Dems promise to have a second referendum and Labour, quite frankly, don’t know what they are doing. Is it too much to ask for an amicable split from the EU that means we retain some of its benefits such as freedom of movement? Whoever does this can have my vote.
Over-60s are more than doing their bit
It was disappointing to read Sarah Sands’ comments in her column [“The over-60s should mentor the young”, April 25], which implied that “exceptionally well-cushioned” over- 60s need to “do their bit for free”.
Does she have any idea about the massive amount of volunteering undertaken by the over-60s? Many schools value the work carried out by older community members, from simple activities such as listening to children read to using retired people to mentor secondary school students regarding job applications. What about committed school governors, many of whom are over 60?
Numerous organisations such as Amnesty International and Water Aid rely on retired people to give talks in schools to encourage awareness and help to educate young people. What about those who become magistrates, work with young offenders in prison, become advisers for the Samaritans or get involved in organisations to support community spaces?
It appears Ms Sands has overlooked the enormous contribution that the over-60s already make to society.
Govia Thameslink's appalling service
I don’t have a problem with my train being cancelled. My problem is that it is done by a profit-driven corporation trying to maintain the illusion of providing a public service.
Govia Thameslink’s profits are close to £100 million and CEO David Brown’s pay would have hit £2.2 million had he not given up part of it. Yet commuters on Govia Thameslink lines have no option but to put up with a woeful, overcrowded service while having to pay some of the highest fares in Europe.
Just over 60 per cent of trains run on time, while more than 80 per cent are less than five minutes late. The rest are either delayed further or cancelled altogether — and I dare not look at Southern’s performance.
If I was doing my job at the same level as GTR, I would be shown the door with little more than a wave. How the Government can let corporations get away with such ineptitude is a farcical reflection on London.
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We can help make Oxford Street better
Navigating your way along busy Oxford Street and its environs can be challenging at the best of times but just imagine what it is like if you are visually impaired.
The sheer number of people, as well as the relentless noise from vehicles, street performers and shops, presents the vision-impaired pedestrian with a plethora of obstacles to contend with.
The charity Guide Dogs welcomes the opportunity for disabled people to have their say on how we can make sure Oxford Street has a healthy and inclusive revamp, and maintains its position as a world-class shopping and entertainment facility. We will work with Transport for London and Westminster City Council, sharing our ideas and expertise at such a vital stage, to bring benefits to everyone who uses the street.
Transforming Oxford Street will be a huge bonus for vision-impaired people in the future. We would like to see a modern, integrated environment that benefits all. Tactile indicators, the use of light, sound and colour are all factors which need to be considered during its design.
By working with TfL and the council we can help to create a healthy and inclusive revamp for everyone to use.
Dave Kent, Community engagement officer, Guide Dogs London
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More football foul play comes to light
Yesterday morning we learned that several football clubs have been raided as part of an HMRC tax investigation.
Hours later, Joey Barton, the Burnley midfielder, was banned for 18 months for breaching the Football Association’s betting rules. Whenever we think football is cleaning up its act, another incident comes to light which proves otherwise.
I for one am glad the FA took such a tough stance with Barton. I cannot understand why players would jeopardise their careers for more money when they earn so much already.
C G Hooper
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