It is to be expected that Brexiteers will not want another referendum while Remainers would like one. What everyone should agree on is that democracy ends when people are not allowed to vote on matters that are very important to them. A vote only has a validity for a period of time so the discussion should be for how long.
As a Remainer, I believe Brexit is of such importance that the final break should reflect the will of the people at that time, not the historical will of a different electorate with different knowledge of the implications.
Sadly my husband and I are unable to march today for the People’s Vote but wish it to be known that we are with them in spirit and offer our full support. I am sure that many more people feel the same and would like to add their voice to the campaign.
Weird and wonderful
What a contrast: In the one edition you report on the divisive and alleged hate-generating activities of Tommy Robinson and his like, and the wonderful work being done in bringing children together at the Francis Barber school in Wandsworth with pupils in Africa. If only the former bigots could heed young Jay’s compassionate words: “They are human so they are going to be like us.”
So true and yet so hard for so many to see. Let’s all look for our common ground and not the differences.
Take me back to the pre-Trump days
In The Independent’s early days, it reported the marriage of Sarah and Andrew on, I think, page 6, where other news outlets were a wall-to-wall Fergie/Windsor fest. Fast forward to today and your Editor’s Letter, “What does the global audience want to read about most? Donald Trump” reminds me, wistfully, of those days. The old adage goes, “what interests the public, may not be in the public interest” and while there is no doubt a frisson of morbid shock at Trump, perhaps the time has come to relegate him to “page 6” and refuse to give him the oxygen of publicity he so craves.
Misandry is equal to misogyny
I was so shocked at Victoria Smith’s column about how misandry should not be a hate crime that I gave myself 24 hours to sleep on it, but I find it just as frightening now. Her implicit assumption is that men and boys as “the oppressor class” have all the privileges and don’t suffer from our male-dominated society. I would question that emphatically – if only because, if they identify as being from “the oppressor class”, men and boys can never have the same meaningful relationships as those who recognise genuine equality.
If we believe in equality, as I do, we must treat everyone as being of equal human value, regardless of gender, racial heritage, sexual orientation, bodily abilities, etc. We can condemn bad behaviours, and we should, but individuals must be of fundamentally equal value. We can all have our different motivations for wanting equality, and the way our society has been built around male values gives women an understandable motivation. But another motivation is that men and boys need liberating from unhelpful gender stereotypes.
Under genuine equality, misandry as a behaviour must be considered just as unacceptable as misogyny. For Victoria Smith to argue otherwise suggests she is not committed to the equalities agenda.
Ringmer, East Sussex
Janet Street-Porter, ce n’est pas le cas
We visited our préfecture here in southwest France three times over the summer, during what proved to be a very busy time for the “bureau des étrangers”. We were treated with the utmost helpfulness and courtesy with advice and guidance each time.
Eventually, our “dossiers” were accepted, and – with one final exchange by letter – our notice was issued, indicating that our “cartes de séjour” were ready for collection, at our convenience. The process took about two months, but certainly no “hostile environment” here.
The French government is merely making it clear that there are rules to be followed; Janet Street-Porter is mistaken to assume that this amounts to the same thing as has been perpetrated on EU citizens in the UK by May’s policies while in the Home Office or as prime minister.
St Pierre de Chignac, France
I am quite disappointed about Janet Street Porter’s article. Although I understand that she is hurt by France’s alleged attitude towards British citizens after Brexit, I would like to ask her to try and imagine how it must feel for EU citizens living in the UK since the referendum.
No matter how long we have been living in Britain, since 2016 many of us have been feeling insecure and unwelcome here, in the country that we chose to make our home. Remember the Dutch lady who was told to get ready to leave the country because she handed in a certified copy of her passport instead of the original, which she needed to travel, while waiting for her application for permanent residency, even though she had studied, worked and brought up a family in the UK, and was married to a Brit? It was widely reported at the time. There were many cases like that.
In the meantime, the attitude of the Home Office has softened, but we still need to apply for “settled status” if we want to remain in the UK, no matter how long we have lived here. It should be a straightforward process, but will it be? After Windrush, I’m not so sure, especially where elderly and vulnerable people are involved.
And when we return to the UK from a trip abroad with our British spouses after Brexit, we’ll have to join a separate queue for passport control, namely that of third countries. That is only one example of how we will be treated differently from before, but I’m quite sure there will be other implications. So, where is the difference to the French attitude?
Last but not least, it is the wish of the British people to leave the EU, not the other way around, and in the referendum British people living in Europe were given very little thought! Whose fault was that?
Unanswered questions after the Indian railway disaster
The tragedy at Amritsar, Punjab, India, of more than 50 people being mowed down and killed by a train while watching the Ram Lila celebrations is horrible. A moment of celebration has become a nightmare. Why were the celebrations being held in the proximity of the railway tracks? Why were people permitted to enter the railway track area? Were there enough police to prevent people from standing on railway tracks? All these questions need to be answered.
Unfortunately, in India human lives are becoming just digits. We are getting dehumanised.