Increasing privatisation of industry doesn’t exactly make the government look ‘strong and stable’ before Brexit

Letters
A Virgin Trains East Coast service: Virgin Trains East Coast

The East Coast train service is now dumped on the taxpayer. Simply the latest hollowed-out privatised firm. We seem to be approaching Brexit and the break with our most serious trading partners just as 40 years of the privatisation of the UK is shown to have entirely rotted the infrastructure of Britain.

From failing banks to failing behemoth government contractor Carillion to failing rail contracts to the closures of large high streets shop, they all have one thing in common. Chief executives and shareholders are not going to be selling The Big Issue any time soon but the UK tax payer is going to be paying a hefty price for decades to come either for operations that used to belong to the nation or to prop up plundered pensions schemes as the government took its eye off financial regulation of the plain greedy.

Just this week I finally received a cheque from Virgin trains for yet another failed journey (with my name spelled incorrectly). I had made the application on 15 February – it took three months. Ironically, I then went to pay it into TSB – the bank that had so many problems recently with online banking. The cashier paid in an amount different to that shown on the cheque. Neither she nor another member of staff who came to have a look knew how to resolve the problem.

So – run this by me again: which bits of Britain are NOT broken as we stumble blindly but furiously into Brexit?

Amanda Baker
Edinburgh

Israel’s right of self-determination

Ben White contradicts a fundamental principle of international law and international human rights law: the right to self-determination. Just as the Palestinian people have a right to self-determination in an independent Palestine, so do the Jewish people have that same right in Israel.

For Ben White to suggest that Israel’s citizens be denied their rights in a democracy to determine their own future and laws is to discriminate against Israel’s citizens and to deny Jewish people their right to self-determination and the security, freedom, and dignity it enables.

This right to self-determination is one to which they – like all peoples – are entitled under principles of equality and universality, and as affirmed in the UN Charter, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.

Respecting Palestinian rights does not and cannot entail rejecting the equal rights of the Jewish people. The human rights of both peoples are complementary, and to realise them both does not entail violating the rights of the other, as White invidiously demands.

Noam Schimmel, associate fellow, Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, McGill University Faculty of Law
Montreal, Canada

Tory politicians are a joke

Some days ago there was footage shown of Jeremy Hunt creeping out of the House of Commons Chamber to avoid answering a question about disability review issues.

The picture of Jacob Rees-Mogg fast asleep in said chamber has been widely circulated – and he treats people on benefits as scroungers? One of these stunning people recently claimed 27p for two car journeys.

Now we see footage of the buffoon known as Boris creeping out of the chamber to avoid a question about events in Gaza and all those deaths. Do any of these allegedly well-educated people know the meaning of accountability and responsibility?

Disgusting people, all of them, on the Tory benches.

T Maunder
Leeds

When will we put the majority’s needs first?

For decades now a small cabal of Europhobic Conservative MPs have fatally hamstrung successive prime ministers. Nobody, it seems, questions the logic of their assumption that, although a minority and wholly unrepresentative of the electorate (how many Rees-Moggs did you spot in the high street today?) the fulfilment of their obsessions has to be paramount.

This has potentially disastrous consequences for the rest of the nation. When is a Conservative prime minister going to have the guts to tell this mob to put up or shut up? To leave the party, resign their seats, and fight for them at by-elections? There would be short-term turmoil, but the long-term benefits would be incalculable.

Michael Rosenthal
Banbury

‘Violence on both sides’ rhetoric isn’t good enough

Theresa May’s initial response to the appalling events in Gaza remind me of Donald Trump’s comments following the death in Charlottesville claiming that there was “violence on both sides”. May god help the Palestinians now as it seems no one else will.

G Forward
Stirling

I’ll be shocked if the government produces anything productive

Can’t wait for the Brexit white paper, but if it’s more than a piece of white paper with the word “Brexit” on it I’ll be surprised given the clarity of this government’s thinking.

Roger Hancocks
Worksop