Letters: let’s call time on this Brexit shambles

Boris Johnson ‘endorses’ the Observer’s front-page Brexit story. Photograph: Peter MacDiarmid/REX/Shutterstock

As the whole Brexit concept continues to unravel, I cannot be the only one thinking “enough is enough” (“Brexit shift: more than 100 Leave seats now back Remain”, News). We are fed up with hearing about fantasy trade deals and pie in the sky economic benefits. We need to see these deals and the solid proof that they are achievable; similarly, we need solid evidence of the economic benefits of leaving the EU. Give us the numbers – all we have seen so far is guesswork and even that doesn’t add up.

It is time for the 16 million or so of us who voted Remain to stand up and be heard. We have given the “democratic process” time and a bit more to sort this out and it is getting nowhere. The time has come to say to Theresa May: “Enough is enough, this country and the future of all its citizens is more important than the interests of a few dozen MPs.”

We must demand the cancellation of article 50 and a return to the UK’s full membership of the EU. Yes, the EU is a shambles, but as part of it we can influence it; outside, we can only suffer the consequences of what the bureaucrats do.
KJ Mace
Griston, Norfolk


According to the layout of your front-page Brexit story, your analysis – and its implication that surely another referendum is now warranted – even has Boris Johnson’s endorsement.
William Dixon
City, University of London, Northampton Square, London EC1


William Keegan rightly draws attention to the sheer cost of Brexit (“Hard-Brexit fantasists dislike hard economic realities”, Business). He cites Professor Rogowsky’s letter to the Financial Times, which refers to the “Frank” campaign in Alaska – “frustrated responsible Alaskans needing knowledge”.

It is time for an equivalent campaign here in the UK. It should be called “Brexit overspend requires in-depth scrutiny”, or Boris for short. Seriously though, generations of young people will be paying a long time for this and not just financially.
William McMorran
Tedstone Delamere, Bromyard
Herefordshire



A grave underestimation

Your story on the discovery of William Blake’s burial place gives the impression that there is very little at Bunhill Fields burial ground in London, apart from his new stone, the memorial to Daniel Defoe and “two remaining gravestones”. (“How amateur sleuths finally tracked down the burial place of William Blake”, News). This is far from being the case.

The burial ground is Grade 1 listed for its historic landscape, as well as being a site of importance for nature conservation. There are several dozen graves, including that of Susanna, mother of Charles and John Wesley; Henry Cromwell, grandson of Oliver, the lord protector’s son-in-law; General Charles Fleetwood; and the hymnologist Isaac Watts. There are also numerous headstones and many tombs, including that of John Bunyan. Defoe’s obelisk is more than a “memorial”, as it sits over his burial place, though his actual tombstone is in Hackney museum.
Terry Philpot, author, 31 London Cemeteries to Visit Before You Die
Limpsfield Chart, Surrey


Where are the real leaders?

The current manoeuvrings in the two main parties underline the need for urgent reform of the way we choose our prime minister. Our system is failing to produce national leaders with the vision and range of skills that we desperately need. This is because the person chosen to be prime minister is usually the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons, who has been elected by party members (and supporters, in the case of Labour), whose views and concerns do not reflect those of the electorate at large.

We need to move to a process whereby the prime minister is chosen by the electorate as a whole from a range of candidates, both from within and outside the political parties. This would also provide some support for the tendency of recent prime ministers to act in an increasingly presidential manner.

We should also ensure that the job of prime minister is separated from that of party leader, so that the individual appointed leader of the government can focus on national, rather than party political, affairs.
Tony Schur
Woodbridge, Suffolk


The fruits of their labours

I read with interest Michael Savage’s story on “Call for young to do ‘national service’ in social work”, News). I have to wonder if this is part of an agenda to make it mandatory for the hundreds of thousands of young and not so young men and women to work for their benefits or lose them? Of course, this will be to replace the thousands of energetic young people from the EU who so brilliantly keep our hospitality and tourist industries running year after year.

I notice that fruit and vegetable harvesting was not mentioned. This summer in Scotland we have seen tonnes of fruit and veg rotting in polytunnels and fields because the regular pickers from Europe will find it more and more difficult to obtain a visa to work here. These young people who have always been welcome in Scotland work hard for modest wages.

The idea of mandatory replacement labour by UK youth is a dangerous joke. It would surely be a recipe for social unrest at the very least. However, it fits perfectly into the rightwing philosophy that every day accelerates towards bad times.
Graham Noble
Fort William, Scotland


Auden, Corbyn and the left

Nick Cohen displays his ignorance of Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters (“Auden had it right: we seek comfort where we can, even amid calamity”, Comment). His convenient labelling of “far-left” supporters with the “Tory right” with regard to Brexit is wrong.

All the evidence both anecdotally and in polls points to Labour members wanting to remain or at the very least stay in a customs union that will lessen the impact. This is totally at odds with the Tories’ pursuit of hard Brexit.
Tom Farrell
Snainton, Scarborough, N Yorks


No place for the niqab

I believe that the face veil should be banned in the UK (“‘Morally empty’ Boris Johnson is courting fascism, says peer as Tory crisis escalates”, News). The face is a person’s identity and character in a way that no other body part is and to see each other’s faces is vital to interpersonal communication. To be anti-niqab is not to be anti-Islam – it is to be pro-humanity. To criticise the garment is not to attack those who wear it but the system that demands it. And making gentle fun of something is a good way to bring about change. We should join other European countries and make sure we can all see who we are talking with.
J Sherwin
Shepton Mallet, Somerset


The spirit of 1919

In his piece about the 19th year of recent centuries, David Olusoga omits the most significant event of 1919, namely the Treaty of Versailles (“Peterloo 1819. Destroyers on the Mersey and tanks in Glasgow 1919. In 2019?” Comment). My father, an Anglican rector, was so incensed by the vindictive spirit of the treaty that he denounced it from the pulpit, forecasting that it sowed the seeds of another war. His congregation, horrified, boycotted him.
David Hughes (born 1919)
Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire