The solution to the Gibraltar “problem” as described in Joe Watts’s article (Downing Street defends ex-Tory leader Michael Howard's claim UK would go to war with Spain over Gibraltar, Joe Watts, 3 April) is straightforward: a referendum. Of course Gibraltarians’s wishes, democratically expressed, must be abided by. But they must be told that lighter taxation is to end. They must lose the tax breaks that mainland Brits do not have.
After all, we are told we must all pull together now, are we not?
Peter Millen Huddersfield
Joe Watts’s article in yesterday’s Independent raises a couple of important points.
There is surely a great irony that it was Maggie Thatcher, the then Tory PM who took us to war with Argentina as a result of her Government’s mismanagement of Britain’s commitment to her south Atlantic territories. This proved to have been a hugely expensive and needless war, which cost far too many lives, and ruined for many years our relationship with Argentina. We now again have a strong willed Tory PM who despite having originally declared her belief in Britain’s continuing membership of the European Union, seems hell-bent on mismanaging our withdrawal. Without wishing to be considered a cynic, could this just be a case of the PM attempting to learn from her idol, and become the next great Tory heroin to the misguided?
The poor people of Gibraltar must now be very afraid for their future as a British Overseas Territory, now that our Foreign Secretary has declared that “the Sovereignty of Gibraltar has not changed and is not going to change”. This is after all the same Boris Johnson who told us all that the European Union was responsible for non-existent regulations (straight bananas, Cornish Pasties, etc), and assured us that we could save £350m a week, to be invested in the NHS, by leaving the European Union. This is the same Boris Johnson who now acknowledges that these statements were not based on any truth or fact, but might in his alternative universe somehow be true.
I feel so sorry for the people of Gibraltar at the moment, but reserve my greatest anxiety for the UK mainland, which is being dragged down a deadly dangerous path by craven self-serving politicians, who must by now have realised that there is but the slimmest chance that Brexit can ever be made to look like anything else except an unmitigated disaster.
We might like to think the possibility of Ukip ever getting into power has been removed by Brexit, but the real fear for the post-Brexit future has to be that the electorate lose all faith in the political parties that got them there, with the result that a future general election would see the vast majority of the electorate not voting, leaving the way clear for much more radical extremist politicians to be elected. An extreme right wing Britain is now but a hop, skip and jump away. Thank you Theresa May.
David Curran Middlesex
A trade off
Theresa May's annoying catchphrase is “I have always been clear”. I had always thought she had never spoken with anything close to clarity. However, maybe (scarily) she now has. Her Article 50 letter, which we should assume was most carefully crafted, stated: “In security terms a failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened.” There was subsequently, of course, much back-pedalling on this statement and much talk of misinterpretation.
However, Sir Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence, has now said: “It’s very important to link trade and security because what we are now looking for is a deep and special partnership that covers both economic and security cooperation. Those two things go together.”
So (scarily) Theresa May had actually, for once, been clear.
I am so ashamed of our political leaders: Cameron, who put his personal career and his party before his country; the ridiculous, opportunist Brexiteers who now look like rabbits caught in headlights; and the apology for an Opposition party. Oh, and May, who, it now transpires, has been always clear that she will indeed bargain our national security for trade.
Beryl Wall London
Another atrocity remains unchallenged
Western governments are shedding crocodile tears for the latest innocent victims in Syria's civil war. Cruelty, economic despair, millions of refugees, human trafficking, bloodshed, destruction, exploitation, violence, etc have not been enough to compel the West to take decisive actions against the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against humankind. We have had enough futile discussions in Geneva, then in Vienna, then in Astana, then back to Geneva, etc; reminiscent of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations since the Oslo accords in 1993. Palestinian and Syrian negotiators will get nothing from the American administration or Western governments. How many innocents must be killed before the UN, Western governments and other global actors decide to come down from their ivory towers to rescue the helpless and trapped people of Syria?
Munjed Farid Al Qutob London
Egg on the face
Theresa May and the Archbishop of York show a lack of proportion in their criticism of Cadbury for downplaying Easter in the marketing of their Creme Eggs.
After all, the manufacturer's founder John Cadbury was a Quaker who didn't celebrate Easter and would likely be more concerned at the substitution by the firm's new owners Mondalez using different ingredients in place of the traditional Dairy Milk Chocolate recipe previously used for the eggs.
John Hein Edinburgh