Setting a date for leaving the EU threatens Britain’s security | The big issue

Theresa May and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, arrive at the EU summit in Gothenburg, Sweden. Photograph: Virginia Mayo/AP

The government’s insistence on legislating for a definitive date for leaving the EU is a declaration that there are no conditions which might arise in the intervening period that would make leaving the EU contrary to British interests (“May faces defeat on Brexit deal vote for MPs”, News, last week).

Thus the security and wellbeing of the nation is placed at the mercy of an act of faith. It is an act consistent with the inability or unwillingness of parliament’s Brexit extremists to describe any sort of red-line situation which would cause them to revise their view of the desirability of Brexit.

Their failure to have such red lines is further testimony to the vacuousness of their position. If there is no “bad” that’s “too bad” then the concept of Brexit is meaningless since it rules nothing out.

Instead of asking MPs the hypothetical question of how they would now vote in a referendum, it is time that interviewers pressed them to confess their Brexit red lines. The inevitable non-answers would at least show that those who view MPs with cynicism and contempt are now justified in that stance.
Stuart Parker

We now face the prospect of abandoning the benefits of the single market, the customs union and the other advantages of membership of the EU and exposing ourselves to the perils of worldwide trade with countries that owe us no favours and have no need to give us favourable deals. It would be nice if the prime minister, being no doubt an honourable and decent person, could find it in herself to put the country before her own career and admit that she was leading us to disaster and to reverse the whole Brexit process via a post-deal referendum.

As that is unlikely, it is up to Jeremy Corbyn to pluck up the courage to tell his Brexit-voting supporters that they have been hoodwinked and that Brexit has less to do with their interests and much more about avoiding a split in the Conservative party and it losing its position as a party of government.

We are in a 1940 situation and it is incumbent on Corbyn to lead to a “coalition of the sensible” to avoid the cliff edge. What’s stopping him?
Mick Penney

Every week, the Observer publishes hand-wringing letters and articles on the folly of leaving the EU.

I am sorry to say that, as a convinced and active remainer, my conclusion is that Brexiters are simply not interested in listening to reasoned argument about the advantages of being in the EU, nor any possible negative repercussions of leaving. They have a blind faith based on nostalgia and wishful thinking – Dick Barton-like, they believe that “With one bound Jack will be free”.

Those who are more ideologically driven simply don’t care about a few broken legs or necks – a price worth paying for the thrill of the leap into the unknown where we will miraculously regain our chimerical lost place in the world and can be top dogs again.

Temperamentally, they are not team players (which is why they keep falling out with each other) and hate Europe because the EU won’t seem to recognise our inherent superiority and let us do things our way.

I wish success to those MPs and others still determined to try to go down the route of reason.

If they should not succeed, however, they need not despair, but can look further ahead to the time when, after struggling along in the wilderness for a few years, when we are isolated and have failed to make everyone dance to our tune, we find ourselves going back to Europe, suggesting that we have now changed our minds, unless of course we have already become the 51st state of America.
Dr Jan Sewell