There is only one way out of Brexit | Letters | Opinion


As a political economist, I have been critical of the Tony Blair-led era of neoliberal governance and his support for the Iraq war and I find some of Will Hutton’s criticisms of Jeremy Corbyn unfair. But I appreciate both of them for having argued very cogently in different ways that the only way to avoid the looming tragedy of Brexit is to build a broad political alliance to facilitate a second referendum on Brexit (“The EU was crucial to securing peace in Ireland. This plan puts it in peril” and “There is only one route out of the Brexit maze and Jeremy Corbyn must lead the way”, Comment).

Hutton’s advice to the Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson, to set aside her reservations on Corbyn is absolutely appropriate at this juncture. And Blair is right that, with three years of accumulated experience and knowledge, people would be able to make a more informed judgment in the second referendum than was possible in the first. The outcome of such a second referendum should then be accepted by all. That is the only democratic way to transcend the unnecessary and vicious divisiveness that is prevailing now.
Pritam Singh, visiting scholar
Wolfson College, University of Oxford

Does Nicky Morgan not realise that when she says: “There is nothing ultimately to be gained for our country or our constituents in any of us remaining stuck in our views from three years ago”, she is giving free licence to those of us who support the idea of a second referendum (“I voted Remain but now I’m backing the PM on leaving”, News)? Nowhere does she recognise this, so busy is she justifying her own, sadly somewhat unsurprising, change of heart.
Henry Gold
Bildeston, Ipswich, Suffolk

A case for eating meat

Has the environmental case against meat eating been oversimplified (“Has the burger had its day?”, Books, New Review)? When flying, for example, an individual’s carbon footprint can be fairly easily quantified, but animal husbandry methods vary across the world and impacts are harder to assess as they are usually constrained by climate, soil and topography. Industrial farming obliterates the natural world and cares nothing for animal welfare. It should cease.

We should be eating less meat for health reasons and to release land for rewilding, ie: repairing our natural life support systems. Most of our ancestors saw meat as a luxury; today, the developed world consumes too much of everything and that includes intensively grown cereals, vegetables and fruit. From palm oil to oilseed rape, the farming of non-meat products is destroying the biosphere more surely than much low-intensity livestock rearing.

Rather than importing these, would it not be preferable to get some of our protein and vitamins from local, organic, grass-fed beef? Vegetarians need to be as vigilant as meat eaters to avoid industrially produced food that may have involved the destruction of pristine ecosystems, agrichemicals and long, carbon-emitting food miles.
Thane Meldrum
Almeley, Hereford

Justice for Meghan

In five short paragraphs, Barbara Ellen has condensed all my own thoughts about Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and her plight with vicious tabloid newspapers (“Please don’t let Meghan’s strong spirit be extinguished”, Comment). By falling in love, little did Meghan know what might lie ahead. That her situation coincides with the corrosive and depression-inducing atmosphere surrounding Brexit is most unfortunate. Meghan is indeed a strong, independently minded woman, and this will stand her in good stead, but there is only so much that personal strength can withstand. All power to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their search for normal, humane justice.
Catherine Roome
Staplehurst, Tonbridge, Kent

Service with a smile

Has Jay Rayner forgotten that, for many of us, eating out is not just about the food but the whole package of the room, service and ambience (Food & drink, Observer Magazine)? Rayner may not have appreciated the tour of garden and kitchen at Moor Hall in Aughton, Lancashire, but we certainly did when we went for lunch on the same day the review appeared. In his rush to get to the table, Rayner will have missed the two additional snacks that were provided during the tour of the kitchen and the meeting with the chef, Mark Birchall.

Rayner may have met many chefs and been in many kitchens, but this does not usually happen to members of the paying public. We certainly didn’t find a restaurant basking in its own self-importance, but one of great food, good service and very pleasant staff.
Dr Martin Jaffa
Prestwich, Manchester

Britain has lost its tolerance

I agree with Nick Cohen that migrants in Europe and Britain feel a sense of betrayal and that they have lost a certain idea of Britain as a moderate, tolerant country (“Europeans in Britain used to feel at home. Now they have their doubts”, Comment). My German wife and many of her European colleagues, who had so much admiration and respect for Britain, now feel unwanted and despised; they are heartbroken. I was recently served drinks at a reception by a Latvian national who tearfully confided that she could not wait to return home. And Cohen is also right that the way a state treats foreigners under its control is indicative of how it will treat the rest of the population if it has the chance. It makes me ashamed to be British.
Stan Labovitch
Windsor, Berkshire

Nick Cohen rightly focuses on the creation of insecure minorities by Brexit. I belong to one such that has received little attention. The Good Friday agreement assured “the people of Northern Ireland” that they would be entitled to “identify themselves… as Irish or British, or both, as they may so choose”. Unfortunately, an annex to the GFA restricts the definition of the people of Northern Ireland to those born there. It does not extend to all citizens. So, as I was born in England, and despite a 40-year association, 25-year permanent residence, marriage to a Northern Irish woman, it is denied me, whereas an Englishman who has never set foot on the island of Ireland can claim Irish citizenship on the grounds of an Irish-born grandparent. Where is the justice? There are many others like me who are similarly discriminated against. We are forced into, as Cohen said, an identity we do not want.
Name and address supplied

Loyalty to people, not country

I read Anthony Lipmann’s response to the article about Edmund de Waal with interest and sympathy (“Our loyalty is to Britain, not Austria”, Letters). My father and aunt left Vienna on the Kindertransport in early 1939. They spent the next seven years with a British family with whom they had no previous connection and who treated them as their own children. I would not be here if it were not for both the UK’s willingness to take them in and that family’s selflessness.

I have reclaimed the Austrian citizenship that my father had taken away. Part of the reason is Brexit, but more than that it feels like putting right something that was wrong. Today’s Austrians are not the people who persecuted my family, any more than the British government of today is the one that gave them a future. I’m afraid I feel that loyalty to any country is nonsense. My loyalty is to the individuals who saved my family then and the individuals now who are doing the same for people in similarly desperate plights and to refugees who are in peril everywhere.
Mark Walford
London N12


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