Western Mail letters: Thursday, October 27, 2016

Rules are there to protect our economy

Far from being the end of the story, voting to leave the EU is only the beginning of long and complicated negotiations to replace the trade agreement we already have which enables us to trade with the EU.

If we leave the EU without a trade agreement in place World Trade Organisation rules stipulate that the UK has to be treated just like any other country with no explicit trade agreement and, inevitably, will face external tariffs. Getting tariff- free access therefore depends on negotiating trade agreements, but the EU has said that can’t even start until we leave.

Under WTO rules we can’t impose tariffs on EU imports different from those we apply to other countries unless we have a trade agreement in place. Crucially for already rising prices, taxing imports is a tax on British consumers, while subsidising exports is a subsidy to foreign consumers.

WTO rules are there for a purpose: to prevent a return to the “beggar thy neighbour” protectionist trade of the 1930s which plunged the world into recession and led to the rise of fascism. Unfortunately for the British people it’s open to question whether any of the Brexiteers in Mrs May’s cabinet understand these hard economic and political lessons which led to the foundation of the EU in the first place.

They based their campaign on the deceitful assertion that £350m a week would go to the NHS, and that our public services were under strain from immigration when the real culprit is austerity, which will increase as the pound falls.

Furthermore, the City banking sector, on which we are heavily dependent since the decline of our industrial base, plans to pull out of a diminished UK. A Russian armada in the English Channel is an early warning that our isolation will be far from splendid.

The vast majority of our MPs, across all parties, understand this and must demand parliamentary scrutiny to uphold our representative democracy against rule by an ill-informed plebiscite.

Margaret Phelps

Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan

We’re better off out of this laborious caper

At the time of writing Canada is being blocked from cementing a trade agreement with the European Union by a small province of Belgium. It has taken seven years to get to this stage.

Some may see this as the very reason Britain should have voted to stay in, as it demonstrates the difficulties ahead in arranging trade contracts and, indeed, it will be a difficult process.

However, I prefer to highlight what an inefficient and laborious organisation the European Union is and that, long term, we are better out of it, despite some short-term pain.

I recall a conversation I had with a family member before the referendum. Now retired, he was the chairman of a number of large national companies. I asked him how it would have affected his companies if all 27 around the table had to agree on a particular course of action. He replied that nothing would ever have got done.

Precisely.

John Edwards,

Severn Road, Porthcawl

Let public have say on Manics plaque

I was very sad to learn that the Manic Street Preachers are having to leave their studio in the centre of Cardiff.

The studio is being pulled down, as part of a “regeneration” scheme by Cardiff Council and Portabella property developers, to build luxury flats. Oh the irony.

This also makes me feel uncomfortable and uneasy. Uncomfortable because this seems a crass and disrespectful way for the capital city to treat the Manics – one of Wales’ most successful, enduring and internationally recognised bands – who have flown the flag for Wales all around the globe. The kind of publicity that money can’t buy. More irony.

Uneasy because it makes me wonder if there is anything that wouldn’t be sacrificed in the pursuit of“regeneration”.

I don’t expect that this decision can now be undone. But it would seem fitting that this end of an era is recognised – much as the opening of Cardiff’s main library (by the Manics) was. So I look forward to the council launching a competition to provide the wording for the plaque that they will be placing on the flats to commemorate the Manics’ studio. For example: This was the site of the Manic Street Preachers’ studio (dates). The building was erected by XXX in (date). Demolished because of decisions made by Cardiff Council, (date).

Readers may have other, better suggestions.

Everything must go, indeed – including the Manics. Well done, Cardiff Council.

Julia Barrell,

Riverside, Cardiff

Register your intent to claim care fees

A Welsh Government deadline to claim back money people paid for care which they should have had for free is drawing closer.

The Monday, October 31, cut-off date applies where people were eligible for so-called free “NHS continuing healthcare” but did not receive it.

It covers cases where people with physical or mental healthcare needs should have had their care for free between October 1, 2014, and October 30, 2015.

Age Cymru and Hugh James Nursing Care are working together to tell your readers about this deadline.

If any of your readers thinks they may have wrongly paid care fees between October 1, 2014, and October 30, 2015, they should register their intent to claim with their local health board before Monday, October 31, 2016.

For further advice and guidance call Age Cymru’s free, impartial and independent service Age Cymru Advice on 08000 223 444.

Ian Thomas,

Chief Executive, Age Cymru;

Lisa Morgan,

Partner, Hugh James

Many things to be appalled about

I would agree with your correspondent (Letters, WalesOnline, October 25), that there are many things to be appalled about.

The offer to allow vulnerable, unaccompanied children into the UK to be reuinted with relatives already here, was both kind and generous. I am appalled that we are presented with the arrival of strong young men who are certainly not children. I am apalled that for every adult who falsely makes it into Britain, a genuine child is left stranded in France.

I am appalled that various pressure groups have taken it on themselves to suggest that the rest of us are responsible for situations not of our making.

I am apalled that a broadcasting service, once noted for its impartiality, now appears to give space only to people in favour of “open door” immigration.

I am appalled that having worked for 50 years and served this country on active service that I see strong, fit young men sitting around in the middle of the day drinking coffee.

Yes there is a lot to be appalled about: the continued and persistent erosion of our national identity and the mockery of traditions by pampered, privileged elites; and the quoting of past situations and the re-writing of history to try to justify present actions.

The “Brexit” vote was not about the price of Marmite and Pot Noodle. The ordinary, often ignored people of this country were given a chance to express their thoughts and they did so to the dismay of those who thought they knew better.

H Thomas

Neath Abbey

Big, full-bearded youngsters

People who complain that the young refugees coming into the UK are older than they look should go on the Six Nations rugby web site and study the various U20 squads. They will find most players are over six foot and some are sporting very full beards.

Andrew Nutt

Bargoed, Caerphilly

After Canada, what chance have we got?

After seeing the difficulties Canada has had in negotiating a trade deal with the EU, perhaps the Leave campaigners may be reconsidering the rash half-truths they peddled to us.

Really, what chance have we got?

Gareth Hopkins

Merthyr Tydfil

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