What has happened to the values of the UK?

JOHN Birkett (Letters, December 1) raises the issue of the EU’s current unwillingness to guarantee British emigrants’ EU rights. To clarify, Brexit has not happened yet, so their rights are intact – and it is neither in Donald Tusk’s nor in Angela Merkel’s gift to accede to the UK Government’s demand, so playing the man or the women rather than the ball helps no one. Also, it is 17-odd million British people, not the EU, who voted to deprive their countrymen and women of their rights in the EU – and at no point were the issues we are discussing now mentioned or discussed during the EU referendum; the words “stable door”, “horse” and “bolted” spring to mind.

That said, I acknowledge Mr Birkett’s respect for human values. The problem I have is that all I saw and heard during the referendum was vile language, false claims, misinformation, blatant lies, half-truths (on a good day), distorted views and faces, and hard-as-nail rhetoric. And I did not see much evidence of British fair play and pragmatism either during the referendum (is that still to come?). It did cross my mind that perhaps it was a prerequisite for full integration. If so, thanks but no thanks – I’ll stick to the European common values our 81 Parliamentarians mentioned in their letter to Donald Tusk.

This contrasts of course with what I have neither heard of nor read about from across the Channel – which is British emigrants being physically and verbally abused and being meted out the same treatment as their counterparts in Britain.

The language used by the PM is also telling – it was the PM who made a poker game analogy (she does not want to disclose her hand) but then accuses EU leaders of using people as bargaining chips? What’s good enough for the goose is good enough for the gander I would have thought.

So that we are clear, though, a democracy, a true democracy that is, does not define itself by comparison – it defines itself by its own standards and stands up for what is just and fair because it is, quite simply, the right thing to do. So rather than remonstrate about others’ alleged failings in human values, why does the UK Government not lead by example? I would also like to know why Britain needs to check EU leaders’ moral compass before deciding what is morally, or politically, right or wrong?

Lastly, who will Britain blame when it finally leaves the EU? I ask because there will come a point and time when Britain will finally have to see the proverbial beam in its own eyes and stop seeing the proverbial straw in the EU’s eyes.

Patrice Fabien,

41 Kingsborough Gardens, Glasgow.

DESPITE the decision of the people of Britain to leave the EU and thereby regain self-government, dire predictions continue to be made by figures in the political class concerning our future trade and the effect of independence upon our economy. Ominously, there are even suggestions that the referendum should be re-run …as referenda are in the EU when the results run contrary to the wishes of the un-elected caucus who dictate policy.

Brexiters are frequently referred to as xenophobic and racist. Can those political figures who rail against the majority will of the people not understand that desiring to regain national sovereignty does not define people as parochialistic, xenophobic or racist?

it is likely that the majority feel dimly but instinctively, that their individually, identity and environment are threatened with absorption, forcible or otherwise, in an inhuman international order, of which the EU is precursor, in which their voice will no longer be heard and their local concerns will be of no account – a world order indeed which is dominated by a global banking system of doubtful probity and global corporations which classify working people as human resources.

Matthew M Henderson,

10 Iddesleigh Avenue, Milngavie.

IAIN AD Mann’s observation that, among other things, “the Houses of Parliament are an insult to modern democracy” (Letters, December 1) ignores the fact that the seat of national government is bi-cameral, and the 650-seat House of Commons includes 59 Scottish representatives (9.1 per cent).

Assuming an independent Scotland becomes a member of the European Parliament (no house of review) its representation in the 751-seat chamber may increase from six to perhaps 13 seats (1.7 per cent). In addition, Scotland (no house of review) must accept the supremacy of European law.

All the more reason to maintain the status quo.

Ian F Mackay,

5 Smillie Place,

Kilmarnock.

IT should be noted that the UK has an extremely strong hand in upcoming Brexit negotiations (“UK may pay for EU market access”, The Herald, December 2). In the event of a “hard” Brexit, imports from the EU to the UK and exports to the EU from the UK would both attract import duties. Since both parties are signatories to the World Trade Organisation rules, these import duties may amount to five per cent of the value of the goods. If, as appeared to occur in the case of Nissan, the UK Government agrees to pay every exporter to the EU the import duty they incur, the prices of UK goods in the EU would not change. This money would be more than offset with the import duty the UK would levy on UK imports from the EU. In 2015, UK exports to the EU were £220 billion while UK imports from the EU were £290 billion. The difference in income to the UK Treasury of five per cent of £70 billion would be £3.5 billion. In this scenario imported EU goods would cost more than at present so their attractiveness may diminish. The reduction in the £35 billion would be offset, however, by UK producers being able to increase their production, employment opportunities, and sales to UK customers.

This, I believe, is a strong card in the UK Government’s hand and could be used to obtain an agreement, without any add-ons, for a complete absence of import duties (as now) since it would remove the necessity for bureaucracy on both sides.

Colin Gunn,

259 Kingsacre Road, Glasgow.

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