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Letters to the editor: Blame for social problems cannot be pinned on Europe

Readers respond to a letter from a voter in Sheffield who now backs Brexit.

Sheffield is under the spotlight in this week's letters pages (Photograph: PA Images)

Emma Green, a self-styled New Leaver (Letters, TNE #256) is concerned about the effect of immigration and multiculturalism on her relatively deprived part of Sheffield. She states that, if she had her time over again, she would vote Leave. Yet Brexit certainly isn’t helping.

Not only has EU funding to our poorest areas now been cut off, but the Bank of England estimates that, since the referendum, Brexit has cost us at least £440m per week in lost growth – £90m more than the inflated “gain” figure on the sides of buses.

Some forecasters predict that we will not see the putative benefits of Brexit for 50 years.

Local authority infrastructure inevitably bears the brunt of this shortfall.

As for immigration: even if we did not have a post-Brexit skills shortage, we would still have a duty to give shelter to those fleeing oppressive, murderous régimes.

Ms Green’s letter is a salutary warning to those who assume that, if we had a Rejoin referendum, the Rejoiners would necessarily win.
Vera Lustig

Cult hero
I thoroughly enjoyed Richard Luck’s article on Moviedrome (“Murder, love, greed and cult movies”, TNE #255). Moviedrome was a brilliant series of cult films introduced by the always-entertaining Alex Cox. As a movie fan, Moviedrome introduced me to so many good films I normally would not have seen. My favourite film in the Moviedrome collection was Les Diaboliques, pictured.
I even managed to get hold of the guide for each season of Moviedrome, and I still have them. Richard Luck’s article bought a lot of fond memories.
Simon Pawsey

Emma Green from Sheffield (Letters) says she’s now a Leaver because of what a high level of immigration has done to fragile services.

Fragile services? Why are they fragile? Surely if services are already fragile there’s a reason, could it be a decade of underfunding? Nothing to do
with immigrants, who more often than not come to the UK to work.

Research has shown that immigrants are less likely to use public services and claim benefits than native Brits.
Michael Young

Purely as an observation of her home town Emma Green may be right, but these problems are not caused by immigrants; they are simply examples of government failure.

If a small country like Sweden can take in its share of immigrants, then surely the UK which, at least before Brexit, was reasonably wealthy should do the same.
Dick Huskinson

Elephant in the economy
There are extensive media reports of significant labour and skills shortages across many sectors of our economy – construction, hospitality, healthcare in particular, not to mention agricultural workers and truck drivers.

Despite this, our economy is apparently booming, which seems just a tad strange when there’s a severe shortage of capacity to build homes, serve behind bars and cook meals, look after older people, pick the crops and drive essential items to shops and supermarkets. The public finances are in a parlous state when it comes to funding public services, but we’re doing fine. Confused? I am.

Just think how well we would be doing is if all those well-trained, skilled and motivated EU workers who left and aren’t going to come back were still with us and contributing their taxes to the public purse. No mention of Brexit as a significant root cause of the labour shortages, of course.

It’s still the woolly mammoth in the room. The Tories will never admit it, and Labour daren’t.
Phil Green

Welsh wobble over rugby
John Young’s letter (“Try again”, TNE #255) is absolutely correct. Rugby (before the schism of 1895) was a working class game in the
west country and Wales as much as it was in northern England. And there’s a school of thought suggesting that had Wales joined the breakaway proto-professional rugby league (then called the Northern Union) in 1895, league would now be the dominant form of world rugby.

But the governing bodies of rugby union in Wales and England were canny. They turned a blind eye to payments being made to Welsh players to ensure they stayed within the union fold. This so-called ‘shamateurism’ meant Welsh working class players had no reason to demand that their clubs embrace professionalism in the way the northern English clubs had, meaning Wales stayed loyal to union and league became the pariah sport.
Mick O’Hare
Northwood, Middlesex

Panglossed over
With reference to last week’s debut “Everyday Philosophy” column, surely it was Dr. Pangloss his tutor, (a spoof on Leibniz) rather than merely naïf Candide himself, who was so unreasonably optimistic – eg whilst explaining to him and thus justifying the inevitability of the disastrous Lisbon earthquake in the best possible world that God had made?
Alan Pleydell

I was pleased to see Nigel Warburton as a new contributor to the TNE as he is probably the living British philosopher who has done most to promote philosophy. However, I was disappointed he presented philosophers as mainly pessimistic.

Philosophy is a fundamentally positive activity. It is philosophy that for over two and a half thousand years has driven forward the development and examination of ideas such as freedom, equality and democracy that remain important to us today. Indeed, it was British philosophers such as Locke and John Stuart Mill who respectively influenced the ideas underpinning the democratic constitution of the United States and the liberal movement in the UK.

Let’s have more on how philosophy can contribute to our understanding of and responses to important current debates and events, and how it can also contribute to us living better-informed and active lives, including as Europeans in this currently post-Brexit world.
Brian Connelly

• Have your say by emailing Our deadline for letters is Monday at 9am for inclusion in Thursday’s edition. Please be concise – letters over five paragraphs long may be edited before printing

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