Letters: Labour’s rabbits in headlights

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell addresses supporters during a General Election campaign event (Phot

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell addresses supporters during a General Election campaign event (Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA) - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Remainers are still waiting for evidence of the cunning traps Labour were going to set for the government during this process, writes one reader.

Two studies have shown that Labour's surge at the last general election was mainly due to voters perceiving them as the party who would deliver the softest Brexit, or no Brexit at all.

Therefore it is galling to see John McDonnell et al traipsing through the lobby with the Three Brexiteers to vote down any chance of Britain remaining in the single market and the customs union.

Remainers are still waiting for evidence of the cunning traps Labour were going to set for the government during this process. Is McDonnell just lulling them into a false sense of security by palling up with Gove, Boris, Fox and Davis?

Or, like King Arthur's men in the Holy Grail, has Keir Starmer built a mighty Trojan Rabbit but neglected to get Corbyn and McDonnell inside before deploying it?

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Jonathan Hendrick, Manchester

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I have just read that the government is having so much difficulty recruiting new civil servants to register immigrants after Brexit that they are thinking of recruiting east Europeans to help them out.

Perhaps they should advertise on the side of a bus...

Carol Green, Oxford

We are living through something that could become known as Pandora's Brexit. At every turn in this bizarre journey, one event brings another dozen which make it clear that this was impossible and undesirable from the beginning.

There is hope, however, that the House of Lords will become an increasing force in steadying a Commons which has never been in such disarray. The running of the country – amidst so turbulent a world – has become a sideline.

How disappointing, then, the Green Party's only member of the Lords, Jenny Jones, is an avowed Brexiteer. Let us hope that she has a change of heart. A keen jam-maker, she should help extricate the country from this one: without the EU, the prospects for ecological improvements in Britain are far lower.

Christopher Hawtree, Hove

Brexiters are calling 'foul' over the likely cost of the 'Divorce Bill'.

Do they not realise that the money is needed to pay Nigel Farage and associates' pensions for life from the European Parliament (which he rarely attended)?

Mark J Philpot, Mold

Having moved back to my home city, I recently lunched with a former schoolfriend. She voted Leave (as did around two-thirds of the local population). I asked her why.

She claimed she felt she was 'not allowed to be English' – referring to Equal Opportunities forms having tick-boxes for 'British', 'Scottish', 'Irish' – but not 'English'. 'But the design of these is nothing to do with the EU,' I countered.

Then she claimed the EU was dominated by France and Germany, 'and they've tried this before', she added ominously. So far, all by-the-book Brexitspeak. 'And it's all very well for you – you're allowed to be Scottish. But we're not allowed to be English.'

I despair. I left Hull for university in the early '80s; bar a few years in the early '90s, I lived in Scotland. She has never studied or lived elsewhere. I couldn't get a word in to say I now reject all nationalisms (including the Scottish nationalism of my younger days) because it seems absurd in an internet-connected world in which we can build affinities based on shared interests and ideas, not geographical proximity or historical accidents of past statehood.

In the end, we chatted blandly about science fiction and historical fandoms, but I sense that, at heart, we are very different people. Perhaps we always were, and this has just brought it to the surface

She wanted 'to be allowed to be English' – but no-one was stopping her. I regard myself as primarily European. And I will never forgive her for taking from me, against my will, the only part of my citizenship that reflected who I am, intellectually, imaginatively, culturally.

There is no way back from that, even if – as I hope – Brexit can be reversed.

Dr M M Gilchrist, Hull

• Send your letters for publication to letters@theneweuropean.co.uk

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