Skip to main content

Hello. It looks like you’re using an ad blocker that may prevent our website from working properly. To receive the best experience possible, please make sure any ad blockers are switched off, or add to your trusted sites, and refresh the page.

If you have any questions or need help you can email us.

The EU tributes for the Queen show a better way ahead

In dark times, it is genuinely heartening to see Europeans coming together. We have our differences, but we are, essentially, the same, writes one reader

Image: the New European

I wonder whether any long-standing beliefs and prejudices will have been changed by the beautiful and poignant tribute to the Queen by Emmanuel Macron, together with those paid by other European leaders?

In these dark times, and I mean not just the events of the last week or year but the last decade of declining relations, it is heartening to see Europeans coming together. We have our differences, but we are essentially the same.

Britain will always remain part of Europe, whatever the Farageists think, and it should be clear now that those leading on the continent do not hate us, envy us or pity us. They merely find our refusal to take part in their democracy for our own benefit completely bemusing (of course I and I suspect many other readers of TNE agree).
Trevor Warnock
Oldham, Greater Manchester

Scots’ rights

Paul Mason discusses Labour’s prospects for winning the next general election (“Will a 20-point lead be enough?”, TNE #307), and manages to miss the elephant in the room. That’s whether Labour can win power in Westminster without returning many MPs from Scotland.

English politics dismisses Scotland off-hand, but the simple truth is many of us no longer view Labour as an option. We realise that like the other main Westminster parties, Labour’s denial of a referendum is a fundamental breach of Scots’ democratic rights. Some here will never forgive that.

Labour are now entering into agreements with the Tories trying to keep the SNP out of local government. The red Tories are equally as bad as the blue or yellow versions. Forget Labour gaining power. Even against the flip-flopping lightweight Liz Truss, the next election will yield a hung parliament.

Scotland embraces the New European’s Europe ethos. And independence will assuredly return us to EU membership. However, English nationalism will prevent their doing so.
Jim Taylor
Edinburgh, Scotland

Tory damage

“A New Low” (Cover, TNE #307) is a rather mild way of expressing what it means that Liz Truss is prime minister. Thanks to lies and subterfuge by members of her party and others, this country is a shadow of what it was as a leading member of the EU – and leaving has cost us more since Brexit than the cost of membership to date!

Yet the Tory Party hasn’t finished its destructive tenure. There is a lot more asset stripping to do, including selling off the NHS bit by bit, and then the pièce de résistance – the break-up of the UK.

The remaining years until we can rid ourselves of these pariahs via the ballot box are looking very bleak indeed.
Melvyn Douglas Broadbelt
Via Facebook

All hail Liz Truss! Finally someone with a new concept of how to address the NHS, education etc. All that is needed now is a catchy new name to promote this concept – what about neoliberalism? And maybe, to illustrate how her taxation policies will benefit the masses so everyone profits in the long run, a snappy new phrase like “the trickle-down effect”?

If only someone had thought of all this 40 years ago, the world today would be a much better place.
Mathias Scherer
Via Facebook

Tax is the price we all pay for a decent society. Her comments so far make it quite clear that Liz Truss has no intention of bringing about a decent society.
Phil Green

One of the problems with Truss is that she has no personality of her own and thus has to assume someone else’s. She is a tribute act.
Ian Miles
Via Facebook

Suella Braverman is one of the most right-wing MPs in the House of Commons. She has used the antisemitic trope that the UK is under threat from “cultural Marxism”, opposes transgender rights, has a poor voting track record on LGBTQI rights, is a climate change denier and a populist who attacks and undermines the judiciary, the courts, the education system, and the media. She believes in freedom of speech only for those with whom she agrees.

Thanks to Liz Truss, she is now Britain’s home secretary – an incredibly senior, important, influential, and powerful role. Let that sink in. Let that paint a picture of what is to come.
Sebastian Monblat
Surbiton, Greater London

I enjoyed Tim Bradford’s cartoon of commemorative Liz Truss tea mugs (TNE #307). But it needed something for the tea-sock, surely?
Lea Finch
Via Facebook

Numbers up

Your poll (“Of course he didn’t get it done”, TNE #306) shows the country now has buyer’s remorse over Brexit. Where do TNE readers think the numbers need to be before momentum for Rejoin can begin in earnest?

My own thought is that it might be a 12-month period in which the Rejoin option polls over 60%. Imagine the clamour from Nicola Sturgeon if Scottish independence was polling at that level! Another Indyref would be irresistible.
Mitch Hammond

False choice

Alan Johnson (“Writing the wrongs of the referendum”, TNE #306) is right to pin most of the blame for Brexit on David Cameron, but like most Labour MPs he abstained on the EU Referendum Act, so must share some responsibility for the consequent disaster.

The electorate was presented with a false binary choice, when in fact there were at least three distinct, mutually exclusive versions of Leave. We were also told that our decision would be final, which was akin to exchanging contracts on a house without a survey, a price or even an agreed house!

Having failed to devise a sensible referendum, our MPs failed to support a confirmatory People’s Vote to sort the mess out. To MPs it may have been “as far away as going to Pluto”, but polls showed that the people thought otherwise – by a substantial margin. Let’s hope lessons have been learned.
Bob Turner
Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear

Talent deficit

Thanks for another brilliant article from Steve Richards (“Ranking Johnson”, TNE #306). Attlee, Wilson and Thatcher are all ranked highly as successful prime ministers. And what do they have in common? They all had cabinets made up of the strongest leaders across the full range of their parties. Alastair Campbell’s Diary (TNE #307) illustrates this with the heavyweights Thatcher included in her cabinet in her early years, many of them from the opposite wing of her party.

Johnson, by contrast, appointed largely on the basis of sycophancy, assuming that would protect him. It failed him, his party and the country. And Truss is making exactly the same mistake, packing her team only with supporters, friends and ideological soulmates.

We need leaders who are strong enough to employ the strongest, most talented team.
Anthony Thacker
Hinckley, Leicestershire

While agreeing with pretty much everything Steve Richards says about Boris Johnson’s tenure as prime minister, as an aside he added that Anthony Eden did not lack integrity.

Eden lied to his nation and the world about his intentions in Suez, concocting a fallacious story in order to take control of the Suez Canal. He was mendacious and lacked probity and sincerity. He should not have been listed alongside Callaghan, Brown and May.
Michael O’Hare
Northwood, Middlesex

Steve Richards writes: “Johnson’s (Brexit) deal was scrutinised by nobody.” This is not precisely true. The malign far-right ERG group set up a “star chamber” and commissioned Bill Cash MP to examine the deal to make sure it was “sovereignty compliant”.

Upon Mr Cash’s say-so, the Spartans (sic) happily trooped through the appropriate lobby, giving the bill the numbers needed for it to become law. This is the same group that demanded a renegotiation of the NI Protocol, that has advocated breaking international law and now breathes its influence over the shoulder of Liz Truss.
Carol Hedges
Harpenden, Herts

People power

As ever, in “Fixing Johnson’s Lords fraud” (TNE #306) James Ball hits the nail on the head by explaining the various options for replacing the House of Lords. But why, oh why does he label the idea of citizens’ assemblies “utopian”?

There are so many successful examples of this approach to citizen engagement in policy development – not least those in the Republic of Ireland which legalised same-sex marriage and abortion – that their effectiveness should not longer be in doubt.
Bob Bater
Nailsea, North Somerset

Writer wrong

Love Charlie Connelly’s articles, especially his informative piece about writers in Venice (“The vanity of their hopes”, TNE #306). He describes the film Don’t Look Now as “hilariously overwrought” and based on a Patricia Highsmith short story. With some regret, I have to agree about the film but wasn’t Daphne du Maurier the author?
Robin Dalziel
Bournemouth, Dorset

Charlie Connelly’s article mistakenly attributed Don’t Look Now to Patricia Highsmith but I was pleased to add his recommendation of Highsmith’s Those Who Walk Away to my reading list.
David Crew
Rye, East Sussex

Lost trust

Some more things that LT (Liz Truss) could stand for, as inspired by Mitch Benn’s “Initial thoughts” (TNE #306):

Lost trust (after breaching the Northern Ireland Protocol); Lost trade (after a disastrous Brexit); Loose talk (about close ally Emmanuel Macron); Laughable threats (to Vladimir Putin).

And, of course: Lying Tories.
Fred Stephen

Reality Czech

Apropos Tanit Koch’s “Cancelling an icon” (TNE #306), 54 years ago, we were camping at Makarska on the Dalmatian coast and decided to do a hike up a nearby canyon. As the canyon became narrower, we started to hear a low humming sound which turned out to be a generator that was powering film lights. The next turn revealed a dozen or so “Apache warriors” who were leaping about the rocks and standing above them in fringed buckskins was Lex Barker, his Tarzan days were behind him but he was now putting that fine physique to work as Old Shatterhand for a German film company.

That was also during the summer following the Prague Spring. Our campsite was in the grounds of a hotel – one of the few places that had an international telephone line – and throughout the day of the Russian invasion, a steady procession of Czech-registered cars arrived and left shortly afterwards, presumably heading home.
Jim Trimmer

Moral politics

Tim Walker’s review of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (“Wardrobe malfunction”, TNE #306) elucidates the anodyne misunderstanding of Lewis’s work for children – any writer is ensconced in their cultural setting, and updated to an age of special effects and polarity of thought, we overlook the “shades” of his thinking.

More relevantly, Lewis also wrote his so-called Cosmic Trilogy for adults, and this dovetails with Tim Walker’s point: in the third novel, That Hideous Strength, Lewis presents a fictional scenario which is disturbingly topical.

Detractors always pigeonhole Lewis into a box marked “prim Christian”; but he foresaw the spread of a reductionist, “anti-moral” political outlook which is now strewn before us.
Linda Johns

Hello. It looks like you’re using an ad blocker that may prevent our website from working properly. To receive the best experience possible, please make sure any ad blockers are switched off, or add to your trusted sites, and refresh the page.

If you have any questions or need help you can email us.

See inside the Adieu edition

Image: The New European

Tennessee Williams and a pound no one desires

What the US playwright can teach us about Britain’s falling currency and fading international reputation

Credit: Tim Bradford

What will Putin do next?