NOT since George lll lost the American Colonies has this purported United Kingdom had such incompetence in her government. The folly of accepting as divine right the UK’s marginal decision to exit and to ignore the emphatic decision of devolved nations to remain is beyond the credibility of history.

The lack of competent leadership and the division in the Cabinet over Europe indicates to ordinary sensibility that the UK is nakedly exposed to the rapacious lust of international capital. Already the process has begun. Japanese car manufacturers have indicated their reluctance to remain in an economy doomed to failure; our agriculture lacks the workers needed to bring our crops home; the NHS loses the care of medical professionals; and our universities are stricken by the loss of both students and staff of European origin.

If we could see some sense in this, some sense of direction, it might come easier to those of us who voted Remain. I see nothing beyond the abject surrender by both the Tory and Labour parties to the xenophobic populism welcomed by certain elements among us. The UK requires great leadership and it is bereft of any competent contender to provide it.

Recent speeches by Theresa May and Boris Johnson have done little to encourage hope that common sense or, even, decency will prevail view (“Johnson’s ‘conciliatory’ speech riles the EU and Remain voters”, The Herald, February 15 & Letters, February 16). Beyond platitudes, I have yet to hear any meaningful statement from any member of the UK Government as to the issues involving the Irish border, Gibraltar or Scotland’s overwhelming decision to remain. Like every Gibraltarian, I am proud of my burgundy passport and I will not surrender it without better reason than the Gilbertian fumbling in fashion at Westminster.

KM Campbell,

Bank House, Doune.

THE claim by many Brexiters during the EU referendum campaign that UK membership of the EU was akin to being “shackled to a corpse” has, like many of their other claims, proved to be simply untrue. Latest economic growth figures indicate that the EU grew by 2.5 per cent in 2017, with economies of Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria and Slovakia doing particularly well. The UK economy grew by 1.8 per cent overall in 2017, the slowest rate of increase since 2012 and the first time in seven years that the eurozone’s economy grew quicker than the UK’s last year. The figures show the extent to which the UK is trailing its European counterparts.

Growth across the EU is at levels not seen since 2007. The continent’s powerhouse countries, Germany and France, are seeing growth at levels not experienced since the financial crisis bounce-back of 2010.

In comparison, the data for the UK is no great surprise and comes in line with forecasts but it does act as confirmation of the divergent economic fortunes of Britain and our neighbours across the channel.

As the uncertainty surrounding Brexit impacts on both consumption and investment, economic growth is being slowed down. It should also be noted that we are still in the single market and the customs union, which gives us tariff-free access to the EU. That relationship will change when we leave. For those arguing that EU membership is seeing the UK shackled to a corpse, these latest figures highlight that it is in fact the reverse that is the case.

Alex Orr,

Flat 2, 77 Leamington Terrace,


BORIS Johnson tells us that Westminster does not plan to stand on the white cliffs of Dover and give a two-fingered salute to the EU.

He did not explain the Government’s plan for the border in Ireland nor did he give any reassurance about the power grab as part of repatriation of devolved powers such as fishing and farming.

His address was just another repetition of the “take back control” and “Britain can be great again” speeches of the Brexit campaign; aptly captured by your cartoonist Steven Camley.

From previous reports, Mr Johnson and the |Prime Minister have a plan that any new “migrants” from Europe will need to register on arrival after the leave-Europe date and before the “transition period” ends. One wonders why this might be; is it so that they can be kicked out on UK’s “independence day”? Of course, the UK has been told, by European negotiators, that registration of EU citizens is a non-starter if it wants to have any transition period at all.

The reality of the Brexit negotiations has yet to bite. Our Cabinet still thinks it can cherry pick what it wants from the EU but refuses to accept anything that does not suit its agenda. We will watch with interest to see how these things play out. If it all turns nasty and we are booted out, as some arch-Brexiters such as Jacob Rees-Mogg hope, on World Trade terms, we will find the grass outside is not so green and we will suffer a tough time at the hands of the piranha countries of the world. I hope these gloomy predictions do not come to pass but if they do it will be time to man the lifeboats.

DS Blackwood,

1 Douglas Drive East, Helensburgh.

ALTHOUGH he concedes that Iain AD Mann Mann “may well be right that few concessions have been achieved in Brexit negotiations and that few will be forthcoming in the next round from the other side”, Christopher H Jones (Letters, February 15) appears to be untroubled by this and the serious damage that could be caused to jobs and the economy, but what really made my jaw drop was his dismissal of the Conservative party being at loggerheads as “hearsay”.

The bitter feud within the Tories is not played out behind closed door; we can see and hear it on our television screens and read about it in our newspapers on an almost daily basis. Theresa May’s Cabinet could be compared to a Trojan Horse, and the swords are out on her back benches. The Conservative party has been tearing itself apart over Europe for decades. Mr Jones may consider that to be “healthy debate” but I doubt if many would agree.

Ruth Marr,

99 Grampian Road, Stirling.

MANY readers will doubtless have enjoyed R. Russell Smith’s latest witticism on the plight of the three Brexiters, Messrs Johnson, Davis and Rees-Mogg (Letters, February 16). And Michael Gove’s non invitation? Perhaps this intentional oversight was based on the logic of Marx (Groucho) to the effect that any “club who would have me as a member is a club not worth joining”. Even in the highest political circles elitism rules.

Allan C Steele,

22 Forres Avenue, Giffnock.