Boris Johnson, Brexit and the backstop


Sir,– Boris Johnson has assumed the premiership of the UK with fewer than 100 days to go before the current extension for its exit from the EU expires.The shortest period of tenure of that office was held by George Canning, lasting a mere 119 days in 1827.

I wish the new prime minister every luck in breaking that record.

How ironic it would be for him to serve for the shortest period as premier during the longest reign of a British monarch! – Yours, etc,



Co Wexford.

Sir, – We are perilously close to achieving a Pyrrhic victory with our vain insistence on the backstop.

Better to be magnanimous than proud. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6W.

Sir, – What will a disastrous Brexit mean for the Irish economy? Will we still be a society where it is impossible to buy or rent a home or be housed, socially, even though you are both working? Will it mean having to outsource your parenthood to a business model based on profiteering while you both work? Will it still mean that you are fleeced by Irish insurance companies on behalf of Irish shareholders, ie your fellow “citizens”? Does it mean that you will continue to languish in public A&Es at the mercy of drug addicts and drunks while you expire listening to their ranting? Or perhaps the waiting list will accommodate you.

Is that the “successful economy” we want to preserve at all costs?

It is no use being fully employed if the rest of your life is empty. All we are short of is building favelas on the Dublin mountains. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 24.

Sir, – Is it not time that the posturing ceased? The EU can accommodate Switzerland and Liechtenstein, between them, completely surrounded by the EU but able to trade abroad. It has also adapted to Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave.

Surely, they can tolerate our little Six Counties? – Yours, etc,




A chara, – After the blustering speech by the new British prime minister in the House of Commons this week, I was thinking that a “no deal” Brexit was an inevitability. However, on reading the front page of The Irish Times yesterday, I am much more upbeat (News, July 26th). The assurance of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that a new trade deal between the US and Britain will not get the backing of Congress if Brexit jeopardises the Belfast Agreement is excellent news. Obviously someone will have to explain to the US president what that aforementioned agreement means. It could be fake news! – Is mise,




Co Wexford.

Sir, – Could it be that the record-breaking temperatures this past week across the UK and in particular in London are a result of the political climate change there and the attendant inordinate increase in hot air, rising, swirling and hanging like a thick cloud about the person of new prime minister Boris Johnson?

As he puffs and huffs his way through Westminster, he certainly brings more heat than light. Heaven forfend what the accompanying thunderstorms may presage. Pathetic fallacy indeed, literally and figuratively. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – A fragile peace has gently settled between our two nations, a peace articulated by Queen Elizabeth when she spoke at a state banquet in Ireland in 2011: “The lessons of the peace process are clear: whatever life throws at us, our individual responsibilities will be all the stronger for working together and sharing the load . . . The ties of family, friends and affection are our most precious resource . . . the lifeblood of partnership across these islands, a golden thread runs through all our joint successes so far and all we will go on to achieve.”

How ironic that Queen Elizabeth is more woke than Boris Johnson could ever be. – Yours, etc,



Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Please could you refrain in future from having wasps associated with Donald Trump and Boris Johnson (Letters, July 26th).

They are nature’s pest control and are needed for a balanced ecosystem.

Wasps can only defend themselves with a sting in their tail, an outcome we do not want from those they are compared with. – Yours, etc,



Wirral , UK.

Sir, – Una Mullally blames the rise of Boris Johnson on “British white supremacy, and the racist political and media structures that allow white men to fail upwards . . . and never hold them to the same standards as people of colour” (Opinion & Analysis, July 25th).

This is a truly bizarre conclusion, since there is no evidence that racism was behind Mr Johnson’s return to the top of British politics.

Mr Johnson is known to be a strong supporter of immigration and demonstrated this during his time as mayor of London. He repeated as recently as this week that he supports continued skilled immigration to meet the needs of the British economy.

His new chancellor of the exchequer, Sajid Javid, is the son of Pakistani immigrants who moved to England without being able to speak a word of English.

His new home secretary, Priti Patel, is the daughter of Indian immigrants who fled Uganda after a racist crackdown by Idi Amin against Asian residents in that country.

His foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, is the son of a Jewish man who fled to England from Czechoslovakia after the signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938.

Alok Sharma, his minister for international development, was born in India and moved to the UK at the age of five.

The remainder of Mr Johnson’s cabinet includes two ministers who are the sons of African immigrants, and another who is among the third generation of an Indian immigrant family.

It is, by some margin the most ethnically diverse government in British history.

If Mr Johnson’s rise was driven by racism and white supremacy, then he has a funny way of showing it! It seems to me that “people of colour” (as Una Mullally patronisingly describes them) have done rather well from his appointment as prime minister.

Una Mullally recently used your pages to also blame the tide of pro-life laws in the United States on “white fragility matched with white supremacy” and “racist patriarchal structures of American society” (Opinion & Analysis, May 13th).

Does your newspaper intend to continue to allow this straw-man to be held up as the first factor to be blamed for any political development which does not suit your liberal or left-wing columnists? – Yours, etc,


Harolds Cross,

Dublin 6W.

Sir, – Kathy Sheridan quotes Boris Johnson writing about Churchill as having “put his shirt on a horse called anti-Nazism . . . and his bet came off in spectacular fashion” (Opinion & Analysis, July 24th).

There is a very distinct difference between Churchill’s “bet” on anti-Nazism and Mr Johnson’s “bet” on Brexit. The former was made out of principle while the latter was opportunistic.

Nor did Churchill’s bet come off in spectacular fashion. On the contrary it kept him out of public office for many years., He was seen as a nuisance by those “realists” who thought they could do business with Hitler. It was only after the Germans took over Czechoslovakia in March 1939 that the scales fell from their eyes and they started to listen to Churchill. Even then it took the invasion of France to bring Churchill to the office of prime minister.– Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – Boris Johnson is trying to emulate his hero Winston Churchill. I’m looking forward to the introduction of rationing after October 31st. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.

Sir, – Alongside your front-page lead “Johnson installs hardline Brexiteers after cabinet purge” (July 25th) was a separate story headed “Ireland ‘must be prepared for extreme heat’”. Coincidence or premonition? – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.