Brexit – running down the clock

Sir, – So Theresa May emulates the negotiating strategy of Richard Nixon as the Brexit clock runs down, and the tortured history of Irish-English relations erupts again (Bobby McDonagh, "May using Nixon's 'madman theory' to play chicken with Brexit", Opinion & Analysis, February 27th).

As John Montague succinctly put it: “History creeks on its bloody hinge, and the unspeakable is done again”. – Yours, etc,






Sir, – Methinks that Ella Whelan doth protest too much in refusing to countenance any second Brexit vote ("A second Brexit vote will destroy what little trust is left in British politics", Opinion & Analysis, February 28th).

No second vote could take place prior to mid-summer 2019 at the very earliest, by which time it will have been at least three years since the June 2016 referendum, not far short of the lifetime of the average UK parliament.

In those three years, statistically speaking, over 2½ million voters will have left the electoral register, mainly because of death.

A similar or indeed slightly larger cohort of new voters will have become of voting age in that same period. The electorate in 2016 was 46.5 million, so there would be a change of almost 12 per cent in the composition of the 2019 electorate. All the pollsters seem to concur that this “rejuvenation” of the electorate is more likely to benefit the Remain than the Leave cause.

Ms Whelan writes, “Public support for Brexit has not changed”. She might indeed turn out to be right about this but neither she nor we can be sure unless and until a further vote takes place. In any event, it would be “unsafe” (in the legal sense) for the UK to leave the EU on the basis of a vote which was held over three years earlier.

If Leave were to win any future vote, then it would be the considered opinion of the people of the UK after many years of debate and reflection and should command universal acceptance.

If, on the other hand, the people of the UK were to decide to remain, it would suggest that the 2016 decision was an aberration and that wiser counsels had ultimately prevailed. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 13.