Helping the UK to secure a Brexit deal

 

Sir, – Considering it took England almost 800 years to extract itself from the 26 counties, it is surely unreasonable to expect Brexit to be signed, sealed and delivered in the space of a few years! – Yours, etc,

DES O HALLORAN,

Tralee, Co Kerry.

Sir, – Having just finished the very good Versailles 1919 by Alan Sharp a couple of observations sprang to mind that are relevant to our current situation which is about to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the peace conference.

First, according to Mr Sharp the British went into the Versailles meetings with deliberately extreme initial demands. They expected these to be watered down in the negotiating process but these ended up to their surprise becoming the final demands to the Germans.

Could Theresa May have tried a similar strategy with her “red lines”? As a remainer maybe she hoped they would have been compromised away for the sake of an acceptable deal by this stage? If so, like a hundred years ago, the plan badly backfired.

Second, it seems foolish looking at the lessons of history to leave a perceived great power feeling isolated and humiliated by all around – even if, like the Germans, the British may only have themselves to blame.

Lastly, it may be prudent for the stronger side in the negotiations to compromise a little for the greater good.

To which end, maybe it is time to realise that a time-limited backstop is better than no backstop at all?

Combined with the transition period, it would at least give us a few years to prepare for a hard Brexit. And who knows – maybe there will be a change of government or a second referendum in this period?

Anything has to be better than the chaos that seems to be looming come next March. – Yours, etc,

JOHN COTTER,

Ferrybank, Waterford.

A chara, – I feel the time is right to shift the focus from negotiating a Brexit deal to starting active discussions about the UK remaining within the EU.

I suggest the EU meet the UK to identify the issues within the EU that the UK is unhappy about, and agree an agenda and a forum within the EU to discuss those issues, with a view to possible reform of the EU, if the UK were to decide to remain.

The whole of the EU could benefit from some reform. The UK’s population is not the only country’s people that is unhappy about aspects of the EU. (For example, I think that a lot of Irish people feel that the EU bureaucracy is too expensive and too remote from citizens.)

If such a reform discussion agenda were set up, the Brexit struggle of the past two years would not have been in vain.

Perhaps Ireland could take the initiative to develop this as a way forward. Could I suggest a poll to ask Irish people if we would like our politicians to find some such way to support the UK to remain within the EU. If our current negotiating politicians cannot do this, then others might take the lead.

The UK needs to know it is a valued member of the EU. At present, even many Remainers are feeling a bit battered by the EU’s stance in the Brexit negotiations. They are hearing from their media (wrongly I think) that the EU is going very hard and being unfair on the UK, and consequently there is some circling of the wagons going on.

UK citizens need to feel some solidarity with other EU citizens and know we value them and would rejoice with them if they decide to remain. Their remaining would give some hope to those of us who also want some EU reform. – Is mise,

SILE Mac NEILL,

Blessington, Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Most of my family live and work in the UK. Although I disagree with Brexit, I respect the right of the people of the UK to vote to leave the EU.

Brexit is an internal UK issue. To make their arguments, both sides create false enemies to justify their causes.

As a sovereign country the UK agreed to make deals with other sovereign countries in the EU. They should now be willing to leave without the advantages or responsibilities.

Only then can any deals on trade and citizens be resolved. – Yours, etc,

ALAN JERROLD,

Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6W.

Sir, – Might I suggest to Mrs May that the reality of another referendum is that it is not a second one; instead it will be a new one, based on the acceptance or otherwise of her “informed” negotiated deal with the EU. Then she might know where the electorate stands. – Yours, etc,

BA TAPLEY,

Killiney, Co Dublin.

Sir, – In the forthcoming catastrophe that is a no-deal Brexit, there are signs that many in Britain are casting around looking for scapegoats.

It appears some of the more extreme Brexiteers, or Brextremists, have decided Ireland is somehow responsible for not acceding to their wild fantasies and “cake and eat it” Brexit. This myth is being helped along by the DUP who, in the final analysis is actually to blame.

The DUP rubbished the backstop by effectively elevating a few extra checks on goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland into a constitutional issue that threatened its very existence. Those paying attention know exactly where the fault lies in the event of no deal. – Yours, etc,

BRENDAN McMAHON,

Naas, Co Kildare.

Sir, – May I remind those who consistently refer to the 2016 vote in the UK as the “first” referendum and any possible future vote as a “second” referendum that there was a referendum in the UK in 1975 organised by Harold Wilson’s Labour government on Common Market membership.

I know anybody under the age of 50, of which cohort of society I am sadly no longer a member, will possibly have no recollection of this. By my calculations, the 2016 vote should more properly and accurately be referred to as the second such event and any future vote in the UK would be the “third” referendum. – Yours, etc,

JOE JUDGE,

Killiney, Co Dublin.