Sovereignty, a soft Brexit – and a wall


Sir, – Maurice O’Callaghan (December 20th) tells us that Brexit is about “the British regaining sovereignty” and compares Brexit to this country achieving independence.

Is that not ironical?

The UK, less than a century ago governed an empire which contained nearly a quarter of the population of the globe and was on the winning side in two world wars since.

The UK is a nuclear power and member of Nato, a permanent member of the security council of the UN and has one of the largest and most developed economies in the world.

Why should such a powerful country be worried about its sovereignty when all it is doing is co-operating with nearly 30 other European democracies, most of which were former colonies?

What the UK is really doing is using its powerful position to declare economic war on the countries of the EU, including this democratic republic and former colony, with a view to increasing its power.

The fact that it is doing major economic damage through voting for Brexit is neither here nor there to the Brexiteers. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 13.

Sir, – As a result of the UK supreme court ruling secured by Gina Miller and others in January 2017, the British prime minister and cabinet do not have the power to make a Brexit deal independently of Parliament. The simple arithmetic is that the prime minister needs the support of the whole Conservative party and the DUP to ratify any policy.

All that hard-line Tory Brexiteers have to do in order to have their goal of a no-deal Brexit realised is withhold their support for anything else. Making a show of potentially supporting multiple other options at different times, or making noise about particular items in the withdrawal agreement are merely tactics to distract the media, the general public and other MPs from this simple reality.

Their thorough success in this endeavour means that the point of no return is almost certainly upon us.

The early-days Supreme Court victory of Remainers, combined with the PM’s disastrous majority-losing decision to hold a mid-term general election four months later, has ultimately played straight into the hands of the most extreme Leavers. Even more than the EU’s insistence on the backstop or any other legal ephemera in the draft agreement, attempts by Remainers to secure the softest Brexit possible seem to have ensured the opposite. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 7.

Sir, – We could follow the Trump approach and build a wall around Northern Ireland. Lots of work for the construction sector, duty free shops and smugglers. This would seriously disrupt our trade and put us back into the dark ages.

As suggested by Jehangir Sarosh OBE (Letters, December 18th) the UK government could recognise the infamous referendum for what it was – a consultative rather than legislative exercise with conclusions that are un-implementable. So the UK stays where it is – part of the European Union.

If no deal is agreed, we could achieve a soft border if both the UK and Irish governments allowed trade to flow freely, as at present, collecting duties from traders retroactively, as happens with VAT.

Customs could then use a combination of authorised trader status and risk analyses for physical inspection of restricted goods, as required. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.