Taking a hard line on Brexit


Sir, – In “Nothing to laugh about in the mess that is British politics” (Opinion & Analysis, September 27th), on the Brexit negotiations “mess”, Finn McRedmond tells us that despite the present contemptuous Brexiteer attitude to “Paddy Murphy”, the UK will change and “sanity will return”.

The logical conclusion of her article is that in relation to Brexit Paddy should keep his head down, his nose clean and his gob shut and everything will okay.

Given centuries of colonial history, I think that is too complacent. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 13.

Sir, – The tone of responses by Boris Johnson and his associates to this week’s UK supreme court outcome have met with justifiable criticism, featuring descriptions such as “divisive” and “inflammatory”. Mr Johnson’s statement that he “disagrees” with the rulings might be compared to a patient expressing disagreement with a diagnosis by a medical specialist, or in this case 11 specialists. It is difficult to reconcile this position with claims of “respect” for the court ruling. The likely intention is to diminish the impact on public perception of the justices’ ruling by creating a spurious impression of equivalence between the judgment of the highest court and the opinion on legal issues of a journalist, with due respect to the latter profession’s capacity in its own area of expertise.

A related issue is the continuing assertion that the court was incorrect in even pronouncing on what is claimed to be a political rather than a legal matter. This argument was specifically addressed and comprehensively rejected by the justices.

A better-informed response might have been expected from the British attorney general. In an arrogant and bad-tempered House of Commons speech, he asserted that the prorogation was made in good faith because the law had been changed by the supreme court ruling, a line that was replicated by other speakers. Surely the courts do not make or change law, but interpret and apply it.

It might be a mistake to dismiss such responses lightly on the basis that they were only to be expected. They are almost certainly designed to reinforce hard-line Brexit views and mislead more open-minded opinion. It is to be hoped that they might be challenged with greater insistence than the majority of UK reporters, commentators and interviewers have applied towards the Brexit agenda to date. – Yours, etc,



Co Kildare.

Sir, – In light of the growing prevalence of unparliamentary language use in Westminster, should the definition now be simply condensed to parliamentary? – Yours, etc,



Co Meath.

A chara, – On the issue of the backstop, some politicians and media outlets have focused almost exclusively on how to mollify the DUP, which claims the backstop undermines sovereignty and is undemocratic. This is an amazing contortion of reality dreamed up by the Tories and the DUP. The complete opposite is true. A large majority in the North oppose Brexit of any kind, and it is this majority that is being ignored and betrayed. – Is mise,



Sir, – Unlike Padraig Neary (Letters, September 27th), I have not seen much gloating in Ireland at Britain’s current difficulties. On the contrary, I think most people here are saddened and fearful about where Brexit is taking our nearest neighbour, and this island too.

Mr Neary’s belief that the next British election will solve Britain’s difficulty is also somewhat fanciful.

Sadly, the Brexit saga doesn’t end whatever the outcome of that election or indeed if or how Brexit happens.

However, perhaps one of the few silver linings of this entire process has been the ongoing solidarity the EU as a whole has provided to Ireland as it attempts to protect the peace on this island.

If, as Mr Neary suggests, Britain comes to despise Ireland for doing so, that would indeed be a tragic outcome. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 1.