The Irish vote, the NHS and the empire


Sir, – Much is made of the influence of the Irish vote in US elections but little is spoken about the significance of the Irish vote in the UK.

With analysts suggesting that 40,000 votes in 36 marginal constituencies could decide the outcome of the UK election, perhaps it’s time for a “Phone a Friend” campaign urging family and friends in the UK to support remain candidates. It could be significant in stopping Brexit and protecting us from the likely consequences of a no-deal Brexit in 2021. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 4.

Sir, – Boris Johnson’s refusal to look at a picture of a four-year-old boy with suspected pneumonia lying on the floor of a Leeds A&E, while bizarrely pocketing a reporter’s phone, could turn out to be the key moment of the UK election campaign (“Johnson pockets reporter’s phone to avoid seeing photo of sick child” Denis Staunton, December 9th).

So far, Mr Johnson has mostly kept away from the tough questions.

Predictably, the British prime minister tried to deflect the insistent interviewer’s probing about the sick child back onto Brexit. But for once he was forced to confront the reality for ordinary people of the Tories’ austerity decade.

His evasive response to this unaccustomed situation was, as Labour’s Barry Gardiner said, “symptomatic of the way in which the prime minister tends to deal with things he doesn’t like. He simply wants to avoid the issue”.

The NHS not Brexit may yet be the election’s defining issue. – Yours, etc.,


Arbour Hill, Dublin7.

Sir, – The responses of Jeremy Corbyn, Anna Soubry, Jo Swinson and others to Monday’s events at Leeds General Infirmary displayed the cheapest form of grubby political opportunism. If they cared they would consider the patient, his family and the tirelessly dedicated NHS staff before callously attempting to exploit this situation.

Boris Johnson’s previously declared commitment to spending an extra £33.9 billion on the NHS demonstrates that he cares greatly about improving healthcare in Britain, and only the Conservative Party can successfully manage the economy to fund the much needed new investment. – Yours, etc,



Leicestershire, England.

Sir, – At the “Brexit” election on December 12th the electors of the United Kingdom must choose their next government very wisely because their decision will have critical implications for not only themselves but for others including those of us in ex-colonies of the British empire.

With the rise of nationalism around the world will we again witness bumbling or self-focused English leaders missing the signs that forewarned of the two world wars? The call to the colonies to go to Britain’s defence is not forgotten by Australians – our country’s small population gave up the lives of over 90,000 young men to see the “Motherland”, and Europe, return to democracy and peace.

Despite what some may believe, the British people remain essentially European and a decision to leave, and to risk breaking up, the European Union in an increasingly complex, populated and destabilised world must not be taken lightly. – Yours, etc,


New South Wales,