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Boris Johnson’s government is relying on collective amnesia to push no-deal through – don’t expect anything new

Prime minister Boris Johnson attends the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, 24 August 2019: Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP

Repeating the same message to re-write history doesn’t correct past injustices – it merely inflames them.

Rephrasing doesn’t eliminate previous errors, it merely distracts from them.

For example, using the phrase “it’s what the people voted for”, doesn’t erase the irregularities of the 2016 referendum. It merely selects a different, more convenient starting point for the story without addressing any of the irregularities.

The trouble is that in the fast moving world of the popular media, some politicians are using this to simply breeze past a plethora of “issues” without actually justifying their choices, and this has been a huge feature of Brexit from the very beginning.

As a result, the real issues are being missed again and again.

Why aren’t the politicians being held to account for misleading or massively flawed claims? Why were they allowed to make false claims about GATT 24 – that particular lie having been one of the flawed bedrocks of the entire Brexit premise?

Yet, here we are. The best they can come up with is the rather wobbly-looking possibility of a US trade deal – if that doesn’t prove to be no more than “spin”– while Boris Johnson claims to be seeking an EU deal that removes the backstop without providing any solutions whatsoever, let alone any indication of how the measures taken might adequately compensate for nearly half of our lost trade.

Isn’t this just kicking the can down the road and making lots of noise with it, while the rest of parliament is forced to try to sleep?

There are no justifications for continuing to ignore the irregularities of the 2016 referendum. There are no sufficient justifications, nor an adequate outline plan, for Brexit.

Simply claiming the result of an “irregular” and outdated referendum will not do.

There is no justification for not coming back to the people for a confirmatory vote, and there will be no reconciling our divided nation without it.

This is about the wealth, health, and the future good of all of us. Revoking and embracing the EU project offers so much more. The very idea of Brexit should have had its life support switched off, way back.

The real question is why hasn’t it?

Michael Cunliffe

The PM’s alternative arrangements

I’m loving the fact that we have alternative arrangements that we are all familiar with. (Boris Johnson expects EU talks to replace Irish backstop plan ‘in the coming weeks’ 24 August)

However, I clearly have not been paying attention because I really am not familiar with these “alternative arrangements”.

I have now raised an FOI request to satisfy my curiosity and perhaps give same sage advice to the PM on running technology projects to ensure that the “tech fairy” will indeed pull him out of trouble at the last minute.

Laura Dawson

Boris and Trump’s trade promises

Would someone explain how Boris Trump and Donald Johnson (well, they are so alike) can talk about having a good trade deal between the UK and the US when both could be out of office soon?

Trump faces re-election next year and we could have a general election here in months.

The EU are our immediate neighbours, while the USA is a very long way off. In fact, we are closer to Russia than we are to America.

It is a total farce.

Richard Grant

What free NHS?

I wonder how much 19-year-old Seth Dellow (Letters, 24 August) has paid into our supposedly “free” NHS? If he really believes the service is free, I could show him some of the income tax and National Insurance bills that I have paid over the last 55 years.

On the (thankfully) infrequent occasions when I need to use the NHS, I do so as a customer who has paid their subscription, and so I feel entitled to comment and, if necessary, complain about the quality of the service provided to me.

Furthermore, anyone who thinks the service is free at the point of delivery should talk to their dentist, optician and pharmacist and try to persuade them to drop their charges.

Sam Boote


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Father of the house

I must add just one thing to the splendid article by John Rentoul (Boris Johnson could be out of the job within months – here’s how Ken Clarke would replace him, 24 August).

The idea that the “father of the house” could ever become prime minister – caretaker or not – is to be ignored or even disparaged at Brexiteers peril.

There is a precedent. Liberal leader Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman became prime minister in 1905, becoming the first – and so-far only – politician to be simultaneously PM and the father of the house at age 69.

By the way, the Tories lost the 1906 general election by a landslide, keeping Sir Henry in Downing Street until 1908. It appears to me that with or without Clarke at the helm, this will probably be mirrored sometime next year.

Robert Boston