Reading John Rentoul’s article in yesterday’s edition I find myself torn on the issue of Scottish independence. As a southern, English, Remainer, social democrat, I can strongly support Scotland’s desire to be rid of Tory “Little England” and to be free to return to the EU.
We should all know by now from the Brexit referendum that the emotional pull of independence beats being better off in some theoretical assessment. After all, people from Kent to Yorkshire voted to be “worse off” in order to “take back control” in the referendum and last year’s general election.
However, part of me realises how much the English would lose. During the Thatcher era, it was Scottish politicians in Westminster who played a major role in sustaining the opposition parties during those long years. I’m thinking of John Smith, Gordon Brown and Robin Cook, not to mention David Steel and Charles Kennedy.
Sadly, today most of the Scottish political talent resides in the SNP.
So we need the Scots to save England. That is the best argument against independence.
Smile more, Trump
What has featured most strongly in Donald Trump’s desperate resistance to accepting defeat has been the revelation of the cause of his failure as president – his chronic addiction to power and contempt.
Disabled by this contradiction of being ruined by the one thing he absolutely must have, may I remind him of the addicts’ prayer which has helped release millions from this self-destruct dead end.
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can – and the wisdom to know the difference.”
He cannot change the people’s vote, but he can change his attitude, his outlook, learn to listen, and allow himself to smile from time to time.
I read the Editor's Letter (30 November) about Bill Bailey’s dancing experience on Strictly and he does indeed give cause for celebration. I very much like his performances, his understated way of handling every situation and his obvious life-affirming partnership with Oti Mabuse. As you state he has not gone for the comedy jugular and that is to be admired.
I have always been a regular viewer and I think all the contestants in this very surreal pandemic times, have acquitted themselves with grace and an innate desire to pull out all the sparkle. We did indeed need this programme this year because it has always been such an integral part of the autumn television season. It showcases such skill and attention to detail and even Craig Revel Horwood is becoming a right old softy with his less acerbic comments.
Superlative entertainment and long may it continue to enthral us all for many more years to come. I will always give it 10.
Judith A Daniels
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
PR voting could have stopped Brexit
Paul Morrison in Letters supports proportional representation (PR) which values every vote but he frets that the Brexit referendum delivered the Leave vote on that same basis.
But under PR we would never have had the referendum in the first place. The election of 2015 would not have delivered the single-party Tory government who, in an attempt to resolve their own party divisions, subjected our country to four years (and counting) of argument and division.
I have voted in every UK general election since 1983, in six different constituencies, and not once has my vote counted for anything. What’s more, in each of these elections (in fact in every general election since the 1930s) the majority of electors have ended up being governed by a party for whom they did not vote.
How can it be right, in a modern democracy, to operate an electoral system that is so fundamentally undemocratic?
West Bradley, Glastonbury
Brexit far from oven-ready
Whilst it is the nation’s interest to agree a deal with the EU, rather than crashing out in a month with no deal, what is being botched together is far from that which was promised at the referendum and shows the bare-faced lies behind the “oven-ready” soundbite of last year.
Deregulation for the rich, scraps for the mass of the people. What we require from the opposition is a clear statement: “We need a deal, this one is poor.” The only way to underline the point is by whipping Labour MPs to abstain on the vote. In so doing, the opposition will have the right to challenge all that is visited upon us by the Tory government in 2021 and beyond.
Stranger than fiction
Oliver Dowden, our so-high-profile culture secretary, has called for The Crown to carry a warning to protect those members of the public who may confuse fiction and fact. I can’t explain why but Brexit leapt unbidden to mind. Then I subsided once more into complete despair. Oh well.