Wednesday 18 September 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Food for thought on how little times have changed in Britain'

The new home secretary in the UK, Priti Patel
The new home secretary in the UK, Priti Patel
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Almost 90 years ago Ireland, after declaring her independence from the UK in 1919 and agreeing to a truce in the War of Independence on July 11, 1921, pursued its claim in treaty talks in London.

The British prime minister, David Lloyd George, mentioned to Robert Barton, one of the Irish negotiators, that if the delegates did not sign the treaty there and then as dictated by the British side then "those who were not for peace must take full responsibility for the war that would immediately follow the refusal by any delegate to sign the articles of agreement" (this threat was made minutes before the treaty was signed on Tuesday, December 6, 1921).

Contrast this episode in Irish history with the attempt by the UK in 2018 to exit the European Union which it voluntarily joined in 1973 when it was called the Common Market. The UK signed the Brexit agreement with the European Union in November 2018, but failed three times to get ratification in the UK Parliament. However Ireland, which also joined the Common Market in 1973, is in a stronger position now than it was in 1921, as it has the support of all other members of the EU. But some things never change. The new home secretary in the UK, Priti Patel, is on record for suggesting that the UK should threaten Ireland with food shortages to make us drop the backstop. Britain once ruled the waves but she cannot now waive the rules.

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Herbert F Eyre,

North Strand, Dublin 3

Spare us political guff and give us real news on Brexit

Am I alone in finding the obsessive interest displayed by some elements of the Irish print and broadcast media in the minutiae of British politics and the lives and peculiarities of British politicians annoying and little more than a neocolonial throwback?

Sure, Brexit has huge potential (negative) implications for Ireland and the rest of Europe but spare us needless and seamless reporting on the Mother of Parliaments and her denizens. Thus we learn that this or that MP has no understanding of Irish history (what's new?) or is the privileged product of an exclusive public school education (big deal), won a safe seat several years ago (who cares?) or has circulated a style guide (not uncommon). At the same time we are treated to regular moralising articles posing as analysis, penned by senior reporters and 'special' correspondents.

While the Irish media must continue to inform us on Brexit, its gaze in the direction of our nearest foreign neighbour ought to be less intense, less sanctimonious and more adult. To this end practitioners need to ease up on personal details, forgo their 'ad hominem' style and concentrate on the issues of most relevance to Ireland and 26 other member states of the European Union.

Seamas O Braonain,

Teach Phairc na dTor, Teach Mealog, BAC 6w

Churchill and Johnson owe a debt to influence of the Irish

Mr Churchill had a troubled background having been sacked by the Liberal Party for his handling of the Dardanelles episode in 1915/1916 and then moving to the Tory Party and spending the inter-war years in the wilderness. He was helped against all the odds by his adviser Brendan Bracken, an Irishman born in Tipperary, to become PM in 1940. Bracken, educated in CBS O'Connell School, Dublin, and Mungret College, was appointed to Churchill's war cabinet as minister for information and awarded the title of 1st Viscount Bracken in 1946.

Boris Johnson has recently become PM with the help of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, in his role as a spokesman for the EU, by the imposition and retention of the backstop.

Hugh Duffy,

Cleggan, Co Galway

Picturing new move for PM who won't let facts get in way

Given that his stint as prime minister is likely to be quite short, one wonders has Boris Johnson given any thought to a career in writing fairy tales.

Perhaps I could suggest a few possible titles: 'Boris and the Unicorn', 'Boris in cloud cuckoo land', 'Boris and the Fairy God-mother', and not forgetting 'I don't see any Border'.

He could even get some of his fellow dopes in cabinet to do the illustrations.

David Ryan,

Co Meath

Whistling up support for man with toughest job in hurling

Many hurling fans say that it is the world's greatest game, but the evidence from this weekend's semi-finals is that it is surely the world's most difficult to referee.

Consider the size of the pitch, the fitness of the players, the speed at which the ball moves, and the subjectivity of what is a legal/illegal tackle.

I can't wait for the final now. But please say a prayer for the man in the middle.

James Conroy,

Mullingar, Co Westmeath

Irish Independent

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