Great Britain

It's a travesty that parliament has been reduced to an opposition spectator sport

I read John Rentoul’s column with interest and the fact that parliament has now been reduced to an opposition spectator sport is a travesty. Cocky Conservative MPs will no doubt ride roughshod over the scrutiny of this done deal and my heart bleeds for MPs who still want and desire a better, fairer and more equitable country, than the one we will live in the future.

The altruistic Conservative MPs are now long gone and we are left with a right-wing faction who will gladly all ‘die in a ditch’ if their prime minister requires them to do so. I despair but Johnson must make good on his promises to the Labour heartlands before they too wake up and smell the coffee of  broken promises and vainglorious speeches.

Judith A Daniels
Cobholm, Norfolk

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Fear tactics

The deep inescapable irony about ordinary people electing right wing populists (Trump, Johnson, Erdogan, Morrison – take your pick) is that people do it because they are scared of the world. Then they are stuck with men who actively despise and disregard them.

Just on the basis of aesthetics, you’d have hoped that the four horsemen of the apocalypse might have been a bit less flaccid

Amanda Baker
Edinburgh

Remembering Scotland’s slave trade

It is great to see Edinburgh’s role in the slave trade will be marked by footage of singer Kayus Bankole, from Leith band Young Fathers, beamed onto the City Chambers from New Year’s Day to Burns Night.

He will perform a piece he wrote about those in Scotland who profited from this barbaric practice.

There has largely been an airbrushing of Scotland’s role in the slave trade, which saw Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole benefit considerably economically. Events such as this serve to provide a greater understanding of our nation’s involvement in slavery, but we must do more.

Scots played an incredibly important role as plantation owners, merchants and slave ship captains. Even Robert Burns was considering a position as a book-keeper in a plantation before poetry revived his fortunes. In 1796, Scots owned nearly 30 per cent of the estates in Jamaica and by 1817, a staggering 32 per cent of the slaves.

It was the slave trade which played a major part in financing and powering the industrial revolution in Scotland. The economic rise of Glasgow and Edinburgh was, in part, produced off the back of slave labour and the commodities it produced such as tobacco, sugar and cotton.

It’s time Scottish pupils were taught of the nation’s role in the slave trade, and that we as a nation come to terms with our involvement through the establishment of a permanent memorial to the millions of black Africans who suffered to make so many in Scotland incredibly wealthy.

Alex Orr
Edinburgh

Stripped of European citizenship

Millions of Britons, both living in the UK and working abroad, are about to be stripped of their European citizenship. This is the largest removal of citizenship and accompanying rights, freedoms and protections, in the history of the world. Around 40 million of these British subjects did not vote, or were not allowed to vote for this removal of their European citizenship.

Of those who did vote, a tiny majority of them enabled this constitutional change that will impact upon all UK subjects.

In several million cases this loss of European citizenship will have devastating consequences. A constitutional change of this magnitude in almost every democratic nation in the world would require a two thirds majority.

This act has permanently created a divide within our nations and the people of our nations. It has also triggered divisions within the embryonic unity of European nations.

May future generations forgive us – for we do not know what we have done.

Martin Deighton
Woodbridge

Silence in the house

With all that has been going on recently, little has been heard regarding the massively expensive refurbishment of the Houses of Parliament. Given the growing irrelevance of the totally unrepresentative House of Lords and the autocratic nature of our new so-called government, coupled with the 100% support from sycophantic Tory MPs, what is the need for this over inflated Oxbridge debating chamber?

The new reality of the “people’s parliament” seems to be Boris or his boss, Dominic Cummings, speaks and Tory MPs nod. No real need to waste precious time and money in meaningful discussion. The one party state has arrived and we’re all doomed.

G Forward
Stirling

Move on to where?

The prime minister tells us we should move on. So far, however, he and his Brexiteer friends have told us only what we must move away from. I wait impatiently for information from him (maybe a map?) about where to move towards.

David Penn
Kendal

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Malicious attack on young voters

The Tory stealth attack on the voting rights of young, Bame and poor was as predictable as it was malicious. But the flip side of this injustice is that disenfranchised people will feel no need to keep the law or feel constrained to pay taxes. Remember the principle, “no taxation without representation.” A growing class of alienated people will develop, their despair fuelled by poverty and political impotence. An already overstretched police force will be hard put to deal with the growing lawlessness that will result from the undermining of British democracy. Johnson is sowing the wind and will reap the whirlwind. 

Francis Beswick
Stretford

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