Silence over missed opportunities because of Brexit - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: James Bovington, Horsforth, Leeds.

Picture: Getty.
Picture: Getty.

Brexiteers like correspondent Thomas Jefferson never comment on the fact that their beloved isolationist project has harmed relations with major allies

They will never admit that the maligned EU Commission only acts in areas ceded to it by sovereign states in treaties between sovereign states. To do so would undermine their world view.

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Nor do they admit that Brexit has made European social, cultural, scientific, linguistic and environmental co-operation much harder. They’re also curiously silent as to why the US has removed some tariffs on EU produced steel, but not UK produced. How come Thomas?

However in the spirit of moving on, it’s good to see that Leeds has signed a memorandum of understanding with Czech partner city Brno to continue working together in culture and sport, education and business. This follows a similar accord with Dortmund.

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I had the privilege of leading a number of cultural exchanges to Brno and was impressed with the thirst that young Czech people had to travel and learn and develop contacts here.

Contacts whose future benefits will now go elsewhere as Britain has turned its back on the development of this continent building a mental Iron Curtain at Dover.

One of my earliest memories is of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Many Brexiteers hanker after the international architecture of the Common Market’s creation in the 1960s but fail to accept that this was also the period of the Cold War. None other than Mrs Thatcher urged western powers to welcome countries like the Czech Republic, many of whose soldiers and airmen joined British forces in the Second World War despite Britain abandoning them to the Nazis in 1938.

Let’s hope that through our membership of the Eurocities network international co-operation can continue to flourish.

From: Peter Brown, Shadwell.

THE UK Government thinks it can resolve “substantive gaps” between itself and the European Union on the Northern Ireland Protocol – but not this side of Christmas, says Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney (The Yorkshire Post, December 3).

While some NI politicians might protest at the delay, it’s likely firms there won’t be too bothered.

Michael Gove said the Protocol meant NI businesses enjoyed “the best of both worlds” – “access to the European single market and …unfettered access to the rest of the UK.”

Uncharacteristically, the Government appears to have kept that promise. Commentators reckon it explains why NI is the only UK region to have virtually recovered economically since the onset of Covid-19.

Output there is down only 0.3 per cent, when comparing the final quarter of 2019 with the third quarter of 2021. It’s down 2.1 per cent for the UK as a whole – and more than four per cent in Yorkshire, says the Office for National Statistics.

Of course, EU single market access for the whole of the UK was also what Mr Johnson and Mr Gove promised in 2016. Typically, THAT promise wasn’t kept.

Obviously, Northern Ireland would have been better off still if we’d remained in the EU (which is what NI voted for).

But it at least serves as an illustration – an embarrassing one for this Government – of where the nations of Great Britain might now be economically if Mr Johnson had delivered on his Brexit promises.

And a pointer to opposition politicians of the “best of both worlds” direction they should be proposing to take the country as it recovers from the pandemic.