Letters to the Editor

Captain May continues doomed efforts to quell mutiny on her battered vessel

In breaking news, the government has announced that, once decommissioned in March, it will donate what’s left of HMS Brexit-means-Brexit to the ferryless company Seaborne Freight. 
The transport secretary Chris Grayling has said that the uncontested £13.8m contract his department awarded Seaborne was never actually conditional upon it owning any ships or having previous freight transport experience to operate the new Ramsgate/Ostend route – it is a British start-up venture, so that was good enough for him. 
Rather, officials were confident that by donating HMS Brexit – along with several migrant dinghies seized recently along the Kent coast – the no-ferry company would be in a healthy position to begin regular services on April 1. 

Asked if that particular date was in any way significant Mr Grayling replied that indeed it was – it happens to be a Monday and that is always a good day to start up a new business.

Meanwhile, Captain Wobbly May has been continuing her doomed efforts to quell the mutiny on board her battered vessel. 
Further feeble attempts to enlist the support of a few of the other captains in the EU fleet have been to no avail. And in yet another tilt at placating the mutinous Dupers and their co-conspirators, Wobbly has been meeting with midshipman Dodds and his henchman, petty officer Wilson. 
In a cunning shift of tactics, Dodds and Wilson have been at pains to point out how helpful they really want to be as they can see how much distress the captain is in.  They have no desire to add to her woes, and they certainly don’t
want to sink her ship (would they do such a thing) so they kindly suggest she just forgets the withdrawal deal she has taken two years to negotiate and go back and get a better one – simple. 

They also want to make it clear to the captain that, deep down and despite appearances, they truly are loyal crew members. It’s just, you see, that someone has to look out for the interests of the ‘whole of the UK’ and reluctantly, modestly, that onerous task has fallen to them.  

It’s not like it appears at all – no, they are not holding the whole country to ransom; no, they are not trying to threaten peace in Ireland by wanting the backstop scrapped; yes, they do want to avoid a no deal scenario but they can’t see how this can be avoided now;  and no, they most certainly do not enjoy being the centre of attention and stuck in the limelight all the time – especially when you hail from the backwoods of Norn Iron.  

One day, in the post-Brexit wastelands, when the economy has tanked and the dole queue stretches from Land’s End to John O’Groats, the country will surely thank the Dupers for their principled stand, and such petty annoyances like food stamps and ration books will be a small price to pay for having saved the precious union from the sure-fire Armageddon that is the EU.

Omagh, Co Tyrone


DUP playing Russian roulette with north’s future EU status 

As the majority of political parties in Northern Ireland continue to seek a restoration of the devolved power-sharing institutions at Stormont in 2019 why are both Theresa May and Karen Bradley acquiescing and capitulating to the DUP?

At present the clear reality for the population living in the North is that power-sharing devolved powers at Stormont will not happen until at the very earliest after Brexit and the UK leaving the EU and/or the DUP-Conservative confidence and supply agreement collapsing.

Meanwhile Theresa May and Karen Bradley are quite content for political expediency to continue allowing elected MLAs to be paid albeit a reduced salary with senior civil servants running Stormont. 

Surely the prime minister and secretary of state should not be allowed to continue this course of action just too solely seek the support and votes of DUP MPs at Westminster to keep the Conservatives in government.

Yet while the DUP plays Russian roulette with both the north’s political institutions and future status within the EU, the people of the north are still being held to ransom by a cabal within the DUP who seem to be more interested in creating diversionary and mythical constitutional issues about the status of the north within the wider context of the UK framework.

Then there is the DUP’s absurd and total opposition to the backstop clause being included in the UK/EU withdrawal negotiations. Cynics might say this is nothing more than the DUP scaremongering about the north’s future status perhaps becoming a vassal state thus breaking up the union and UK. The DUP also seems at total odds with the wider farming and business community in the north. Many employers in the agricultural, hospitality, manufacturing and retail sectors seem to understand better than the DUP in economic terms that the north cannot afford to leave the EU with no deal. 

The DUP seems willing to jeopardise what is currently on the table between the EU and UK which would be catastrophic.

Castlewellan, Co Down


Ireland’s darkest day

Was it not the darkest of days when Irish president Micheal D Higgins chose to sign into law unrestricted access to abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and, in exceptional circumstance, right up to the moment of birth? 

Health minister Simon Harris hailed his abortion bill’s passage as a ‘genuinely historic moment’ and its implementation on the first day of 2019 ‘a really momentous day’.

The current government will ensure public money finances practitioners who are prepared to comply with this. Abortion is a very lucrative business.

What protections are guaranteed to anyone not wanting to participate in the termination of unborn babies because it is against their conscience? What pressures will they be subjected to? Will they prove as meaningless as those in Britain where some 10 million babies have been aborted in half a century of legalised abortion?

Those at the forefront stridently manipulating to enforce their progressive liberal and amoral agenda so undermine centuries of Christian values in Ireland. 

Omagh, Co Tyrone 


Nauseating attitude

Robert Mayne’s letter – Think beyond stereotypes (January 3) – was astounding and a strong argument against the very point he was trying to make. The absolute irony. It is the very fact that the English have no self-realisation of why Irish people and people all over Europe dislike them which displays why they are disliked. Forgetting history, where they basically tried to own and occupy the world, their attitude that they are still in charge of a vast empire (untrue) is nauseating. I would build a wall around England, lock the gate and let them get on with it. 

Dunmurry, Co Antrim

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