Fiona Bruce should be fired from Question Time over ‘humorous’ Diane Abbott comments

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Letters
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If Fiona Bruce didn’t have the nous to realise that “humorous” comments at the expense of an MP – who is known to have endured unprecedented levels of racist abuse throughout her career – are totally inappropriate, she is the wrong person to run a serious programme. Let her go back to antiques.

Joanna Pallister
Address supplied

Facts and fiction

1. The charlatans lie to the masses to convince them to vote Leave. The fact-based community says it will impoverish and isolate England for a thousand different fact-based reasons.

2. Brexit happens, impoverishing and isolating England exactly as predicted by the fact-based community.

3. The charlatans say Brexit failed because it was implemented improperly, not because it impoverished and isolated England exactly as the fact-based community predicted.

Ian Chamandy
Address supplied

Battle over the backstop

Am I missing something? Why are hard Brexiteers determined to rid the withdrawal agreement of the Irish border backstop when any post-Brexit trade agreement with the EU will no doubt include a customs union or similar to keep the border open, notwithstanding regulatory alignment? If the battle over the backstop is lost and the withdrawal agreement is ratified in the coming months, will the war continue when a draft trade agreement is ready?

Of course the whole matter can be brought to a quick resolution by withdrawing the Article 50 notification.

Peter Monger
Fernhurst

Brexit is an imperialist fantasy

As a black woman living in Scotland, the white English nationalists (hardline Brexiteers) are really confusing me.

They obsess over the whole Britannia-rules-the-waves fantasy, and anyone who has been paying attention will notice that the single unbreakable thread running through the Brexit tangle is “reclaim our borders” (a euphemism for stop migration).

As most of the UK has, since Thatcher, been sold off to the highest bidder – many of them foreign – their behaviour only makes sense if you correctly interpret it as base xenophobia.

Those salivating over an era when Britain’s wealth was based on the forced and brutal movement of millions of people – mainly from Africa – now clamour for no free movement.

Make up your minds.

Amanda Baker
Edinburgh

Churchill’s racism

The spat between Ross Greer MSP and Piers Morgan on ITV’s Good Morning Britain over Winston Churchill shines an interesting light on how we view past “heroes”.

Churchill is rightly remembered for leading Britain through her finest hour, but there is also a much darker side to the man and one that we as a nation need to have a more mature and balanced conversation about.

He was born into a Britain that was washing the map pink, at the cost of washing distant nations blood red. As soon as he could, Churchill charged off to take his part in “a lot of jolly little wars against barbarous peoples”.

As an MP he demanded a rolling programme of more conquests, based on his belief that “the Aryan stock is bound to triumph”.

As colonial secretary in the 1920s, he unleashed the notorious Black and Tan thugs on Ireland’s Catholic civilians, and when the Kurds rebelled against British rule, he said: “I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes ... it would spread a lively terror.”

Of course, it’s easy to dismiss any criticism as being of its time. However, Churchill was seen as the most brutal end of the British imperialist spectrum. Prime minister Stanley Baldwin was warned by cabinet colleagues not to appoint him because his views were so antediluvian. Even his startled doctor, Lord Moran, said of other races: “Winston thinks only of the colour of their skin.”

When Mahatma Gandhi launched his campaign of peaceful resistance, Churchill raged that he “ought to be lain bound hand and foot at the gates of Delhi, and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new Viceroy seated on its back”. As the resistance swelled, he announced: “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.” In 1943 a famine broke out in Bengal and while British officials begged Churchill to direct food supplies to the region he bluntly refused, noting it was their own fault for “breeding like rabbits”. At other times, he said the plague was “merrily” culling the population.

Ultimately, the actions of the great and glorious Churchill who resisted dictatorship overwhelmed the works of the cruel and cramped Churchill who tried to impose it on the darker-skinned peoples of the world. This was a complex man and his actions must be viewed in a more balanced way and not solely through the prism of the Second World War.

Alex Orr
Edinburgh

A people’s vote is dangerous territory for Labour

It is a truth universally acknowledged that whatever is happening in the UK, whoever started it, the blame and responsibility must lie with Jeremy Corbyn.

A report claims that one in 20 people in the UK are Holocaust deniers, so yes, the mainstream media must be right, it is the fault of Corbyn and his supporters. Strange, because most of the time the media is trying to present Corbyn as a person of little or no consequence.

So it is with Brexit: Jeremy Corbyn didn’t call a referendum; the Tories did. May has spent two and a half years not speaking to anyone and negotiated a deal that no one wants, but it is Corbyn who stands accused by his own right-wing MPs of “enabling” Brexit by refusing to support a people’s vote.

Luciana Berger, in The Independent, used a poll that claims the number of students backing Labour has dropped over the party’s Brexit stance, to undermine the leadership. Yes Luciana, that drop in student support does indeed mean that Corbyn must now back a people’s vote. Sod the 17 million voters who opted for Brexit, what the hell do their democratic rights mean over people who know best, like you?

Berger claims that most Labour voters and members back a people’s vote. This isn’t supported, however, by the recent ComRes poll that revealed if Labour’s leadership calls for another referendum, the only beneficiaries will be the Tories.

By contrast, Labour’s current strategy is to become the largest party, then able to form a strong coalition government. ComRes research contains a number of key findings, but one striking result is Labour is more popular now than in 2017 – reflected in the ComRes overall voting intention result showing Labour three points ahead of the Tories.

Hardly a surprise that Berger is seemingly out of touch with the electorate; that or she doesn’t care what harm she and the Blairites do to the Labour Party, so long as Corbyn is ousted. The irony being that the electorate, let alone Labours members, do not want a return to their failed neoliberalism and firmly rejected their politics and policies at the 2017 general election.

Julie Partridge
London SE15