COULD it be that the Westminster government now sees Brexit as a chance to consolidate power (Holyrood ‘at risk of death by 111 power grabs’, The National, September 13)? Crush the rising calls for democracy in Scotland and elsewhere? Reign in the devolved areas and quash devolution? A return to the good old days where the poor folk have to doff their caps to the gentry. What does it matter to them if the UK economy crashes? They’ll hold on to their wealth even if people starve on the streets. What better way to enjoy your wealth and privilege than by gazing from on high at the paupers.
Mark Harper
Dysart

I GIVE you two excerpts from the Wikipedia page about Fascism:

“Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism, characterised by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and control of industry and commerce, that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.

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“Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete, and they regard the complete mobilisation of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties. Such a state is led by a strong leader – such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party – to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society.”

Perhaps somebody could explain to me how this is not what is happening in the UK at the moment?

We seem to have at Westminster a Conservative Government which is decidedly authoritarian and nationalistic. The Brexit Bill seeks to allow members of this government to rule by diktat and ignore any opposition from people they regard as traitors. In this they are supported by the media who forget that they should be holding the government to account.

It should not be forgotten that the “upper classes” were supportive of the Nazi Party in the 1930s. People often wonder how a cultured nation such as Germany could follow Hitler and his party through such destruction. Of course, it could happen only to other people in other countries. We are British! We have led the world and will do so again, because our Great United Kingdom will last for at least another thousand years. Am I missing something?
Robert Mitchell
Stirling

PHILIP Hammond, the Chancellor, has surfaced again and stated to a House of Lords committee that the UK wants a transitional customs deal similar to the present one, namely the status quo, while admitting that we will leave the EU in March 2019. He has added that no trade deals with third countries would be made during that period. He also admitted that no deal, interim or otherwise, would cause chaos at Dover unless it mirrored the present benefits from membership!

That is all fine and well. Apart from the committee he was responding to, one wonders who the “other” intended audiences were. He was “giving assurances” to business with his outline. But he cannot assure anything.The EU’s position was and is clear. Out means out! Anyhow, the EU are the final arbiters in any proposals put forward, neither the UK Government nor Philip Hammond.

He must then have been sending a coded message by megaphone to Theresa May, David Davis, Liam Fox and the Foreign Secretary. Indications of a split Cabinet at No 10 or chaos? It proves, at this juncture, the fantasy proposals or demands from No 10 so far are inadequate. The EU has already confirmed that and reminded the UK Government that it does not understand the wider implications of the four freedoms and the single market. That must be why Theresa May is to make a “great” public speech before the next round of talks get underway. This had been trailblazed by the media. We await the big event.

These comments by the Chancellor, and other statements recently issued as veiled threats by Michael Fallon on future cooperation, show a government in a conundrum. And the reason is simple. They are not getting their own way. It must feel frightening now to be in this incipient third country status vis-a-vis the EU. Before Article 50 the UK Government had a veto, opt outs and rebates and could participate in EU councils. Now it is on the outside and is learning fast and hard that Brexit IS Brexit.
John Edgar
Stewarton

I NOTICED in his latest column that Michael Fry has repeated the oft-stated Unionist lie that Scotland will not be able to rejoin the EU unless our deficit is below three per cent of GDP (Michael Fry: Myths perpetrated by GERS figures are typical of Unionist distortions, The National, September 12). This is a flat-out lie and needs to be nailed once and for all. Nowhere in the entry criteria for the EU is it specified what level of deficit an applicant country needs to attain before it’s allowed to join.

The three per cent of GDP figure pertains to membership of the euro not of the EU. All applicant countries are required to pledge to join the euro, but they are not required to specify a timetable and they are not required to actually honour their pledge. A country need only meet the three per cent of GDP criterion when joining the euro and there is no mechanism to force entry into the euro.
Neil Caple
Tarland, Aboyne