Ham&High letters: Brexit and Liveable Crouch End

Boris Johnson delivers his speech during the recent Conservative Party Conference. Photograph: STEFA

Boris Johnson delivers his speech during the recent Conservative Party Conference. Photograph: STEFAN ROUSSEAU/PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Ham&High readers this week.

Tories trash jucidiciary and civil service

Clareine Enderby, Barnet Liberal Democrats, writes:

PM Boris Johnson brings shame and disgrace on the Conservative Party and taints all in his party who continue to support him.

His inflammatory and dangerous rhetoric in the House of Commons last week, following the unlawful shutting down of Parliament for which he is unrepentant, surely must be the final straw.

The remarks he made dismissing threats to MPs and concerning Jo Cox in particular are unforgivable.

He is a disruptor, not a Conservative, and his irresponsible behaviour is not only taking that party down, but the UK with it.

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I have no doubt that his outrageous remarks are calculated to distract attention from his ineffective leadership: in particular his failure to make any proposals to the EU that would be capable of being negotiated.

They also distract from the lack of progress on the Darroch leak investigation and divert attention from the serious questions he must answer on the Arcuri scandal.

Not to mention distracting from the unlawful attempt to prevent our Parliament from scrutinising his government's actions: an outrageous overreach by a minority government desperate to force through its disastrous and unpopular no-deal crash out from the EU.

His refusal to acknowledge he was wrong stokes a dangerous narrative: that he can pick and choose which laws he feels bound by.

His barely disguised contempt for the rule of law and parliamentary sovereignty brings his party into disrepute. He is manifestly unfit for office. I ask the Conservatives: what on earth will there be left to conserve if the independent judiciary, impartial civil service and sovereign parliament continue to be undermined and attacked by the Johnson regime?

Liveable Crouch End trial begins

Cllr Kirsten Hearn, Haringey cabinet member for Climate Change and Sustainability, writes:

The Liveable Crouch End trial began this week, with several temporary road closures, including to Middle Lane. The first day of the trial was challenging, with emergency roadworks in the area by UK Power Networks. However, the situation is already improving and we expect difficulties to ease throughout the remainder of the trial.

The emergency services are able to pass through Middle Lane and have reported no problems so far. Where issues are reported to us, we are making adjustments to mitigate them and assist traffic flow where possible. Low traffic neighbourhoods are an important part of our response to the climate emergency. Addressing climate change is a responsibility for every one of us and this trial in Crouch End is part of that.

Brexit benefits the rich elite

Doug Crawford, Hampstead, writes:

Boris Johnson has assumed the mantle of people's champion - fighting for the people against the "elites" (the courts, Parliament) who are allegedly trying to thwart Brexit and deny people their democratic right.

It's a persuasive argument - after all, no one likes to feel that their views are being ignored - and it is particularly powerful at a time when most people (Remainers and Leavers alike) have had enough and just want Brexit over and done with.

But before we get swept up in an emotional tide we need to pause and reflect for a moment. The courts and Parliament are not the evil elites that they are often painted as - they are not trying to obstruct the will of the people or block Brexit - they are simply trying to ensure that whatever deal is arrived at is a fair, equitable and legal one which will benefit the majority of UK citizens - and so far no such deal has been forthcoming!

However Johnson is not opposed to all elite. There is one group who he is championing (albeit not publically). These are the billionaire elites - unscrupulous and self-serving currency and property speculators, bankers and corporations who stand to benefit massively from the tax incentives and bonfire of environmental, consumer and employment regulations that will inevitably accompany a hard or no-deal Brexit.

Many who voted to leave the EU did so to "take back control" but there is a real danger that we will end up handing control of our economy to these unelected and non accountable individuals and corporations.

After all it is these same people who helped wreck the economy in 2008 and who heralded in years of austerity.

They did not suffer but we did! It is this elite group who have reaped huge economic benefits over the past decade while the majority of the population have struggled. It is this group who have been the agents of increasing inequality, with all its attendant economic and social consequences - lower life expectancy, higher debt, rising crime, lower educational attainment etc.

So, when you next go the ballot box, be it for a second referendum or for a general election, think carefully before you cast your vote. Will your vote benefit your family and your community or will it simply increase the wealth of billionaire elites? Brexit should be for the many, not the few - let's make sure our emotions and frustrations don't make us lose sight of this maxim.

We must regain national identity

Mallory Wober, Lancaster Grove, Hampstead Village, writes:

It is seldom reported, realised or discussed that the European Union issues "directives" which member states must obey - and the European Court of Justice is there to enforce these rules.

This process is barely discussed in the Westminster or devolved UK parliaments, or in our broadcasting, press and our (largely) antisocial electronic message systems.

The Westminster Parliament is currently in what must be one of political history's deepest and most destructive hissy fits, posing as wanting to conserve its authority and the nation's democracy, but doing its best to defeat the heroic efforts recently under way to recover this autonomy.

An example of EU directives reminds ourselves of the subservience into which the UK has in recent years fallen.

Recently it was announced that halal and kosher meat which may have been reared organically could not be described as organic because the animals were not stunned before slaughter. Whether this is acceptable to Muslims and Jews in the UK goes by the board without our parliaments having been given a chance to discuss let alone legislate the matter. [Why would religious groups have an opinion on whether something was organic? No one said meat couldn't be labelled as halal or kosher - ed]

The UK managed its trading arrangements well enough with the rest of the world and within the EEC before we joined the EU and it must involve difficulties in returning to that independent status - but it is worth the temporary dislocation for the sake of the immense psychological benefit of regaining our national identity.

Referendum over general election

Jonathan Livingstone, Frognal Gardens, Hampstead, writes:

Andy Carter is the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Warrington South.

He supported Boris Johnson's five-week suspension of parliament and does not rule out a chaotic no-deal Brexit.

Camden councillor Maria Higson showed her support for Mr Carter by liking his tweet criticising an opposition MP for not supporting a pre-October 31 general election.

The lack of Parliamentary support for an early general election is due to opposition parties hoping to pick up some of the votes that Boris Johnson will lose if he is unable to keep to his October 31 "do-or-die" pledge, in addition to concerns over the risk of a no-deal Brexit.

It is simpler and less divisive to have a further referendum. Attempting to unblock the impasse via a general election would cause greater uncertainty and would mean Brexit concerns would be conflated with wider issues.

Boris is a recipe for Brexit disaster

David Reed, Eton Avenue, Hampstead, writes:

Oh dear, now it seems the European Union is responsible for knife crime in the UK, according to arch-Brexithead Anthony Rodwell (Letter, October 3)!

But it is hard to take the rest of his comments seriously: "I never had a chance to vote for Baroness Hale or other High Court judges", he wails, thus attacking a key principle ensuring our judicial system is as independent as possible from political influence.

Not joining the Euro has allowed Britain to boom, he adds, failing to notice the reality of the British economy today: poverty all around, homelessness soaring and lousy pay for most as Tory austerity policies continue to dismantle the welfare state.

Finally, Mr Rodwell says, we don't need Labour Party legislation to cut working hours, I can do it myself. I don't want to pry into his working life, but few of us can negotiate with employers, so he must be one of the lucky ones I guess.

As I approach my 80th birthday, my joke about seeing the disaster Brexit will bring is wearing thin, but I know that Britain under Boris Johnson will be a disaster. We will be a pawn in Donald Trump's game - a minor one at that.

Does Labour really back a new poll?

Peter Rutherford, Pandora Road, Hampstead, writes:

I am not convinced that your View from the House (Only Labour willing to give Brexit choice) is even true.

If it is, then why does Sir Keir Starmer restrict himself to one measly poll?

The Irish have had five. Surely he can do better than that. Actually, I think this is his intention - to promote polls until he and his associates get the answer that they want.

The forces of capitalism are really working overtime.