Couple of letters I had in the Herald…

5th October:

ALLISTER Mackie (Letters, October 3) is entirely correct to point out the likely catastrophic results of a hard Brexit. I am sure that he would agree that the Brexit mess could have been avoided if more people had voted for Ed Miliband to be prime minster in 2015 rather than for other parties, thus avoiding David Cameron’s EU referendum altogether. That, of course, is water under the bridge.

We need to look to how the catastrophe can be avoided while adhering to the voters’ choice to leave the EU. It seems clear that the only option that would do so would be a European Economic Area (EEA) arrangement, most easily through membership of the European Free Trade Association (Efta).

This is the only solution that meets Labour’s six tests and there is evidence that many on the Tory benches would support this solution. Add the SNP, Plaid Cymru and Northern Ireland parties and it becomes possible that this is the only option to command a parliamentary majority.

The time has come for the Opposition to lead the call for Efta/EEA and for the minor parties to follow that call. As a gesture of goodwill, it would also make matters much easier if Nicola Sturgeon used her party’s forthcoming conference to withdraw her empty threat of a second independence referendum in Scotland. We voted in the Brexit referendum as a single electorate, and we need to face its challenges as one.

Peter A. Russell

Today (Less elegant than usual, I am afraid.)

IT is always nice to see readers such as Alasdair Galloway (Letters, October 9) noticing my correspondence. However, he is sometimes a little mistaken about what I have actually written.

First, I do not claim (Letters, October 5) that the Labour Party advocates membership of the EEA and of EFTA: I said that in my view the only Brexit solution that could meet Labour’s Six Tests would be such an outcome. I too am disappointed that my party has not been clear in its policy and hope that it is the very clever Sir Keir Starmer who is in charge, rather than the perhaps slightly less clever Mr Corbyn. Time will tell, but a bit of leadership in a clear direction would not go amiss.

Secondly, my statement about people voting in 2015 other than to elect Ed Miliband as Prime Minister was a reference to the whole UK in a national General Election. The prospect of the SNP influencing a Labour-led Government was understandably anathema to many voters in England, but more LibDems voting Labour and indeed pro-Europe Tories across the UK voting Labour to avoid a referendum would have done the trick, and a Brexit referendum would have been avoided.

In contrast, Mr Galloway appears to think and judge events only in terms of the narrow spectrum of Scotland and Scottish Nationalism. And as his comments show, when people do that, they can very easily come to entirely the wrong conclusion.

Peter A Russell,

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