Iran’s hated regime
Sir: I disagree with the analysis of Christopher de Bellaigue (‘Trump’s folly’, 12 May). The Iranians I know, well aware of the hardship caused by sanctions, nevertheless welcome them as a demonstration of international condemnation of the Tehran regime. The idea that the Iranian people would rally round the mullahs in the face of disapproval by the West is wrong. My Iranian friends plead for our moral support in their efforts to overthrow their hated regime, which is impoverishing their country by its military adventurism abroad and has robbed many families of loved ones through imprisonment and executions.
Can’t fudge the border
Sir: Lionel Shriver’s article is correct in recognising that the EU is responsible for its side of the UK-Irish border after Brexit, not Britain’s (‘The Irish border is the EU’s problem, not ours’, 12 May). But the suggestion that the Good Friday Agreement could be fudged or changed in any way, however reasonable it may sound, is a dangerous one that would result in social and political disaster. The border region has seen the growth, in the past two decades, of young Northern Ireland-born professionals who not only hold Irish passports but who identify as Irish and not British.
Despite being too young to remember the troubles, the GFA remains hugely significant to these young Irish men and women, who are growing up to dominate public life in both Northern Ireland and the Republic. If Westminster wants to avoid threatening the long-term integrity of the Union and difficult debates with the Irish Nationalist movement, the government and the EU would be wise to solve the UK-Irish Border within the strict parameters of the GFA.
Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire
Sir: Charles Moore (The Spectator’s Notes, 12 May) is a little premature in suggesting that the current Duke of Wellington has departed from the wise habits of his great forebear by amending the EU Withdrawal Bill in the Lords. The Iron Duke often took strong exception to measures passed by the Commons, but always insisted that in the end the Lords must give way. After denouncing the Whig government’s new constitution for Canada in 1840, ‘In the last stages I prevailed upon the House to agree to, and pass it, in order to avoid the injury to the public interests of a dispute between the two Houses on a question of such importance.’ The test for the current Duke and his supporters comes when the Bill returns to the Lords for its last stages.
House of Lords, London SW1
Sir: I was touched by the sad article by Matthew Parris, in which he just cannot get over his horror at Brexit (‘Brexit has driven me mad, but I can’t let it go’, 12 May). Can I suggest a few things that might help him recover?
First, he might get some perspective. He will still be able to drink his favourite rosé wine. He will still be able to go to Europe. The sun will still shine and the sky will not cave in.
Secondly, it would help him tremendously to realise that the EU is not a wholly good force. The ever-closer union has no support (as shown when the constitution was voted down in France and the Netherlands) and, while immigration benefits those who want cheap labour, he should recognise that cheap labour means low wages for the indigenous population. He might also look at the unemployment rates in southern Europe.
Thirdly, Remainers seem to be driven mad by the apparent stupidity of Leavers. Why should these stupid people (who were so stupid that they fell for all of the lies) have a vote? He should get out of London and meet people who are poorer than they were ten years ago, and haven’t benefited from the EU.
I hope that if he can think a bit more calmly about the above, he will be cured.
Lambourn, West Berks
LSD saved me
Sir: I had the good fortune to take LSD back in the early 1970s while in therapy with R.D. Laing (‘The acid test’, 12 May). LSD in this therapeutic setting proved to be psychedelic dynamite which blasted through generational layers. Without it, given my psychological state at that time, I doubt whether I would have survived. It was my interaction with LSD — and Ronnie Laing’s comforting presence — that saved my life. It is good to see that these avenues are being re-evaluated.
Sir: June Purvis appears aggrieved that the militant suffragette and convict Kitty Marion was forcibly fed in prison as many as 232 times (Letters, 5 May). Should she not rather be grateful that the authorities saved this malefactor from death by self-starvation?
Sir: I disagree with Taki’s view that there will never be a more chic officer’s uniform that the German one (High Life, 28 April). I suggest he visits Wellington or Knightsbridge Barracks: there is nothing chic-er than the Household Cavalry and Foot Guards officer’s frock coat with overalls and spurs.
Petworth, West Sussex