The Spectator

Letters | 1 December 2016

Also in Spectator Letters: the number 13; prisons and care homes; cycle lanes; BBC drama; Vermin Clubs; embarrassing names

Irrational EU

Sir: James Forsyth’s otherwise excellent piece on Brexit talks (‘Britain’s winning hand’, 26 November) suffers from the flaw of most British analyses of the EU: the presumption that the EU is a rational actor. If that were so, Greece would not be in the euro, Europe’s borders would not be guarded by Turkey, and David Cameron would have returned from his talks with a deal enabling the EU to keep one of the world’s most successful countries in the union. The recent EU history of perversity and intransigence suggests that whatever aces Theresa May holds, she should prepare to walk away from the table as empty-handed as her predecessor. Fortunately for Mrs May, a successful Brexit does not depend on the EU, which will only grow weaker with time, but on productive relations with the rest of the world.
Max Kaye
Bath

Unlucky for some

Sir: While failing to get to sleep last night I worked out that Donald Trump will be the 13th president and Theresa May the 13th prime minister of the Queen’s reign (counting Wilson once). Triskaidekaphobics should be worried. Perhaps we all should?
Neil James
London W1

Lock ’em up

Sir: Rod Liddle’s article on the ‘cushiness’ of prisons (‘Prisons should be nicer places? Nonsense’, 26 November) brings to mind one of those email jokes of a few years ago. In it, the author recommends that care-dependent pensioners be sent to prison, where they would receive the attention and care that befits their proper dignified status. This would provide 24-hour supervision, security, top diets, good facilities and, of course, the very best medical attention. (It also recommends that prisoners be transferred in turn to the ‘care’ of our official retirement retreats.) Is there a better win-win situation around?
Eric Sciacaluga
Bournemouth, Dorset

Cycle rage

Sir: Sitting in yet another recently devised traffic jam care of TfL, I looked at the empty bicycle lanes beside us and wished ‘No Khan do’ (26 November) could have been written before the mayoral election.

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