Australian letters

9 June 2016

1:00 PM

9 June 2016

1:00 PM

LGBT etc

Sir: I was offended and humiliated by Simon Collins (4 June 2016) omission of my sexuality identification tag.

This insult seems to be an an ever increasing attempt to intimidate people of my gender orientation into silence.

Please include the tag ‘N’ when identifying gender groups, ie LGBTQQPRCCRN, where N is, obviously, Normal.
Edwin Grimshaw
Sunshine Coast
, Qld

Sins of the past

Sir: Hal G.P. Colebatch asks the question “Who’s xenophobic now?” and he then proceeds to write at length about who was xenophobic as he leaps from the present to past tense. Bill Shorten should not be held responsible for the sins of Labor leaders past; he has done enough dodgey deals of his own and they could continue to come back to haunt him.

Political exploitation of xenophobia compounds the evil of xenophobia. The poor innocent bastards on Manus and Nauru do not give a rat’s arse about the laterality of those who have consigned them to this hell of uncertainty. Both sides of politics would do well to read the philosopher John Rawls: “Justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others.”
Mark Porter
New Lambton

War and Brexit

Sir: Over the past few weeks every underemployed academic, hack or backbencher has come forward offering opinions on the Brexit dispute. The result has been one pool of confusing sludge. I wonder if, as a nonagenarian, I could contribute a view before the deadly vote comes along?

After four years’ service in the wartime army I was appointed to Germany as Daily Telegraph correspondent. Though it was several years after the war, what I saw appalled me. I don’t think I realised quite what a job the RAF had done; or imagined the appalling suffering of the enemy civilians. What would another European war do? We were fearful, and grasped at straws. It was at exactly that time that the scheme for pooling Franco-German coal and steel production, which at a stroke would render any future French/German conflict impossible, was first thought up. It was a visionary precursor to the EU. Europe is more fragile than one imagines; the slaughter in Bosnia occurring so recently should at least give us pause for concern.

As far as British interests go, I can hardly think of a more deadly combination than an exit from Europe and accession to power by a triumphant Boris Johnson. What motivates Boris is quite clearly self-interest; his timing suggests so. When he became editor of The Spectator, in 1999, I took him to lunch and asked him how he saw Europe. He said: ‘I spent five years working in Brussels with the bloody Belgians and I concluded that Europe was a sink!’ With such strong views, the mystery is why he waited nearly 20 years before becoming the standard-bearer for Brexit.

It would be hard to imagine a worse fate for Britain than to find ourselves out of Europe with few friends in the United States and an entertaining jokester as Prime Minister — which would be the progression if Brexit were to win.
Sir Alistair Horne
Henley-on-Thames, Oxon

Class traitors

Sir: I wholeheartedly agree with Fraser Nelson’s argument against positive discrimination in the workplace (‘Purge of the posh’, 4 June). The irony is that the people imposing this approach would not be there if they were subject to the same treatment. If this government believes in aspiration, it will support the advancement of all citizens. Reform in education, welfare and justice, as Nelson concludes, will ensure our society’s health and prosperity. In the meantime, maybe Mr Cameron and his Eton-bred chums would do well to remember where they came from.
Sophie Harrison

Where the cuckoos went

Sir: Charles Moore can take heart (Notes, 4 June). The cuckoos he has been unable to hear in East Sussex must have migrated to our part of Suffolk. My wife and I have heard more around us this spring than for many years, and I’m as deaf as a post.
Derek Bingham
Woodbridge, Suffolk

Snowflakes in Afghanistan

Sir: I am not sure Claire Fox is painting the full picture in describing the younger generation as thin-skinned and belligerently entitled (‘The snowflake factory’, 4 June). Thousands of that same apparently fragile generation have volunteered to join the army, knowing full well that they would serve in Afghanistan. Operating in extreme conditions and facing loss of life and limb, those young men and women have been quite remarkably resilient and robust. It makes me think the problem described lies with the postwar generation, not with those who know that the next few decades won’t be quite as comfortable as those enjoyed by their rather more delicate parents.
Jonathan Campbell-James

Health and the EU

Sir: The method by which Michael Barratt (Letters, 4 June) obtained his free healthcare in France will have been the European Health Insurance Card. He will be pleased to know that, despite carrying the EU logo, it is available to citizens of non-EU countries such as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. It is quite safe for him to vote Leave.
Tim Hedges

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