Letters: Johnson’s incompetence in Brexit negotiations is coming home to roost

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EVER since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, the City of London knew it would have to fight to keep its crown as Europe’s leading financial centre.

Just a matter of weeks after the transition period ended on Hogmanay, Amsterdam succeeded in becoming Europe’s largest share trading centre in January.

This dislodging of the UK from its historic position as the main hub for the European market is an early indication of the direction of travel that awaits the City post-Brexit. It also puts paid to the hope that the loss of key financial services activities from London might be gradual, rather than falling off a cliff.

This is because one issue not addressed in the Brexit talks, and for which negotiations are ongoing, was that of financial regulation. Brussels has refused so far to grant the UK “equivalence” status – a regulatory threshold that would mean the City of London could trade unhampered in European markets.

The negotiations on future financial regulation appear to have run into the sand, and Amsterdam’s success is a clear reminder of the failure of Prime Minister Johnson’s Government to ensure that financial services were part of the Brexit talks and resulting deal.

The Government’s incompetence is doubly staggering because Britain has given the EU equivalence, allowing EU banks to operate in UK markets, a decision which has left the UK little leverage in the negotiations.

The impacts of Brexit’s impacts are becoming clear for all to see, and combined with Covid-19 will only serve to damage the fragile UK economy even further.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh EH9.

FEMALE TALENT STILL BEING STIFLED

THE story about Annabel Bennett finding success with the BBC as a composer after pretending to be a man (“‘Change of tune’ by BBC after female composer submitted work as a man”, The , February 16) reminded me of aspects of the life of Mary Ann Evans (1819-1880), author of works such as Adam Bede and The Mill on the Floss. She wrote under the pen name of George Eliot. The main reason for her using a male name in this way was to try to ensure that her works were taken with appropriate seriousness at a time when female writers were usually associated with romantic novels.

One would have thought that life had moved on somewhat since the 19th century, but it would appear that the attitude of some toward women and their abilities is still enshrined in the prejudices of yesteryear. One is left to wonder now how much society has lost over the generations as a result of failure to encourage female talent and to promote its exposure.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

CONSEQUENCES OF FARM REFORM
DAVE Morris (Letters, February 16) writes a wish list on what he wants UK farmers to do to reduce their CO2 emissions . This might seem to be laudable at first sight, but I wonder if he’s thought about the potential unintended consequences? If UK farmers were to set aside more land for trees would this mean that they would produce less food, therefore we’d need to import more food from foreign countries? Would more tropical rainforest be cleared to create space to grow extra food for the UK?Geoff Moore, Alness.

BURNS IN THE AMERICAN MIDWEST

I NOTE a fascinating article by Ian Houston (“Lincoln and his love for Burns and Scotland”, The , February 15). I had no idea of the links between the great President Lincoln and the Ploughman Poet, but it’s obvious when you think about it.

I was a graduate student at Washington University, St Louis, in the American Midwest in the late 1950s. The city, founded by the French, and subsequently settled by the Germans after 1848, abounded in literary connections. Washington University itself, originally the Eliot Seminary, had been started by the grandfather of the poet, TS Eliot, who himself was born and brought up in the city. It was renamed when it moved to its new and more spacious campus in 1904. The playwright Tennessee Williams was another native St Louisan, and set his famous autobiographical play, The Glass Menagerie, in St Louis.

One day not long after I’d first arrived at the university, I was walking in an unfamiliar part of the campus when I came upon a handsome statue…. of Robert Burns, no less. It was the only statue, as far as I was aware, on the campus, and this in a Franco-German city in the American Midwest. The Burns influence crops up in the most unexpected places. My old friend Jimmy Logan used to tell me about giving The Immortal Memory at Burns Suppers in Kiev back in the 1980s.

It was moving to learn that Mary Lincoln reconnected with her late husband on visiting the Brig o’ Doon some years after his death in 1865.

Robert Love, Glasgow G12.

JAGGED EDGE

IF voting is still open in the jabs v jags debate (Letters, February 16), please note that, Maryhill-born, I have been a lifelong Jags supporter at considerable risk to my mental health. Now I am able to support jags which will be beneficial to my physical health.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

DECIMAL DESPAIR

REGARDING the 50th anniversary of decimalisation (Issue of the Day, February 15), my aunt had a small local grocery in Burnbank, Hamilton. A few weeks after the change to the new coins an elderly lady came into the shop for her order and started to rake in her purse to pay and, with a great sigh, said: “Mrs Gibson, they should have waited till all the auld folk were deid before they started this nonsense.”

Ron Oliver, Elie.

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