Time for Remainers and Leavers to get a grip and devote their talents to building up the nation
SIR – However we voted in the referendum, we’re now in it together, for better or worse. It is time to get a grip. We must all be prepared to give more than we take from this redefined nation, regardless of our age, gender, race or political bias.
If you are enterprising, be a wealth and job creator; if you are unable to work, be an encourager or a volunteer.
Never pass on by. Pick up litter, or help a neighbour in crisis. Should none of this be possible, then pray for the rest of us, that we may seize the opportunity thrust upon us. Malcolm Little Gosport, Hampshire
SIR – Given Britain’s £8 billion trade deficit with the EU, should they not be asking for access to our market? Carol McCullough High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
SIR – Everyone who voted Leave, for whatever reason, must now reflect on the fact that they have pushed the EU into an existential crisis.
Everywhere from France to the Netherlands, far-Right parties have been emboldened. The risk to liberal democracy in western Europe has not been greater since 1945.
Leave campaigners claimed that a vote for Brexit wasn’t an act of xenophobia and isolationism. If you are a Leave voter, what are you going to do to prove it? Alex McAuley Prangins, Vaud, Switzerland
SIR – In 1992, a slight majority of Swiss voters refused to join the European Economic Area (50.3 per cent to 49.7 per cent).
According to the pundits – and most national newspapers – the country was going to break up. (It was indeed divided between a French-speaking Europhile minority and a Germanspeaking anti-European majority.) The economy was going to crash and the Swiss franc was to be worth less than the Zimbabwean dollar.
Calls for a second vote came, and companies warned they were ready to leave the country. Local authorities talked of individual cantons joining the EU. The government was warning of a massive haemorrhage of talent.
None of this happened. Instead, after a slight recession, the economy started to grow again. Nowadays, even if the country’s relationship with the EU is far from settled, almost no one seriously envisages joining the EU or the all-but-defunct EEA. As Britain goes through similar times, it is worth remembering this. Nicholas Antenen Geneva, Switzerland
SIR – Some EU leaders have indicated that they will make our exit difficult, to discourage others. This acknowledges that other countries want to leave. Pressuring them to stay simply puts off the inevitable, as we saw with the eventual break-up of the Soviet Union. Michael Thomas Uffington, Oxfordshire
SIR – There may be uncertainty about the future, but there is no cause for panic. Britain is a great country – the founder of parliamentary democracy. We have taken back our freedom, our sovereignty, our voice in the world.
We need to unite and fight for those ideals, and to prove that, with the help of our allies in Europe and round the world, we can prosper by standing on our own feet, unhampered by a failing European government in Brussels.
I urge everybody who voted to remain to have faith. Give us a chance to prove ourselves, and we will. Rosemary Marshall New Malden, Surrey
SIR – It is imperative that a new Conservative leader, and thus Prime Minister, is chosen with all despatch. The longer David Cameron lingers, the longer the country will be in limbo. RJH Griffiths Havant, Hampshire
SIR – I’ve never previously been a fan of George Osborne, but his speech yesterday morning changed my mind. He was the voice of reason and hope.
Michael Heseltine, on the other hand, continues to fan the flames of fear, negativity and division. Anne Payne Macclesfield, Cheshire
SIR – I voted to remain. But now that we are leaving we must not give in to further EU bullying by giving our notice before we are ready. Caroline Waterfall Bedford
SIR – The Establishment, the Houses of Commons and Lords and the devolved Parliament of Scotland – not forgetting the EU hierarchy – will prevent the referendum being implemented by constitutional and legal manoeuvres.
The will of the British people will then be tested in a general election, with an equally acrimonious result. George Noon Preston, Lancashire
SIR – I was gravely concerned that Professor Vernon Bogdanor (Comment, June 27) regards the referendum as putting “a weapon in the hands of the people”. The referendum was a deliberate transfer of consent by an Act of Parliament, the European Union Referendum Act 2015, to the voters of the United Kingdom. The Third Reading was opposed by a handful, including the SNP.
There is therefore no constitutional justification for MPs, professors of government or others to seek to undermine or overturn that fundamentally democratic vote.
Nor is Professor Bogdanor right, for the same reasons, to suggest that “more than two thirds of MPs” would be justified in expressing opposition to its outcome. This was the democratic will of the people and there is no case for a general election. Sir William Cash MP (Con) London SW1
SIR – As the majority of MPs wish to remain in the EU, surely they could vote for a second referendum.
This would enable all those who thought they would give the EU a nasty shock, but did not think Brexit would win, to have second thoughts. Professor M MR Williams Eastbourne, East Sussex
SIR – A suggestion that there should be a general election is a trap devised by disappointed Remainers. They hope to achieve another majority of MPs who favour staying in the EU, and thus claim a mandate for disregarding the earlier popular vote.
The Government has a majority of 12 and is only one year into a fixed five-year parliamentary term. The people were entrusted with a plebiscite by Parliament, which should respect the democratic decision.
The Conservatives must elect a new leader in favour of Brexit and negotiate our independence from the EU as soon as is practicable, or they will drag politics into further disrepute. Michael Staples Seaford, East Sussex
SIR – The most worrying aspect is the refusal by people to accept the result of a democratic vote. Sara Bastin Stroud, Gloucestershire
SIR – During the campaign, some on the Brexit side said that if the result was close, and not in their favour, they would continue to shout loud and clear. That’s fine. Now we Remainers are entitled to do the same. What’s more, we on the centre ground of the Conservative Party may well also be needing a new party to join. Ann Lazarow London W5
SIR – Why is there suddenly all this talk of us as a “divided” nation? Fifty per cent of the nation did not simultaneously all change their minds last Thursday. The referendum simply counted how many have changed their view in recent years, and found that a majority now feel the EU has gone too far.
If we are a divided nation on this issue, then we have been one for some years. Nor are we alone: if a similar count were to be taken in other west European nations, such as Holland, France or Denmark, then these too would be found to be divided.
Now is a time for us to pull together to make the best of our new position in the world. AB Cowling Epsom, Surrey
SIR – Why did a majority of people vote Leave? Was it because Labour and the Scottish Nationalists both mounted lacklustre campaigns? Was it because voters were disaffected with the political classes and wanted to “send them a message”? Was it because so many witless celebrities and untrusted experts supported the Remain campaign? Was it because Project Fear backfired? Was it because the Remain campaign was regarded as manipulative and even mendacious?
Or was it – just possibly – because a majority of people wanted to leave the EU? Dr Neil Johnson Carnforth, Lancashire
SIR – I went shopping at the weekend and there appeared to be a glut of sour grapes. Tim Rann Mirfield, West Yorkshire
SIR – My 17-year-old daughter Katie was cross that she could not vote. But she told me that she was glad that she had got up at 4am to watch the results, and to have lived through this history, as she said, being made.
I am Leave, she is Remain, but her point unites us: the people have been given a voice, and have spoken. If only a few of the spitters, haters, and deniers could recognise what a momentous triumph for democracy this has been, after so many years of being patronised by a professional political elite.
This referendum will have been a victory if politicians across Europe start to pay a little more attention to the people they claim to represent. Victor Launert Matlock Bath, Derbyshire
SIR – Those from the 18-34 age group who now complain that the votes of the older generations have “stolen their future” imply that their vote should be worth more than others.
This is a fundamental misunderstanding of how democracy works. Perhaps they should reflect on the fact that I, like many of my contemporaries, was, at a similar age, just as enthusiastic about the EU.
Years of frustration and experience under the bureaucratic and unaccountable rule of Brussels dashed that zeal and turned it into disdain. They should thank us for saving them from the same fate. Julian Waters Standford, Hampshire
SIR – I see that Jeremy Corbyn leapt into action by replacing – with the exception of Hilary Benn and Diane Abbott – one bunch of people I’ve never heard of with another. William T Nuttall Rossendale, Lancashire
SIR – Right, so it looks like we’re divorcing Europe.
Do we get to have France at weekends? Do we take Germany bowling and then sit in McDonald’s afterwards in awkward silence? Jonothan Plotnek Grimsby, Lincolnshire
Export drive: a Nissan worker at Sunderland, which assembles half a million cars a year