Readers’ letters - October 25

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If the European Union won’t talk – the UK has to walk

Well, it was hardly worth the wait, was it, for Theresa May’s much-vaunted address to the other 27 EU nations? Our Prime Minister went over to Brussels wearing her ‘kitten-heel’ shoes to try and inject life into the stalled EU negotiations. We were led to believe that there would be a new energy and purpose, but what did we actually get ?

There were the usual insincere handshakes and predictable statements as both sides pronounced that progress had been made, but not enough to discuss trade, and so the next round of talks would resume in December. Is this their definition of progress? So where are we now, 16 months on from EU referendum? Apart from triggering Article 50, we are no further forward.

This is becoming like a soap opera as, week after week, we hear the same old bilge. This was supposed to be an important process that would shape Britain’s destiny in a world without the EU. All we have had are unreasonable demands as the EU struts around like the beach bully kicking sand in our faces. Michel Barnier demands a ‘divorce’ bill that Britain is not legally obliged to pay and deals with the British protests with a Gallic shrug of his shoulders as he says “Non!” How much longer will we have to put with this intransigence? It would be in the best interests for Britain and the EU to reach a sensible deal, that is beneficial and reasonable for both sides.

But we are not dealing with reasonable people. How can we possibly negotiate when we are not even allowed to say no? No deal would not be the end of world for Britain, nor would it be anywhere near as bad as what Barnier and his cohorts are offering.

One more thing, what was Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer doing in Brussels? No doubt trying to influence affairs that are no concern of theirs. This is the real Labour position on Europe ! Treachery and Treason with a capital T, as they connive with Brussels. This is not what more than 17 million people voted for last year.

Theresa May has a task to complete. It is time she asserted herself by stomping those kitten-heeled shoes on the EU and on some of the more treacherous members in her cabinet. Enough is enough. Time to walk away now, before it is too late. If The EU won’t talk, then Britain has to walk !

Will Heyes

via email

Veterans fighting against loneliness

As an extremely proud ambassador for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, I would like to bring to your attention some recent research that the charity has carried out, which looks at loneliness and isolation experienced by working-aged veterans in Greater Manchester.

Many of my closest friends are from the Forces community. It saddens and horrifies me that so many of our brave servicemen and women are dealing with these devastating circumstances alone.

The research shows an alarming rate of isolation and despondency amongst younger veterans. More than a third reported that they felt overwhelmed by negative feelings since leaving the Armed Forces and just over a quarter have experienced suicidal thoughts.

Reasons for this isolation include losing touch with friends and colleagues in the Armed Forces, physical or mental health issues, and struggling to relate to people in civilian life. In fact, a third of veterans agreed that it was difficult to open up to people from a non-military background and almost a quarter admitted to struggling to fit into civilian life.

Many of our veterans are facing relationship breakdown, substance abuse, homelessness and mental health issues, without the relevant help and support. This is just not acceptable.

I have seen this isolation and loneliness first hand. I have had the great privilege of listening to their stories, and being welcomed into their community like one of their own, and that really is an honour. I feel it is my duty – not just as an ambassador of SSAFA but as a human being – to do all I can to help.

Our country owes a debt of gratitude to our Armed Forces, and that includes our veterans. They have had our back and I believe that, as a society, it’s time we had theirs. Surely this is the very least they deserve?

I encourage any local veterans who are struggling, to come forward and get help from SSAFA.

SSAFA has been providing lifelong support to our Forces and their families since 1885.

Every year our staff and team of volunteers help more than 65,000 people, from Second World War veterans to young men and women who have served in more recent conflicts.

To support SSAFA’s fight against this invisible enemy, please visit ssafa.org.uk/fight

Antony Cotton

SSAFA Ambassador and Coronation Street star