Letters up to 10th July 2016



Thanks to a couple of eagle-eyed readers who noticed that the photo was incorrect in our article

The picture was corrected to show Labour MP Gisela Stuart. 

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Thanks to another eagle-eyed reader who pointed out our mistake in our article about Le Tour de France. We mistakenly said La Tour, not Le Tour. Sorry!

Opinions about Brexit 

Inevitably, most of our letters have been about Brexit. Here are a few of them.

I found it interesting that a man could vote Leave because he objects to inconvenient foreigners in his UK hometown…not realising HE is an inconvenient foreigner wherever he stays in France for the sunny months. Stunning, really stunning.

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A Capestang reader has written to all the major players in the Brexit decisions, and we thought readers would be interested to read it.

Dear x

Brexit – An idea that will help you

In future years historians will look back on 2016 as the year that the British Government could have avoided the national and worldwide fall in prosperity, the end of 70 years of European stability with its resulting international conflicts, the break-up of the U.K. and its disappearance as a major world power.

But you can easily prevent that scenario.

Some Government decisions rise above the need to follow the opinions of a misinformed public who have been fed lies and half-truths through the newspapers that they read. For the good of the future world and Britain’s position in it, this must be a decision that rises above party politics and the opinions of brain-washed voters.

You, the Government, still have the opportunity to correct the situation. The referendum shows what the majority of voters believed before appreciating the post-vote turmoil that few foresaw (albeit many have admitted that they only made a protest vote believing that the ‘Remain’ would win).

Now is the opportunity to consider the referendum as only a sounding of opinions held prior to the vote and to act on behalf of worldwide and national prosperity, stability and peace with Britain’s place in it as a major power, by deciding to remain in Europe.

Better known in history as a courageous, strong politician who saved the melt-down rather than one who created it.

Yours courteously,

Languedoc Living reader from Capestang

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Five reasons why I am angry, disappointed and ashamed about Brexit.

1. I wasn’t allowed to vote, but I am about to lose my precious status as a European Citizen. I will no longer have the right to work and live in the European Union and receive health care as now.

2. I was horrified and disappointed by the level of campaigning before the referendum. There was virtually no debate, no dialogue, no presentation of the case for either side. There were lies, half-truths and scare stories.

There has never been a consistent argument for being a member of a peaceful united Europe other than access to an open market and what’s in it for us. Both sides made populist statements to appeal to uninformed voters.

3. The Brexiters made emotional appeals to people in poorer areas about Immigrants.

The Remain group failed to talk about the positive role immigrants have played in the past.

The Jewish immigrants who arrived in the first half of the 20th Century, bringing with them their culture, skills and intellect, enriching our society in so many ways.

The West Indians who arrived in the 1950’s bringing colour, life and music to a war-weary population. But above all, driving our buses, working on the Underground filling gaps everywhere including the NHS.

People from India who became Doctors, accountants and other professionals.

At the time, they were all accused of taking jobs from the poor and were called by unspeakable names.

4. The Brexiters said they wanted their country back so they could run it properly. No one pointed out that the difficulties did not come from Brussels but from decades of bad management by local councils and central government of all parties. Who are they going to blame now?

5. I am ashamed of the xenophobia that was used. I am ashamed of the racism that has now re-appeared.

I am profoundly worried that this will spread across Europe.

Tony Gaunt
Born Leeds 1932
Lived and worked in Norwich, Newcastle, Leeds, London, Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam, Oslo.

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Will the MP’s dare vote Remain? As Geoffrey Robertson writes though, by the time a vote is taken on the as yet unwritten bill, things could well have changed sufficiently for MP’s to believe the referendum null and void.

There is of course an example. In 2005 55% of French voters gave a loud and very dramatic “Non” to the European Constitution. In its own way it caused as big an upset, since the future of the EU hung on every country voting “Oui”.

Chirac was faced with either redressing the situation or withdrawing France from the EU (although the referendum was not about whether or not to leave, France could not reasonably stay in the Union if it did not accept the Constitution).

A second referendum was mooted and rejected. The only way to muddle through was for the Assemblée Nationale to vote Yes to the Constitution. Which it did, from memory 2 years after the people’s vote, when all the excitement was long forgotten and the Constitution had been re-named as the Treaty of Lisbon. Thus with suitable window-dressing the deputés voted against the will of the people and frankly few even noticed. Now, 11 years on, no one I have spoken to in France can even remember the 2005 referendum, let alone France voting “Non”.

Tim King, ex France correspondent for the British political magazine Prospect.

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Maybe we should invoke the words of Jesus: ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do’ and give the poor fools in the UK the chance of a second referendum, now the real consequences of their vote to leave the EU are becoming clearer. Could Theresa May or Jeremy Hunt [Or Leadsom, Ed] just swing it and get us out of this tragic mess?

Alison Crockett

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Poor deluded Bert ! I think it’s you who need the reality check.

I do hope the immigrants you so detest, do leave so that you can see the massive contribution they make to their chosen country of residence. The NHS depends greatly on immigrants and of course you will by now realise that there are no magic millions a week going to be given to the NHS, as per the lies pedalled by the Leave campaign. And when you try to get a plumber, or have a relative cared for, or have vegetables picked from fields, will you volunteer to do these “menial ” jobs that “British ” people won’t do ? I suspect not !

If you cared so deeply for the people of Gibraltar which we Remainers apparently don’t (where does that leap of fancy come from ?! ), why did you vote to leave ?

As for “living cheaply in the sun “……….! You are clearly not living in the real world but then that was already apparent.

We live here as we enjoy a multicultural lifestyle and are welcomed as contributing immigrants as are the majority of immigrants in the UK.

A sad European

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Dear Editor,

So you are a leftie are you, like everyone at the BBC I suppose ?

Poor old Bert, it must be pretty grim where he lives. My advice to him would be to come and live here all the time. The tone of his letter reminds me of yet another reason why I am here, though we could no doubt find local press correspondence in the same vein, and certainly in Nord/Pas de Calais.

Thank you for your commitment to free speech and your patience with we correspondents. Keep up the good work.

Rex Hall

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In letters this morning several people are suggesting that a new referendum be held or that Parliament can simply ignore the June 23 result.

I received a request to sign a petition for a second one, below is my letter to them:-

Your memo was very opportune. Watching BBC this afternoon it was suggested by an MP that, legally, the Government could ignore the referendum.

Studying the UK Constitution there is no reference to an entity “referendum” as being a law or regulation.

In a general Election, the population elects Members of the Commons and in effect gives them power to take complicated decisions in their name without asking each and every one if they agree.

If challenged, a retort could be that the campaign for Brexit, in all forms of media, contained untruths and faulty arguments that would render it invalid in a Court of Law – which is actually what the House of Commons is.

Geoff Taylor 

Ménard tweets no legitimacy to English language

In response to Monsieur Ménard’s tweet about English no longer being used as the language for the EU in the wake of Brexit – I just wonder how good his English is? Food for thought.

Lindsey Blake 

Languedoc Living 

I am a US citizen recently retired to Languedoc. I find your publication very helpful even though it appears to be predominantly for British folks. It was difficult to get a visa and it is only for 6 months. We will have to return to the US, which we did not expect.

(Sorry to hear that you have to return. Ed.) 

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I really enjoy your publications, newsletters and your website.

I’ve been coming to the Languedoc for about 18 years, usually for about two weeks or so – and always in September. Places we’ve stayed are usually out of the way places, away from the crowds; Pomerols, Aniane, Montagnac, Quarante and for the last few years Azillanet. Sorry to say that although my wife’s French is really quite good, mine is still pretty useless, probably because we tend to keep ourselves pretty much to ourselves during our stays. Finding your website was a stroke of good luck. We’re starting to think that a move to the Languedoc could well be on the cards in the next couple of years, it would be a good place to live and a good work base with airport connections to most of the places in Europe that I’d need to get to.

[Good luck with your plans, it’s a great place to live. Ed]

Media Barons

The assertion made by Jonathan Reynolds and quoted on your website today that US legislation requires that the Chief Executive or Chairman of an American media organisation (as in Rupert Murdoch and News International) must be a US citizen cannot pass unchallenged. It is basically just wrong, as was his assertion (which you yourself challenged) that broadcast and print cross ownership is not permitted.

I am moved to protest at this ignorant misinformation because I have just experienced a member of my own family quoting it as “fact”. Amateur bloggers are more dangerous than openly politically biased commentators and columnists sometimes.

John Harvey

[In the interest of free speech, we often print articles which we don’t necessarily agree with. We try to make it clear when we are printing ‘opinions’ rather than ‘facts’. Ed]

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The extract from Jonathan Reynolds provides better clarity as to who had a huge impact upon the BREXIT vote. Last night on Newsnight reference was made as to the importance of whom Mr Murdoch supports or not to become the next PM. It is extremely worrying that someone, who is not a UK citizen, has such huge say in whether the UK leaves or stays in the EU and who becomes the next PM.

What do you and your readers think of a petition for the UK to adopt the US rule that UK media owners must be genuine UK citizens. By that I mean they must be UK citizens and resident UK tax payers. So exclude those with non-dom status.

Jorje Maslakiewicz