Will anybody have a Merry Christmas in 2019? (Brexit food shortages: Government being secretive over public health risks of no deal.) The new year seems unlikely to be happy either.

Two months after a no-deal Brexit, existing food stocks, both commercial and domestic, will be running low and problems with transport across borders seem unlikely to have been fully resolved. The UK will have been put on a diet whether it likes it or not – a Tory diet, lest anyone forget.

I am surprised that the media have made so little so far of the already adumbrated invoking of the Civil Contingencies Act – it was mentioned in the white paper at the outset of the Brexit process. The act makes provisions for the imposition of martial law and the suspension of parliament and elections inter alia – is this is how Johnson will silence parliament? Invoking the act before parliament reconvenes after the summer recess would solve all of Johnson’s problems – especially as media and public discourse would be suppressed as part of the emergency powers process.

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Does anybody know if discourse can continue unfettered on servers located outside UK jurisdiction? Perhaps this is the moment for a mass digital exodus to foreign servers, VPNs or the dark net to preserve some semblance of democratic credibility.

Steve Ford
Haydon Bridge

Social care shame as Johnson ‘starts work’

Don’t get me wrong – a £1.8bn cash boost for our beleaguered NHS is not to be sniffed at – but I’m not hanging out the bunting just yet. As an ex-NHS doctor turned tech-for-good entrepreneur trying to tackle social care staffing crisis, I can confidently say that health and social care are inextricably interdependent.

This announcement has the feeling of a pre-election patch up job – plugging the gaps in one will only serve to see a bigger leak spring elsewhere. It’s concerning to hear Boris Johnson say that the government is only just “starting work” on tackling the injustice of social care – we’ve been waiting a long time for the social care green paper and there’s still nothing in sight. I hope that Johnson’s promise to fix social care funding comes from a genuine desire to improve the system. We must achieve parity between health and social care if we want to create a sustainable solution for everyone.

Charles Armitage
London EC2M 

I rather despair of my erstwhile profession after seeing nurses taking selfies with Boris Johnson on the news.

I cannot imagine why an NHS nurse would their picture taken with a Conservative prime minister. 

Anthony Ingleton
Sheffield

Nuclear weapons

Today is the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. A day to reflect on how the use – whether deliberate or mistaken – of nuclear weapons might destroy our planet. It therefore seemed appropriate that today was also scheduled for release of  the parliamentary administration and constitutional affairs committee report of its recent inquiry “The Role of Parliament in the UK Constitution: Authorising the Use of Military Force”. The committee accepted two written submissions (one from myself) to the inquiry regarding the authorisation of nuclear force and questioned several witnesses, including Admiral Lord West (a former first sea lord), on the same subject. One might, therefore, have expected the report to express a view.

However, in paragraph six of the introduction, it states “this inquiry has not considered the issue of the UK’s nuclear deterrent”. One wonders why not? Perhaps a new inquiry should be convened to consider this issue alone: nuclear warfare having an indiscriminate and disproportional effect greater than any form of conventional warfare.

Robert Forsyth
Deddington

Independent Minds Events: get involved in the news agenda

Compensation please

I recently read about the Northern Irish civil servant who was awarded £10,000 because he was offended by having to walk past portraits of the Queen at his place of work.

This comes shortly after I was offended by Liverpool fans booing and singing “You’ll never walk alone” during the traditional singing of the national anthem shortly before the FA Community Shield match at Wembley on Sunday.

Where do I apply for my compensation?!

For the record, I am happy to see images of Her Majesty everywhere – on coins, postage stamps and the like.

Doug Fowler
Thornbury

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