SIR Born a free man, I shall resume that status at 11pm tonight.
Michael McGoughLoughton, Essex
SIR The Irish prime minister says the United Kingdom is now a small country. Geographically, I dont think we will have shrunk after today, but now we can make up our minds and plough our own furrow, rather than trying to get 27 other small countriesto agree with us.
Graham MitchellHaslemere, Surrey
SIR The United Kingdom stands proud as the fifth biggest trading nation in a world of 195 and more. Notso small after all.
Jenny MacdonaldEast Peckham, Kent
SIR In 1975 I proudly attached with Blu-Tack a Keep Britain in Europe logo to the back window of my parents car.
In 2016 I proudly attached a Vote Leave sticker to the rear of my vehicle.
From the EEC to the EU it was Europe that changed, not the voters.
Chris PenneyWellington, Somerset
SIR The British people were indeed sold a pig in a poke by Edward Heath when Britain joined the European Economic Community in 1973 (Comment, January 29).
On television in January 1973, Heath could not have been clearer: There are some in this country who fear that, in going into Europe, we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified.
This, of course, was untrue, but it is representative of the chicanery used by Heath and his acolytes to hoodwink the British people and lull them into the false belief that political ambitions enshrined in the Treaty of Rome would never affect us. The whole arrangement, we were assured, was about trade and economics. Insiders and politicians knew better, but they brushed the truth under the carpet.
It stayed there for many years, and it was only after qualified majority voting in the European Council had been widely expanded under the Single European Act in 1986 and the national veto removed that the spectre of European federalism dared raise its head in Britain.
It consumed four British prime ministers: Margaret Thatcher, John Major, David Cameron and Theresa May. We must hope that this will be the full tally.
Gregory ShenkmanLondon W8
SIR As a Remainer who believes that today marks the greatest act of national self-harm in British history, may I offer a word of comfort to the few Telegraph readers who may share my view?
Recent analysis of the melting Antarctic glacier seems to prove that climate change is inevitable, and we are witnessing a sixth extinction whichwill sweep humanity away.
Given that the extinction of the dinosaurs made room for our own species to replace them at the top of the food chain, two questions could fill the vacuum left by the Brexit debate. Which species will replace us? Perhapsthe far more socially collaborative termite?
And why on earth, when humanity should have been discussing whether and how our species and our planet can survive, were we so concerned about Brexit?
Dame Esther RantzenLondon NW3
SIR Big Ben will be silent, but many thousands of public clocks will strike 11pm today.
People should record the sound and sight of their local clock striking 11pm, in order to commemorate for posterity this historic moment when we become again an independent, self-governing democracy.
The Earl of Wemyss and MarchStanway, Gloucestershire
SIR After yet another claim was made regarding Lord Lucans whereabouts this week, you listed some of the theories put forward over the past 45years as to his fate (Lifestyle, telegraph.co.uk, January 29).
For the sake of accuracy, I should say that the theory cited from my 2014 book, A Different Class of Murder that Lord Lucan was taken to an airfield in Kent and flown to sanctuary was indeed offered to me by a new witness, but my book does not, as suggested, endorse it. I make it clear that I think Lord Lucan killed himself on or around November 8 1974. That was the belief of all to whom I spoke for the book, including his sister and those ofhis closest friends then still living.
Laura ThompsonRichmond, Surrey
SIR I visited a live market in Chongqing during a three-week tour of China. Wuhan (Letters, January 30) was on the itinerary. Although I have lived in the Far East for 19 years, the revulsion that overcame me during that visit has left me somewhattraumatised to this day.
Perhaps it is the natural world rebelling against this tradition of mindless slaughter and disrespect for animal life that is causing the coronavirus to run rampant among us.
SIR The Department for Transport is proposing to treat electric scooters like bikes, making riding them on pavements illegal. At present, idiotic, uninsured cyclists use the pavement with gay abandon and are never caught, since they cannot be identified. There are no plans to make electric-scooter owners take a test, have insurance, have an identification plate or pay towards the cost of the roads.
This is a recipe for injuries and deaths, and cyclists and electric-scooter riders will avoid responsibility by cycling or scooting off.
Clark CrossLinlithgow, West Lothian
SIR How sad it is that we live in a country in which a great man like Alastair Stewart (report, January 30) must resign for quoting Shakespeare.
Carry HepworthPetworth, West Sussex
SIR The Whitehall Blob estimates that HS2 will cost 106 billion (report, January 30), which is at least 1,500per person in Britain.
The majority of us will never use it. The Great Central Main Line could be resurrected for well under 10 billion and would achieve effectively the same aims. I thought that, in return for my vote, the new Government was going to sweep away the insouciant behaviour of Whitehall cabals, but decisions on Huawei and HS2 show itis simply business as usual.
Geoff LudlowHythe, Kent
SIR When I was on the Railtrack board between 1995 and 2002, the Great Central Main Line (Letters, January 28) was known as the NorthSouth High Speed proposal; I wonder if the reasons that led the Department for Transport to abandon it in favour of HS2 remain valid.
Sir Philip BeckPilton, Somerset
SIR The Prime Minister could save more than 80 billion by abandoning HS2 and then spend it on delivering punctual local trains for working people. If he really believes in the North and the Midlands, he will be bold and cancel this bloated, illconceived vanity project now.
Rosemary DrinkwaterCoventry, Warwickshire
SIR It is a disgrace that charities such as Combat Stress (Letters, January 29) need to exist at all.
Many ex-Servicemen and women do in fact lose their lives to mental illness. The Government must, as an absolute minimum, provide care and ongoing support, rather than proclaiming a meaningless Armed Forces Covenant.
All military-support charities do an amazing job, but it shames the nationthat they need to do so.
Wg Cdr David Gibbs (retd)Matlock, Derbyshire
SIR This Sunday, 02/02/2020, will be the only palindromic date in our lifetime.
There can only be 12 such dates, the others being 01/01/1010 and 11/11/1111 in medieval times, 12/12/2121 in the next century, and 03/03/3030 to 09/09/9090 in succeeding millennia.
SIR Professor Mary Beard claims that nude paintings have tended to serve as soft porn for the male elite (report, January 28).
When I was a child, I received a sound education in classical art from my mother. On one occasion, we were looking at a book of paintings by the Old Masters when, inevitably, we came across one that depicted a group of nudes lounging and frolicking in bucolic surroundings.
Totally baffled, I asked her what they were doing. Looking for their clothes, she replied.
SIR Professor Beard appears to bemoan the lack of male nudes.
I am a life model of 12 years standing. If shed care to look at myInstagram account, she will find a number of drawings of me byvarious artists.
David EarlEastbourne, East Sussex
SIR Two of your reports (January 30) on the BBCs latest round of cuts illustrate the broadcasters contradictory position.
On one hand, it proudly announces that all newscasters especially, it would seem, the more experienced ones are fair game for displacement, on the grounds that it needs to focus on digital services because under-35s dont care where they get their news from.
Yet when Boris Johnson says that his Brexit Day speech will be produced by his own videographer, rather than a mainstream media organisation, the BBC throws its toys out of the pram and refuses to guarantee that it will air the speech. It doesnt need modernisation just a better strategy.
Geoff BrownPotten End, Hertfordshire
SIR In its paranoia over ratings, the BBC is discriminating against older viewers, who actually watch and listen to its programmes, in favour ofyounger ones, who do not.
Victoria BaillonHornblotton, Somerset
SIR There are eight people in our family unit: me, my wife, our children, their spouses and our grandchildren, with another one on the way.
The BBCs focus on under-35s means it has rendered itself irrelevant to all but one of us, and she will be out of its focus bracket in two years. Our oldest grandchild will probably not be interested in the news for at least 10years. Voluntary subscriptions cant come too soon.
David DunbarBroadway, Worcestershire
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