Manuel Valls and Len McCluskey rev up the Brexit debate | Letters

Matt Kilcoyne says that Manuel Valls has made the prime Euro-federalist mistake in saying their way is the only way to a good outcome. David Head says being a Unite member at Honda has no value with McCluskey in charge

Manuel Valls is right to say we’ve known since Adam Smith that barriers to trade are harmful to society (Opinion, 7 March). But he is wrong to say harmonisation and standardisation are the only ways to reduce barriers, while ignoring mutual recognition – knowing that states are after the same outcomes, but there are different ways to get there. In doing so he has made the prime Euro-federalist mistake in saying their way is the only way to a good outcome. Harmonisation has indeed removed barriers but its curtailment of regulatory competitiveness has allowed corporatism take the place of capitalism all too often in the EU, and entrenched large companies at the expense of competition and consumer choice.

Brexit and Catalan independence are totally different, one might even say independent, of one another. We do share, however, a trust in our people to decide their own fate, and a desire not to have our citizens bullied by Brussels or Madrid. Respect for democratic expression, implementation of results, a recognition that the justice of the state follows the just actions of its agents, are all important values Europeans share no matter the national banners they stand under. It’s a pity Europe’s would-be leaders do not understand that.
Matt Kilcoyne
Adam Smith Institute

• It must be truly galling for workers at Honda’s Swindon plant to see Len McCluskey, general secretary of the Unite union, leading a demonstration outside parliament against the company’s decision to close the factory (Civic duty, 7 March). McCluskey is the most prominent facilitator of Brexit in the British trade union movement, and you’d have to be in a state of denial not to recognise that Brexit is the final straw that broke Honda’s back in the UK. Being a Unite member at Honda has no value with McCluskey in charge of the union, and in fact may well create the damaging impression that the workers there endorse his pro-Brexit stance.
David Head

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