The UK is not the US – Trump cards won’t work here | Letters

Readers discuss Boris Johnson’s use of the Donald Trump playbook for the prime minister to get his way on Brexit

The piece by Simon Jenkins (I used to think Johnson could get a deal. Not after last week, Journal, 30 September) describes what development professionals call isomorphic mimicry – to cut and paste a best practice from one country and apply in another, expecting to achieve similar results. It rarely works because of differences in social and cultural norms.

The prime minister is applying isomorphic mimicry with gusto. Photo opportunities with police cadets as backdrop, Jacob Rees-Mogg dismissing the views of an acknowledged medical expert, and Kwasi Kwarteng casting doubt about the independence of the judiciary. Never apologise. Double down when challenged. The list gets longer each day.

The UK is not the US. The social norms are not the same. Twenty-one conservative MPs rebelled against the government, Rees-Mogg had to apologise to Dr David Nicholl, Kwarteng faced pushback from leaders on all sides, while the West Yorkshire police commissioner called on Mr Johnson to apologise.

This is vitally important, as one of the lessons learned from Trump is that unless there is swift and strong pushback when boundaries are stretched, or accepted practices are trashed, they become the new norm. Lack of action by those in power facilitated the Trump takeover.

Thanks to our country’s fundamental attitudes of fairness and common sense, we can hope that the Cummings/Johnson strategy will become a future case study in failed political isomorphic mimicry.
Bill Kingdom
Marlborough, Wiltshire

• I, too, share the fears expressed in your article (‘Nobody wants us’: Irish frontier towns that will be baffled by no-deal Brexit,30 September), although I admit to huge sentimentality. My late father, a proud Clones native, would describe a thriving town and environs where he skirted the border areas on a daily basis with little care or fear. The town seemed to benefit from its geographical position. A shared love of Gaelic football would see vast crowds visit Clones for the Ulster final, cattle sale markets, another weekly opportunity for financial exchange as well as story-telling, both tall and short. The Luxor cinema, the Creighton hotel, all busy and thriving at one time.

When I visited in December, I was heartened by the amiable crowds about the place. But as for the future, as one who remembers the disruption of those “border checks”, I would urge those in Westminster to go and visit, see for yourselves.
Deirdre Hawkins
Berkhamsted, Herts

• It seems to me to be immoral that the burden of an essentially English nationalist project such as Brexit should fall almost entirely on the island of Ireland, where our government’s rumoured border proposals will, if enacted, cause great inconvenience, likely hardship and possible danger to the population in both the north and in the republic (Irish border: officials decry ‘kamikaze’ approach, 2 October).

I’m beginning to wonder if the only decent solution would be for England to pursue the separatist dreams of the majority of its electorate by seceding, possibly along with Wales, from the UK. This would allow Scotland and Northern Ireland to respond to their democratic mandates by remaining in the EU. The border problem would shift to the one that lies between Scotland and England, which, though not simple, would at least be more manageable geographically and politically. The two countries have a history of several centuries of cooperative endeavour that have allowed their separate systems to function in relative harmony. I have no doubt that the great minds of these two famously inventive nations would soon come up with a practicable solution.
Wilson Firth
Colkirk, Norfolk

• Bernard Besserglik’s proposed slogan (Letters, 30 September) “We’re not at war. Let’s keep it that way”, as a timely response to the ratcheting up of rhetoric by Johnson reminded me of the slogan employed by the in campaign in the 1975 referendum: “Better to lose some sovereignty than a son or daughter” possibly (given the positive result) resonated strongly with generations that had witnessed two world wars. Who would have dared whisper “project fear” in their presence?
Sara Maddocks
St Pabu, France

• Zoe Williams is right (Be very wary when leaders claim to speak for ‘the people’, Journal, 2 October). But I have yet to hear a presenter or remain representative respond to a Brexiteer who asserts on TV “we voted for...” by saying, “polls show enough people have changed their minds” or “but most people don’t want a no-deal Brexit”. They seem scared.
Brian Smith
Berlin, Germany

• Regarding current negotiations in Brussels, do I have the spelling right? Should it be “B-wrecks-it”?
Anthony Bron

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