This week, Brussels negotiators promised to reform the Northern Ireland Protocol with hopes that it could end months of post-Brexit bickering between the bloc and the British Government. Readers took this opportunity to share why they feel the protocol is unnecessary.
Elsewhere, the first major report into the Government's pandemic response concluded that Britain did not lock down sooner due to a ministerial failure to challenge poor scientific advice . In response, our readers offered up how they believe the pandemic should have initially been dealt with.Read on to find out what our readers had to say about these stories and the week's biggest talking points.
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Revealed: EU’s four-pronged plan to reform Northern Ireland Protocol and end months of Brexit bickering
On Wednesday, negotiators from Brussels travelled to London, with promises to bend and break their own rules over new proposals to help with the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol. Our readers reacted to the proposals by stressing how unnecessary they feel the protocol is.
‘All of this mess is totally unnecessary’
“Garbage. Treating NI differently to the rest of the UK is the problem. The fools who agreed to give up part of the UK to the EU in the first place are entirely to blame. We should have only ever said we wouldn’t erect a hard border between ROI and NI and told the EU if they wished to make a hard border then that’s up to them. All of this mess and complication is totally unnecessary.”
‘The NI protocol is anathema to me and freely expressed consent’
“I voted to leave the EU, not for part of my country to remain in the single market or EU customs territory and be subject to laws over which I have no say and a court that has no accountability to me or anyone else in the UK.
“I voted to end the EU's stifling bureaucracy, suppression of democracy and endless pursuit of control over my life and the power of my vacuum cleaner. The very existence of the NIP, regardless of any proposed relaxation of implementation which can just as easily be reversed, is anathema to me and to the principle of freely expressed consent.
“Enough is enough. We should not be negotiating a lessening in control and disruption within our own country with a malign foreign power, pursuing its own nefarious objectives. The NI protocol must go.”
‘All goods must be able to move without restriction’
“It cannot be up to the EU to “allow” the free movement of anything in another sovereign country. All goods must be able to move without restriction and at the very most the notification of those goods crossing the Irish sea and their final destination can be accepted.
“There can be no rule of EU law and no alignment with EU standards for goods not destined for the EU. Anything else is an “occupation” by a foreign power and entitles those subject to such an oppressive occupation to use all and any means at their disposal to end it.
“Like it or not that is the reality and it is only a matter of time before that reality comes about.”
Read more of what our readers had to say about the protocol here .
MPs said that the error led to "one of the most important public health failures the UK has ever experienced" , resulting in a higher national death toll. Our readers outlined how they feel the pandemic should have been dealt with, and some concluded that a lockdown was the only option.
‘The borders should have been shut weeks before they were’
“It was obvious that the borders should have been shut weeks before they were, if only to buy time to prepare. The Nightingale hospitals were a good idea that failed due to lack of appropriate staff.
“I can’t understand why we did not build isolation hospitals, like the Nightingales, and staffed them during the summer lull of 2020 so as to mitigate the following winter lockdown. Everything was put into restrictions and vaccines.
“Even now the NHS is teetering on the brink of absolute failure. There should be some investigation and publicizing of the mortality figures accounting for the lost lives due to operating a Covid only NHS.”
‘The lockdowns were to protect the NHS’
“The lockdowns were to protect the NHS and give scientists time to develop a vaccine and manufacture enough of it to vaccinate the most vulnerable.
“Lockdowns only slow down the spread of the disease. They don’t prevent it from spreading, as at some point you have to allow people to mix again. This is the mistake New Zealand have made. You might have nearly zero deaths by shutting down your country but you have to open up at some point and then you will have to deal with the virus. Your hope is that by then the most vulnerable will have been vaccinated.
“The lockdowns slowed the virus spread enough to enable the NHS to hospitalise and treat more of the sickest people and that will have saved some lives.
“A better plan for protecting the nursing homes from the spread of the infection until the vaccination was available (including allowing relatives to help if possible) would have been a very effective way to save more lives.”
‘There is no single right answer’
“A report of this type has to state up front what the assumptions are, concerning the objectives of the government response. If the only objective was to minimise the number of people who died because of Covid-19, then the response might have been flawed.
“However, a Government working in the real world has to take many things into consideration, such as individual freedom, economic effects, damage to physical and mental health from other causes. There is no single right answer. Balancing all the things above is a political decision and cannot be assessed objectively.”
- Read more of what our readers had to say on the Covid report here.
The letter put forward by Mr Zahawi and Mr Javid explained that keeping children in school is a priority , as they called for parents to help ensure that pupils "are able to stay in face-to-face learning" . Our readers, some of who are parents, explained their decision-making when it comes to vaccinating their children.
‘Most parents will opt for natural immunity’
“My child has already had Covid and recovered from it. Unless and until the Government starts factoring in how many children have recovered and are therefore no longer susceptible then I suspect the vaccine uptake will remain low because most parents like me will opt for the natural immunity option.”
‘Children have already lost out too much on education’
“Children have already lost out too much on education. The vaccine works and reduces the chances of falling ill. Responsible parents should remember that and get the vaccines for their children now.”
‘The harm to the kids has come from the policies, not the virus’
“It’s the ten days isolation that is causing the harm to their education, not catching Covid!
“As has been the case throughout the whole pandemic, the harm to the kids has come from the policies put in place and not the actual virus.”
Appearing at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, writer James Rebanks said that the farming community prefers Clarkson's Farm to Countryfile , especially as it illustrates how hard it is to make a living from farming. Our readers agreed and discussed what they found most endearing about Clarkson's show.
‘Countryfile simply doesn't connect with the masses’
“My family are farmers on both sides and they loved Clarkson's farm. They are all of the same opinion. This show has done more for farming by informing people of reality through entertainment: combines do block the road, sheep do die and yes there's not a lot of money in it.
“Whereas Countryfile is woke rubbish that simply doesn't connect with us, the masses. Good one Mr Clarkson and your fantastic crew of real people: Disclosure Statement, I am biased!”
‘The kids now point out different makes of tractors’
“Brilliant TV from Jeremy Clarkson and Amazon. We absolutely loved it. The kids now point out different makes of tractors and various farm equipment when we’re out and about. The other day it was Mum, there’s a cultivator! Inspiring for them, but there’s no way a 10 and 12 year-old would sit glued to a season of Countryfile.”
‘Clarkson’s show made me think of the plight of our farmers’
“I have never worked in agriculture or on a farm.
“However, Clarkson’s show, while thoroughly entertaining me, did make me sit up and think of the plight of our farmers, particularly the bureaucracy and red tape engulfing their lives.
“It also reminded me that these people are critical to our national security and well being, they feed us for goodness sake!”
Michael Hogan argued that despite the standard of dancing so far on Strictly this year has been remarkably high, it is too early to be scoring so many perfect 10s and nines. Telegraph readers agreed and shared what they expect to see from a Strictly judge.
‘Judges should not be afraid to let contestants learn and improve’
“Spot on. They have many more weeks to improve, yet with so many top scores already, surely the only way is down. Judges should judge and not be afraid to let contestants learn and improve. The perfect 10 means just that, perfect.”
‘Is the ‘problem’ that the standards of the dancers are just too high?’
“Judges can, surely, only judge what they see against what they know to be technique that conforms to, or departs from, the highest standards. If a cluster of competitors come close to or attain standards that mirror what the text-book demands, then what option do the judges have apart from awarding points that reflect that standard of excellence?
“Is the ‘problem’ that the standards of the dancers are just too high?”
‘The actual “rules” of ballroom dancing are being ignored’
“As someone who used to compete in ballroom dancing competitions, it saddens me how the actual “rules” of ballroom dancing are being ignored by the judges. It seems they are now scoring on entertainment value – at least their opinion of entertainment, and not on technique or ability. After this week’s ridiculous scoring, I will watch it no more. Judging by the falling viewing figures, it seems others agree. It is time it was killed off.”
Find out what current stories are getting our readers talking by visiting the Telegraph Community Hub .
Now it’s your turn: what stories from the week got you talking? Let us know in the comments section below
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