Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

The population problem

Sir: Matthew Parris (11 June) dismisses worries over immigration as being based on race. This is a touch unfair. Although it would be misleading to deny that Brexiteers are concerned about cultural issues, especially when countries such as Albania are on the pathway to EU entry, there is also cause for concern over population density. England is already one of the most densely populated countries in the world, and the government's own estimates (always an underestimate) show that the UK's population increase (of which immigration would be a great part) will be half a million a year, equivalent to a city such as Leicester. This puts unsustainable pressure on traffic, schools, doctors, and housing. And all this is before the next four countries join the already bloated EU.

John Hatt

Sedbergh, Cumbria

Just buy the insurance

Sir: There have been some letters arguing that we should remain in the EU because EU citizens benefit from free access to health care in all member states. What do the writers suppose that people travelling outside the EU do? Depending on where they are going, they take out insurance. But that isn't always necessary.

Last year I flew to Australia for a family wedding. I ended up in the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, where I spent six weeks recovering from Guillain-Barré syndrome triggered by a tick bite from before I'd left the UK. The treatment was not cheap, but there was no suggestion that I'd have to pay, since Australia has a reciprocal arrangement with the UK. Besides the drugs, I had many hours of physio and occupational therapy. The hospital contacted both my GP and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary so that within a day of getting home I saw the neurological consultant in Aberdeen, who had details of all the treatment and the scans I'd had.

For all the reasons to stay in or to leave the EU, free health care should not be the most important. You can get excellent and free care in some countries outside the EU and for others, you should buy insurance.

Peter Richardson

Durris, Kincardinshire

Uniform campaigning

Sir: Charles Moore asks whether it is 'legal, or professionally permitted, for officers, existing or former, to advocate a vote for anything while wearing the Queen's uniform?' (Notes, 11 June).

I don't know the answer, but I am pretty sure it's not a new phenomenon. Denis Healey's poster for the 1945 general election described him as Major Healey and has a photo of him which looks as though he may be in uniform. He certainly campaigned in uniform. It may be that there was a dispensation in the 1945 election as of course many of those serving (as Healey did with great gallantry) had volunteered or been conscripted for the duration of the war only. …

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