SOMETIMES, when reading other correspondents’ letters in your paper, I have to check that a) I am awake, b) that it is not April 1 and c) that I have not had a polluted breakfast including magic mushrooms.

Such was the case reading your December 21 edition when Luigi Gregori (Letters, ‘Time for reflection’) seriously suggested that not giving a vote in the referendum on the future of the UK was unfair to non-UK EU nationals who are now living here! How fair would it have been to those nationals, who call no other place on earth home, to have allowed such people to have had any influence on the result? Similarly, he complains his mother and sister, non-resident in the UK, were denied a vote. If they were, they must have been out of the UK for a considerable time and if they, and others like them, have chosen to abandon the UK long-term why should they influence the future lives of those of us who have no other place to live. A sort of ‘we’re going to live over here but we still want to tell you how you should live without us’ attitude.

Then I read the rambling by John Howard MEP (Letters, “The gift of Brexit’) and his staggering conclusions that Brexit will give us nothing we don’t already have (What? Like the freedom to run our own economy in the interests of our own people first, rather than to run it in the interests primarily of the EU; to fix our own rates of VAT without reference to any outside body; to trade freely around the world without reference to the EU, etc, etc and will diminish our rights and freedoms? What? Are we in some Orwellian, Huxleyesque world where suddenly black is white and white is black; where words don’t any longer mean what they used to mean? Finally, he talks of it taking away our say — our say as one of 28 member states of the EU. Some say!

Then on the December 28 Keith Watts writes (Letters, ‘Cost to prepare’) that, “… there is no deal for Britain better than we have as a member of the European Union.” — only someone who considers their own country’s freedom valueless could think so.

And then Tim Breitmeyer of Country Land and Business Association (Letters, December 28, ‘Looking ahead’) opines that, “A ‘No Deal Brexit’ would be disastrous for the countryside.” Why? With the government of the UK free to address the issues of the countryside and farming in the UK, without influence from any outside body which does not have primacy of UK countryside and farming as its watchword, we are free to do what is required, with more cash to pay the bill too!

Why is it that so many people are blind to the fact that without paying an annual premium to the EU we can spend that money here on UK issues without raising a further penny in taxation?

Stanley Oram, Bulbery, Abbotts Ann