Prof Sandford is right to remind us of the futility of the the Great War’s slaughter but perhaps that gives us the most important reason of all to remember the sacrifice of so many young lives full of promise.

One of the most compelling reasons for Britain’s entry into the ‘Great War’ was the Kaiser’s insistence on building a navy, in cousinly rivalry to the Royal Navy, as a challenge to the trading supremacy of the British Empire.

After this carnage democratically elected governments were intended to ensure that it would never happen again but persistent trade rivalry resulted in ‘beggar thy neighbour’ protectionist policies which caused the ‘Great Depression’ and fanned the flames of fascism. This meant that the sons of fathers killed in battles such as Passchendale were sent to the front line of the second world war’s killing fields in what was basically a continuation of the first world war.

World trade Organisation rules were brought in to prevent any repetition of these destructive trade rivalries and it is these rules we would revert to if we leave the EU without a deal in place.

Rather than “undermining our negotiations” such warnings make clear that many of those hard line Brexiteers who promised “to take back control” played their part in the great sell-off of Britain to foreign capital as a bargain basement of cheap workers and low taxes. Many of our trains and power supplies are owned by state owned European companies which shows that it is not Brussels but the Tory mantra of ‘privatisation good, public investment bad’ that prevents us from taking back control.

Margaret Phelps

Raisdale Gardens