Sir, Janan Ganesh, in “Remainers can shape Britain once it is sovereign” (February 21), evokes the folk tale of the stone soup.

In the story, the travellers begin with boiling an inedible stone in water in a pan. They then successfully con the sceptical villagers into parting with grains, vegetables, seasonings and so on to make a delicious and edible pot of soup from which the stone has been quietly removed.

The rhetoric says we are getting a hard Brexit, the proverbial soup made of stone. We then opt back into Europol, retain regulatory equivalence in financial services, choose not to discard European labour laws and take such steps as would keep post-exit Britain “enmeshed in the EU” as Mr Ganesh writes, ending in the delicious stone soup.

In the folk tale, the travellers share the soup with the villagers, who enjoy it nonetheless. Having got something out of nothing, the travellers move on. It is unclear whether the villagers knew or cared about having been conned into donating things against their wishes to people who did not care about their long-term trustworthiness.

Dr Shefaly Yogendra

Chislehurst, UK

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