12:17, September 13 111 0 theguardian.com

2020-09-13 12:17:03
Wagner's treaty warning to the Tories

Further to letters (10 September) regarding the Tories’ disregard for the rule of law, I am reminded of the fate of Wotan and the other Germanic gods as told by Richard Wagner. Wotan the one-eyed, philandering leader, intent upon little else than prestige in his eyes and the eyes of the world, made frequent excursions on Earth. During these wanderings he carried a spear upon which were engraved runic characters spelling out the importance of treaties. His spear was the symbolic guardian of oaths and treaties. When times got tough and difficult decisions had to be made, Wotan was assisted by that master of trickery and deceit, Loge (aka Loki), who encouraged his master’s duplicity in breaking solemn treaties. We know how, eventually, that all went up in flames. I wonder whether Boris Johnson, the proud classicist, is aware of the manifestly parallel paths being trodden by his own cabinet and that of Wotan and his fellow gods?

Graham Bould

Dereham, Norfolk

So top lawyers are split over the legality of the proposed UK internal market bill (Government’s top legal advisers divided over move to override Brexit deal, 10 September). A case for the supreme court to determine? Gina Miller, who has some experience in this area, wrote presciently before the general election of the dangers of a Boris Johnson victory (Rest assured, Boris Johnson won’t be allowed to ride roughshod over our laws, 20 October 2019). Please come back, Gina, and complete the hat-trick. Your country needs you.

Dr Anthony Isaacs


In Suella Braverman we have an attorney general who seems alarmingly deficient in understanding the respective scope and limits of our constitutional law and international law. Indeed, her paper-thin statement on the government’s legal position on the internal market bill and Northern Ireland protocol suggests either confusion or wilful blindness. This concerns not least the apples-and-oranges distinction between questions surrounding enforcement of international law in our domestic courts and the duty of the state to comply with its international treaty obligations. Crucially, this latter duty is fundamental to the survival of a rules-based international legal order.

Mark Stallworthy