THE car industry has staked its claim to priority over fishing in our trade talks on the basis of its greater contribution to GDP and jobs.

For me our issue with the EU has always been one of rationality or natural justice.

These values were not reflected in the rigid requirement that we accept without limit immigration from Europe in excess of our emigration to the continent.

Similarly they lead many of us to feel that the sea out to the internationally recognised distance from our shores should be off-limits to EU and other foreign trawlers, just as Icelandic waters are to ours.

This is irrespective of the value of the fish we land and would apply equally if we decided to cut our catch in the interests of conservation.

I cannot, however, condemn the EU as unreasonable for wishing to charge duty on whole engine or transmission units made in Japan or Turkey on the same basis as if they were arriving directly from those places.

It is to be hoped that tariffs will be negotiated down, that substitutes will be found from within the EU and even that we will again build engines.

Finally it is disorientating to find that, in a disagreement between the EU and a Conservative British government over state aid to selected industries, it is the latter holding out in defence of subsidies.

What makes them think they will be any better than their predecessors at picking winners?

John Riseley, Harrogate.