Ireland’s day of reckoning
Sir: John Waters is more right than he knows when he talks about the Irish attitude to Brexit (‘Paddy powerless’, 13 October). We Irish and our media have developed a consensus gene across many issues — without exception, all comfortably on the left. There is no significant media outlet in Ireland that would challenge in any way the prevailing orthodoxy here, which is that Brexit is an act of national self-harm. There is a certain smugness too, which is getting in the way of the reality, which is that we of all people should want Brexit to work to the benefit of both the EU and the UK. Our day of reckoning is coming. We will see how Europhile we are when Emmanuel Macron gets his way and corporate tax rates across the EU are harmonised.
Sir: Robin Oakley’s description of the likely difficulties in replicating, post-Brexit, the Tripartite Agreement between the UK, Ireland and France (The turf, 13 October) fails to make an obvious point.
It is patently absurd that an arrangement between three sovereign states, each with more or less identical interests, should be subject to the agreement of 25 others. The blame for any disruption resulting from a failure to continue the Agreement will lie not with those who are trying to implement Brexit, but with those who allowed, or required, the TPA to become part of EU law in the first place.
No doubt in the short term there will be annoyance and perhaps serious disruption, in this and many other areas. But in the long run we will all benefit from being free from this narrow-minded tyranny.
The Archbishop’s witness
Sir: Your correspondent Jane Moth throws doubt on the willingness or ability of the Archbishop of Canterbury to impart the joy of the Gospel (Letters, 13 October). At the launch of an evangelising initiative, I recall him telling us that his mantra before every media interview is ‘How can I get the love of Jesus into this?’ Whether that portion of the interview survives the editing process is, of course, beyond his control.
I spend some of my time at General Synod as a thorn in Archbishop Justin’s side on the issue of safeguarding, arguing that we need to relieve him of that burden and to outsource responsibility to independent specialists. Part of my reason for doing so is entirely sympathetic. Having heard the warmth and integrity of his witness, we need to liberate him and his fellow bishops to concentrate on those areas where their talents and enthusiasms undoubtedly lie.
Martin Sewell, General Synod
Meat not wheat
Sir: Keith O’Neill’s proclamation from the moral high ground that his vegan diet ‘tortures’ no animals (Letters, 13 October) suggests he should spend some time on a mixed farm like mine, where I grow livestock and arable crops. I could show him a thing or two about having to kill animals — but unfortunately for the vegans, the carnage is in the production of wheat, not meat. Somehow, the multitude of animals that have to die to ensure bread production don’t feature on the vegan care radar, possibly because they’re not cuddly.
Hinton Ampner, Hampshire
Sir: Peter Oborne (Notebook, October 13) writes that for ‘relaxation’ on his recent visit to Syria he read Simon Heffer’s The Age of Decadence, which weighs in at 900 pages. What does he turn to when he fancies something more serious?
Sir: I fully empathised with Peter Oborne’s wish to avoid the Labour party conference and the media’s predictable attacks on Jeremy Corbyn. But his solution — to escape to Syria — seemed rather extreme.
Sir: I rather take exception, in his review of the Living With Buildings exhibition, to Stephen Bayley’s reference to traditionalist ‘rearguard architects’ such as myself as being like Japanese soldiers still fighting the second world war in the jungle, because we favour things like classical orders (‘Houses of ill repute’, 13 October).
This is to imply that the battle for modernism has been roundly won, but I do not think it has, totally. I would note that, had such a puritan, proscriptive attitude prevailed in the 15th century, we would have been denied the Italian Renaissance. It has to be acknowledged that in the 1930s the brave, new, modernist agenda had to be inflicted mostly on the unempowered — predominantly the poor, but also the penguins — who were not in any position to resist the cool, white, unmodelled, cubist buildings which were patronisingly bestowed upon them. Neither has the style endeared itself much since to the British public at large. Those buildings look fine if maintained and bathed in the hot sun of the Côte d’Azur. They look less fine in a wet Finsbury.
John Bennett RIBA
Sir: Grizelda’s cartoon (13 October) jests that a castaway on Desert Island Discs can’t take the sound of their own voice as one of the tracks. Not so. That arch jester Sir Norman Wisdom chose five of his own recordings, including the one he saved from the waves, when he was cast away by Sue Lawley in 1990.
Ryde, Isle of Wight