Deny Remainers oxygen
Sir: Your correspondent Richard Dawkins seems to have a very tenuous grasp of logic for an academic (Diary, 5 October). He excoriates a referendum on the grounds that in the run-up the voters may have been misled. There is one choice between two alternatives, and the supporters of each outcome will do their best to persuade. Both may be less than truthful. Yet he adores a general election with five or six candidates hawking their conflicting and unfulfillable manifestos — all of them those pillars of veracity, politicians.
Let us be frank. Since the shock result of 2016 we have listened to the whines of the EU fanatics for more than three years until they have become extremely boring. Please do not lend your valuable pages to giving them yet more oxygen. The fact is the referendum was not rigged (this has been tested in the courts and rejected). The Remainers lost. Get over it. As for Master Dawkins, may God forgive him.
Leave meant leave
Sir: Richard Dawkins (Diary, 5 October) states firmly that those voting Leave in the Brexit referendum in 2016 ‘most certainly did not mean “Leave with no deal”’. I’m unsure how he knows this. He is certainly wrong in my case: I voted to leave — with a deal if that was possible, or under WTO rules if no deal could be negotiated.
Sir: Laurie Graham’s ‘Talking rubbish’ (5 October) made me chuckle, as it brought back so many memories of my own childhood in the 1940s and 1950s. My mother and father were both ‘waste not, want not’ advocates. My dad composted almost anything he could and repaired anything that was broken, while my mother turned sheets sides to middle and shirt cuffs and collars whenever she spotted frayed edges. Even when food rationing ended, no leftovers were spared. My waste bins are never full, but sadly most of what is in them is non-biodegradable plastic.
Whenever I pop into a café for a cuppa it is accompanied by a small biscuit wrapped in a plastic sleeve. Even greetings cards are needlessly wrapped in plastics. It is rank stupidity. I was recently reminded of the small plastic toys that were inserted into cereal packets to entice children. Those useless items are now, nearly 60 years later, turning up along Devon and Cornwall beaches.
If all packaging was heavily and identifiably taxed at retail, consumers would rapidly force the industry to change its ways and find acceptable alternatives. Every one of us must accept our responsibility and put pressure on our MPs to take up the challenge to rid us of this plague.
How to frustrate Boris
Sir: Is it possible that we have all, including James Forsyth, been taken in by the Prime Minister’s stated aim to not delay our departure from the EU beyond October (Politics, 5 October)? Recent polls show large and growing support in the country for the PM’s approach to Brexit. Going into a general election against the backdrop of being frustrated by the opposition would therefore almost certainly guarantee him a large majority.
In contrast, imagine that we do leave at the end of October: history shows us that the electorate is rarely grateful for past achievements. Fighting an election in November with Brexit having been delivered would be a huge win for Labour.
Great bores of today
Sir: Douglas Murray is probably less than half my 94 years, but his pessimism about the death of civilised debate (‘Who’s listening?’, 5 October) is unwarranted. It was ever thus with us opinionated human beings; the difference today is that instead of shooting their mouths off in the local pub, ignorant bores now have at their disposal the worldwide amplification of social media. I feel no loss for ignoring this activity. To readers who have not yet seen Mr Murray’s article, I suggest they read the very sensible second part of his last paragraph first — and then, if they want to be miserable, read the whole article from that perspective.
Sir: I enjoyed Stuart Jeffries’s Notes from the Underground (28 September). It is interesting to reflect that the functioning of the sewage system has largely been removed from the public consciousness, with the exception of a tabloid mention of a fatberg now and then.
The article mentions that London has a sewage problem: sewers designed for four million people cannot cope with a population of twice that. But in fact the entire nation’s sewage system is struggling. Privatised water companies postulate vague responses to improve current structures, maintenance and capacities, but no one is holding the water companies to account.
While some rivers are being abstracted to the point of death, in many others raw sewage (albeit strained) is being pumped directly into our river systems — not occasionally, as a result of flooding, but on a regular basis — destroying irreplaceable wildlife habitats and contributing to the shocking conclusion in a recent WWF report that only 14 per cent of our rivers are now fit to swim in.
King’s Nympton, North Devon
Sir: Your correspondent Christopher Crowcroft (Letters, 5 October) touches on the difference between a buffalo and a bison. As any fule kno, you can’t wash your hands in a buffalo.
Sutton Mandeville, Salisbury