The Spectator

Letters: it’s not rude to ask how someone’s name is pronounced


No control

Sir: Your leading article (‘The welfare monster’, 25 November) has fallen into the increasingly common trap of posthumously attributing to Brexit voters imagined reasons for their voting to leave. No, we didn’t ‘in large part’ do so in a search for a better economic model. We did so to rid ourselves of the Brussels behemoth and regain control of our borders. The economically literate of us knew there would be an economic price, but we believed the break for freedom was worth the (allegedly temporary) drop in living standards. How wrong we were. Our borders are as porous as ever, the Whitehall leviathan squats on us more firmly than Brussels ever did, and now the fiscal reality of an ageing and apparently idle populace condemns us to ignominious economic stagnation. Meanwhile the main propagandist (influencer-in-chief, perhaps) cashes in on his celebrity status in a TV jungle. Welcome to the modern world!

Jeremy Dyer

Poole, Dorset

Science fiction

Sir: Rod Liddle’s point (‘The science is not always right’, 25 November) is borne out by history, though it is unlikely that the Covid Inquiry will ever touch upon it. The acceptable science of the mid-19th century assured us that all disease emanated from ‘bad air’. That science dissipated like a bad smell when Robert Koch and Louis Pasteur got it right about germs. And wasn’t it Lavoisier and his wild anti-establishment heresies about oxygen that left the science of phlogiston smouldering? A flat Earth and the geocentric universe were both believed in at the time, as strongly as lockdowns and paper masks were a couple of years back. Orthodoxies on climate or the nuttier bits of quantum theory might yet come undone. Some day in the future scientists may have a good laugh at our expense.

Martin Hedges

Glemsford, Suffolk

Fish tales

Sir: Land-based salmon farming is nothing new (‘Notes on salmon’, 25 November).

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