There is a link between our Brexit debacle and inadequate history lessons in school
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Daniel McGrath makes a valid point in Saturday’s letters regarding Britain’s relationship to Germany in the 20th century. While it is important we remember the two world wars, without a wider knowledge and understanding of historical issues it is impossible to give national and international politics any context.
I would suggest Britain’s difficulty in interpreting its history and understanding it in the context of modern politics is not just as a result of the television programmes we watch. I consider myself lucky enough to have had a good education from a good state school, yet my history classes were dominated by learning about the two world wars and little else. Nothing was taught about our relationship with Ireland, Gibraltar or the development and workings of the EU.
Assuming I’m not unique in my educational experience, whole generations of voters were asked a question in the 2016 referendum, for which their schooling left them ill-equipped to make an informed decision and this applies to both leave and remain voters alike. If the electorate are going to be asked to make decisions on these highly complex questions, we need to at least be given the tools of a rounded education to base our vote on.
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When was the last time that a thorough food audit was carried out in the Palace of Westminster? Because one possible explanation for the departure from reality afflicting many MPs over Brexit is that magic mushrooms have somehow found their way into the meals being served to them (”Denver to vote on relaxing magic mushroom laws“).
Relocating the Queen seems extreme
I never thought I’d agree with anything Jacob Rees-Mogg had to say but I seem to recall the Queen’s parents stayed in London during the Blitz so talk of removing the royals seems extreme, or just more foolish rubbish from those we voted to govern us.
Or maybe things are actually worse than we think.
Dogs are dogs, not models
Anyone avoiding rescuing a black dog because it doesn’t photograph well on social media shouldn’t, quite frankly, be allowed to have a dog in the first place.
UK must honour the backstop deal
The protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland contained within the withdrawal agreement needs to be read to appreciate the time and care which has been devoted to its drafting. To pretend that there could be quick fix – detailed amendments to the backstop, agreed over the next few weeks – looks to be utterly unrealistic.
It should be remembered that the backstop was included, at the UK’s instigation, so as not to cross one of Theresa May’s red lines. For the UK to seek to change it at this stage casts doubt on the integrity of the UK government and shows a callous disregard for an extremely sensitive and potentially unsettling consequence for the island of Ireland.
A backstop ceases to be a backstop if it is time limited or can be unilaterally dispensed with. It is already accepted, by both the EU and the UK, that the backstop, in all probability, will never be activated. It is in the interests of neither the EU nor the UK for it to come into play.
An agreement including the current backstop doesn’t command a majority in parliament. No deal just makes the situation in Ireland more problematic and doesn’t command a majority in parliament either. Staying in a customs union would either avoid the need for a backstop or act as the backstop, would probably have a majority in parliament, and be acceptable to the EU.
If we were to stay in a customs union, this further raises the question as to why leave the EU at all, and the possibility of another referendum. It is high time that the national interest superseded party political wrangling and dogma, and individual egos.
Richard and Pam Smith
Working parents are damaging children’s mental health
The rise in mental health issues among our young is a terrible tragedy – but when will we be honest enough to admit that one key cause lies close to home?
These youngsters are the first of a generation whose parents were encouraged, even coerced, into work even when their instincts were telling them that their children needed them to be there for the everyday things like walking them to school, cooking them a decent meal and tucking them up in bed with a story. Instead we have forced children to be self-reliant before they are ready and have pawned off our responsibilities on paid help, creating a situation where our young people are unable to cope with their lives.
The much peddled illusion of “quality time” has stolen childhoods and irreparably damaged relationships. By devaluing the emotional and developmental needs of our children we are reaping what we have sown and are now discovering that the outside bodies set up to help have neither the resources or the ability to deal with the fallout.
Helen Jane Burton
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