Philip Nalpanis – St Albans
Things have changed
“Daddy, I think there should be a second vote on Brexit.”
“Oh really. Why?”
“Because people should get to decide about their futures. Otherwise it’s not fair.”
“But darling, that’s what happened when we had the referendum in 2016, and the people decided to leave the EU.”
“No, it’s like the class being asked whether we want to go to swim in the sea or to visit a castle, and the class votes for the seaside. Then just before the excursion, the teacher informs the class that it’s going to be rainy and cold at the beach. At that point, it’s only fair to ask the class if they still want to go to the seaside, or to go to the castle instead.”
(Based on a real conversation)
Dr Alan Channer – France
Take the hint
The fact that John Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser, is encouraging us to leave the EU without a deal is a sound reason to ensure we either have have a deal or don’t leave at all without one. After all Trump’s slogan is “America First” which means those in negotiations with him must by definition be last.
John Simpson – Ross on Wye
Why reusable cups really are worth it
Phoebe Weston is right to say that “cotton bags and keep cups will not save our planet“. The titular suggestion that they are no way to tackle waste, though, is utterly wrong.
The lifecycle assessment referenced in the article suggests reusable cups would have to be reused 20 -100 times to have a lower global warming potential than single use, disposable cups. The figure of 100 is an outlier in this instance, as that relates to ceramic cups, which are not commonly marketed as a replacement for on the go drinks. The biggest brands, like KeepCup, use the plastic polypropylene, which means they only need to be reused 20 times to tip the global warming balance in their favour. Around 20 reuses should not be difficult to fit in to day to day life, and there is no evidence in the article to suggest these cups are not meeting that threshold. If commuters opt to have their daily coffee in these reusable cups for a month, they’ll have already reduced their climate change impact.
What’s more, they won’t have contributed to the pile of 2.5 billion single use cups that wind up as waste in the UK each year, including 182.5 million that wind up as litter. These are separate metrics to the climate change impact revealed by the lifecycle analysis. And while they make up a small percentage of packaging waste, they pose particular challenges when it comes to recycling compared to, say, plastic bottles or aluminium cans. Because they are complex, multilayer materials, just one in 400 is recycled, creating a pile of 30,000 tonnes each year.
There is no excuse not to tackle this easily preventable waste stream through embedding a culture of reuse. This should, of course be part of wider efforts to address the climate and environment emergency we face.
Libby Peake and Jonathan Ritson – Green Alliance
Trump’s EU bashing is short-sighted
It’s clear why President Trump is doing everything possible to support Brexit. Break up the EU into smaller blocs or individual nations and it is far easier for him to negotiate lucrative trade agreements that his big business backers can then exploit for rich rewards.
The downside in breaking up the EU as a cohesive political and economic block is that it will in the future deprive the USA of a powerful ally in increasingly troubled times. It will also mean the loss of a group of 28 nations that, in working together, has had the clout to help win support across the world for tackling climate change – the cause of heat waves, melting ice, rising sea levels and extreme weather, which is resulting in significant human suffering.
The USA’s current approach is saddening. Especially, given what they’ve done for us in the past. For example, in coming to our rescue in two world wars and helping to rebuild Europe and promote its integration after the last one.
Roger Hinds – Surrey
Pushing the polls
Presumably the first task for the “rapid rebuttal” Downing Street Brexit unit will be to demand a correction to today’s Daily Telegraph front page lead. This publication has interpreted a 54 per cent score in an “exclusive” poll it commissioned as “Public backs Johnson to shut down parliament for Brexit”.
I suspect however that the unit will not feel the need to “reassure the public” in this particular case.