For all of those doom-and-gloom merchants tempted to view the fall in the value of sterling as a sign of bad things to come, let’s just keep this in perspective. In the short term, currency speculators are about as accurate in predicting events as a toss of a coin. And their buying and selling can of course be partially self-fulfilling in resulting impacts on costs of imports and holidays.
While it can be argued that the value of our currency is as close as we get to a UK “share price”, the volatility of share prices during periods of uncertainty also point to the importance of waiting to allow reality to pan out before drawing too many conclusions. Over the medium term the value of sterling will be a more accurate assessment of the UK’s underlying value as the actual terms of Brexit and continued underlying economic factors combine to give us the real world outcome.
What results from the Brexit negotiations will probably be somewhere between the disastrous predictions of the most fervent pro-Europeans, and the land of milk and honey that the most hardline Leavers claimed. The best efforts of the UK Government and its civil servants, together with a degree of pragmatism on the part of the EU bureaucracy not inclined to harm itself in the process of making a point with the UK, should produce a compromise that the main political figures can portray as a positive outcome both here and in the EU.
West Linton, Peeblesshire
I recall that, following problems with southern European economies since 2008, the right-wing press have mocked the euro as a currency. Funny how they are all silent as the pound falls to parity following the Brexit vote.
Now that everyone has experienced the minor economic and political upheaval caused by Brexit, perhaps it is time for a second referendum.
Remainers could win my vote this time, were they only prepared to offer minor concessions such as blue passports, the right to sell petrol by the gallon and a return to weather forecasts in comprehensible units.
As far as immigration is concerned, I doubt many Brexiteers would object to daily plane loads of cheap foreign labour as long as they could be paid in pounds, shillings and pence!
John Eoin Douglas
Donald Trump, sexism and hypocrisy
I can't stand Donald Trump but I can stand hypocrisy even less. Are we seriously pretending that the way Trump spoke about women is some sort of aberration that you'd never find in other powerful, entitled men, whatever their politics?
When I was at university I walked out of a dinner party full of public schoolboys who had spent the entire evening discussing the breasts of our fellow undergraduates. The other girls didn't seem to mind, but I did and I still do. Women – walk out. Men – grow up.
'Pills and surgery'
In giving her opinion on the reasons for increased longevity, Janet Street-Porter leaves out the biggest causes of improvement. The provision of clean water and reliable sewage systems; controls on air quality; increased use of machinery; warmer and better homes; enhanced safety at work and massive reductions in smoking are at least as important as “pills and surgery”, if not more so.
The best way to increase average lifespans is to concentrate on the five horsemen of the apocalypse: salt, sugar, drugs, alcohol and excess fat in foods. Our main job as a civilised society should not be to make people better but to stop them becoming ill in the first place. This is better for them and cheaper for the NHS.
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE
Lib Dem spokesman on health and social care, Local Government Association