Will Brexit become another broken Tory manifesto pledge?

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MPs and peers deciding “whether or not to take action” on the verdict given by voters should take into account that the Conservatives won the 2015 election on a manifesto that promised: “We will let you decide whether to stay in or leave the EU. We will honour the result of the referendum, whatever the outcome.”

John Doherty

Vienna

 

How to tackle homelessness 

Theresa May tell us that the Government should “no longer focus on tackling the symptoms and immediate consequences of homelessness” (Theresa May unveils £40m fund to prevent homelessness in Britain, 18 October). There's been, though, a 54 per cent increase in homelessness under Cameron’s Government, when May was Home Secretary; numerous people now sleep on the streets of central London. That does not seem like “focus” to me. So, some of us may be sceptical of the alleged new focus on prevention; it may be as effective as Cameron’s much vaunted – but now acknowledged as ineffective – Troubled Families programme.

Instead of spending billions on HS2 that takes years and years to complete – a project considered a waste of money by many industry experts – and instead of dreaming up new schemes of homeless prevention, no doubt with profitable out-sourcing agencies used, why not first of all quickly build some adequate housing for the homeless, and for the millions whose homes, it is officially acknowledged, are inadequate? Indeed, in view of the vast number of apartments in London, bought solely as investments and left empty, why not be radical and take them over as a temporary solution?

Peter Cave

London

 

A moment with Donald Trump

If I had a chance to have a word with Trump, I would have admonished him for acting recklessly, irresponsibly in this election. He has lost his potential to lead the moment he had chosen the path of hate, bigotry and division.

The majority of people are hungry for change. They are fed up with the status quo, the career politicians who have been playing with the minds of people. They were eager to see someone from outside of politics to bring a real change to the table. A man or a woman who will speak from the heart, who will be honest to himself first and someone who will bring people together – all people irrespective of colour or creed. Sadly, Trump has been acting childishly as if he was a spoiled rich kid who doesn’t know right from wrong.

In doing so he has made life for his opponent easy and simple. He has handed victory to his adversary on a silver plate even before the election. He should feel ashamed of himself. Did he seriously hope to lead the nation by spreading fear and hatred and having people turning against their neighbours? When the election is over, I hope he would be the first guest on Dr Phil to diagnose who made him the bigot he is now.

Abubakar N Kasim

London

 

Grammar schools are not the way to get the best out of children

Sir Michael Wilshaw is so right to tell the PM to “stop obsessing” over “socially divisive” grammar schools and look for different models of secondary education (17 October). Increasing the number of grammar schools will do nothing for the majority of children except ensure they are categorised at the age of 11 as failures and condemned to a life of underachievement.

We need to encourage aspiration and educational attainment, but this cannot be achieved by separating out the “brightest” into grammar schools, leaving no role models for the majority who, otherwise, might rise up the attainment ladder if encouraged by example and opportunity. Providing separate institutions for those selected at age 11 adds a barrier to those who, later in life (say, age 14), are able to exploit intelligence that might have been misclassified as deficient at an earlier age. Instead of “creaming off” those who are ostensibly brightest, each school should be “streamed” so that misclassifications of intelligence can be rectified by moving individuals from one stream to another, whether this is upwards or, if needs be, downwards. This can be achieved so much more easily within the walls of a single institution. “Comprehensive” should not mean undifferentiated. Each comprehensive school should have defined streams – call them “grammar”, “technical”, etc. if necessary – and, where appropriate, individuals should be moved from one to another, depending on emerging merit. Where this is the modus operandi, misclassification of individuals can be rectified quickly and simply and with no need for inter-institutional negotiation about pupil transfer.

So, scrap the idea of instituting more grammar schools and ensure that comprehensive schools are fully “streamed” to facilitate the merit-based movement of pupils from one stream to another at any age between 11 and 17.

Ian Reid

Kilnwick

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