Corbyn’s Brexit actions are baffling

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Tuesday 12 September 2017 18:30
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Jeremy Corbyn urged the Labour Party to vote against the EU (Withdrawal) Bill
Jeremy Corbyn urged the Labour Party to vote against the EU (Withdrawal) Bill

I want what Corbyn is on.

The guy who failed spectacularly to provide leadership or energy to the Remain campaign (because he doesn’t like the EU, even though that was the party’s official position) instructed Labour MPs to vote against the bill that would transfer EU laws to the UK.

It’s like he passively watched a preventable motorway pile-up then told the gawkers and voyeurs to form a line to stop the ambulance crew getting to the injured.

Is there anyone else currently in British politics who can do over both sides at once?

I want what he’s on because I’d really like to be in that fuzzy, parallel (but different) universe right now...

Amanda Baker
Edinburgh

If children can comprehend religion, they can comprehend a dress

In the dispute brought by Christian parents over transgender uniform policy at a Church of England school, it was interesting to see the parents on TV opining that no child aged six could begin to comprehend the issues involved.

On that point, I would like to point out that such schools expect children to absorb, if not exactly comprehend, concepts like a supernatural god who created them yet once killed everyone (bar a select few) in a flood in an act of mass genocide. Other issues preached at them relentlessly include the holy trinity, virgin birth, crucifixion and resurrection, miracles and transubstantiation. The indoctrination starts young.

It seems odd that children should be traumatised by who gets to wear what and why, yet they are expected to have no problem with the religious concepts preached at them, often through a prism of “fear” of a supernatural god.

Alistair McBay, National Secular Society
Edinburgh

We must start talking about mental health from an early age

I’d like to commend all of the organisations involved in Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday. They are shining a light on this important issue. Sadly, suicide is one of the main causes of death in young people today.

At the Boys’ Brigade, we are committed to not only providing an educational and fun environment for young people, but one which also addresses important issues like mental health.

There is still a huge amount of stigma around mental health, especially in males. At our recent annual conference, we welcomed Young Minds UK, the mental health charity, along to speak to our volunteer leaders, providing them with great insight and advice to help when working with the 17,000 young people we have in Scotland alone.

It is one of our priorities to be able to equip our volunteer leaders to be able to support any of our members who may need it, as well as raise awareness amongst all the young people who are part of the Boys’ Brigade family.

John Sharp, director for Scotland, The Boys’ Brigade Scotland

Renewable energy is the future

It’s very exciting to see renewable energy at long last proving the investment was worthwhile – and The Humber region gaining its place in the record books. But why aren’t all new houses built with solar panels on their roof with a wind turbine in the garden?

Both solar and wind technologies are now proven to be efficient – the only drawback currently is battery storage which is still prohibitively expensive. But in a few years’ time, I predict more and more households will realise the benefits and cost-savings of self-generation and be looking to go off-grid. Meanwhile as the cost of generating electricity on a large-scale reduces, can I expect to see a reduction in my electricity bill from my power company?

Linda Johnson
East Yorkshire

What is the alternative to huge executive pay?

Ben Chu is surely correct that top pay does not reflect the direct value to the organisations that pay it. However, it isn’t clear what any single organisation can do about it.

From 2009 through 2016 I was a member of Cambridge University’s remuneration committee, which determines salaries for our most senior staff. As a lecturer myself, I was always acutely conscious of the difference between my salary and those we were setting. But I am easily replaced, which is not true of the Vice Chancellor, or the head of the investment office or chief financial officer, to take just three obvious examples.

Good candidates for these positions can equally find employment anywhere in the world, and in many different sectors: why would they not go where they are most appreciated? Which top-ranking university would be the first to say it was not paying any employee more than a standard professorial salary? And for how long would it expect to remain top-ranking, if it did? The fact is, we are also paying for the indirect value contributed by the best people. Top salaries of £5m a year are almost certainly worth many times that to the organisation.

Few of us have the personal qualities, or would be prepared to make the personal sacrifices, needed to excel in these roles. The belief that there are academics, for example, who can turn their hands to these highly-specialised jobs, is to me an expression of the arrogance behind the English cult of amateurism. By all means criticise the salaries, but better still if you can propose a workable alternative.

Rachael Padman
Cambridge

MPs have voted for their own interests

Just how many who voted Leave in the referendum were fully aware of the difference between the EU the EEA and the customs union? It is just this sort of confusion that is the reason we are supposed to have a parliamentary democracy where we elect MPs, who are better placed to fully understand these complexities, to act on our behalf and reflect the beliefs and wishes of their electorate.

What a disgrace therefore to see our elected representatives, the vast majority of whom were Remainers, including Theresa May, voting to ensure their party cling onto power and for them to keep their jobs. It is to be hoped that should we still have a democracy after the vote on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill that they will get their comeuppance at the next election.

G Forward
Stirling

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