Sir: In response to Andrew Peters’s reminder that in many cultures it is the older and more experienced whose views are respected, I am stunned by the social media tsunami of self-regard shown by so many apparently well-educated young people in the wake of what they see as an adverse referendum result (Letters, 2 July).
I have heard many of them vehemently expressing a sense of betrayal by their elders and, not a few times, by those less educated than themselves. Do they not realise that they are already sounding like junior members of the self-serving, self-appointed elite, the very people whose blinkered arrogance led directly to Brexit’s triumph? Too often they appear to have no real sense of history, in terms of what was so hard won by our ancestors, not least universal suffrage, innocence until proven guilty, secure borders and the right to live by the secular laws and Christian ethics of the land, our land, in peace.
Do I feel that I betrayed my three young children and the millions of other young Britons by voting to leave the EU? Not a bit of it. I did it for them, to hand them back their country, which I have no doubt they will be more than thankful for when it is their turn to run the show.
Hugo de Groot
Sir: Brexit won the EU referendum, but the Remain camp — which includes most of our MPs, the Foreign Office and the BBC — wants to keep Britain captive within the EU regardless. We have referendums and elections for a reason, which is that they are a peaceful means of resolving our differences. If the Brexit vote is overridden, then the resolution of our differences afterwards is less likely to be peaceful.
Let the Commonwealth go
Sir: Frank Tomlin’s faith in Commonwealth trade links (which account for 10 per cent of our trade) is misplaced: even the Commonwealth regards as fantasy the idea that it could replace the EU as a trading partner (Letters, 2 July). The Commonwealth was united in wanting the UK to remain in the EU because it regards Britain as its voice in Brussels, which will soon have secured trade agreements with almost the whole of the Commonwealth. The prime minister of Canada warned the UK that it would find it harder to achieve such deals outside the EU. In this as in so many other respects, Britain’s position outside the EU is weaker than inside it.
Anyone but England
Sir: I do not understand how Nicola Sturgeon can reconcile her fierce urge for Scottish independence with an equally fervent desire to remain subject to the legislature of Brussels. It’s illogical. Could it be, as with her country’s usual sports-supporting stance, a case of ‘ABE’ — anyone but England?
Sir: James Bartholomew writes of a huge ‘rift between the metropolitan elite and the rest’ (‘Britain’s great divide’, 25 June). Liverpool voted Remain. As a Liverpudlian, I never thought of myself as part of a ‘metropolitan elite’. Gosh, I have moved up in the world.
The first cuckoo
Sir: Geoffrey Sampson (Letters, 2 July) is certainly correct in his assertion that the cuckoo clock is a German invention. In fact, many scholars believe it was invented, or at least perfected, by my ancestor Franz Anton Ketterer (1676–1753) in the Black Forest village of Schönwald around 1730. The original mistake can probably be traced back to the painter J.A. Whistler, and was perpetuated by Orson Welles in his film The Third Man. Jenny FitzGerald may have inadvertently been glorifying, rather than belittling, Switzerland when she made the erroneous connection.
Franz Josef Ketterer
Black tie challenge
Sir: I have some sympathy for Harry Mount’s hatred of black tie (Notes on…, 25 June). But what should male partygoers wear instead? If what he wants is for women to dress up while men look as if they had just come from work or the pub, or for nobody to dress up at all, I totally disagree. Until he or someone else comes up with an alternative, I have no choice but to go on defending black tie. (A male friend pointed out another advantage of bow ties: they can’t fall into your food.)
Lewes, East Sussex
Sir: Further to Benjamin Isaacson’s letter about the suitability of coffee as a bedtime drink (25 June), I once said the same to a friend from Sardinia. He told me that there, espresso is often added to a baby’s bottle with the purpose of helping the baby to sleep. He explained (I think erroneously) that the body’s initial reaction to a shot of caffeine is to widen blood vessels, causing a drop in blood pressure usually lasting for around 20 minutes. ‘But what,’ I asked, ‘if the baby stays awake beyond these 20 minutes?’ ‘That,’ he replied, ‘is what makes it so much fun.’
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