Article taken from: www.economist.com
No to no deal The antidote to civilizational collapse Open Future 38 minutes ago A lesson in Canadian history, courtesy of Kent Monkman Prospero 3 hours ago Republicans 20 a day a day a day ago See more With a Brexit deal at last on the table, those calling for a no-deal solution should heed official guidance from both sides of the Channel on the potential effect this would have (“ The truth about no deal ”, November 24th). Without an agreement, British driving licences will no longer be recognised in the EU , British food and animal exports could be temporarily banned from the EU market, and hauliers will be forced to compete for permits which cover only 5% of the country’s international transport needs in order to keep trade flowing.
Critics will try to dismiss industry warnings as scaremongering. But we cannot ignore the consequences of border controls in creating delays, the additional red tape for companies and the contingency measures companies will be forced to take to ensure a continuity of supply. Critics may also choose to ignore economic logic, and claim that all this complexity, uncertainty and cost will result in cheaper prices for customers. It is time for the truth.
The deal that Britain has on the table might not be perfect, but it has the merit of offering business more time to avoid the dreaded Brexit cliff edge while a comprehensive agreement with the EU can be negotiated. Ultimately, any deal must ensure customers are able to access essential commodities and a wide range of products at a reasonable price, a situation the logistics industry is committed to achieving. No one voted for the chaos which a no deal would bring.
Head of European policy
Freight Transport Association
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
As events unfold, I have the slight fear that in the end Britain won’t find itself in a situation resembling the “Canada” or the “Norway” but rather the “South Sudan” option to Brexit.
Describing the Brexit negotiations as a “three-dimensional game of chess” is a flattering analysis (“ Into the endgame ”, November 17th). High-level chess usually results in a draw, and a well-played game reflects well on both players. This process is more like a tipsy game of Jenga.
Let the people vote for one of three options: stay in, out now, or out in 2030. The last option comes with a big if…“If the EU ’s politicians don’t drastically shrink their administration and bureaucracy during the coming decade.” Half the EU ’s member states would also vote for this alternative.
Teacher training Your article on the promise of education technology asserted that in low-income countries, “the big problem is teachers” (“ Teacher’s little helper ”, November 17th). But all the examples you provided of effective technology require teachers to get on board. In the account of Kenya’s Tusome programme the teacher is delighted to receive better feedback from a coach. In South Africa a programme using technology to provide coaching to teachers from a distance was effective because the teachers engaged with it.
Moreover, why is it that teacher absenteeism is high? Teachers are not morally different from their peers in other professions. Indeed, many professionals would also register high rates of absenteeism if, for example, they were asked by their supervisors to canvass for political campaigns, or simply if no one cared about their absence. And the answer to why teachers often lack crucial knowledge and pedagogical abilities is that education systems often use criteria other than merit to hire them and neglect to train teachers with serious practical skills. The big problem is not teachers, but rather education systems that fail to select, prepare and support them.
Regulating glyphosate Contrary to the thrust of your article, “ Hazard signs ”, (November 17th), regulators continue to support the safe use of glyphosate. In evaluations spanning 40 years, the overwhelming consensus in America, Europe, Japan and elsewhere has been that glyphosate-based herbicides are safe for use and glyphosate is not carcinogenic. This extensive body of research includes more than 800 rigorous studies submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency and other regulators in connection with the registration process that confirms that these products are safe when used as directed. Confusion about glyphosate and cancer stems from one opinion by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is not a regulator, did no independent studies, and omitted from its consideration the most comprehensive epidemiology study of pesticides and cancer, which found no association between glyphosate and cancer. Glyphosate is too important to low carbon and affordable food production to leave this context out of the conversation.
Head of agricultural affairs and sustainability
Bayer Crop Science
A lost opportunity “ Building blocs ” (November 3rd) recounted the persistence of housing segregation in Northern Ireland. This year marks, astonishingly, the 190th anniversary of a report from a committee in the House of Commons that proposed a single, non-denominational school system for the whole island of Ireland (religious instruction was to be kept rigidly separate). This was 40 years before the government created a national school system for England.
The Catholic church agreed to the proposal, but the established Anglican church and the Presbyterian church had theological and other objections which they felt prevented them from participating in a single system. This was done with good intent; each saw itself as the one true church. But lives would have been saved, and politics rendered less fractious, if the churches had been willing to co-operate in 1828.
That dream of integrated schools did not come about for another 153 years, when frustrated Catholic and Protestant parents created Lagan College in 1981. From that one shared scout hall with 28 pupils, parents have gone on to create 65 integrated schools.
Greek history lesson We learn that Greece never suffered a civil war ( Charlemagne , December 1st). What exactly then was the bloody struggle that took place in Greece between 1946-49?
Small is beautiful You lamented congressional gridlock because it makes us less confident in government (“ Where next? ”, November 10th). I cannot imagine a better consequence than losing faith in an overactive government. As John O’Sullivan said 181 years ago, “The best government is that which governs least.” Government’s just role is to ensure we follow every good mother’s advice: don’t hurt anyone else or take their stuff.
This article appeared in the Letters section of the print edition under the headline “Letters to the editor”