The decline in candidates for humanities and languages subjects identified by Eleanor Busby is deeply concerning.
One of the causes is the return to the narrow sixth form syllabus of only three A-levels, which has blighted British education for decades. From this comes not only a shortage of linguists but also scientists who do not have the vital skills of communication. It is time that the A-level system, which has caused these ancient and deep problems, is replaced by a broader curriculum such as the international baccalaureate, which requires every student to do maths, a science, English, a language and a humanities subject.
Scotland is unlikely to leave the UK and stay within EU
No wonder the SNP Growth Commission report has been so long delayed. Over the past year the SNP has been doing everything possible to undermine the Brexit process. Yet now its own experts admit it could take up to a decade to get an independent Scotland’s economy strong enough to contemplate starting a new currency. Then, and only then, could the process of applying for membership of the EU start, and that could take many years. So the SNP suggests Scotland leaves the UK and remains outside of it and the EU for at least a decade, more likely much longer. Why is this critical fact not highlighted in this new report? Do they think we might not notice?
West Linton, Scottish Borders
A no-show on North Korea talks
There have been many times when I have seen two men puffing out their chests, bragging about how good they are, how strong they are and how they are going to destroy the other person. Normally this is just the theatre of a championship boxing match, not a real-life situation.
The decision by President Trump to cancel the talks with North Korea is a backwards step and must be condemned. This is not a world wrestling match where people can hurl insults knowing they are meaningless and that the show would go on. It is time to wrestle with your conscience and be a champion of peace.
Not buying it
Trump’s ridiculous commemorative coin has halved in value now that he’s pulled out of the planned summit with North Korea. If May is planning a commemorative Brexit pound coin, I won’t be buying one in case it only ends up being worth 10 shillings, sixpence and three farthings.
Ban the second amendment
In the wake of yet another mass shooting in Texas, many Americans are asking, what will it take for Congress to restrict access to guns? A few offered the same insane remedy of arming the teachers! These apathetic, laissez-faire attitudes need to change.
Here are a few suggestions.
1. Vote out any member receiving NRA funding.
2. Parents allowing their children access to firearms that are used in the commission of a crime must be regarded as accessories and charged a heavy fine commensurate with the gravity of the crime – and possible jail time.
3. Concerned citizens are urged to write or call the IRS and demand the NRA lose its 501(c)3 non-profit status and pay back taxes from the date of their incorporation in 1975.
4. As John Paul Stevens, the eminent former Supreme Court justice, opined recently in The New York Times, it is past time to repeal the second amendment, which allows Americans to purchase unlimited quantities of weapons. A majority (70 per cent) of Americans do not possess weapons, which means a majority of Americans are held hostage to the whims of a small minority.
Los Altos, California
There is no nice way around the Grenfell Tower Inquiry
The privileged in British society must take responsibility for the part we played in Grenfell and the ignorance we are still trying to conceal with our polite platitudes, trigger warnings, safe spaces and counselling sessions. I fear that in accommodating grieving families and friends, those responsible are made to look accepting. While their efforts are important and commemorations are essential, we must not us forget the true cost of our oblivion, which was the deaths of 72 innocent sleepers because the British elite refused to care.
Those [survivors and relatives] who spoke in the inquiry this week demonstrated true bravery. Their commemorations were delivered with dignity and their loved ones memories are forever remembered in their words. I just hope that the failure of the state, the British elite, and above all, our collective responsibility, will also be remembered.