Failure to support a second vote on Brexit is a dereliction of duty

The Final Say march attracted 700,000 people on Saturday: Getty
The Final Say march attracted 700,000 people on Saturday: Getty

Following the London march last weekend, I wrote to my local Conservative MP to ask him to support a second referendum. He is a member of the government and so gave me short shrift. He said that a second referendum would be “neither desirable or feasible”. He evidently does not consider that the duty of government is to explore all options and investigate feasibility, just as it is planning for the contingency of a hard Brexit. I do not believe it is as hard as he implies to frame a second referendum.

Thoughtful politicians and commentators have been suggesting practical models that seem feasible. Perhaps some conscientious civil servant, keen to protect the government from the mistakes made in the setting up of the 2016 referendum, has draft plans ready. If so, then the government should now grasp the opportunity to say so openly. This would give political cover for a later decision to sponsor a second vote. Given the timetable and the prospect of a hard Brexit, history will regard a failure to do this as a dereliction of duty and further evidence of sheer political incompetence.

Steven Fogel​ Hampstead

A female lead in Doctor Who? There’s a second time for everything

What is this nonsense about the lead role in Doctor Who being given to a woman for the first time? I can assure you that when Katy Manning played Jo Grant, hers was the central character.

John Riseley​ Harrogate

The art of the cover-up?

On the Saudi government’s murder of Jamal Khashoggi, president Trump said: “They had a very bad original concept. It was carried out poorly, and the cover-up was one of the worst in the history of cover-ups”.

The president’s quote is unexpected from a number of viewpoints. Yes, this is a poor cover-up, but the worst ever? I think not. What about Watergate? It also implies that cover-ups can, and almost certainly have, been done much better.

Perhaps Trump should provide some suggestions on how to cover-up well.

1. Don’t accuse the media of fake news

2. Don’t use distractions

3. Don’t sack anybody honest or allow them to resign early

4. Don’t fill jobs that lead to open communication

5. Don’t provide confusing and contradictory comments

Dennis Fitzgerald Melbourne, Australia

Liar liar, Trump’s on fire

During the 2016 primaries Donald Trump constantly referred to “lying Ted Cruz”. He is now campaigning on Cruz’s behalf. Does this mean that Trump now believes Cruz has started telling the truth?

Jack Liebeskind Cheltenham

The People’s Vote march is a severe warning

As the Brexit process grinds wearily on, I find myself becoming ever more gloomy.

The huge display of concern evident at the Final Say march on Saturday is the most severe warning to the government that “the people” could possibly give. I have been on quite a few protest marches in my time but never one where the atmosphere was so subdued. The sense of frustration and disbelief at what was going on was palpable.

I am neither for nor against the EU. It is far from perfect and reform is needed, but it has played a major role in maintaining a stable Europe. We, and indeed the whole world, need a stable Europe now more than ever. To leave at this time, no matter what deal is cobbled together, will benefit no one.

Steve Edmondson​ Cambridge

Our poorest communities deserve accountability

The Independent’s article on the plight of the nation’s poorest students is distressing because a major factor that dissuades many talented teachers and school leaders from working in areas of social disadvantage is self-induced. We have a school accountability system that is overly oppressive. It is a system that takes far too little account of the challenges of teaching or school leadership in areas where deprivation and disadvantage are prevalent. Why, for example, would a school leader with a proven track record put their career on the line to work in a poorer area knowing that they may be one Ofsted inspection away from a career-ending judgement? The safe career option is to work in suburbia, or the more affluent “Shire counties”, where the relative affluence and more socially balanced pupil mix produces results that more readily fit Ofsted’s current crude criterion for judging school effectiveness.

Surprisingly there are still many dedicated educational professionals who work with integrity and commitment in our poorer communities. It would be refreshing if the inspectorate and educational policymakers did more to recognise and support their dedication. As someone with 40 years’ teaching and school leadership experience, I could give them a useful first step: devise a system of school accountability that is fair to schools serving our poorer communities. Until this is done many talented teachers and school leaders will quite understandably eschew working in such schools.

Pete Crockett Address supplied

Don’t make Halloween a horror show for your pets

Halloween means spooky fun, but it also poses some truly frightening dangers to cats and dogs, so people should take precautions to make the day a treat, not a trick, for everyone.

Keep all sweets and treats out of reach of animals and make sure that children and guests know not to share them with animals. Many animals can’t resist sampling treats – wrappers and all – that contain toxic ingredients such as chocolate and xylitol. Candles and carved pumpkins can cause burns and start fires, so make sure they are out of reach, too, and can’t be knocked over.

Costumed visitors can make even the friendliest animals skittish and prone to bolting or biting. Stay with your animals in a quiet room, away from the door, and ensure they’re microchipped and wearing collars with current ID tags, just in case. Walk dogs before trick-or-treat time and always keep animals indoors – left outdoors unattended, they’re targets for cruel people, especially at this time of year.

Jennifer White People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

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