Readers' letters - May 24
Internet genie's now been released out of the bottle
Tim Berners-Lee would surely have kept his invention to himself, if he could have looked into the future.
Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is impossible to put it back in, but now given the downsides of the internet, we must realise the monster that has been released.
The good things that the internet brought into our lifestyles at first made everything possible.
It changed the way we lived, both at work and at play.
However, we are now seeing its downsides, and what downsides.
Online grooming of the young, bullying, terrorism and cyber fraud, the list is endless. And now to add to the list we have the hackers. Both of the state persuasion and criminal.
But after this latest attack by hackers, which can cripple whole institutions and leave countries vulnerable to ransom demands by criminal elements, surely the time has come for a worldwide position to be adopted to police the internet, especially as those currently in control cannot or will not police it themselves.
Young voters easily swayed
Some political parties are getting desperate, as they are again calling for the voting age to be reduced to 16.
But ever since the universal male franchise was granted at 21 in 1918, women’s at 30, up to equalisation in 1928, the voting age has always been the legal age of majority, i.e. when you can do all adult things.
At 16 today you cannot drive a car, get married or join the forces without parental consent, nor even buy a packet of 20 cigarettes, let alone obtain credit.
Harold Wilson lowered it from 21 to 18 in 1970 just to garner the student vote, but the law that allows people to stand for election as an MP never changed, and that stayed at 21 for another 40 odd years.
The obvious reason for both Harold Wilson then, and others today, is that the young, without much experience of the realities of life, especially the lies and hypocrisy, if not outright dishonesty, of some politicians, are easily swayed to vote for them.
In fact older voters like me hardly bother to vote at all, unless in the recent EU referendum.
Huge risk of leaving EU
John Maynard Keynes was perhaps the greatest economist of the 20th century and one of its leading thinkers.
He wrote: “Many of the greatest evils of our time are the fruits of risk, uncertainty and ignorance”.
In Brexit we have an example of all three adverse elements coming together.
The risks of leaving the EU are known to be huge but the precise size of those risks is difficult to ascertain because of all the uncertainty.
The referendum vote last June took place amongst much ignorance.
Polling organisations discovered that over one third of voters confessed that they did not really understand what they were being asked to vote on.
And we all know that the result has precipitated a departure to an unknown destination.
If we continue to follow the route to “hard Brexit”, Keynes will be proved right.
We will inflict on ourselves the greatest evil of our time.