This article (Smoking ban tops list of 21st century successes for public health, 23 December) is enough to make you weep. Nothing but improvement until the Tories came to power in 2010, then so much going backwards: greater inequality, closure of Sure Start centres, and minimal alcohol pricing still not introduced in England. Homelessness has increased since 2010, and life expectancy has decreased. And the population has just voted for more of the same.
Dr Heather Parry
• Labour don’t need a new leader, new policies or a new ideology – they just need better slogans. “Take back control” won the referendum in 2016, and “Get Brexit done” just won a general election. Both fatuous and mendacious, but punchy – which is all the electorate seems to need or want.
• In the spirit of Alice O’Keeffe’s praise of Anna Burns (Be patient, keep faith: a mantra for life, Journal, 19 December), I find an ideal to aspire to in making stock, writing and life in general is to keep skimming until the scum stops rising to the surface, never stir it and keep it simmering but don’t let it boil. Chicken soup for the soul.
• A letter (20 December) butchers the Latin language with veni, mentiti, vici. O tempora o mores. It would have to be mentitus sum were it to be anything. However, decepi – I cheated, deceived, ensnared etc – would do it.
• Since we’re going to have to get used to them, we might as well get the plural of annus horribilis right: it’s anni horribiles, not “anni horribili” (Editorial, 26 December).
Sale, Greater Manchester
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