Sir, In his review of WTF by Robert Peston (“ How we got to now”, Life & Arts, December 16), Professor Vernon Bogdanor indicates that in 1975 Roy Jenkins, then home secretary, chose to discount the warnings of Enoch Powell and Tony Benn about the EU because he “did not like the look of them”. This sort of mental idleness — attacking one’s interlocutor rather than their arguments — is far too prevalent. A serious downside of today’s obsession with political correctness is that one only has to attach the label “racist”, “sexist” or, worst of all, “populist” to someone in order to discredit their opinions, no matter how well they may be reasoned.
This kind of non-thinking is dangerous. Whatever one may have thought of their views on certain matters, neither Powell nor Benn was without a considerable intellect and both had (unlike some) taken the trouble to study the EEC’s founding statutes. Had more regard been taken of their views in 1975, Britain might have found itself in a more comfortable position today.
Guildford, Surrey, UK
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