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Despite being unable to arrange chimes of Big Ben to welcome Brexit, the enterprising Conservative party managed to pull something else out of the spangly bag: a made-in-Britain tea towel picturing a triumphant Boris Johnson. This may give a hint of textile production (cottage industry) opportunities for the Britons who, never, never, never will be slaves. To save space the legend emblazoned around the prime-ministerial girth was, “Got Brexit Done” rather than the more accurate: “Awaiting the Results of Tricky Bargaining That Could Take Quite A While.” Aesthetes may prefer to consider the party’s Brexit key fob, fridge magnet or mug. Let’s hope we are not the mugs.

Gordon Hurd Chalfont St Giles, UK

I have never been comfortable with single-use plastic cutlery and not only because of a preference for silver service. As your avocado-centric article (CFI.co Winter) points out, these little bits of plastic cannot be properly recycled and cause unacceptable pollution. It is comforting to know that the avocado pip resembles latex and, with a little help, can be transformed into knives, forks and spoons. At first, I thought the berry was going to be magicked into the counter-cutlery movement but see now that that is a whole lot of guacamole. Chapeau to Scott Mangula in Mexico for this fascinating tableware development.

Suzanne Favre Geneva, Switzerland

Ian Fletcher’s piece in your Winter issue, focusing on the monetisation (and potential weaponization) of data, was an interesting and timely read. The most worrying facet of this emerging trend to put a price on our thoughts, preferences and tendencies is that the information becomes available to the highest bidder. That bidder could be (and often is) someone in a position of power; Donald Trump’s administration, for example. Democracy is already a poor, tattered thing that’s been tormented into a caricature of its ideal self. With social media, fake news and the dreaded data added into the mix, get ready to kiss goodbye to any semblance of it.

Tariq Huaz Beirut, Lebanon

I read with great interest your article about AMC Natural Drinks and its success story. As a Spanish citizen, resident in the countryside, it is encouraging to see a “good news” story at a time when we hear that rural areas are emptying, and farmers are protesting as the supermarkets force them to sell their produce at unsustainable margins. In Spain, we are blessed with a wonderful climate and fertile soil; it makes me proud that a company here in the south is producing quality products in such an innovative and sustainable way.

Jesús Castro Baeza Linares, Spain

While I understand Ursula von der Leyen’s need to put her best-foot forward for a stronger Europe, I wonder how she envisages advances when the EU is about to lose a €9bn contribution from the UK. The Eurozone is forecast to grow by a meagre 1.2 percent — before factoring-in the effects of coronavirus. I have always been a cautious supporter of the European project and believe that it has brought many benefits. However, is it not fair that we should expect a modicum of realpolitik from Frau President?

Amandeep Sandhu Birmingham, UK