I AM grateful to the Advertiser for printing my letter about opinion (Letters, February 1, ‘Use of terms’), and have been wondering why I feel so strongly about this.

What makes opinion? We all have opinions and we are all entitled to them, but where do they come from? They may be inherited, learned, indoctrinated, they may be bias or prejudice, they may be emotional or intellectual, they may be advertising or media induced, they may be experience or research based, they may be instinctive or reasoned, original, group-think or illusion.

So, where should the information come from? Experience of working with the EU or within it? A full understanding of what it was intended to be, the steps taken for that end, why the original reasons for these may have changed since and how well it has achieved its promise so far? Not from predictions, most of which have been unreliable, but from understanding the past, present and possible future.

When, at the time of the Maastricht Treaty, the Danish PM said, that he had negotiated it but hadn’t read it, and one UK MP said that most people hadn’t read it. Those who had mostly didn’t understand it, and those who did didn’t agree with it. Is this opinion or experienced information? Most people took little notice in 1992, but is it too late to realise how little we may know about where we are today?

The difference between opinion and information may sometimes be unclear but it is terribly important. My chemical battles were about information and fact — information-based by necessity. Brexit hasn’t been, all too often. Should it have been? Foreign journalists have recently commented on how formerly unemotional British politics have become emotionally dominated. Does that lead to sensible and considered decisions? Knowledge and information matter.

May I recommend ‘Making a success of Brexit — and reforming the EU’ by Roger Bootle as a detailed and information-crammed account of the past, a sound description of the present and an (always for the future) arguable prediction of possibilities to come. A very good source of quick reference.

Margaret Reichlin, Upper Enham.