Letters to the Editor
Sunday April 24, 2005
'A class of their own' (OM, last week) was yet another of those articles which undermines state education. It smacked of those parents you meet whose children are just so special/bright/sensitive that they wouldn't thrive in the local primary or secondary, and, although they are good liberal-minded people, they just had to send their special child to the private or nearby county school or home-educate.
So the rest of
us, with our less special/bright children continue to send them to those
awful state institutions. How can they possibly thrive? They do. The
vast majority of children in this country go to local state schools and
benefit from that experience. I'm not naive - education needs a shake
up - but I believe in supporting what we have.
Why do so many people think Britain's economy compared with France's is so good (Will Hutton, Comment, last week)? Hidden unemployment here is considerably higher than official figures suggest and, on top of that, we have more than a million people on incapacity benefit. With British firms, staff are poorly educated, semi-literate and exceedingly slow at doing their job.
Why is it that Mars has relocated to France and Germany? Because continental staff work more effectively.
Children in need
could not believe my eyes when I read that, at long last, Margaret
Hodge has concerns over adoptions and that mothers may have been coerced
into giving up their children (News in Brief, last week). Then I
discovered she was referring only to adoptions of Cambodian children. If
the Minister for Children returns to her post, she must ensure forced
adoptions are substantially reduced and a more open adoption system is
The protesters in China against Japanese school textbooks (World, last week) have often been presented in the Western media as a mindless mob. Suppose in Germany a similar book was published, claiming Nazi actions during the Second World War were justified as a defence against Jews and communists. There would understandably be uproar across Europe.
assault on Nanking and other countless atrocities are comparable to the
crimes against humanity in Europe, yet the Japanese crimes seem to go
under our moral radar.
Stephanie Merritt (Cheap shots, rich pickings, Review last week) and Sandra Laville, writing in the Guardian under the headline 'Women writers: dull, depressed and domestic', used fragments of Ali Smith and Toby Litt's introduction to their book to make a generalisation about women writers.
Of course it is easier to misdirect blame to two editors of a literary collection instead of taking a closer look at the context of the underlying issues, such as why writing is a risky business.
Is it possible that journalists pose an even greater threat to novelists than the demands of our society?
David Aaronovitch is right when he says (Comment, last week) that we may just be snobbish and envious of Wayne Rooney and his money when we rubbish his taste in houses and recreation.
However, some people may be
only pale green in their jealousy and, in criticising Wayne, may be
attacking the values of a society which pays a young man so much for
doing so little in a world where so many struggle to satisfy their basic
Normal is nice
does Andrew Rawnsley (Comment, last week) say Charles Kennedy's
'baby-Lag' spoiled the launch of the Lib Dem's manifesto? It's been the
only thing I've related to in this campaign. The electorate doesn't mind
'normal' you know. In fact, we probably prefer it.
a fuss is being made of the Rover redundancies (News,last week). I have
been made redundant twice and no one made an outcry. No one said the
directors must return millions of pounds. There was no gnashing of teeth
or rending of clothes, just a quiet sadness as we parted company.
Foot in mouth
Kelly, Yvette Cooper and Harriet Harman were called 'ambidextrous
ministers ... with a foot in both camps' (News, last week). Surely, if
the boot was on the other foot, they would be ambipedstrous.
quote ('Boycott threat to Israeli colleges', News, last week) of my
saying 'I'm not going to say whether it is right or not to burn down a
synagogue, I can see that it is a rational act' is inaccurate and taken
out of context. By no means did I justify any form of violence against
Jews, Jewish interests or any innocent people. In the School of Oriental
and African Studies we were debating the question of rationality of
anti-semitism. I claimed that since Israel presents itself as the 'state
of the Jewish people', and bearing in mind the atrocities committed by
the Jewish state against the Palestinians, any form of anti-Jewish
activity may be seen as political retaliation. This does not make it
Ingrams (Comment, last week) is critical of the spin the government is
putting on Iraq. He may be right. The BBC's coverage consists almost
entirely of Caroline Hawley perched on a rooftop in Baghdad, wringing
her hands over the latest shooting or car bomb. What else is going on in
Iraq? Until the BBC and others start to give us some proper reporting
we will be none the wiser.