Letter: Rightful heirs to Churchill's papers

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is a sign of the impoverishment of history teaching that so few of us understand the significance of heritage ("Winners don't buy tickets", 27 April). Take away envy of the Churchill family, and the argument as to whether the nation has a right to free possession of private property, and we have a payment of 25p per member of the population for a unique piece of history. As a one-off payment, it is cheap. Spread over just the first century of its public availability it is peanuts.

I rarely attend football matches and never go to the opera, but I do not begrudge those institutions their lottery grants. I am appalled that, just as common-sense politics seemed finally to be taking root, Labour and Liberal reaction has been so philosophically parsimonious as once again to seek to make capital out of the politics of envy. Sadly, national reaction is as classically selfish as anything else conditioned in the nation by Thatcherism. Would that leader-writers employed their skills persuading us of the value of heritage as a concept and rejoicing at what has just been achieved for the benefit of future generations.

Yours sincerely,

MERVYN BENFORD

Shutford, Oxfordshire

28 April

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