Letters: Briefly

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INCOME from the increase of VAT from 15 per cent to 17.5 per cent was used to lower the poll tax. As from April, we will be paying council tax rather than poll tax. When can we expect a return to 15 per cent VAT?

Gordon Joly, London E14

THE COMMENT by your reporter Julian Nundy ('The Front's old flame flickers', 14 March) that it is 'good news' that the leader of French fascism, Jean Marie Le Pen, has, apparently, stopped ranting at his audiences and is more 'statesmanlike' is outrageous. The only possible good news associated with Le Pen would be that he and his fellow Nazis have given up politics and retired to their bunkers.

Joe Lane, London SE11

LESS than a year ago, political opinion pollsters were discredited in Britain. Yet you are happy to claim that on the basis of an opinion poll, a Lib-Lab pact would devastate the Tories (14 March). The views expressed are unsurprising at the moment but we all know that many Lib-Dem votes would switch to the Tories rather than Labour, come polling day. Surely we deserve better analysis from your newspaper?

David Cole, Dunmow, Essex

IN 'Show People' (Review, 14 March), Adrian Noble is quoted as saying that Simon Russell Beale's 'strength lies in his contradictions . . . He's fiercely intelligent yet he plays instinctively on the level of the shop floor'. What is the contradiction in that?

Paul Higgins, London NW6

THANK YOU Neal Ascherson for a telling expose of the Scottish voting dilemma. The fact that we have no need for an English National Party when we have a Tory party beautifully demonstrates why the Scots hate, and I mean hate, the present administration. Can we not acknowledge this gracefully and have a federal Britain now?

Frank Todd, Exmouth

YOUR leader ('Viewers' death wish', 14 March) appears to suggest that slapping children does not count as physical assault against another human being. Is this because slapping is not a physical assault or because children are not human beings?

Anne Salter, Perthshire