IoS letters, emails & online postings (30 May 2010)

Related Topics

For a school to achieve "outstanding" status, there presumably has to be something outstanding about the way it is run. The coalition proposes to "fix" what is so categorically not broken (everything else is, apparently) by converting such schools to academies. In doing so, it will place them under the control of "sponsor"-heavy governing bodies, thus ensuring that any other voices can always be outvoted, and removing democratic accountability through local authorities.

At the same time, it proposes to take money from the education mainstream and invest it in ideologically driven "free" schools run by whom, exactly? The number of hard-pressed parents with the time, expertise or inclination to set up and run their own school is likely to be small. Jostling for position at the head of the queue are likely to be religious organisations, maverick individuals with a religious axe to grind or a bloated ego to nourish, and for-profit organisations keen to, well, make a profit, even if that means economising on facilities for pupils and insinuating advertising into the classroom.

The coalition's schools policy threatens the fabric of our education system far more even than Labour's regrettable infatuation with academising schools at the other end of the league tables.

Mike Lim

Bolton, Greater Manchester

Peter Melchett is right to push for money from the Common Agricultural Policy to help farmers reduce carbon emissions (Letters, 23 May). However, a more effective way to reduce farm carbon emissions would be through processors and retailers paying a fair price for produce at the farm gate, thereby generating farm profits that can be invested in technology and techniques to permit this to happen.

On my extensive and low-carbon red poll cattle-rearing system, it takes four years from conception of a calf to that animal weighing 520kg and going to slaughter for beef. It costs me an average of 50p a day to keep the cow during pregnancy and then to look after and raise her calf. This gives a cost of £730. Were I to have sold this animal commercially, l would have been paid (at last week's average price of £1.43 per kg liveweight) a grand total of £743.60, giving me a profit after four years of £13.60.

Sadly, other than at a niche level, producing healthy and low-carbon food just doesn't pay at present.

Huw Rowlands

Mickle Trafford, Chester

Paul Vallely makes a faulty assumption that you can equate age with wisdom: wisdom is acquired through first-hand experience, not longevity ("The Lords is not perfect, but it works", 23 May).

He asserts that an elected senate would lose its independence of judgement and ability to resist the "executive" from over-hasty and ill-advised legislation, but in the United States, the Senate regularly challenges Presidential legislation and forces the "executive" to think again. The Lords has been past its sell-by for years. Piecemeal change won't do. The case for real change is overwhelming.

Richard Denton-White

Portland, Dorset

If a recreational drug, having been taken by 14,000 people on but one occasion, resulted in one death and 15 hospitalisations with over 150 requiring the attention of paramedics, the press and public would quite rightly be seeking for it to be made illegal.

Yet I hear no such clamour about the Edinburgh Marathon which achieved the same dismal record of pain and injury while making our city virtually impassable to the non-sportive majority.

John Eoin Douglas


In your piece on me last week "Coalition asks Hooper to look again at Royal Mail sale" (23 May), there were two errors. First of all, I am not a knight. Second, last year's strike at the Royal Mail was not caused by my recommendation to part privatise the Royal Mail.

The strikes were caused by a dispute over the 2007 pay and modernisation agreement. You also said that the Royal Mail is "hugely successful" having just reported "a pre-tax profit of £404m, up 25 per cent on the previous year". Huge strides in modernisation and significant improvements in the finances have been made by the management and workforce. But in fact the Royal Mail made a pre-tax loss of £262m in the year, the £404m figure being for operating profit before exceptional items – a big difference. Net trading cash outflow was £517m. With the prospect of a £10bn pension deficit, the finances of the company could not today be described as hugely successful.

Richard Hooper

London N2

According to the US Census Bureau, baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. I hope that Dawn Airey, Neil Morrissey, Toby Young and Jean-Christophe Novelli won't be upset to discover they are not Generation X slackers but privileged overachievers.

David Stansfield

London E14

Have your say

Letters to the Editor, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF; email: (with address; no attachments, please); fax: 020 7005 2627; online:

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions