IoS letters, emails & online postings (9 May 2010)

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Can anyone who read Richard Moore's illuminating article ("Vote for fair votes: clamour for change grows", 2 May) doubt that the time has come not only for a referendum on reform of the voting system? It is also time to implement in Britain the single transferable vote, as opposed to the much weaker system of AV or AV-plus, as recommended in the Jenkins report in 1998. The alternative is to continue with the present system under which many people feel effectively disenfranchised.

Gary Claeys

Aigburth, Liverpool

A smart Nick Clegg should be pressing David Cameron to agree to really fundamental electoral reform: an end to the massive funding by the likes of Lords Ashcroft and Levy. Stop the big money first and then agree a better voting system. If Cameron refuses, let the people be his judge.

Marlene Knight

pontefract, West Yorkshire

If electoral reform and proportional representation were magic cure-alls for the ills of a political system, the Weimar Republic would still be going strong.

Ivor Morgan


A C Grayling writes that "The Pope, as head of the church, is accountable for its actions" ("Why no Asbo for the Pope?", 2 May). Is it that simple? Is the Queen accountable for what happens in a far-flung country where she is head of state?

Responsibility for dealing with crime lies with the local police. It is clearly stated Vatican policy that the Church co-operates with the civil authority in countries where there is a rule of law. The Pope knows no more more about alleged child abuse in Milwaukee than I do. Or even A C Grayling.

Leigh Hatts

London SE1

Pope Benedict is the child of a social system which has been around for the better part of 2,000 years, and which depended on the idea of there being two "perfect" societies – the church and the state. "Perfect" in this context means possessing all the powers to have a separate existence. Think, for example, of the struggle between Henry II and Becket. Benefit of clergy was not abolished in our domestic law until the 19th century. This accounts for the reluctance to hand pederast priests over to the secular authority. The church's penal practice has always been coloured by the Gospel message that we are saved from destruction and are capable of a change of heart.

Francis Hart

Ash Vale, Surrey

Your round-up of how Britain's national newspapers would vote omitted the Morning Star ("What the papers say", 2 May). I would have hoped that a recent newcomer to the national newspaper scene such as The Independent on Sunday would reject censorship by omission of a serious and professionally run national daily paper published since 1930.

Robert Griffiths

via email

As the economy recovers, it is vital a skilled workforce meets the demands of both current and future economic growth, especially as we embrace new sectors such as renewables. And it is colleges, universities and industries working together that will create and develop education and skills opportunities. At a time of proposed cuts, we must continue to invest in our universities and colleges and enable them to develop flexibility for employers and businesses in search of skills.

Jacqui Hepburn

Director, Alliance of Sector Skills Councils, Scotland


Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, said it all ("Greece: A new age of austerity and anger dawns", 2 May): "Banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs."


posted online

As someone whose age now makes him an ex-ginger, I have some sympathy with Katy Guest's experience of gingerism ("Gingerism: A thin red line between comedy and common assault", 2 May). However, she shows a comprehensive misunderstanding of MIA's video when she likens it to the bigoted comedy of Roy Chubby Brown.

The video is about the contempt that minorities experience the world over. The choice of ginger victims is the touch of irony that underlines that truth.

Alan Collins

Fareham, Hampshire

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