IoS letters, emails & online postings (14 August 2011)

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I think it odd that among the disaffected youth, those arrested apparently also include comfortably off people such as a graphic designer and an IT specialist, who are no longer in their teens. Such well-educated people aren't taking part because they want to have a bit of fun or loot a pair of trainers: they have extremist political motives and their tactic is cynical manipulation of dissatisfied young people.

Yes, we need to address the root causes of the riots, but we also need to wake up to the danger posed by those who seek to exploit unrest for their own political ends.

Name and address withheld

The rioting mob's main targets have been the purveyors of mass market footwear. One can only blame a poverty of imagination and unquestioning acceptance of an aspirational lifestyle largely promoted by advertising. Real revolutionaries would have headed for the banks, and might well have found support from a surprising proportion of the British public.

John Eoin Douglas


When I worked in an office, holidays were staggered to ensure there were always enough people at their desks. So it defies logic that Cameron, Clegg and Osborne were on holiday at the same time. No one is denying them the right to have a break, but they shouldn't be – paraphrasing the PM's famous remark – all on holiday together.

Tim Mickleburgh

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

Last week's report into child care by the Institute of Public Policy Research confirms fears that changes to welfare benefits would penalise the worst off and that women would bear the brunt ("Women forced out of jobs by rising cost of child care", 7 August).

Cuts to the tax credit system, combined with the rising cost of childcare, can mean that families are better off if mothers look after their children themselves, rather than paying for child care so they can work. Earlier this year, the Resolution Foundation calculated that almost 500,000 low- to middle-income families would lose an average of £436 a year in support for childcare costs, and the Fawcett Society estimates that single mothers are losing the equivalent of 18.5 per cent of their net income due to benefit cuts and tax rises – more than double the impact on couples with children.

Women should not be used as shock absorbers for the cuts. We need to ensure that changes to the benefits system do not disproportionally penalise a particular group unfairly.

Malcolm M Tyndall

Director, Elizabeth Finn Care

Giants such as Tesco and Asda misuse their buying power by driving down overseas suppliers' prices, condemning workers to poverty wages ("Don't moan about supermarkets – act", 7 August). Pressure on the government must grow for a watchdog to halt supermarkets' abuse, including exploiting suppliers' workers.Greg Muttitt

Campaigns and policy director, War on Want

In his enjoyable list of "lost" programmes, Chris Maume calls Pied Piper from the 1970s an "early music programme for children" ("Turn on, tune in...", 7 August). Although, as a musician my husband, David Munrow, specialised in early music, over the years his programme covered a different music-related topic each week. It was aimed at youngsters (teachers used it in class), but many of the audience were adults. The painting that won the poster competition to advertise the programme has pride of place in my kitchen.Gillian Munrow

Amersham, Buckinghamshire

Only a fraction of the 2,000 species of moth in Britain cause damage when their larvae feed on wool ("The curse of the moth", 7 August). But you illustrated the article with a picture of a barberry carpet, an endangered species that eats not carpets but barberry.

Jonathan Wallace

Newcastle upon Tyne

To deter the larvae of the clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella), expose clothes to sunlight and brush them, which exposes the larvae and destroys the eggs. The larvae, repelled by light, will fall away. Wardrobes with natural or artificial light may reduce the problem.

Kartar Uppal

West Bromwich, West Midlands

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