IoS letters, emails & online postings (17 July 2011)

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Please, Janet Street-Porter, don't include my family, friends, colleagues and neighbours in the collective "we" ("The News of the World habit was as addictive as crack", 10 July). Some of us have gardens to maintain, meals to cook and shirts to iron for Monday – in other words, a life of our own.

I still remember as a young teenager having a visit from a schoolmate's father, a reporter with the News of the World. He had been invited to the school to talk to the children about journalism as a career option. Even then, my underdeveloped moral radar twitched nervously as he described what he reported on and how he got the information. Ladders and windows seemed to feature, if my memory is correct. I've always wished since that I had had the confidence to stand up and challenge the "rightness" of his job.

While there will always be issues surrounding freedom of the press and reportage, people's rights to a private life – as long as they are not committing crime – should be sacrosanct.

The News of the World had what was coming to it. Good riddance.

Hilary Stockwell

Hungerford, Berkshire

One disturbing feature of the News of the World's final edition was the unrepentant self-glorification of its dubious past.

Another was how, after almost every large company in the land decided it was unethical to take up advertising in the paper, so many charities rushed to fill the vacated space (presumably gratis). Not only does it show a lack of judgement on their part, it demonstrated breathtaking naivety by handing the editorial team an opportunity of enhancing the paper's misplaced sense of self-congratulation. Perhaps the charities decided that the ends justified the means. The exact philosophy used in the rationalisation of crooked journalistic practices of that paper for so many years.

Roger Hattam

Bingley, West Yorkshire

Do you not find it odd that, in today's Britain, all the faces in your picture of the farewell pose of the News of the World staff are white. Their company is probably not alone – just a thought.

N Reeda

Paris, France

David Cameron's intention to go ahead with the badger cull should surprise nobody who is aware of his involvement with blood sports and his general indifference to animal welfare. This carnage will of course be ongoing and will be repeated annually, despite the scientific evidence that, in areas surrounding the cull, the badger population will actually increase.

Of course the problem of TB in cattle will persist, since the assault on the immune systems of these animals by the routine administration of drugs, antibiotics, and hormones will continue unabated. When the badgers have been wiped out, the farmers and their political lackeys will instead persecute the deer or another of the species of wildlife that carry TB. No doubt the widespread ignoring by farmers of biosecurity measures at markets will also continue, while the case of the farmer in Powys recently given a suspended sentence for reversing name tags on infected animals is probably the tip of an iceberg.

Peter Langley


As a teacher who has taught in both state and independent schools, I have noticed that independent school pupils have the capacity to teach themselves ("Disdain for learning is a costly flaw", 10 July). This is crucially the skill independent schools develop, which gives their pupils self-confidence and self-worth and improves their chances of gaining Oxbridge places. State schools are handicapped by an over-prescriptive curriculum and little scope for students to learn independently of teachers.

Kartar Uppal

West Bromwich, West Midlands

Regrettably, in Barbara Stocking's article ("The Cycle of Disaster-aid-disaster-aid must be broken", 10 July), yet again the "P" word was never mentioned. I still have in my possession a 1970s publication from Population Concern called The Shape of Things to Come which predicted the problems caused by rapid population growth. It highlighted in particular the area of Kenya, Somalia and Sudan. Over the intervening years, population remains a largely taboo subject and the predictions are sadly coming true. It is now time for aid that is raised to be aimed specifically at family planning. I am sure that there would be many willing donors.

Nigel Long


I disagree with Janet Street-Porter when she says "it's essential that school meals be subsidised and made compulsory" ("Gove must follow Jamie's lead", 10 July). Why is it wrong for youngsters to go home for dinner? I've fond memories of listening to BBC Radio 4 at lunchtime with my mother, and I'm certainly glad I didn't have to stay at school to be fed.

Tim Mickleburgh

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

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