IoS letters, emails & online postings (4 September 2011)

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"Whatever happens now, Gaddafi's awful reign is over, and the Libyan people have the chance to choose freedom for themselves", claimed your leading article last week (28 August). Substitute Saddam Hussein's name for Gaddafi and the same would have applied all those years ago.

So why the difference? In most respects, Saddam was a far worse tyrant than Gaddafi. He waged war on his neighbours, using weapons of mass destruction, and oppressed and killed his own people. He was a major threat to stability in the region and the wider world.

The IoS campaigned long and hard about the perceived lack of legitimacy for the Iraq war, in particular complaining that "regime change" was not permissible. So, where now is the high-minded rhetoric that characterised that campaign?

The UN resolution, authorising the "protection of Libyan civilians", has been subjugated to the "unlawful" aim of regime change. Nato aircraft have been employed as the air force of the "rebels", with Western special forces working on the ground to direct the 20,000 or so air strikes. If regime change was not the objective, why, after the fall of most of Tripoli, did UK bombers target Gaddafi's home town?

Norman Evans

East Horsley, Surrey

John Rentoul, in his article "Coalition doesn't work for Clegg" (28 August), needs to go back to the coalition deal: it works for no one but the Tories and undeclared Tories.

As one after another Lib Dem pre-election pledge is ditched, the mantra "coalition involves compromise" wears thin, when the point is that there was a workable alternative to entering into coalition. But Nick Clegg and his party's right-wing "orange-bookers" spurned the opportunity for real consensus government and condemned the country to a possible five years of right-wing Tory government, ceding to them greater powers than a modest Tory majority could have brought.

Eddie Dougall

Walsham le Willows, Suffolk

Katy Holland complains about adult intolerance towards (her) children (kicking and screaming) on long-haul flights ("If adults can't behave on a flight...", 28 August). I am not without sympathy with parents trying to settle the very young. But I repeatedly see the arrogance of parents who consider it quite acceptable to allow their offspring to create uproar in public spaces. Ms Holland complains that calls for "child-free zones" on planes are an example of our intolerance. Why? They might help to avoid the sort of stresses she describes.

As a frequent traveller between London and the Far East, I have often been struck by how settled Asian children are throughout the boredom of long haul – in embarrassing contrast to the children of British families. Is there a lesson here?

A Gibson

Richmond, Surrey

The caption attached to the photo of the classroom at King Edward VI High School for Girls, Birmingham, is incorrect ("To live near the best schools, be prepared to pay a £77,000 premium", 28 August). Parents have to pay fees of £10,215 for the academic year 2011/12. Where they live is immaterial.

Kartar Uppal

West Bromwich, West Midlands

I must take issue with your report stating that 40 per cent of drivers on 12 or more points keep their licences ("More than 10,000 drivers escape ban despite full points", 28 August). You have compared the number of drivers disqualified for "totting" with the number who have 12 or more points. But points remain live for three years while most totting disqualifications are for six months, so the comparison is not valid. Correcting the calculation gives an estimate of 11 per cent of drivers not disqualified. There is no indication that magistrates are being unduly lenient when considering exceptional hardship arguments.

Chris Hunt Cooke

Chairman, Road Traffic Committee

Magistrates' Association, London W1

You reported on the furore sparked by a review in the Daily Mail of my book Bred of Heaven and a letter subsequently written by the Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Davies to the Home Secretary (Welsh tell MP to lighten up over race "slur", 28 August). The review was full of inaccuracies. Allow me to correct one error in your own report. "The English author," Matthew Bell wrote, "tries to become 'a real Welshman' after discovering his grandfather is Welsh." A cursory glance at page 1 of Bred of Heaven would have advised Bell that my connection to Wales is not quite so shallow. The first thing I knew about my grandparents, whom I began visiting in Carmarthen before I can remember, was that they were Welsh. So my grandfather's Welshness was not something I "discovered" just prior to writing a book.

Jasper Rees

London, W6

Who or what is Simon Price? To look that "cool"must be agony!

Robert McGrogan

Wallasey, Wirral

Have your say

Letters to the Editor, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF; email: sundayletters@independent.co.uk (no attachments, please); fax: 020 7005 2627; online: independent.co.uk/dayinapage/2011/September/4

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