IoS letters, emails & online postings (14 April 2013)


Margaret Thatcher is dead, so the usual rubbish comes pouring out about her virtues. She was remarkable for her grocer-shop mentality, arrogance, unswerving hatred of sections of the working class and above all as the luckiest prime minister we have had. Her disasters included the poll tax, and cuts to the Navy just before the Falklands war, which saved her administration at the cost of many lives. She sold off Westland's helicopter manufacture, deregulated the financial sector – an irony, given the past few years – and failed to re-energise manufacturing with unprecedented petroleum revenues. She sold off council houses, with no replacement provision, and gas and electricity. Yet she wasted gas and oil reserves, using them as a weapon to kill off the mining industry and its communities. A ceremonial funeral with full military honours? Give me strength!

Bill Joiner

Corsham, Wiltshire

The call for Iain Duncan Smith to live up to his broadcast boast of living on £53 a week has been overshadowed by the death of one of the long-term sick. Ironically, the disability living allowance, with a host of other benefits, was created under Margaret Thatcher for one purpose – to reduce unemployment figures read out every evening on the radio Six O'clock News, like the world's worst cricket score.

Roy Isserlis

Ormiston, East Lothian

Venezuelans will today vote for their next president, the 17th national electoral process since 1998, when the late Hugo Chavez was first elected. All have been certified as free and fair by respected international bodies. Seven candidates will stand for the presidency, the frontrunners being Nicolas Maduro, a vice-president under Hugo Chavez, and Henrique Capriles Radonski, the candidate of the right-wing MUD coalition. In the past, Venezuela has been subject to external intervention, and some sections of the right-wing opposition movements may not recognise the outcome of the forthcoming election, given the likely success of Maduro. We believe it is for the Venezuelan people alone to choose their next government, free from any external intervention, and that governments around the world should respect the official results.

Colin Burgon

Venezuela Solidarity Campaign Grahame Morris MP

Labour Friends of Venezuela Diane Abbott MP, Peter Hain MP, Bruce Kent, John Pilger, Jenny Jones and 130 others

Your article "Calls to ban dangerous chemicals" refers to the flame retardant TBBPA (7 April). TBBPA is not used in furniture, but in devices with printed circuit boards, such as home appliances, office equipment, cars and aviation. An eight-year EU risk assessment found it posed no risk to human health, and it is a key tool for many industries in their quest for public fire safety.

Kannah Kasturirangan

Chair, European Flame Retardants Association, Brussels

Mark Leftly conflated the start-up of easyJet in 1995 with the activities of bankers, who lined their pockets while destroying the British banking system in 2008 (The Square Mile, 7 April). Unlike them, I took a risk with my own money, launching a company that now employs nearly 10,000 people and pays millions of pounds a year in tax to the Exchequer. Leftly also argues that my recent disputes with the easyJet board are unworthy of a knight of the realm. Why? Since 2008 I have held to account three easyJet chairmen (all "business" knights, and now departed) to protect shareholders. If an activist shareholder like me had held to account the knights in charge of HBOS and RBOS in 2006, the world might not have been plunged into financial crisis.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou

Chairman, easyGroup IP Licensing Ltd

Helen McCrory bemoans a lack of action on the streets to support the NHS (The New Review, 7 April). She obviously hasn't heard of Keep the NHS Public, which has been marching, meeting and leafleting for some time.

Jenny Bushell

London SW19

Paul Vallely says "we may need incentives to spur the feckless... to get a job" ("On a one-way street to social equality", 7 April). But with 2.5 million unemployed, surely what's first needed is work for people to go to.

Tim Mickleburgh

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

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