IoS letters, emails & online postings (15 September 2013)



George Osborne wastes no time in taking credit for the signs of an upturn in the economy. His talk of the sacrifices made by the British public is disingenuous.

Rather than being invited to join in the necessary measures to reduce the deficit, whole swathes of the country were sacrificed on the altars of the City, whose high priests had caused the damage to be visited on the populace as a whole, and who benefited disproportionately from the largesse designed to protect us all from the consequences.

It was inevitable that the UK economy would eventually start to pick up, when the companies sitting on vast piles of capital tired of their caution. There was a gentler, more humane way of arriving at this point, but the Chancellor now presides over a country where the rich are even richer, the worthy are being punished for their thrift, and the poor of all ages live in desolate wastelands of hopelessness, exploitation and unused talent, having endured quite unnecessary personal tragedies.

Well done, George.

Ssierra Hutton-Wilson

Evercreech, Somerset


Jane Merrick asks, “Is three too soon to start learning how to write?” (8 September). Children begin to learn to write from the moment they start to make marks with pens, paint, in sand, or in their food. And there are many activities parents and nurseries can provide to give children the resources they need to eventually learn to write. But in her independent report on early years education in 2011, Dame Clare Tickell separated communication and language from literacy, seeing these as a prime area of development before the more specific areas such as reading and writing.

Listening, understanding and speaking skills are more important for young children. And the appropriate physical skills and hand-eye coordination that help them form letters correctly.

Hilary Percival

Gosport, Hampshire


Cillian Murphy “still considers himself Irish, despite having lived in London for over a decade” (Arts & Books, 8 Sept- ember). That is because he is Irish, and that has not changed just because he now lives in the UK. My parents-in-law lived, worked and paid taxes in the UK for more than 50 years, but never considered themselves anything  but Irish. Ireland has been an independent country since 1922.

Rachel Gallagher

Gravesend, Kent


Before Margaret Thatcher, local authorities set local business rates, so they could deter big supermarkets from opening in the high street and encourage farm shops, craftspeople, and so on. But Thatcher believed market forces should be the only thing to decide the fate of our high streets. Furthermore, the charity rate relief is unnecessarily complicated. Couple the Government’s effectively paying 80 per cent of charities’ business rates with its power to set business rates, and boarded up high streets full of charity shops are explained.

Local authorities should set business rates, and charities receive a simple grant, to use as they think fit.

Henrietta Cubitt



I was appalled by the sympathetic advice given by Liz Barclay to a reader worried about the cost of car insurance for her student son at university (Business, 8 September). For heaven’s sake, tell the boy to sell the car and get around on his own two feet!

Jane Jakeman



What have you done to your arts section? If your late lamented lady armchair critic were still rating things, I reckon she would have kicked over her chair in disgust!

Jenny Roberts


Editor’s note: Changes to the arts coverage have caused consternation to several readers. The changes are in part due to un- avoidable economic constraints, but the paper remains committed to the arts. In the new, 20-page Arts & Books pull-out and in the main news section, there is still authoritative and entertaining coverage. Today, for instance,  we have everything from the Parisian craze for the Pre-Raphaelites, on the World pages, to the Royal Court’s new star playwright, in Arts & Books.

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