IoS letters, emails & online postings (19 February 2012)

Share

The reason so many in the book world reacted lukewarmly to Nick Gibb's words about reading is the record of the Government ("Top marks to our Schools minister", 12 February). The coalition turned down our request to make school libraries statutory, a status prison libraries have. It cut the very successful book-gifting schemes run by Booktrust, and would have cut them even more had we not howled with outrage. It is, as D J Taylor notes, inflicting shocking damage to our libraries. Secretary of State Michael Gove praised a New York reading scheme while failing to mention our own highly successful Summer Reading Challenge co-ordinated by the Reading Agency. We authors love words, but without action to nurture the reading environments in which they nestle, germinate and grow, their power to educate, inform and inspire is reduced.

Alan Gibbons

Campaign for the Book

Liverpool

As a Syrian, it seems that my country and its people have no friends ("All the evidence points to sectarian civil war in Syria...", 12 February). We see the hypocrisy of those now clamouring for our rescue from Assad's regime, be it the US, Nato or the Arab League. Yet what has been astonishing is the lack of support of the anti-imperialist left, which one would think would know better.

I am not in favour of foreign intervention, military or otherwise, yet to merely criticise any effort to stop the regime's violence solves nothing. It is of scant consolation to those dying under bombardment in Homs, Zabadani and elsewhere.

Ahmad Abou-Saleh

Sutton, Surrey

Many people, largely those in jobs, despise welfare claimants as workshy scoundrels ("Fairness for the taxpayer – and for the claimant", 12 February). But in many areas of Britain there are no proper jobs to be had. Iain Duncan Smith and his party constantly bleat about the need to make work pay. But it was the Labour Party that introduced the minimum wage, which meant that work did pay. Before that, in my last job, when the Tories were in power, I would have been significantly better off on benefits.

For most claimants, living on welfare is abject misery, and there is nothing fair about cutting benefits to the disabled. People should respect their welfare system: you never know when you may need it.

William Morton

Clitheroe, Lancashire

The US trade embargo with Cuba is a convenient excuse for British left-wingers to indulge in their admiration of a police state that denies exit visas to people who think for themselves ("Younger Castro steers Cuba to a new revolution", 12 February). However, it was before the US trade embargo that Fidel Castro imposed himself on and killed stone dead the trade union movement in Cuba. That is why the official Cuban labour organisation is excluded from the International Trade Union Confederation: it is a fake.

Hubert Gieschen

Gosforth, Newcastle

Your critic's comments on Inspector Montalbano are made from a British point of view (12 February). Italy is a complex country, beguiling and frustrating, made of a criss-cross of cultures and very regionally divided. Having lived for many years in Italy, I recognised distinctly Italian and Sicilian characteristics – drama, emotion, sophistication, childishness and superstition.

A D Bowler

Bridge of Allan, Stirling

As a woman to whom women's dignity matters a lot, there was one thing I always liked about Whitney Houston ("Death of a star", 12 February): despite her stunning beauty, she never indulged in wearing oversexualised outfits when performing. She was always beautiful, but never vulgar, unlike many other female singers, who obediently serve a consumerism-driven world.

Iris Arum

Posted online

Janet Street-Porter defends the Wedgwood collection that faces being broken up and sold (12 February). The National Heritage Memorial Fund was set up to safeguard outstanding items of our heritage at risk of loss to the nation. If Canova's Three Graces, which it helped secure, is somehow a vital part of our cultural heritage, then how much more so the Wedgwood collection, much of it fashioned from our clay by Staffordshire men and women. The collection must be kept intact, and in Stoke-on-Trent.

Ian Lawley

Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire

I was disappointed to read that in Janet Street-Porter's world, women are not only solely responsible for all childcare but also for all domestic tasks. Her intriguing solution that every working woman needs tax-deductible domestic help creates a bizarre scenario in which half the country's women are washing the other half's husbands' socks. Is this the new feminism? And who cleans the cleaner's house?

Charlotte Hulme

Bournemouth, Dorset

Have your say

Letters to the Editor, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF; email: sundayletters@independent.co.uk (with address; no attachments, please); fax: 020 7005 2627; online: independent.co.uk/dayinapage/2012/February/19

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Children of a bygone era  

Kids these days aren't what they used to be — they're a lot better. So why the fuss?

Archie Bland
A suited man eyes up the moral calibre of a burlesque troupe  

Be they burlesque dancers or arms dealers, a bank has no business judging the morality of its clients

John Walsh
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star