IoS letters, emails & online postings (22 April 2012)

Share

While we should welcome the vast public support shown for public libraries, it is quite wrong to suggest that the public library service, as we know and need it, will survive as a result of localism or the cant of the Big Society ("Keep on borrowing...", 15 April).

Localism inevitably leads to a postcode lottery, which means there will be unequal access to high-quality library and information services. There is also the real danger of tyranny by a local majority whereby a policy – stock selection, say – may be based on local prejudice rather than professional judgement. In America, challenges to books in libraries are commonplace, and challenged titles include Brave New World and Catcher in the Rye. Such events are rare in the UK, partly because of local and central control.

We face the prospect of a public library service based on geographical chance and localism, and a population whose life chances will be diminished by reduced services and several hundred library closures.

Bob Usherwood

University of Sheffield

The independent mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita is a sound alternative to the name-calling and lies of the front-runners' campaigns ("NHS backlash fuels independent bid for London Mayor", 15 April). While I imagine that those who don't live in London are tired of the campaign, it will have ramifications throughout national politics. A defeat of both of the inadequate candidates that represent the main parties would send Westminster the message that they have to do better.

Jack H G Darrant

London SW2

Your leading article concludes, "if it were not for the presence of Liberal Democrats, would this Government not be much worse?" ("Finished? Clegg's future revisited", 15 April). If it were not for the presence of Lib Dems, this Government would not exist. I, for one, would rather the Lib Dems had not brought this monster into existence. Then they wouldn't have to try to ameliorate its actions.

Neil Stretton

Temple Sowerby, Cumbria

The Deputy Prime Minister tells us of his "obsession" with starting preschool at the age of two. ("Clegg promises more nursery places for poorer children", 15 April). But personal obsession is no basis for a national policy. Research at Quebec University found that universal childcare at the earliest ages was "ineffectual in improving child outcomes", adversely affecting the health, development and behaviour of many. Identifying children who might benefit from early childcare is difficult. But what is certain is that 65,000 state nannies supporting 65,000 working mums will help the Treasury. That is an equally poor basis for a social policy. The basis for a good family policy would be for government to recognise the primacy of parents in the upbringing of their children.

Tristram C Llewellyn Jones

Isle of Man

Commercial horse racing, which caused horses to suffer and die in the Grand National, is not a sport ("Two horses die...", 15 April). Two-thirds of the 15,000 foals bred for racing each year do not make the grade, and many are killed. Every year, 375 horses are raced to death; a horse's heartbeat increases 10-fold in a race, causing heart attacks, and most horses suffer stress-related lung haemorrhages. Almost all suffer ulcerated stomachs. A real sport involves consenting humans, not abusing and whipping defenceless animals to win a race to line greedy pockets.

Emma Richards

Brighton, East Sussex

Like Janet Street-Porter, I am a keen walker and agree that stiles are a traditional feature of our landscape ("Heaven is a seven-stile walk", 15 April). But anyone with an atom of compassion for those less fortunate could not but applaud any measures that would make possible access to beautiful countryside currently out of reach. My husband, once a keen cyclist and walker, is severely affected by MS and relies on a mobility scooter. So three cheers for the Dartmoor National Park Authority if they have plans to replace stiles with gaps or gates.

Christine Keable

Witney, Oxfordshire

Have you 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/April/22

React Now

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

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

 

Political satire is funny, but it also causes cynicism and apathy

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
The super-rich now live in their own Elysium - they breathe better air, and eat better food, when they're not making beans on toast for their kids

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium

They breathe better air, eat better food, take better medicine
A generation of dropouts failed by colleges

Dropout generation failed by colleges

£800m a year wasted on students who quit courses before they graduate
Entering civilian life 'can be like going into the jungle' for returning soldiers

Homeless Veterans appeal

Entering civilian life can be like going into the jungle
Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Fifty Shades of Grey director on bringing the hit to the screen
Shazam! Story of the $1bn 'what's that song?' app

Shazam: Story of the $1bn 'what's that song?' app

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch