IoS letters, emails & online postings (30 June 2013)

Share

Ian Birrell's analysis of the National Health Service was for the most part deadly accurate and hard-hitting ("Worshipping the NHS costs lives", 23 June). It was a shame therefore, that he called for more of the infection as the only cure.

Those of us who grew up after the war remember what the NHS was like when it lived up to its own ideals. Nurses' primary job was to care, GPs provided all-year-round cover with home visits when required without handing the out-of-hours job to a group of hired carpetbaggers. Mangers were few, meddling little, and the suppurating tumour of the Private Finance Initiative had never been conceived.

It all changed after Thatcher. Birrell is right to castigate the last Labour government. But everything that has gone wrong with the NHS is down to the rush by all major parties over the past two decades to introduce the market, private greed and business models.

To move beyond "sterile debates" and force feed the patient with more privatisation is the equivalent of putting someone with lung cancer on a course of 100 cigarettes a day.

Steve Edwards

Haywards Heath, West Sussex

John Rentoul says that Labour would keep free schools, "which are legally the same as academies... Labour's idea in the first place" (23 June). But schools earmarked for Labour's academy scheme were seen as failing and in need of extra funding, whereas the coalition's version is designed to take schools out of the state system. In essence, this is the privatisation of the state system by stealth.

Eddie Dougall

Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

John Rentoul asks why vote Labour if it continues to drop policies that differentiate it from the Government. This underlines the democratic deficit, wherein all the main parties agree on most policy issues but do not have the support of many electors for them – fertile ground for new political forces, as in Greece and Italy, as well as for Ukip, continuing to make unpleasant mischief on the right.

Keith Flett

London N17

I'm not surprised that only 10 or so people have taken up the Green Deal launched in January, if my experience is typical ("Government's green deal branded a failure", 23 June). Step one was to get a Green Deal assessment done by an accredited adviser. I got this on 19 February. Despite persistent efforts, I have been unable to get to the next step – namely, to find a Green Deal provider who can give me quotes for insulation for the heat-losing solid walls in my house. I wrote to my MP and after a month got a reply from Energy Secretary Ed Davey who assured me on 19 April that things were moving. Since then, despite emails to and from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and numerous phone calls, there has been no progress. I can only imagine that the big energy companies are exerting some kind of pressure as the Green Deal is not in their interest. I am now at the point of giving up on the whole thing.

Tim Williamson

Bath

Baroness Warsi is right to call for recognition of Empire troops during the First World War centenary commemorations ("Tommies and Tariqs fought side by side", 23 June). I hope this is not used to hide the exploitation of civilians from across the Empire who were paid a pittance to work on the Western Front. They were subject to harsh conditions, Chinese labourers being shot by the British army for protesting against their treatment. We should never forget the inequity of the British relationship with its empire.

Ian McKenzie

Lincoln

You refer in your piece about Ernest Hemingway's unpublished material to "socialite" Donald Ogden Stewart ("Hemingway's last word...", 23 June). Is this the same Donald Ogden Stewart who was one of the highest-paid screenwriters in Hollywood, who had a string of hits and won an Oscar in 1940 for The Philadelphia Story, later remade as High Society? A victim of the McCarthy witch-hunt, he fled to England. I met him in 1965 when he was writing an eventually unused screenplay for a film about Gandhi for my father, Motilal Kothari. It was dated, but he was an outstanding writer.

Raj Kothari

Bridport, Dorset

Have your say

Letters to the Editor, The Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF. Email: sundayletters@independent.co.uk. Online: independent.co.uk/dayinapage/2013/June/30

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A press image from the company  

If men are so obsessed by their genitals, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities of sex?

Chloë Hamilton
Workers clean the area in front of the new Turkish Presidential Palace prior to an official reception for Republic day in Ankara  

Up Ankara, for a tour of great crapital cities

Dom Joly
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory