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


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


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


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: Online:

React Now

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

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Gold Ferrari sits outside Chanel on Sloane Street  

Sunday Times Rich List: We are no longer in thrall to very rich people

Terence Blacker
David Cameron was openly emotional at the prospect of Scotland leaving the union before the referendum  

Remember when David Cameron almost cried over Scotland because he loved it so much?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions