It is regrettable that the debate over student fees and the abolition of the education maintenance allowance has been undermined by violent attacks led by far left groups, who have utter contempt for democracy.
The economic/political debate has been presented as a choice between increased income tax or increased fees and the abolition of educational maintenance grants. We in the Liberal Party advocate funding student fees by abolishing death duty exemptions and starting death duties at a marginal rate of 10 per cent over £100,000. Thus unearned capital transfer can fund the future inheritance of the whole nation, the next generation benefiting from access to higher education without the burden of debts and parental means tests.
I must protest at the reference to me last Sunday in John Rentoul's article "Clegg's luck may be running out" (5 December). There is no comparison between the Lib-Lab pact (entered into halfway through a parliament with a dozen or so MPs) and the present coalition. I fully support Nick Clegg's decision in the face of the post-election arithmetic and the economic crisis to form a coalition. Mr Rentoul obviously spoke neither to me nor to anyone who knows me when he wrote of me "no wonder he's bitter". That is an outrageous and damaging invention.
House of Lords, London
You report, "Ministers believe most graduates will spend their whole working lives making monthly payments to cover their loans and interest – without ever being able to settle their debts." ("Only a quarter of all graduates will pay off loans", 12 December.) So, in effect, you are being asked to rent your higher education?
The producers of The X Factor were completely wrong to allow what can only be described as "soft porn" dancing performances by the professional performers last weekend. This might appeal to leering men, but did anyone think about the millions of children watching this show, the millions of women who would be so offended by such sexual exploitation of women, and men who try to treat all women with respect?
Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire
Cheryl Cole received a reported £5m advance for her autobiography, but with sales of 101,787, £49.12 needs to be recovered on each book just to cover the advance ("Keith Richards proves there's life in the celebrity memoir yet", 12 December). As it is, Through My Eyes, recommended retail price £18.99, is available for £10.49. If Weidenfeld & Nicolson had agreed a 15 per cent royalty deal with Keith Richards, they would have paid him £363,060 by now, instead of £4.8m.
While there are more sales to come (although all these books are at about half RRP), on the evidence so far of these "successful" books, it is a precarious living, knocking out celebrity memoirs.
Scotland is to help the Maldives government develop renewable energy, it was announced this in Cancun, Mexico. But we are constantly being told that sea levels are rising and that the Maldives and other islands will vanish.
If President Nasheed believes his own propaganda, he should ban all tourist flights into his country and turn off the lights in his tourist hotels. If the Maldives is due to sink under the waves, why are we wasting £48,000 on this project when it would be better spent on lifeboats?
Linlithgow, West Lothian
In "Welcome to the green holidays of the future" (12 December) you report, "Hotel rooms will become shrines to energy efficiency, with intelligent 'climate control' to reduce air conditioning and heating by detecting the optimum temperature." Called a thermostat, I think you'll find. They've been around for a while.
Jim Morrison has been pardoned, 40 years after having been found guilty of indecent exposure. Last year, the US Congress called for a pardon for heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, jailed for one year in 1920. But every US president since 1974 has refused a posthumous pardon for Eddie Slovik, the only US soldier since the American civil war to be executed for cowardice, in 1945. American governments are as much in thrall to their Department of Defense as are ours to the MoD.
The smoking area is where the boss gets to meet the junior clerk ("I'm not skiving – I'm working, but with a fag", 12 December). It is very meritocratic.
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