It was good to see the question of England and the meaning of Englishness ("A cup of tea and game of cricket...?", 21 November) getting some belated attention from academics and the film industry. The unfinished constitutional reforms of the late Labour government have left England as the only country in Europe without its own parliament or assembly.
Many English people wonder what it means to be English. Why, say, is our national flag so casually associated, yet again, with "football hooliganism and fascism"? The accepted manifestation of fascism is the British National Party, which flaunts the Union Flag, not the Cross of St George. Further, some English people, in search of a new nationalism, aiming at constitutional parity with Scotland, are flying the White Dragon, or the flag of St Edmund – England's first national saint – whose day was on Saturday, 20 November.
Dr Stephen Cullen
To be English today is to be discriminated against by this and every government as they fail to put England on a par with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by refusing us an English parliament. It is to be told that we cannot fly our flag, the St George Cross, because it might be "offensive" to others. It is to see life-saving drugs denied to us whilst they are freely available in other countries in Britain. It is to be made to feel ashamed of our heritage instead of being allowed to celebrate it.
Janet Street-Porter writes ("Has Gillian [McKeith] bitten off more than she can chew?" 21 November): "Who on earth would submit to several weeks of constant filming with the ever-present possibility of public ridicule...?" Well, excuse me Janet, but, er, wasn't that you?
The Deputy Prime Minster, Nick Clegg, has appealed to students to examine his Tory/Democrat coalition's proposals before taking to the streets. Well, students have, and they can see that what the Lib Dems now want to vote for is diametrically opposed to their pledge prior to the election. That's why they are right to peacefully protest at his party breaking its pledge. We as genuine Liberals will be backing them in those protests.
It is a disgrace that a generation of politicians who benefited from free education are so callous at depriving the next generation of the same opportunity. As for economics, don't the MPs realise a better qualified workforce will pay more in taxes and productivity for the whole country's benefit later?
Cllr Steve Radford
Liberal Party NEC
"How many children are killed who might one day have been geniuses, who could have given us... some new technical discovery?", asks Pope Benedict. Yes, I agree. A technical discovery like condoms. The Pontiff might have continued: "And then the Church could have fought against its widespread use... just as we did with condoms."
Dr Michael B Johnson
Brighton, East Sussex
My suggestion for an inspiring woman is Taffeta Scrimshaw ("inspiring women", 21 November) She runs The Pheasant pub at Keyston, in Cambridgeshire. She started her career in catering at 14, waiting tables after school. She did not do well at school but on her 18th birthday she got her first job in a bar.
She then worked her way up through pubs, bars, and nightclubs, then got a job as deputy restaurant manager, as she'd married a chef. Last year The Pheasant was runner up in Gordon Ramsay's F-Word Best Restaurant competition on TV, winning the Best British Restaurant category.
And, meanwhile, she has had two babies. What impresses me about her is that she has done it all herself, works incredibly hard and has had no financial help from her family.
I shed no tears for the resignation of Lord Young. He was just as out of touch with reality in 1989 when he accepted the recommendations of the Office of Fair Trading report to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission into the British brewing industry. This resulted in restrictions on the number of pubs owned by brewers and hence the destruction of the vertical integration of the industry. In turn, hundreds of jobs were lost and a large number of breweries were closed. We now have an industry in which all the once great brewers of the land are in foreign ownership. At least we can now hope that Lord Young will cause no more havoc in British manufacturing industry.
Wakefield, West Yorkshire
I determine from John Rentoul's piece (Comment, 21 November) that Ed Miliband can read the future even better than Mr Rentoul can abuse hindsight.
If that's true, then Labour surely picked the right man.
Hull, East Yorkshire
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