IoS letters, emails and online postings (12 April 2015)


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The Independent Online

In the article “Move Easter...” the National Secular Society is cited as having written to David Cameron that they believe it is “unreasonable and disrespectful” to prevent them from shopping on Easter Sunday as they are not religious (5 April).

As a retail worker this infuriated me. I would imagine that nobody constructing this letter has worked in the retail industry. We get two definite days off a year – Christmas Day and Easter Sunday. It seems arrogant for this organisation to assume they can walk into a shopping centre should they so wish; well, no, someone has to be there to serve you, welcome you, smile when you’re rude to us, pretend we’re invisible on our lunch breaks so we’re not in your way and clean up after you!

We retail workers may not all be Christians, but that is missing the point. There are many traditions in this country that are still followed, despite an increasingly secular society. Some, such as Christmas, have become beacons for traditional values, for family gatherings and time spent with loved ones. Can we shop workers not participate?

There are many jobs that have it harder than mine – nurses and care assistants to name a couple. But their patients are in need 24/7. I refuse to believe that people need to shop every day of the year. So please, spare us a thought in these discussions. It we who will lose out after all.

Helen Brown

Retail supervisor, Sheffield

Your report identifying that private prisons are performing far worse than public prisons comes as no surprise to staff and trade union representatives (“Self-harm, drugs and sexual abuse more common in private jails”, 5 April). When will politicians recognise that punishment through incarceration and the rehabilitation of offenders is the responsibility of the state?

Profit out of the misery of others is tantamount to an abrogation of responsibility by those tasked with public protection. As Frances Crook of the Howard League for Penal Reform points out, there are anomalies in record-keeping which necessitates public accountability. The private sector does many things well, but not in the criminal justice system.

P J McParlin

National chairman, Prison Officers Association

Is government “sometimes improved by having to take into account more than one view” (Leading article, 5 April)? If the Liberal  Democrats had remained in opposition, then I’m sure they’d have opposed both the rise in tuition fees and the below-inflation rises in benefit for those of working age. But as part of a coalition, rather than a looser arrangement and supply agreement, they’ve been forced to accept Tory policies which their heart wasn’t in.

Tim Mickleburgh

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

It’s true there is no hard evidence to prove Richard III was responsible for the deaths of young Edward V and his brother (“Richard III RIP. Next, who killed the princes?”, 5 April). It’s also true that he wasn’t the only one to gain from their disappearance – some have claimed they were later killed on the orders of Henry VII when he came to power. But is there really much more to “uncover the truth”?

Soon after hiding the boys away their Protector took every opportunity to make a bid for power. Had they died of natural causes he would surely have made this known. But after putting himself forward as legal heir to the throne, Richard’s nephews were never seen again. It’s not unreasonable to be suspicious.

The Richard III Society should accept that all circumstantial evidence to suggest their hero was a child murderer is very strong.

Emilie Lamplough

Trowbridge, Wiltshire

The Comment column by Richard Harries (5 April) brings to mind the recent (heavily) publicised letter from various “businessmen” in support of Conservative party policies. Would these be the same sort of people who demand that “the Church” (in its various guises) should keep out of politics? Perhaps they think that only their view of the world must count.

D J Walker

Macclesfield, Cheshire