Thank you so much for compiling the Happy List (7 June). Not only did it give some recognition to all those people who have chosen to make such a valuable contribution, it helped to publicise their activities. What is even more important is the example to us all set by these unsung heroes, who, in the main, are just ordinary people who were motivated to take action often by extraordinary events in their own or in others’ lives.
It was inspired of The Independent on Sunday to provide a public record of such inspirational people, and will encourage many of us to do more. It’s easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed by all the bad news, so it was wonderfully refreshing to pick up a newspaper and be reminded of what a positive difference one individual can make.
The Ministry of Defence and Civil Service rules on whistleblowing are crystal clear. There is nothing mentioned about receiving an illicit £100,000 (“MoD leaker: ‘I didn’t ask to be paid’”, 7 June).
Bettina Jordan-Barber is not a whistleblower or moved by matters of conscience. She is a convicted criminal. With her establishment background and education, she would have been in no doubt as to the rules and legality of releasing confidential or privileged information. If she didn’t know it was wrong, why the elaborate circuitous route via Thomas Cook for her to receive her ill-gotten gains?
While noting that she did not release information prejudicing national security, the trial judge commented that financial gain (or “not saying no” to it...) was a significant part of her motivation. It was also distasteful to leak information regarding the deaths of brave soldiers in combat, when such information was the right of families to release. Apparently, she stood by while suspicion was focused on others, often destroying careers.
A veteran political adviser of the Civil Service since 1997 would know exactly how information rules worked, and the severe punishments for breaching them. More than that, she would have seen careers ended, marriages strained and an appalling toll on individuals upon whom suspicion wrongly fell. Blameless individuals have had aggressive investigations stamp all over them and their reputations, many having careers terminated. Your prior articles mention that she is married to a serving officer. She would therefore know just what effect a combat death has on a shattered family, yet chose to coin their grief into profit.
The article opens by stating that “Bettina Jordan-Barber is not your average jailbird”. I would argue that she is an ordinary jailbird, as criminal and dishonest as any, and that designer clothing and cut-glass speech cannot hide the fundamental rottenness inside.
Nigel S Preisner
Cropwell Butler, Nottingham
When it comes to Prince Charles’s “black spider” letters to ministers, Joan Smith’s criticism of the content is fair enough (“Save us from this prolix pesterer of a prince”, 7 June). However content needs to be distinguished from form. Charles deserves some praise for a high-profile example of the epistolary art in the age of the text message.
Why is it so important for Labour to find out why it lost the support of businesses (“Labour faces up to its failure with business,” 7 June)? Those from organisations such as the CBI and the British Chambers of Commerce have hardly been enthusiastic supporters of the party in the past, unlike those working for the companies they represent.
I’m more concerned by conversations on election day with people on the minimum wage who didn’t think Labour would do much for them, and consequently didn’t vote. A more radical approach, such as introducing the living wage throughout the country, would appeal to low-paid workers who need to be given hope.
Grimsby, LincolnshireReuse content