IoS letters, emails and online postings (27 September 2015)

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The Independent Online

I’d love a national anthem akin to the London 2012 opening ceremony, reflecting all the traditions and joys of British life

Fiona Sturges rightly recognises the damage that poor face-to-face fundraising does to the charity sector and the need to combat it (“In the long run, chuggers are bad for charity”, 20 September). However, characterising fundraisers as “grinning pillocks” with “faux-ebullient expressions” both disrespects and undermines the vital work that these individuals do, raising millions of pounds each year for the most vulnerable in our society. 

As Ms Sturges notes, more than 100 agreements have been signed by local authorities to limit fundraising in local areas. These control agreements with councils have been driven by responsible charities through the Public Fundraising Association. The “laws” she refers to (not following people for more than three steps, avoiding shop doorways and cashpoints) are taken from the Public Fundraising Association’s rulebook, which was written in consultation with local authorities, charities and the public. These co-regulatory partnerships are evidence of a fundraising sector that is working to improve standards. 

Contrary to being about short-term gains, face-to-face fundraising is all about “the long run”. Charities use this method to build a relationship with new donors who will stay with them for several years, allowing them to plan their income. This direct approach has been a feature of charity campaigns for the past 15 years. By all means, let’s condemn poor practice where it exists, but don’t diminish the fantastic work that many good fundraisers do – some young, some not-so-young – for the beneficiaries they represent.

Peter Hills-Jones 

Chief executive  Public Fundraising Association

London SE1


It is staggering that the Government has not yet clarified in law exactly what constitutes a “fit and proper” landlord (“‘Frighten the unfit and rogue landlords – send them to jail’”, 20 September).

We have our own borough-wide licensing scheme in Croydon to tackle bad landlords, showcase the many good ones, and give private tenants a system they can trust.

When we consider every application to our own scheme, we blacklist landlords with convictions for violent or financial crime, or those who break housing laws. Surely the Government could use that as a starting point?

Alison Butler

Cabinet member for homes, regeneration &  planning, Croydon Council



Well said, Katy Guest (“Sorry Ma’am, but our national anthem is naff”, 20 September). I’d love a national anthem akin to the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony that reflected all the joys of British life and traditions, from the NHS to the Beatles. 

Tim Mickleburgh

Grimsby, Lincolnshire


Here is the mainstream media with its recent history of hacking, bribery and cover-ups suggesting the Fourth Estate is a necessary vehicle if Jeremy Corbyn is to retain credibility (“Keep your friends close ... and the press even closer”, 20 September). You couldn’t make it up. Oh, you do. But perhaps it’s not too late to save the noble profession of journalism. All it takes is a little acknowledgment from the press that integrity is back on the agenda. Those unable to keep up with the message are the ones who are going to be left behind. 

Suzie Halewood

London SE21


Jane Merrick finds it ironic that Jeremy Corbyn supports a free press in Iran but criticises the British press. There is a difference. With freedom comes responsibility. The vitriol from some sections of the British press against Ed Miliband, and then Corbyn, is not journalism but the misuse and abuse of that freedom. .

J Price 

Coleford, Gloucestershire


D J Taylor sees Jeremy Corbyn in the mould of Methodism, as a rather dour person. If that is meant to suggest that he lacks a sense of humour, that is entirely wrong. He has always accepted cheerfully awards given by the Beard Liberation Front relating to his most well-known feature. 

Keith Flett

Organiser, Beard Liberation Front, London N17