IoS letters, emails and online postings (31 May 2015)


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The Independent Online

With stubbornly high levels of youth unemployment, it is worrying to see school-leavers seemingly frozen out from apprenticeships (“Apprenticeships are bypassing school-leavers”, 24 May). When just 27 per cent of this year’s apprenticeship intake are under 19, the system clearly requires reform.

To help address this problem, school-leavers must be provided with clearer advice on what skills businesses (and not just universities) are looking for. This demands greater collaboration between businesses and schools.

The new government-funded careers company provides just such an opportunity. Businesses must now ensure that they not only educate pupils as to what jobs are out there, but also what skills are needed to succeed at work. Ensuring that the future workforce is prepared to deal with working life’s demands is an essential component of a dynamic, successful economy.

Jackie Bedford

Chief executive, Step Ahead, London EC1

I was disappointed with the front-page picture and editorial, in which The Independent on Sunday links same-sex rights with comedy transvestism (24 May). Yes, I understand that the Irish referendum gives cause for many parts of society to celebrate, but singling out a drag queen to represent same-sex equality is comparable to using a photo of a Zulu chief in full regalia when announcing the abolition of slavery. Minority stereotypes may be worthy of their own respect, but that was not the point made by the Irish people last Saturday.

A majority of that country could see that same-sex couples deserve the same opportunity as everyone else to quietly enjoy a loving family life without being thought of as inferior, so why would you want to encourage others in their fear that their country has just lowered its standards by equating heterosexual marriage with a comic transvestite in full regalia? This was an opportunity for the thousands of school kids in both our countries to dare to hope that they could one day speak about their feelings without losing the respect of their friends and society; you’ve just reminded them that, in their most serious moments, even the intelligent press will equate them with drag queens. For shame.

Allan Jones

London SE9

English politicians in Westminster need to show that they are serious about keeping Scotland as part of the United Kingdom (“Scotland will not get high-speed rail”, 24 May).

Investing in high-speed rail links from London to both Edinburgh and Glasgow would send a clear message to Scotland that the English want the Scots hardwired into the rest of the country, and are prepared to put their money where their mouths are. Northern England would also benefit economically.

James Anderson

Geneva, Switzerland

Simmy Richman confuses initials (“TL; DR’’) with acronyms (“Starr power”, 24 May). An acronym is formed from the first letters of words, pronounced as a word in its own right, common examples being: Nato, scuba, radar and Unicef.

Adrian Maton

London SE1

When John Rentoul says that Andy Burnham is the candidate many Tories would most like to win the Labour leadership I expect he has a point (“Obscurity could be Kendall’s trump card”, 24 May). Why this should matter I’m less sure. It’s surely the role of a Labour leader to represent what Labour voters and potential voters support, not worry about what those who have no intention of supporting the left in the first place have to say.

Keith Flett

London N17

How can anyone who consumes meat, fish, dairy or eggs be angry with the Danish radio presenter who killed a rabbit? Eating animal products is no different to killing rabbits. Dairy cows and egg-laying hens are treated just as badly as “meat’’ animals. The only way to stop inflicting suffering and death on animals is to go vegan.

Mark Richards