I completely agree with Janet Street-Porter's open letter to Bob Diamond, urging him and other business leaders to contribute more to society (6 November). In a time of economic hardship and deep spending cuts, it is unacceptable that yet more wealth is being concentrated in the hands of the elite while others have to choose between eating and turning the boiler on.
The system of unaccountable free-market capitalism is clearly failing the majority of us. If the banks were not sitting on their reserves, rather than lending to business; if the energy cartel were not profiteering from the vulnerable; if the cost of living were not surging in a time of static incomes, then perhaps there would not be such a pressing need for change. But we live in an era in which it has become acceptable to keep on taking without giving anything back to society, and to commoditise essential services, such as education and care.
The Government should demand that the big five banks lend a high percentage of their deposits to small- and medium-sized businesses, and if they fail, nationalise the remaining shares in Lloyd's and RBS and run these banks directly, giving a huge boost to the economy.
As for Mr Diamond and co: 75 per cent Super Tax.
Janet Street-Porter's open letter to Bob Diamond made my day. I don't suppose he will take a moment's notice of it, but the important thing is that Janet articulated what so many of us are thinking, and gave it focus. Thank you, Janet.
Your Occupy movement editorial poses a question left unanswered ("Anger at greed will only grow", 6 November). Who is the most effective opposition to a market system that is clearly not working for many? Protesters with tents, Ed Miliband or Rowan Williams? Perhaps a structure embracing all three would get us somewhere.
I was cross with a selfish, greedy man, but he closed his front gate when we approached. So my friends and I are camping on the front lawn of the old lady next door. Her gardeners have left, and we are in the way of her visitors. But, oddly, her brutish neighbour seems untroubled by this inconvenience. Perhaps we should have just gone up his path anyway.
Britain's prospects for recovery and future growth in 2011 and beyond are based on high-value sectors such as engineering, manufacturing and design. So we are deeply concerned that design and technology are at risk of being removed from the national curriculum. D&T is crucial in generating the engineers of the future and plays a key role in providing the skills required to rebalance our economy. It inspires children to follow careers in design, engineering and the creative industries – the careers of the 21st century. The sooner more people recognise this, the better.
Institution of Engineering and Technology
Barbara Oakley argues that espousing Islamophobia – the demonising of an entire religion and culture as misogynist – is an act of true kindness, as is punitive action against public sector workers ("Are we killing people with kindness?", The New Review, 6 November). The word "kindness" is related to "kin," its demonstration stemming from a sense of shared identity – something to celebrate rather than denigrate.
So Jeremy Clarkson's ex, Alex Hall, left him for one of his friends, then, in 1999, "began their alleged 10-year affair.... It didn't feel wrong because he was my ex-husband" ("Only Jeremy and I know the truth...", 6 November). Now she's writing a book "to clear my name in Surrey". Really, Jeremy and Alex: grow up, get a life and spare us sad tales that seem designed to print money.
In all the discussion about wearing poppies, it is important that, as D J Taylor puts it, "we are remembering the dead and the lives they sacrificed" not just on Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday, but every day (6 November). Poppy or no poppy, as Laurence Binyon (1869-1943) put it: "At the going down of the sun and in the morning/We will remember them."
West Bromwich, West Midlands
I nearly had to lie down in a dark place when I couldn't find D J Taylor at the back of my Independent on Sunday last week. Imagine my delight, then, on discovering him on the same page as my other fave, Dom Joly [see facing page]. My cup runneth over! Thank you IoS, my best beloved of Sunday newspapers.
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