IoS letters, emails & online postings (14 October 2012)

If Janet Street-Porter has known of so many presenters and celebrities as she reports for all these years and said nothing, she is as complicit as all those she has tried to rail against in her article ("Sexual favours were a way of life at the BBC", 7 October). Is this the same brazen, no messing Janet that has tried to portray herself for the past 30 years as a woman who will stand for no nonsense? She who stands up to the sexist men of the world, never fearful of their power? Is this the same Janet who had her own series back in the Eighties, Reportage, billed as blowing away the old and standing up for truth, for a new young Britain that will change the old establishment mentality? If I, as a teacher, were to keep quiet about one incident anywhere near as disgusting as what she professes to know, then I would be unprofessional, guilty of keeping the crime secret, letting others be harmed, a foul person with no courage. The only decent thing she can do now is name and shame, then shut up and resign.

Ged Keye

Via email

I disagree that the criminal justice system may be "going backwards" in dealing with sex crimes.

("Britain's record on rape shows shocking new failures", 7 October). The police service is constantly improving its victim-focused response to rape investigations, a fact reflected in the most recent review by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary. Significant improvements in the entire spectrum of our response have been progressed with the support and challenge of victim support groups, and all developments make a tangible improvement to the experience of those who report crimes. We made mistakes in the past and I am not complacent about our rate of progress. We will continue to strive to make progress. Trust and being believed are key to victims having the confidence to report crime, and so we seek to highlight not only the complexity of rape investigations but also the importance of working with the voluntary sector and other parts of the criminal justice system to ensure we can secure best evidence and obtain convictions.

Martin Hewitt

Deputy Assistant Commissioner

ACPO lead for Adult Sexual Offences

One of the best-loved films of the 1950s and 1960s was The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, starring Ingrid Bergman as the intrepid London parlourmaid Gladys Aylward, who became a missionary in China. It is 80 years tomorrow since Gladys set off from Liverpool Street station to make her arduous Trans-Siberian railroad trip. When Japan and China went to war, Gladys's village came under attack and she single-handedly took 100 children over the Shanxi mountains and across the Yellow River to safety. It would be wonderful to erect a statue in her honour at Liverpool Street station, in recognition of the impact she had on so very many lives the world over.

Colin Nevin

Bangor, County Down

As a one-time reviewer of books and the visual arts on The IoS, I don't believe in arguing with reviews – a book or artwork has to make its own way in the world and critical opinions are valid. However, the anonymous review on 7 October of my book Girl in White misspelt my surname and referred to its "limpid prose" negatively. Limpid means "crystal clear".

Sue Hubbard

via email

Chris Maume's radio review, perhaps unwittingly, reveals that the one group of people that appreciations of the late Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm did not ask for a view on the significance of his life were Marxist historians ("Better red than dead – the life of Comrade Hobsbawm", 7 October). It is an interesting departure but perhaps a precedent has been set, and when Mrs Thatcher, for example, dies, assessments of her life will rigorously exclude anyone with Conservative views.

Keith Flett

London Socialist Historians Group

London N17

It is glaringly inconsistent for some ministers to seek to halve the 24-week abortion limit while supporting penalisation of the children of unemployed parents through targeted benefits cuts. If the survival and welfare of children are crucial, economic support should be available as a practical alternative to abortion. But if saving public money is paramount, surely Tories should be seeking to raise the abortion limit to five years or older.

John Eoin Douglas


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