Having to face years of poverty (front page, 26 Oct) is the grim reality for many people. With working hours being cut, and less opportunity to change direction, the statistics for families living in poverty will increase. Sadly, most leading politicians have no empathy with people living on low incomes. I would suggest they start taking a pay cut themselves, make the corporate tax dodgers pay what they should be paying, and let's have a Radical Robin Hood Tax.
Your article "Flagship police descends into farce" (19 Oct) was wide of the mark. The Independent Ethics Committee for policing in Greater Manchester is certainly not there to "oversee" the Police and Crime Commissioner, as your article stated. Our role is to look at issues with an ethical dimension which affect policing and to make suggestions, recommendations and, where necessary, challenge police policy and practice.
We comprise an advisory body which aims both to improve public confidence in the police service in Greater Manchester and, hopefully, to help police deliver a better service to the public. Issues we are examining, or will look into soon, include the use of body-worn cameras, data collection, policing culture and promotion processes. I am astonished that you consider this "plumbing new depths of farce". I would have thought your newspaper would welcome independent scrutiny of ethics in policing. Our role is entirely different to that of the Police and Crime Panel, which is there to scrutinise the work of the Commissioner.
You did not include in your report the views of any members of our committee or of Greater Manchester's Police and Crime Commissioner or PCCs elsewhere in the country. Perhaps you should have done.
Rt Rev David Walker
The Bishop of Manchester
John Rentoul's piece on the benefits to an election candidate of having a name high up on the ballot paper ("Running for Parliament? Change your name to Aardvark", 26 Oct) has been dealt with very simply. A system known as "Robson Rotation" has been used in Tasmania since 1980 and in the Australian Capital Territory from 1995. Under this rule, the ballot papers are printed in equal batches, with the order of names rotated, so that each candidate appears in each position with equal frequency. Thus the bias of the alphabetical order is avoided.
I fear that your editorial is premature ("Era of climate fatalism is over", 26 Oct). The European Union has done all it can to stitch together an agreement on carbon emissions, but the climate does not respond to non-binding political compromise, only to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. It may be encouraging that businesses now recognise that our current path is unsustainable, but so long as international agreements are non-binding, levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will continue to rise.
Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Stoke Poges, Bucks
On Sunday, 12 October, you published (in a letter from Dr S Michael Crawford) a haiku I wrote many years ago. I'm honoured by your interest in this piece of juvenilia, but I'm afraid the text is misquoted. First published in the King Edward VII School Magazine (Sheffield), Spring 1967, it should read: "Many people think / that composing haikus is / just a waste of time".
John Charles Smith
St Catherine's College, Oxford
Mark Leftly is being unfair to the Liberal Democrats when he says that they "have been unsuccessful in promoting gender equality in Parliament, with just seven women among 56 MPs" ("Lib Dem women criticise all-male Cabinet team", 26 Oct). The party wins so few seats compared to the major parties that it is unfair to make a comparison. At the last election 21 per cent of selected candidates were female.
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