IoS letters, emails & online postings (21 February 2015)


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The Independent Online

Your “serious concern over the academies business” (15 February) is not “serious” enough. The creation of academy trusts has paved the way for the eventual privatisation of state education.

Schools could be open to bids of franchises run by the academy trusts. Each franchise granted would be given to the cheapest bid and the competition to cut costs will be fierce. Then each school will compete over the setting-up of leisure facilities and dating agencies; with sufficient income from “extracurricular activities” schools would no longer need government finance. Mission accomplished!

Arnold Beck

Polegate, East Sussex


In your coverage of the controls over academy trusts, you quote the Department for Education using the phrase “council-run school”. The DfE should know better; councils do not run schools and have not for decades. They do oversee maintained schools, and have a greater role in community schools than in voluntary-aided schools. But it is the governing body which is accountable for the performance and conduct of a maintained school.

This Government has vowed to raise the status of those who volunteer to take up this responsible role, and yet it keeps forgetting this, thereby rendering the important work of governing bodies invisible.

Emma Knights

Chief executive, National Governors’ Association


Iain Dale (“On the NHS, the public is wrong”, 15 February) says that in most areas the health service is outperformed by other systems. The Commonwealth Fund in 2014 compared 11 first-world health systems, ranking the NHS as top overall using a balanced scorecard of several indicators. It also stated that we achieved this at the second lowest percentage of GDP spent on healthcare of those countries. Dale knows this but has chosen to ignore it.

Professor David Oliver

Sulhamstead, Berkshire


Joan Smith’s comments on the vilification of Ed Miliband by the right-wing press (“If Miliband is useless, why are some papers so bothered by him?”, 15 February) are detailed, instructive and accurate.

However, the press would not have such influence if a largely politically illiterate population did not take such headlines and smears to be based on fact.

Mary Clarke

Seaford, East Sussex


Kate Hughes’ article on tax avoidance (“The wealthy don’t have a monopoly on tax avoidance”, 15 February) is a blasé piece of journalism that fails to grasp the degree of injustice felt by so many.

Small, but successful, family-owned businesses are being pursued with a vindictive vigour by HMRC while super-wealthy individuals, along with multinational corporations making billions in “real profits”, are allowed to employ legal tax avoidance procedures in order to avoid paying any or most of the tax that they should be paying

Rob Colepio

Wallington, Surrey


The mixture of fur coats and hoodies may make New York fashion shows diverse (“Fleshy or furry?”, 15 February) but if there’s one thing all the models have in common, it’s the look of utter misery on their faces.

Emilie Lamplough

Trowbridge, Wiltshire


Patrick Cockburn notes that small lies by journalists are often punished (“It’s the little lies that torpedo the news stars”, 15 February), while larger errors – for example false stories that fuel demands for war – are less often corrected because they put the credibility of the media outlet into question. No doubt, but one suspects that in some cases, Fox News and The Sun for example, it is because senior figures do actually think that the bogus reports were and continue to be true.

Keith Flett

London N17