These are dark and angry days for those who work in the NHS or who, like myself, are retired ("Doctors bid to unseat 50 MPs ...", 18 March).
We know the reassurances of Andrew Lansley and his ministers are hollow and that the intention is to dismantle it. We know too what that will mean in a practical and pecuniary sense, particularly for poor people, and for the ethos of our country. Did not David Cameron run his election campaign on "three letters – NHS"? So all this starts with a lie. Thus the plan of Dr Peedell and others to stand against party candidates who have supported this damnable Bill is the best of news. Most citizens are sick of the shallowness and corruption of the party political system. They would enthusiastically support women and men who had been trained in their calling against a career politician or worse. I look forward to seeing workers of other disciplines from within the NHS in Parliament.
David Halpin FRCS
Newton Abbot, Devon
The doctors' proposals to stand against coalition MPs is the most exciting evidence of people finally standing up and taking action. It is an act of integrity in the face of so much cynical and self-serving tinkering by politicians. It is extraordinary that the public lets this Government get away with so much outrageously prejudiced, cruel and unnecessary legislation. Surely everyone can now see that there is ample money to pay for our troubles by catching tax cheats and imposing fiscal controls on banking. Privatisation destroys structures designed to provide a society that cares for all.
Hove, East Sussex
For the first time in what has become an era of political disillusionment, Drs Peedell, Davis and their colleagues will offer the option of a vote based on ideological principles. Despite huge public and professional opposition to the Bill, this will be the first opportunity for the electorate to demonstrate its dissatisfaction. And although, unfortunately, this action has come too late to prevent the passing of the Bill, it is a great source of comfort to know that there will be an opportunity to protest against this travesty of justice in the purest democratic form.
In setting a limit on the amount of CO2 a plant can emit, the Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) is an important backstop designed to prevent new unabated coal-fired power stations being built ("A black Wednesday for the environment?", 18 March). But it is not designed to prevent new gas-fired power stations. One in five of our ageing power stations is due to close in the next decade and it is impossible to build enough low-carbon capacity in that time. A gas plant is relatively quick to build and provides flexible back-up. As most new gas plants will be replacing coal plants, there is also a big win for reducing carbon emissions. Assurances that the emissions limit won't be cut unexpectedly are important to investors.
The Chancellor has introduced a floor to the carbon price, rising over time, providing a disincentive to carbon-emitting electricity. And we intend to legislate to provide for long-term contracts for renewables, new nuclear and carbon capture and storage. This was set out in my predecessor's July White Paper; I intend to see it through.
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
While Asma al-Assad continues to shop for lavish incidentals for the marital abode, Harrods could exercise its right to refuse to sell to those associated with violence against unarmed civilians, women and children – and without fear that it would be taken out against a wall, tortured and shot.
Trecynon, Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taf
Apart from James Corrigan, there has been a deafening silence from the racing fraternity and its hangers-on, its supporters and commentators in the media, over the deaths of five horses at Cheltenham ("The Last Word – Kauto was a star", 18 March). Horse deaths are not inevitable: they are collateral damage for an industry in which animal abuse has been institutionalised, metastasised into the body politic of racing, part of its very fabric, essential to its profitability. And the punters love it. While the industry's got them on side there is no chance of change. After all, "exciting" trumps "safe" every time.
The hysteria generated by the "granny tax" is as unfounded as George Osborne's presentational and policy skills are incompetent. Why should pensioners such as me (and far wealthier bankers, NHS consultants et al who may still be working) benefit from a higher tax-free allowance than the hard-working population, many with young families, in addition to paying no National Insurance, purely due to our age? Whatever the original justification was for age-related tax allowances, it no longer exists.
St Andrews, Fife
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