Your leading article "We won't get fooled again" (18 October) outlined the reasons why Tony Blair should not be president of the European Council. You also outlined the criteria needed for the post both within the "very constrained powers" of co-ordination within Europe or as a spokesperson for Europe. You have called for the president to come from one of the smaller countries to act as a unifying signal for the countries within Europe. Not only does Mary Robinson fulfil these criteria; she comes from a smaller country within the eurozone, she has great experience of chairing meetings between nations and she has no specific party-political baggage. However, it is as her work with the UN Commission on Human Rights and her work in global development and democracy, as well as a member of The Elders that would enable her to place Europe within the dynamics of the wider global arena and of the challenges to global pressures for change. Britain supporting Mary Robinson would also help heal some of the pain of the past history between England and Ireland.
It is profoundly depressing to read of the degree of support among European leaders for Mr Blair to be president of the European Union. If Mr Blair is elected to this post it will signal that the European Parliament is totally out of touch with the kind of measures that are needed to heal our world. What other explanation could there be if they elect as their figurehead a man who believes that differences can be solved by killing "the enemy"; that war is a way of solving problems; that the deaths of hundreds of our young men and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans will make the planet a better and a safer place?
You report that "Cameron's conference speech left voters completely unmoved" (18 October). Now there is another unimpressive performance, from Nick Herbert, the shadow Environment Secretary. He is very much mistaken in conflating rural post offices, village schools, district hospital services and local police stations with his persistent public passion and pet subject – that of "un-banning" hunting and hare coursing. He is also horribly out of tune with enlightened rural electors and, in pursuing his prey, he is wrong electorally and wrong politically. He is also wrong morally, and the people can see this. He and his allies should be shoved to the outer margins of a party that pretends it is fit for purpose in government.
"Thanks, as so often in our history, to the middle classes, the English murder is no longer in decline," David Randall writes ("Murder is alive and kicking", 18 October). That's an awful message. Please, don't create news, when the news created is a dystopia.
If everyone wanted small shops and facilities, why have supermarkets been such a success? (Janet Street-Porter, 18 October). Most of us don't get paid an editor's salary, we can't afford second homes in rural backdrops, we have limited time due to work commitments, and supermarkets are an ideal place to shop in a hurry when you want to spend time with the family. It is a middle-class dream to have independent shops on every high street, where we can find fresh ingredients and meet our friends who will have wandered in not to buy, but to soak up the wonderful atmosphere. Janet doesn't like supermarkets because she has to share them with the great unwashed.
Although Janet Street-Porter ought to know that Scotland is part of the UK, she is right that the disproportionate power of the supermarkets is of great concern. Janet in Parliament would do a better a job than most of the party line-toeing fools.
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