IoS letters, emails & online postings (26 October 2014)


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The Independent Online

The country has needed a constitutional convention for at least a century (“Stop changing laws behind closed doors”, 19 October).

If it is to serve any useful purpose it would not just look at the West Lothian question and devolution in general but at the monarchy, the House of Lords, the voting system and the relationship between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

The Americans sorted this out over the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia but British refusal to think that there is ever anything better than muddling along ensures that a convention will never happen. Shame.

Simon Sedgwick-Jell



David Goodhart is over-optimistic if he thinks that extending the time immigrants must wait before they can use the public services and benefits system will allay opposition to them (“My proposal that could keep us in Europe”, 19 October). The standard complaint is that they take our jobs and live off benefits. Letting them in provided they have work would simply emphasise the first prong of the fork.

Harvey Cole

Winchester, Hampshire


The comment by Martin Vander Weyer on the failure of capitalism is both timely and apt (“Shareholders are the only ones who can heal capitalism now”, 19 October). Excessive executive pay is at the heart of the problem. Regardless of whether a company has performed well executives receive higher pay awards and bonuses. And pay at the bottom is frozen or insufferably low.

Some of these employees will claim benefits to support themselves and their families. In other words the state is subsidising business and executive pay.

Ideally, shareholders should put a stop to this. But many of them are large companies whose own executives enjoy high pay. Small shareholders are too few and widely dispersed. A concerted effort is needed from all quarters; the Opposition, the trade unions and those shareholders who see beyond their short-term interests. Let’s put an end to such self-interested greed.

Elizabeth Chell

Lyndhurst, Hampshire


The Question Time audience was right to show its disapproval of Angela Eagle’s point-scoring at Lord Freud’s embarrassment over his disability remarks (“We owe a debt to Lord Freud” 19 October). We are in danger of becoming a society in which those expressing off-message remarks on sensitive but important issues are pilloried by sanctimonious zealots who believe only one politically correct viewpoint is possible. Whatever happened to nuanced debate? 

Stan Labovitch

Windsor, Berkshire


I was intrigued by Simmy Richman’s piece about the adaptation of Sophocles’ Philoctetes under the title Stink Foot at an east London theatre. Stinkfoot was the name of the first venture into musical theatre by the late great Bonzo Dog alumnus Vivian Stanshall, which somehow made it into the West End. It apparently featured singing lobsters, but maybe Viv would have been impressed by a later loftier conception bearing his work’s name alluding to Newton’s Principia Mathematica in which the cast were covered in treacle. Is writer/director Jeff James a closet Bonzo fan?

Simon Ashley

Harwich, Essex


It is preposterous for the European Union to demand an additional £1.7bn from the UK just because we have been prudent and are performing economically better than poor old Germany or France.

Dennis Forbes Grattan

Bucksburn, Aberdeen


I was disappointed to read in Steve Connor’s article on Jack the Ripper that “Kosminski …. died in a lunatic asylum” (19 October). That may have been the 19th-century terminology but as we are working hard to eradicate the stigma attached to mental illness, I would have hoped to read mental hospital or almost any term that avoids “lunatic”.

Dr Carol Henshaw

Sandbach, Cheshire