<i>IoS</i> letters, emails & online postings (27 June 2010)

Your editorial on government economic strategy (20 June) argues that if pain is needed it should be focused on the better-off in society. But a government dominated by public schoolboys and Bullingdon Club members is unlikely to be found seriously taxing the rich, until the pips squeak or otherwise. And who says that economic pain is needed? Mainly politicians of the S&M school who get vicarious enjoyment out of cutting jobs and services and would do so even if the economy was booming, when they would simply use the money to fund tax cuts for the rich.

Keith Flett

London N17

In your Budget preview ("Who will feel the squeeze?", 20 June), the property landlord seems to think that he should not be treated for tax as an investor but as a businessman. If so, he could start buying and selling houses regularly and then HMRC might well accept an argument that he is trading and charge him income tax on his sale profits and not capital gains tax. Or he could put the properties into a limited company and then buy and sell property to his heart's content. But then he would pay corporation tax on the profits and CGT when he retires and sells his shares.

The original Cable proposals on CGT were about fairness and equality. If you turn a profit by selling your own labour or by playing with money you should pay tax on that profit. Steve Bartlett currently has a huge advantage over "businessmen", which he would lose if he becomes a business himself.

John Barnes

Chelmsford, Essex

Joan Smith asks, "What about compensation for Bhopal?" (20 June). Fair comment. But what about compensation for the victims of the mega-industrial dumping from 40,000 feet of Agent Orange on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos (without even so much as formally declaring war on the latter two)? The US Military Intelligence Corps is still disputing liability for that act of state terrorism.

Martin Wallis

Shipham, Norfolk

There is also America's energy profligacy: 4 per cent of the world's population accounting for 24 per cent of its oil consumption. Obama might choose to correct this situation thus freeing himself from any further dependence on companies such as BP.

Barry Clarke

Shepton Mallet, Somerset

As a retired school teacher I have had first-hand experience of many children who have suffered from bad parenting ("Children need good parents, not a state nanny", 13 June). They have not been taught the basics of appropriate behaviour, let alone how to speak in sentences, dress, feed or use the toilet at their infant school. Parents of these children assume that it is the school's task to provide this training, naturally to the detriment of the remaining children in the class.

Somewhere, the idea of giving children basic skills and guidelines seems to have been lost. We have a generation in which some parents have no role models or no inclination to "restrict the child's freedom". Like many others in my former profession, I feel that the only solution is to make lessons in parenting compulsory for all secondary schoolchildren. Sex education is now given in schools so the children know the mechanics of having, or not having, children. Now they need lessons in how to treat those children, nurture them, love them in a non-spoiling way, and generally make them happy and fulfilled.

In any class of children there are few future rocket scientists, but the vast majority will become parents. We owe it to future generations to try to turn them all into responsible and caring parents with the ability to give time to their offspring.

Christina Hartley

Horndean, Hampshire

Having read John Smart's letter on nationalism (20 June), I find myself asking why, still, in 2010, Wales is not included in the Union flag. Welsh, and proud to be so, I, like many fellow Welsh people, long for the recognition our country deserves. After all the English have taken from Wales through history, isn't it about time they gave us something back? To be recognised on the Union flag would be a good place to start.

June Howells

Headington, Oxford

After long personal and professional experience of British Immigration Control I know that the key consideration in deciding a case is usually money ("UK allows ousted Kyrgyz president's son to stay for now", 20 June). If an immigrant has it in quantity, no matter how ill-gotten, difficulties disappear. If not, then problems arise manifold.

To some extent this is true of the general population: racial tensions are not obvious in Kensington where there is apparently a very wealthy Arab population, but in Rochdale, racial tension is aroused by a lady with an Irish name speaking to the then Prime Minister about East Europeans coming to earn a crust.

Peter Hawkins

Posted online

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