IoS letters, emails & online postings (3 June 2012)

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The Independent Online

Thank you for reminding us we cannot look away ("Syria: the world looks the other way", 27 May). The photos quietly but urgently demand our attention. It is not the images of the murdered children that are shocking. It is the bloodthirsty brutality of their killers – some no doubt parents themselves. If these images are to have the desired effect, it would have been useful to include a practical call to action. I am indeed "very, very angry". But what action can I take? Can you reveal who is arming the government militias, and expose the weapons chain? Surely staunching the supply would be one effective means of stopping the slaughter.

Malini Mehra


I was shocked by the way your newspaper dealt with the recent events in Syria. The front page was exploitative, with its implication that if you didn't look inside, you were turning away and ignoring what is going on. I felt that this was disrespectful of these poor people in Syria.

George Thompson

Tilesford, Worcestershire

The picture of children killed in the Houla massacre is deeply upsetting. But for people living in freedom in the UK, to be upset is nothing compared with what the people of Syria are enduring. We must act now.

Deborah Moss

Nuneaton, Warwickshire

I am in favour of the Syrian insurgency toppling Assad if it can, and then pushing on to create a genuinely democratic country. I am not in favour of the warmongers of the international community doing so. A genuine democracy in Syria won't be on their agenda.

Keith Flett

London N17

It would seem, from all the evidence regarding News Corp's proposed bid for BSkyB, that Cameron and members of his Cabinet and their staff were so in bed with the Murdochs and their staff that the legs on the bed were bound to break from the weight. John Rentoul ("A textbook case of how not to defuse a scandal", 27 May) writes that, once again, the PM is guilty of failing to think things through regarding Jeremy Hunt. But I think David Cameron knows what he is doing, thinks it through, and just hopes he and his cronies will get away with it. If they don't, then a few will be thrown to the wolves, but no one can touch the PM, can they?

Sheila Clements

Hornchurch, Essex

I have no problem with the idea that some children are cleverer than others ("How to spot a leftie – an idiot's guide", 27 May). My difficulty lies in accepting or otherwise the three interlinked fallacies that underwrite the notion of educational selection. The first fallacy is the idea that there is a single quality of mental fluency or capability operating over the whole range of spacio-temporal, linguistic and numerical dimensions. There isn't. The second is that this hypothetical quality can be measured by a simple set of tests. It can't. And the third is that such a process, administered at an arbitrary time in children's development, can accurately determine the educational potential of every child. It can't. The development process is so variable that any attempt at selection is doomed to failure.

Peter Johnston

Bolton, Lancashire

Your headline says that "pension contributions may need to be made compulsory" (27 May), but this is already the case. I am 72, left school at 15 and worked until retirement. I paid compulsory national insurance contributions throughout this period, deducted from my wages. I now receive the measly old-age pension but still have to pay for dentistry and the optician. Someone cleverer than me could work out how much I contributed to this scheme. My guess is quite a lot.

I suggest the Government cease encouraging the privatised pension funds, which ultimately allows them to make more money, but concentrate on modifying and improving the compulsory state pension scheme, even if this means increasing contributions, compulsorily of course.

Harry Brown

Dereham, Norfolk

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