IoS letters, emails & online postings (30 September 2012)

I applaud Lynne Featherstone's commitment to confronting the "eggshell topic" of female genital mutilation ("We are the whipping boys...", 23 September). Yet to date there have been no prosecutions under the Female Genital Mutilation Act of 2003. Is this because those in authority fear accusations of racism since the perpetrators are largely African and Muslim? It is not racist to insist that members of all minorities obey our laws or face imprisonment the same as any other citizen. We need a much more robust response along the lines of the French who make it quite plain that they will not tolerate this practice. The eggshell approach is not good enough.

Philomena Mary Lewer

Morpeth, Northumberland

Lynne Featherstone makes good points on equality and aid, the only issue being whether any of her Tory colleagues actually pay attention to these.

I do find it odd, however, that as an MP in a London borough that is in the top third of unemployment levels in London Ω 50 per cent above the London average Ω that she has nothing to say about the impact of the Government's management of the economy. Unnecessary and ill-advised cuts in public spending have hit ordinary people in Haringey hard and the silence from one of the borough's two MPs on the matter has not gone down well.

Keith Flett

Secretary, Haringey TUC, London N17

It was disappointing to see both Lynne Featherstone and Janet Street-Porter wheeling out the same tired old arguments about Page 3 topless girls in The Sun. It seems to amount to a New England witch hunt, with wild accusations blaming those pictures for the murder of women, despite the obvious comparison with a Taliban Afghanistan where women never reveal anything but are still far greater victims of oppression.

In Denmark they have the same problems of violence toward women, as witnessed by the Danish National Observatory on Violence Against Women report, but the attitudes to sexuality are much more open. The Danish report identifies educating males as the key, not repressing open sexuality.

Nick Hales

Bath, Somerset

"They share a border, but more than that, Iran and Afghanistan share the ability to provide a severe headache for the coalition government" ("Afghanistan: We have to see it through till 2014", Menzies Campbell, 23 September). This ranks with the old Times headline: "Fog in Channel; Continent cut off".

"The Afghan operation has been conducted in close collaboration with the United States, and we have consistently said that we will leave together. What impact would a departure from our agreement have on our alliance with the US?", referring I assume to the master/poodle "special relationship".

It's imbecilic to believe that by "leaving together" in 2014, that date plucked optimistically out of the air, withdrawal (retreat) from Afghanistan will be petal-strewn.

It was madness and illegal to be tied to the US invasion of Afghanistan and it is just as mad and wrong to stay.

Eddie Dougall

Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

"Get down wit da kidz"? (23 September). Apart from the patronising photo, (old people are so amusing, aren't they), I'd rather do most things than get down etc etc. I don't give a stuff (I'm being polite here) about the people on the pages which followed.

Although the supermarket checkout is never a great experience, it's tempered by my mental checking of how many people I don't know on the covers of "celebrity" magazines; 100 per cent at the last count. Yippee! To paraphrase, "I'm free at last!"

Now to get on with the 20-odd years left to me. (If I can ignore the onslaught of glottal stops; but then I'm a miserable old pedant, with, of course, no sense of humour.)

Gina Joliffe

Brixham, Devon

Your ComRes poll puts the Lib Dems on 10 per cent with others on 16 per cent. An Ipsos Mori poll published in the same week puts the Green Party on 8 per cent, while Ukip claims an even larger percentage. The race for third and fourth place is hotting up.

Is it not time for your pollsters to start asking supporters of Other Parties to specify which?

Chris Millman


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