IoS letters, emails & online postings (5 August 2012)

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What has happened to "free speech"? Are dissenting voices to be silenced? According to Brian Brady ("First the praise, now the carping", 29 July), David Cameron was "facing a challenge to discipline" because a Tory MP, Aidan Burley, had described the Olympic opening ceremony as "leftie multicultural crap"; and a Labour MP was demanding a "full apology". Since when has criticism of a "theatrical production" become a party-political problem?

It would indeed be a surprise if everyone liked every bit of Danny Boyle's mammoth production. I am sure his previous film productions have had their critics, but surely we can form our own opinions of any criticisms.

My concern about the modern opening ceremony extravaganzas is that they detract from the primary purpose of the occasion – for the athletes to gather together to witness the lighting of the symbolic Olympic flame, and to swear the Olympic oath promising to compete in a fair and friendly fashion.

Malcolm Morrison

Swindon, Wiltshire

Poor old Sir Paul McCartney. He's given us a lifetime of wonderful songs and what does he get? The "twit"-terati and the media whingeing on: "He's too old", "can't sing any more" and "past it". Yes, his voice creaks a bit these days, but, at the Olympics' opening ceremony, he did have to contend with a nasty sound glitch, and the misfortune of coming on after Pink Floyd's epic Dark Side of the Moon accompanied by thunderous fireworks, and, really, who could follow that? This ceremony was all about Britishness, and what could be more British than a good old na-na-na-na singalong? So, please, let him be!

Rachel Henry

London E17

The ceremony was marvellous, but Lord Coe never fails to disappoint. While Jacques Rogge hailed the first Olympics to include women from every country, our Seb couldn't be bothered to use inclusive language, speaking of "mankind" and his "countrymen". Shame.

Catherine Walter

Didcot, Oxfordshire

The article "Syrian war of lies and hypocrisy" (29 July) by Robert Fisk was one of the most refreshing pieces of journalism I can ever remember laying my eyes on. Too often these days journalists skirt the real issues for fear of upsetting the apple cart. Mr Fisk should be praised for his boldness: while many others argue over the detail of the US and Syria he isn't afraid to show the bigger picture. The IoS should be praised for giving a platform for Mr Fisk's important piece. If ever your paper earned its title, it was from this article.

Glen Brunt

Chesterfield, Derbyshire

Jane Merrick calls the British Institute of Energy Economics "a lobbying organisation for big oil and gas companies" ("Osborne accused over gas lobbyist father-in-law", 29 July). BIEE is an independent organisation for business, finance, government and academic professionals from all parts of the energy industry. Its role is to provide a forum for informed discussion and debate of key energy issues in the UK. It does not support or lobby for any sector of the industry. But it does support and promote the use of economics and research as the basis for good decision-making and sound policies.

Adrian Gault

Company secretary BIEE Chief economist, Committee on Climate Change, Dinton, Buckinghamshire. Co-signatories: Eight BIEE Council members

Spot on, Katy Guest! ("Why don't men take a stand against wearing a tie?", 29 July.) As a man, I have a wholehearted hatred of ties, buttoned-up collars, long sleeves and the "standard weight" "British Suit" – which is more appropriate in weight and colour to Arctic conditions. We should be allowed to wear appropriately lightweight clothing. If ministers can attend state openings in lounge suits, hitherto more commonly seen at the seedy end of the casino business, the rest of us can dispense with the pseudo-uniform, too.

Ian Georgii

Bordon, Surrey

In noting William Hague's positive net rating among voters, John Rentoul remarks that "Hague's persistent popularity is an enduring mystery" ("Dave fights old wars...", 29 July).

Could it be that voters like a politician who clearly doesn't look or sound like a politician?

Tim Mickleburgh

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

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