IoS letters, emails & online postings (7 April 2013)

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The Independent Online

However much Nicky Gumbel wishes to deflect questions about his stance on gay and lesbian people it is all on the record (i on Sunday, 31 March). Until he clearly repudiates his disdain for us, we have every reason to suspect his views are essentially unaltered. Few will be taken in by his new-found desire to stay more or less silent on the subject. But it is quite an astute strategy now that he has an Archbishop, closely modelled on himself, who peddles the Alpha line and garners even more column inches for this sinister, "many of my friends are gay" brand of cuddly homophobia.

Gumbel could gently ease into contented retirement now that Justin Welby, an Identikit-Alpha product, has taken his place as head of the Anglican Communion. It is quite an achievement for this avowedly partisan neo-sect to have secured such dominance in less than a generation.

The Church of England may be so far down the road to self-constructed oblivion and self-delusion, that few will notice the extent to which it has forsaken its breadth and empathy in favour of Alpha-sanctioned narrowness. The strong cultural and religious bias towards validating the status quo and illiberal conservatism inherent to Alpha ideology should be a warning to all who cherish equality and human rights globally.

Rev Richard Kirker

London E1

After 22 years as a senior teacher in London schools I've seen many worrying trends. But from "happy slapping" to "sexting" nothing beats this: a Year 8 boy in the dinner hall after lunch last week, picking up scraps from the floor and eating them. If Iain Duncan Smith took up the challenge to exist on £53 pw, could a child of his end up like this? Or would his wife or her parents or his friends bail him out? Mr Duncan Smith will always, at the very least, have family, inheritances, contacts. Our Year 8 boy doesn't. And it's cold.

Name and address withheld

I invite David Cameron to come and live on the estates in Middlesbrough ("Poorest set for 'perfect storm' on benefit cuts", 31 March). He could live on the same money that people there are expected to live on – people with illnesses such as depression, who are not able to find work; people who want to work. Then he might realise how hard it is to live not on the breadline, but below it. Now the bedroom tax has been forced on the working class of this country; it's just robbing the poor to give to the rich.

Billy Charlton


Teachers at their annual conference over Easter expressed shock that in future they may not retire, albeit on a safe pension, until they are 68. But surely they should be instilling in their young pupils a respect for older people and for the vigour and wisdom of those in their seventies and eighties, not presenting themselves as being past their best by their early sixties.

Rosemary Watkins


Raymond Powell is wrong to promote a new Southern England airport (Letters, 24 March). This is no replacement for HS2, the whole point of which is to reduce CO2 emissions. HS2 must go ahead, reducing flights from London to the North, and freeing up track for what is now road haulage. It's disappointing that more people do not openly support HS2. Perhaps they don't like the Government, or their mansion view may be spoilt, and this is more important to them than Africans dying through climate-change induced disease.

Simon Nash

Bromley, Kent

David Tennant was not the first Scottish actor to play the title role in Doctor Who ("Two Doctors get to meet...", 31 March). Sylvester McCoy, the seventh incarnation of the Doctor from 1987 to 1989, was the first. He was born and raised in Dunoon. His unique Scots pronunciation of "Dalek" sticks in the memory.

Martyn P Jackson

Cramlington, Northumberland

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