Kensington and Chelsea offers no council tax discount for second homes, or third or fourth homes for that matter. And I can assure Councillor Emma Dent Coad that no resident is being “displaced” by the council’s regeneration plans (“This short stroll should be our walk of shame”, 1 February).
North Kensington is indeed a comparatively poor part of the capital, but it is also a lively, creative, and very desirable place to live: it is a great example of a mixed community, where people from different backgrounds rub along together.
The council is doing a great deal to tackle disadvantage. Our schools are excellent, our exam results are outstanding, our parks are attractive and well maintained, we are opening a new leisure centre, a new academy has just opened and we are bringing forward exciting proposals to build affordable housing, all enabled by those council reserves (£180m, rather than the £283m reported), which she claims are such a scandal. And, despite your anonymous witnesses, there is good independent evidence that council tenants across Kensington and Chelsea are very satisfied indeed with their homes.
Cllr Rock Feilding-Mellen
Deputy Leader Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London
I wish to object to the use of the term “psychopath” in “Putin is a dangerous psychopath...” (1 February). It is a term that has no actual approved usage and is generally used by the tabloid media to highlight the rare cases when someone with a mental illness attacks a member of the public. Describing Putin as a psychopath not only reinforces negative attitudes towards mental illness but also reduces the discourse about Russia’s actions to that of “mad evil dictator” vs “the rest of the world”, which is a throwback to the communist era.
The Prince of Wales wants to secretly influence laws to suit his own interests, and keep his royal status – no responsibility, no accountability (“Saviour of the nation?”, 1 February). But interfering in the political process has a cost to his position within a constitutional monarchy. More people will start to question the point of this royal family, their cost to this country and their privileges and power.
I wanted to write in support of your editor’s letter (“We report news, while we try to avoid manipulation”, 1 February). The hope of terrorists is that their cruelty will make Western governments act hastily or in ways that will bring them more support or publicity. While being in full sympathy with the agony of victims and their families, we must not allow that to happen. It is a very difficult line to tread but I congratulate you on having the courage to do so.
In “MP Rees-Mogg tells Tory activists he is ‘not proud of gay marriage law’”, (1 February) a fellow Conservative moans, “it alienated a lot of our traditional supporters”. I suppose it was “traditional” Tory supporters who were against votes for women, opposed equal rights for black people, and who still seek to repeal the 2004 hunting ban, despite overall public opinion. Those who woe same-sex marriage can grumble all they like but it’s legal now. You would think there would be more important things for MPs to think about.
The BAE Systems director writes to defend its record on job creation for apprentices and graduates (Letters, 1 February). Young people need to be reminded that there are jobs that promote wealth and well-being throughout the world, and those that destroy it.
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