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<i>IoS</i> letters, emails & texts (21 June 2009)

In response to Caroline Lucas' article ("Forget the BNP. What about the planet?" 14 June). I agree that the Green Party has the right policies. My concern is that she is saying "I shall fight" (presumably against Labour and the Liberals). One of the frustrating things about being a centre-left political activist, ie Green, Labour or Liberal, is that you find yourself competing against other people who you may largely agree with. It makes such political activism seem pointless.

Greens may accuse Labour and Liberal activists of being "grey", while Labour or Liberal activists may accuse Greens of being "single issue". What is needed is for the Green, Labour and Liberal parties to try and collaborate. This argument could be put in an American context. Ralph Nader could have been a better American President than Barack Obama. But if Nader is not a realistic option then Obama is a good second choice. At least, Obama is going to try and deal with climate change.

Chris Packham


If the purpose of parliamentary reform is to restore public engagement with politics then the most effective symbolic gesture would be to do away with Prime Minister's Questions. The gladiatorial posturing and snidery, which it offers, is the very opposite of the co-operative politics the age calls for. If senior politicians want a little respect they must refuse to play the "politics as entertainment" game offered by too many condescending commentators in the media.

Political solutions to the problems of developing-world poverty, climate change and national tribalism are attainable. They require agreed, interfactional, 10-year or 20-year plans, not puerile, point scoring egged on by cheering gangs. Unlike the other reforms, discontinuing Prime Minister's Questions could be put into effect immediately.

Maurice Vassie Deighton, York

Jane Merrick's report ("Wobbly Tories" 14 June) is quite depressing. The political party which aspires to form our next government seems oblivious to the realities of evolving globalisation.

There are aspects of the EU which we may wish to change. To do so, however, we must engage in its governance. Indeed, some of the least attractive aspects of the Union are the measures introduced while we stood aloof. In this day and age, the only alternatives to our wholehearted engagement in the governance of the EU would be an off-shore island status, or joining the US if they would have us. The former is foolhardy, the latter fanciful.

John Romer Ealing, Middlesex

I've thought for a long time that the Tories have still not changed from the party that was trounced in 1997 and in two elections since. Cameron has done a brilliant job of erecting a smokescreen. But they don't have a credible economic policy, and they haven't come clean about how they will deal with Britain's debt mountain – public and private.

They may well be elected next year. But that will be the easy bit. My fear is that in government the Tories will prove just as incompetent as New Labour. I expect the election, when it comes, to be close, with other parties, especially the Lib Dems and Nationalists, doing better than expected. The Tories are not ready for government, and to give them a landslide would not be in our interests as a nation.


posted online

Film critic Demetrios Matheou despairs at the thought of who would watch the latest "torture porn" film, The Last House on the Left. "The likely audience" IS a priority for the BBFC [British Board of Film Classification]. The latter must believe the film's main pleasures are NOT in enjoying/being enticed by the sexual violence, or gaining gratuitous pleasures or stimulation. Otherwise, the film would surely have been severely cut or banned. But Matheou states that the film does not contain the original version's social critique, so perhaps a central BBFC tenet has changed.

Mike Bor

BBFC Examiner, 1984-2000

London W2

Ann Widdecombe does not have her eyes on the Woolsack as the caption to her photograph suggested ("Funny woman," 14 June). She wants to be Speaker of the House of Commons while the Woolsack is the seat of the Lord Speaker in the House of Lords. And I guess that the mysterious George Fyffe mentioned in Alan Watkins' column was not a banana importer but really King George V.

Gordon Elliot

Burford, Oxfordshire

It should surprise no one that teenagers are left to fend for themselves on Britain's streets. ("Who cares for our runaways," 14 June). We have a government that flouts the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child; a criminal justice system that locks up and mistreats children and a health service that ignores their mental health needs. Who really expects local councils to care more?


London E11

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