Letters: Church goes into the loans business

These letters appear in the Tuesday 24 June issue of The Independent

Share

When the Archbishop of Canterbury declared his War on Wonga last year the message was “help for credit unions”. I imagined Christians getting their hands dirty counting the cash and knocking on the doors of people who have stopped repaying their loans – the ghastliest credit union task.

But instead we see him setting up a nationwide Churches’ Mutual Credit Union (“War on Wonga: Church of England to set up credit union for members”, 21 June).

So Archbishop Welby’s cosy clubs will compete with existing credit unions. This is un-Christian. Community-based credit unions already carpet much of Britain and the whole of Wales; anyone in their areas can join, but actual coverage is patchy because there’s a howling need for volunteers to deliver the services.

In over 20 years of unpaid work helping to set up and run a community-based credit union in rural mid-Wales I have met many ethically driven colleagues, but almost none from any deist faith. Briefly Welby seemed to offer more.

One gleam of hope is that the list of churches you report doesn’t include the Church in Wales. Maybe the CiW, which has already knocked moral spots off the CofE by approving the appointment of women bishops, will ally itself with existing credit unions.

Richard Bramhall
Llandrindod Wells, Powys

 

Clash of Tory MP and liberal columnist

All this liberal outrage is having the unwelcome effect of making me feel sympathy for people with whom I do not wish to sympathise.

Michael Fabricant’s tweet no more constitutes a threat of violence against Yasmin Alibhai-Brown than her wish to wipe the smile off Nigel Farage’s face would constitute a threat of violence against him, or my saying that I am so hungry I could eat a horse means that I pose a danger to the equine community.

By all means, let’s express outrage at the foul insults heaped upon such as Mary Beard and J K Rowling, and, when they occur, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, but, frankly, this instance just makes all concerned look self-righteous and ridiculous.

Frank Startup
Cirencester,  Gloucestershire

Can I just say that I have always found Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s columns to be both thoughtful and thought-provoking? Michael Fabricant, however, is just provoking, and I have often wanted to punch him.

Martin Lowe
Cranfield, Bedfordshire

 

Met’s failed murder inquiries

“Met Corruption” in the investigation of racist murders goes back further than the Stephen Lawrence killing (“Abandoned murder trial fuels new police corruption fears”, 21 June).

The first instance of the Metropolitan Police not thoroughly investigating such a murder was in 1959 when Antigua-born Kelso Cochrane was lynched by five white youths on his way home from hospital, where he had been treated for a finger injured while at work. Though the names of the  murderers were seemingly known to some in Notting Hill, no one has ever been arrested.

Marika Sherwood
Hon. Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies
University of London

 

Tories push their man for BBC job

Where is the outcry over David Cameron and Boris Johnson trying to bounce the country into accepting Sebastian Coe as Chairman of the BBC Trust? (“Job description tweaked for new BBC chairman – and now Coe has a clear run”, 21 June.) The job is not a political appointment, but is in danger of becoming so.

Imagine if Tony Blair and Ken Livingstone had promoted the appointment of a prominent Labour ex-MP for the post. The Tories and their friends in the right-wing media would have been apoplectic with rage. Now it seems that the BBC, which is supposed to be politically impartial, is trying to accommodate Coe for the job.

All this, of course, is outrageous, but behind it all lies the threat that the Tories want “their man” in place because if they win the next election they will embark on a total dismantling of the BBC and the sale of its “profitable” parts to media companies. To have Coe as chairman would make the whole exercise easier.

Norman Evans
East Horsley, Surrey

 

Nonsensical job titles in the NHS

It seems to me that the root cause of the NHS’s travails (letter, 23 June) is the commodification of health. The same appears to be happening with universities, which are hurtling headlong into the same pickle.

What has been swept away is professional judgement that used to be made by well-trained and educated, experienced clinicians in all relevant disciplines. No one now seems to be able to act unless they complete endless paperwork, mechanically ticking boxes in the naive belief that it will “prove” the correct action to take.

Money could surely be saved by not paying staff handsome salaries to be “Director of the Patient Experience” or “Director of Patient Dignity” and numerous other nonsensical roles. All these aspects of care should properly be subsumed into professional practice: and the remit of all practitioners.

Dr Anthony Ingleton
Sheffield

 

Personal remarks

Dr Meic Stephens (19 June) asks if there is any other part of the UK where the second person singular is still in use. When I moved to Leeds in 1971, I was introduced to the sentence “Thee thou thysen and see ’ow thee likes it”, uttered by a speaker who has taken exception to being addressed in the familiar singular (thee) rather than the more formal plural (you). I left Yorkshire a year later and have no idea whether it is still in use.

Beatrice Godwin
Bath

 

Triumphs of the World Cup minnows

Five million Scots will note that in the World Cup, Italy (population 61 million) and England (53 million) have been beaten by  Costa Rica (4.5 million) and Uruguay  (3.3 million).

Dr John Doherty
Stratford-upon-Avon

 

Jihadist threat comes back to haunt us

The warning by Scotland Yard’s top anti-terror officer about jihadists returning from Syria is chilling. The blame, however, for the rise of these terrorists lies exclusively with the governments of Britain, the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. For years these countries have been arming, funding and training the most extreme and violent jihadists to fight in Syria.

The purpose of this funding was to replace the secular government of Assad with an Islamic regime which would serve US corporate interests. The UK government has given non-lethal aid to the so-called moderate Syrian rebels. This “moderate” group have voiced support for Bin Laden. 

The policy of using Islamists to further geo-strategic goals is not new. Britain has been making secret deals with Islamists since the 1920s. The road to 9/11 started with US support for jihadists in Afghanistan in 1979.

There will be attacks on the streets of this country by returning jihadists. The fault will lie entirely with the UK government’s absurd policy of appeasement of the Saudi kleptocrats.

Alan Hinnrichs
Dundee

 

It is true that the barbarians, as Patrick Cockburn describes them (23 June), are at the gates, but not just in the Middle East. It is in all our interests that they should be repelled and fought in every way possible.

To stave off recruitment drives for more such barbarians, Western countries rely on their security forces to monitor communities whence these recruits originate, and when they identify would-be barbarians they throw the book at them. But many of these measures can become part of the problem.

It is not easy to frighten, intimidate or overwhelm a jihadist prepared to die for a cause. It is true that measures have to be firm and decisive but they also need to display fairness and a moral compass that is blind to race and religion.

If we do not want young Muslims to be radicalised, should we not spell out what we mean by radicalisation? Does this mean they cannot vigorously criticise British foreign policy, or sympathise with the Palestinians, or visit certain websites, or be practising Muslims, or wear bushy beards, or pray in Arabic?

Confiscating their passports arbitrarily, banning their travel destinations, and handing them over to the US virtually on request do not resonate with the British values of tolerance, justice and common decency.

Those who recruit deluded teenagers tell them that Muslims are being treated like slaves and are suffering injustices like the Palestinians. When politicians in the west proclaim commitment to the safety of their own citizens, should they not wield the tools of diplomacy with greater courage and fairness to mobilise moderates to counter the allure of the barbarians?

Satanay Dorken
London N10

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

East15 Acting School: Finance and Contracts Officer

£20,781 to £24,057 per annum: East15 Acting School: The post involves general ...

Recruitment Genius: Regional Support Manager

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role's responsibility also...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager - Heli Ski Specialist

£26000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: ACS qualified Domestic Gas Brea...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Between the covers: Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet, opposite Colin Firth's Mr Darcy, in the acclaimed 1995 BBC adaptation of 'Pride and Prejudice'  

To talk about 'liking' a character may be a literary faux pas, but I don't care

Memphis Barker
Hinkley Point A to the right of development land where the reactors of Hinkley C nuclear power station are due to be built  

Should the UK really be putting its money into nuclear power in 2015?

Chris Green Chris Green
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen