Now that Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended from Top Gear, is it too much to hope that the BBC will replace the programme with one about cars and motoring?
Jeremy Clarkson deserves an accolade. With any luck, by his pugilistic self-expression he will have removed himself from our vision. Finally. Well done, sir!
And with further luck, the BBC may develop a successor to the current oafish Top Gear format, one that treats motoring matters with greater imagination and dignity, and yet still captures the rare excitement of moving at speed.
I am no petrolhead, but motor vehicles of all types are important. At best they are objects of great beauty and engineering brilliance, in the centre ground they are the grimly uniform boxes on which we depend to move around, and at worst they are lethal machines that can wreck lives. So I have no doubt they are worthy of a place in the TV schedules. Fingers crossed.
East Molesey, Surrey
I managed to get through my working life without throwing a punch at anyone, though I was tempted on a few occasions.
If I had given in to temptation, I would have been immediately sacked for gross misconduct. If the allegations against Jeremy Clarkson are true, he seems to have got off lightly with a mere suspension.
If the BBC does not want Jeremy Clarkson to be offensive on Top Gear, then it should edit out the offending parts.
If Mr Clarkson objects to that censorship then he can work elsewhere. Problem solved.
Our entertainment industry is currently beguiled by the antics of two overbearing celebrity egos struggling to retain or reclaim their positions.
There appears, however, to be a simple solution which might satisfy the aspirations of the individuals and save the faces of their employers. Arrange for Pietersen to present Top Gear and Clarkson to bat at number four for England.
I have been struck by the proliferation of assertive Jeremys in the broadcast media: Messrs Clarkson, Hardy, Kyle, Paxman and Vine are cases in point.
Perhaps the time has come for a carefully considered cull; although, of course, I personally wouldn’t want any such action, however humane, to be widened to include members of the general public.
Fracas? Fracas? I haven’t heard that word since the early 1960s, when it was regularly used by provincial newspapers to describe Friday-night punch-ups outside the pub.
Chichester, West Sussex
Reform of the bedroom tax
We, the undersigned Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidates and activists have championed reform of the bedroom tax in the Liberal Democrat manifesto.
Andrew George MP’s Affordable Housing Bill, which the right-wing Conservatives refused to support, proposes removing all under-occupancy charges in social housing for the most vulnerable and those most in need. This includes protecting those with disabilities, those who have careers, joint custody of their children or families in the Army.
We are also pleased to support revoking the under-occupancy charge (the bedroom tax), so it will only apply to new tenancies going forward.
The under-occupancy levy was introduced in private rented sector in the early 2000s, and it is logical to apply this to new tenancies for social housing, but not where people would be left without food or shelter.
Parliamentary Candidate for Guildford
Aberavon and Neath
Amber Valley, Derbys
Angus and Mearns
PPC for Bassetlaw & Sherwood
Bassetlaw and Sherwood
PPC Berwick upon Tweed
PPC Bromley Borough
PPC Canterbury and Whitstable
Chelmsford & Maldon
Chesham & Amersham
Dunfermline and West Fife
Edinburgh NE and Leith
Edinburgh North East &Leith
Gwynedd and Anglesey
D A Luckraft
Haltemprice & Howden
PPC Hastings & Rye
Heywood and Middleton
PPC Hillingdon Borough
Hull and Hessle
Inverclyde (PPC for Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill)
Malcolm John Mitchell
PPC Kensington & Chelsea
Kensington & Chelsea
Newbury & West Berkshire
Oxford West and Abingdon
Rhondda Cynon Taff
Scarborough and Whitby
PPC Somerton and Frome
PPC South West Birmingham
PPC Suffolk Coastal
Swansea & Gower
Twickenham & Richmond
Warwick & Leamington
PPC for Hemel Hempstead
South West Surrey
West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine
Westmorland and Lonsdale
Wolverhampton South East
Government of national disunity
Kenneth Baker’s proposition of a Labour-Conservative coalition after the general election (7 March) would have the opposite effect to its main purpose, that of keeping the Union together.
Lord Baker fails to comprehend the extent to which the Conservative Party has become toxic in Scotland, averaging less than one MP for the past 18 years, and reliant on proportional representation systems which it opposed, for its residual presence at Holyrood.
A major element in the SNP’s referendum campaign was that Scotland would never have a Tory government imposed on it again, and since the referendum their rise in the polls has used an attack on Labour for co-operating with Conservatives in that campaign.
If Labour went into coalition with Tories in 2015 the predictable consequence would be that the SNP would win a landslide in the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016 and would be very strongly placed to win an independence referendum.
The Conservatives are becoming a major threat to both the unity of Great Britain and our continued membership of the EU.
Malcolm K Savidge
Another possible topic for a grand coalition between Conservative and Labour to cover would be the relationship with the EU and any subsequent referendum on membership.
A grand coalition would have much increased authority in the negotiations and any referendum would be “cleaner”, in that party political considerations would be less likely to influence the vote and muddy the eventual decision.
Lord Baker suggests that the SNP could win 56 seats in the general election and emerge “holding the balance of power”.
If Lord Baker’s party had not voted against a proportional representation system in the current parliament, the number of SNP MPs on 8 May would be less than half that number, possibly around 27 based on the latest Poll of Polls figure for SNP support at 45 per cent.
While a party with 27 seats could still have considerable influence and could conceivably hold the balance of power, it is likely that the SNP will have more influence as a result of a flawed electoral system.
New Alyth, Perthshire
Murderer in the cathedral
When Edward IV suddenly died in 1483, his brother Richard of Gloucester took his young son Edward V, and murdered his bodyguards including the brother, and the son by a previous marriage, of Edward IV’s widow, Elizabeth Woodville.
Queen Elizabeth, Richard’s sister-in-law, fled into sanctuary with her family, but Richard lured Edward V’s brother out, against his mother’s wishes. Richard next murdered a major supporter, Lord Hastings, who had been Edward IV’s greatest friend.
Richard now usurped the crown, declaring the imprisoned Edward V and his brother illegitimate, and they were not seen after a few weeks. Immediately Yorkist supporters of his late brother Edward IV led rebellions against Richard III across the south of England. Many of these Yorkists escaped to join Henry Tudor of the House of Lancaster in Brittany.
A year or so later Henry Tudor led a force of French and Scots into Wales, to be joined by a Welsh army and Lancastrians and Yorkists alike, on an unimpeded progress to Bosworth Field. Few nobles rallied to Richard III’s army. Richard was killed at Bosworth. In effect, within two years he had lost the support of his Yorkist nobles, and the safe Yorkist dynasty of Edward IV was no more.
Can anyone outside romantic fiction fans and the Richard III Society explain why Richard III is having a cathedral burial in Leicester later this month? I believe that the organisers are disappointed that no member of the Royal Family is attending. Perhaps they realise the irony in religiously honouring a murderer and regicide.
Good news for despots and terrorists
George D Lewis (letter, 10 March) enthuses that UK military budget cuts will limit us to “the defence of the realm” and thereby prevent our involvement in what Mr Lewis labels “optional wars”.
Such cuts and attitudes must be music to the ears of Islamist terror gangs and genocidal despots, but they are contemptible to those of us who would prefer to see wicked regimes being overthrown.