Letters: MPs have no right to damn Murdoch

 

Share

It is ill-informed for the Commons Media Committee to say that Rupert Murdoch is "not a fit and proper person to run a business". This man has built up the third-biggest media group in the world over 60 years. He has started, saved and grown thousands of major businesses across the globe, put The Times and The Sunday Times back on the streets of the UK and saved hundreds of jobs. He feeds over 54,000 families every day worldwide.

His son, James, however, should have known. He should have been bothered to read the email "for Neville" that he was told about. Had he investigated, he would have been more properly informed on the subject he was there to manage as a highly paid chairman. He should, for the good of the company, either leave or be removed.

I had the pleasure to work with Rupert Murdoch during my career in Australia and London and I found that if he said he didn't know, he didn't and always, in the main, told the truth. He had no reason not to.

What businesses have the Media Committee and other politicians ever started, managed, run or saved?

Keith S Bales

Bibra Lake, Western Australia

Martin Hickman reports that Max Mosley is bankrolling opposition to Rupert Murdoch's empire ("Mosley: I'll bankroll MPs who have the guts to take on Murdoch", 28 April)

This initiative recalls Harold Nicolson's 1932 novel Public Faces, which concluded by predicting that among "many valuable achievements" of Sir Oswald Mosley's [Max Mosley's father] government, in 10 years' time, would be to eliminate a politically harmful "syndicate of popular newspapers".

Jason Robertson

Sheringham, Norfolk

Girls will embrace sport, with the right teaching

While I have every sympathy with what was clearly an unhappy time for Harriet Walker at her secondary school, how sad that her opinion (2 May) is rooted in outdated personal experience.

As a headteacher of a secondary school in Middlesbrough, I am blessed with a truly marvellous PE team. Our participation rates for both genders approach 100 per cent, and we have legions of girls embracing all that is great about sport and fitness.

Any school worth its sporting salt in 2012 embraces the multifarious aspects of PE, sport, health and fitness with vigour and imagination. The survey to which Harriet refers is based on the views of 1,500 students; since my school alone has over 1,500 students, the size and scope of the "research" has to be challenged.

Finally, this also runs absolutely counter to recent Ofsted reports/surveys on PE and sport in schools: and they will have a much more representative statistical sample of course.

Debbie Clinton

Headteacher, Nunthorpe School, Middlesbrough

The portrait of Harriet Walker above her column must be the one out of the attic; she must be older than my 58 years judging by her experience of PE teachers.

I remember vividly the briefing we received before our first cross-country run, aged 11, when it was stressed that our performance would only be measured relative to our ability and that the objective was to improve one's own speed over time through training. The non-team-sport options that Harriet advocates were offered by the time we got to age 15 and were co-ordinated across several schools in the area, so my experience was not down to one exceptional, enlightened school.

Professional sport is one of our few growth industries at present. Even though for the majority, sports are just hobbies, that is no reason not to teach them. They are skills best learnt at an early age in the same way as playing a musical instrument, speaking an additional language or even reading a book.

Peter English

Ruthin, Denbighshire

Bring on the technocrats

Andreas Whittam Smith ("Forget what sounds clever just run the country", 26 April) has put his finger on a hugely important point. Our incompetent government politicians create omnishambles for a very simple reason – they are doing the wrong job.

The present lot is a good example – they have spent a decade working for a marketing organisation called the Tory party, writing advertising copy and slogans and as presenters of these ads. Most of them have had an excellent training in the latter through the public-school debating societies and the Oxford and Cambridge Unions, where inventing anecdotes about Cornish pasties on the fly can help win a debate.

Now that their advertising campaign has succeeded, they have moved to completely different jobs, running one of the world's largest economies, and they don't know where to start – except to apply their sales slogans. This is akin to a company transferring their entire marketing department to running engineering and production.

We desperately need to separate the executive from the legislature, partly to get competent people in government and partly to allow Parliament to do its job of calling the government to account – this cannot be done when so many MPs are junior ministers on the government payroll.

I would suggest that we need to change the present convention, to say that all ministers, including the Prime Minister, cannot be members of Parliament. They would, hopefully, be "technocrats" with relevant knowledge and experience in their respective posts.

Unfortunately, the people that should make this change, which is far more vital than changing the House of Lords, are the very politicians who benefit from the present setup. Any suggestions?

John Day

Port Solent, Hampshire

Different to the best English usage

I am surprised at the vilification of "different to" by readers of the Errors & Omissions column (28 April), as though it were a recent alien intruder. Born in the English Midlands in 1938, I have said and written "different to" all my life and have always understood that "different from" is wrong (although "to differ from" or "differently than" are acceptable).

So Guy Keleny's assertion that " 'different to' may seem odd now to speakers of standard British English, but I suspect that it is taking over" is baffling. To me "different from" is the innovation taking over. The same can be said for "immune from", which should be "immune to".

Use of prepositions generally is becoming erratic. People say "bored of" instead of "bored with", "by foot" instead of "on foot", "waiting on" instead of "waiting for". Reports are written "into" subjects, not "on" them.

William Spilsbury

London W6

"Different" has been used with "to" as well as from since the 16th century, and appears in this form in great writers such as Fielding, Thackeray, and Conrad; Dickens used both.

Use with "than" is found over the same period when a clause follows because from is not a conjunction, and this pattern has been retained in America. Those who seek advice from Fowler's Modern English Usage (1926) might agree with him that "objections to different to... are mere pedantries".

Robert Allen

Edinburgh

Sara Neill's sentence "Governments do subsidise artists differently from cabinet makers or jewellery manufacturers" (letters, 1 May) may well be shorter than Don Thompson's original using "differently than" (Errors & Omissions, 28 April), but it lacks precision in its meaning. The original clearly points out a difference between the way governments subsidise artists and the way governments subsidise cabinet makers or jewellery manufacturers. Sara Neill's version could equally be about a difference between the way governments subsidise artists and the way cabinet makers or jewellery manufacturers subsidise artists.

Pelham Barton

Birmingham

Would those who are happy with the statement "A is different to B" also be happy with the statement "A is equal from B"?

Denis Layton

Clows Top, Worcestershire

Lib Dems blamed for doing right

How sad that Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems seem to be getting all the blame for the mess we are in at the moment, with Lib Dem supporters suggesting that they helped bring in another right-wing Conservative government by voting Lib Dem at the last election.

What were Nick Clegg and his party supposed to do? Were they to refuse to co-operate with the Tories and throw their lot in with Labour, and almost certainly not survive the first major Commons vote? That would have meant another general election, just what we needed in the present economic climate. And almost certainly the Tories would have achieved a majority government, which would have introduced even more "Thatcherite" policies.

Nick Clegg was always going to be damned if he did and damned if he didn't.

Barry Lofty

Thatcham, Berkshire

Wettest drought on record

You couldn't make it up. At the same time as the country is covered in drought orders, there are rivers bursting their banks, flood alerts for nearly every county in England and people being drowned in their cars. The water companies sound like a child who has been caught out and has to tell even more desperate and fantastical stories to justify it all.

To the water companies: end this charade, your credibility is being eroded rapidly. Please just cancel the hosepipe bans and admit you jumped the gun.

Paul Ives

Sanderstead, Surrey

Hopeless task for Hodgson

If Roy Hodgson's first task as England's new football manager is to heal the rift between Terry and Ferdinand, and that means that he plans to include them in his squad of 23 players, then we may as well all go home now. England will not have a hope in hell of achieving anything. Bring in new talent or else!

Mike Connor

Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex

"Cry, Harry not for England!"

Chris Burrell

Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

Too slim to die

The solicitor for the family of Sareena Ali, who died after an emergency caesarean, says: "You don't expect an intelligent and glamorous young woman, slim as a reed, to die" (report, 30 April). Personally I don't expect any woman to die in childbirth, even if she is plain, plump, dowdy and stupid.

Betty Cairns

London N22

Disappointing

It took Blair and Brown 13 years of unfathomable largesse and incomprehensible fiscal abandon to bankrupt our economy. Why does Graham Jarvis (Letters, 1 May) expect that the Conservatives can fix it in less that two years? Please tell Mr Jarvis I am extremely disappointed in him.

Neville Seabridge

Nottingham

Posh-speak

For a telling example of impenetrable posh-speak (letter, 1 May) go to Dickens's Bleak House and Sir Leicester Dedlock's "debilitated cousin" at his place in Lincolnshire.

Estelle Foulkes

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee