Letters: Not all Englanders are little

These letters appear in the 25 September issue of The Independent

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I have just read Matthew Norman’s brilliant and devastating critique of Cameron’s distasteful and cynical volte face.  

As Norman succinctly says – instead of using the opportunity to celebrate the “Union”, he reverts once again to his narrow, cowardly and personal and party self-interest. His smug betrayal of the Queen’s “purring” to David Cameron is typical of  the arrogance and shallowness of the man.

But it was ever thus. It amazes me that he has got away with his underlying nastiness for as long as he has. As a Scot exiled in England, I had no vote and I was in Corsica for the two weeks spanning the referendum. Needless to say the Corsicans all supported  the Yes side but they and many other nationalities we met seemed remarkably interested and well informed on the debate.

Contrast this with the ex-Conservative Ukip- voting taxi driver who took me home from the airport – spouting ill-informed  drivel about Latvian murderers, Brussels, aka the EU, telling our courts what to do, and Nigel Farage being the only politician who identifies with the working man – “well he always has a pint and a fag in his hand don’t he”? 

My first few minutes back in the UK and I thought, Oh, Scotland, what have you done to remain saddled to this ignorant nation. Matthew Norman’s article restores a little of the  faith that not all Englanders are little.

Tom Simpson



David Cameron appears incapable of talking to, or about, women without demeaning them – even if the woman concerned is almost twice his age and the monarch.

He was caught on camera gossiping laddishly to foreign politicians about domestic matters of state and patronising the Queen. A few days earlier, at the Nato summit, he astonished a beekeeper by asking if a jar of honey would “make me better in bed?”

Is he losing the plot?

Jean Calder



Your paper appears to regard as something of a joke David Cameron’s remark about the Queen “purring” over the phone when he informed her of the outcome of the Scottish referendum vote (report, 24 September). On the contrary, it strikes me as a very serious matter.

This is not the first time that the Prime Minister has been caught speaking out of turn on subjects on which he ought to keep quiet. He has compromised the Queen’s integrity, and in a less lax – or tolerant – age this would probably have been a resigning matter. 

I sincerely hope that the Queen gives him a very sharp rebuke at his next meeting with her.

Nick Chadwick



Mr Cameron’s breach of confidentiality about the Queen’s ‘‘purring’’ satisfaction at the Scottish referendum result is as nothing to his revelation in the next breath that  the whole thing was a  charade that nearly got  out of hand. 

Sara Clarke



NHS and Labour not fit for purpose

The Labour Party as per usual wants to appeal to those who think the NHS is marvellous, when it clearly is not. No amount of money

will improve it. It’s past its sell-buy date. Over- bloated, too many over- paid employees in many instances, it’s not fit for purpose. Yet Labour thinks by offering a bribe to

the fickle electorate and the ignorant it hopes to win the next election. This would be a disaster for the UK under Ed Miliband and Ed Balls.

T Sayer



Artificial trees for greenhouse gases

Some 70 years ago, the world was in crisis. A key solution was technical, and so President Roosevelt gathered together the free world’s greatest scientists and engineers to form the Manhattan Project. Today, the world is in crisis, and a key solution is technical – the development of ‘‘artificial trees’’ to extract greenhouse gases directly from the atmosphere.

President Obama’s greatest legacy would be to gather together the free world’s greatest scientists and engineers to work out how this can be done at scale, and for a reasonable cost.

Dennis Sherwood



The lesser of two evils

To quote the last word in Robert Fisk’s article (24 September), I don’t know whether to laugh or cry; to laugh at his visceral anti-Americanism, or to cry at his apparent lack of concern for the victims of Isis. This is a movement which has ridden roughshod over large tracts of territory in Syria and Iraq, establishing a caliphate and, in the process, ruthlessly persecuting those who won’t convert to its brand of Islam.

Sixty thousand Yazidis were driven from their homes and into starvation on Sinjar mountain until rescued by American humanitarian aid. Now we hear that thousands of women have been sold into sex slavery. Space prohibits the listing of the hundreds of other atrocities committed by this evil movement.

There must be concern in Washington, even in obtaining the tacit acceptance of Assad, as the bombing raids spread to Syria, but history is littered with examples of having to choose the lesser of two evils and the reluctant warrior Obama is no George W Bush.

I’m sure Mr Fisk is aware of Isis’s atrocities but he should try and put himself in the position of these helpless, beleaguered victims whose only hope is that the West will rescue them, and understand the joy they must feel hearing the American bombers overhead. 

Stuart Russell



Should we airbrush out the druids too?

I was a little surprised that Ben Lynfield seems sympathetic to the idea that Aramean Christians should be denied recognition of their identity.

That their religion and presence pre-dates Islam seems to be lost on him and Arab Knesset member Mohammad Barakeh. I guess he would also suggest that other minority religions should be  airbrushed out of history. Should we do the same for, say, Druids here?

As a small aside you will find Aramaic included in Jewish prayers and it is also the language traditionally used in the Jewish marriage document, known as a Ketubah.

Stewart Cass



We need to learn from our mistakes

It seems that our Government does not learn from history, and often repeats its own mistakes.

Tomorrow, David Cameron is planning on recalling Parliament, and pushing for a vote to authorise Britain’s military involvement in Syria and Iraq. In doing so, it will join the United States, which is already at it.

Many of those militants in the so-called Islamic State were trained by our armed forces last year, to overthrow the Syrian leader Assad. Much of the weaponry in this now- destabilised region was supplied by British and American companies. And if you go back a bit further, those two countries’ forces killed around a million Iraqis following the 2003 illegal invasion.

If we want to avoid any further bloodshed in the Middle East, caused by this country’s military, then we need to demand that this Government votes against another military attack overseas.

Colin Crilly

South London


Indecent assault not school-boy prank

I was surprised at Dave Lee Travis’s conviction apparently for ‘‘fondling’’ somebody’s breasts. My feelings at his actions are that he was behaving in a boorish, unacceptable (to me) manner, but for this to be criminal seems ridiculous. However, this type of behaviour has been treated lightly in the past, although I was always  disgusted by it. It always seemed to be the type of behaviour of someone famous or powerful against a young woman whose complaints would be ignored or brushed off.

A case in point was of Chris Tarrant lifting up the bikini top of Sophie Rhys-Jones – before she was linked to royalty. I was disgusted by his action, which was apparently photographed, but the outrage when this came to light was not about Tarrant’s boorish behaviour, but the fact that someone wanted to publish the photograph.

 To publish the photograph was, of course, offensive, but nobody commented on Tarrant’s offensive action.  I just looked it up on the internet, and this is an excerpt from an article in The Express:

“First, an old photograph – taken before Sophie’s marriage to Edward – had come to light in which the radio presenter Chris Tarrant was seen pulling up her bikini. She was the innocent victim of a schoolboy prank but it hardly helped Sophie’s desire to be taken seriously.”

 “An innocent schoolboy prank.” Need I say more? How times have changed.

John Upright

Pontyclun, Cardiff