Letters: Protest could be the saviour of capitalism

Related Topics

I keep reading about "anti-capitalism" protests outside St Paul's, but many opponents of the current system would argue that they are trying to save capitalism from itself.

Neo-liberals have created a perception that there is a Manichean choice between market fundamentalism and socialism, with nothing in between. They point to the benefits of capitalism, yet without intervention by government, markets work to polarise wealth and political power, as the economy moves towards corporate kleptocracy.

We learned this lesson a century ago, when the threat of the imminent collapse of capitalism predicted by Marx was averted through the imposition of anti-monopoly legislation, the gradual expansion of the welfare state, and the regulation of markets – ushering in a post-war period of relative stability and growth. Perhaps, ultimately, Marx was right: an unenlightened capitalist class is doomed to produce its own gravediggers.

Charles Hopkins


I applaud the efforts of the St Paul's protesters to look for new ways of organising capitalism. It would be useful to look at the methods of Fry, Cadbury, Rowntree, Clark, Darby and others who, through Quaker practice, were able to build thoroughly successful, honourable businesses while using their money to help their communities.

There are many trusts such as the Rowntree Trusts which use their money to this day.

Gill Ledsham


It was perhaps inevitable that the tensions at St Paul's should lead to the resignation of the Dean. While we are sad that it has come to this for Graeme Knowles, we feel, as Church of England clergy and industrial missioners, that the cathedral has missed a real opportunity to engage publicly with the campaigners about the serious issues of power and wealth in our economic system.

The cathedral's preferred approach of quiet discussion in private seems to have had little discernable effect on the way the institutions of the City that surround it are run. It is time to recognise, with the Occupy movement around the world, that the place of the debate is shifting. This may be a kairos moment, not least in the context of recent news about top directors' pay and before another round of bankers' bonuses.

Christianity is not against capitalism per se, but Jesus was very clearly on the side of the poor and dispossessed and against the rich and powerful. Many Christians and others we know are deeply concerned about the growing inequality of wealth distribution both in this country and globally, and many industrial missioners are meeting regularly with people fearful of being made redundant and those who have already lost their jobs.

It is time for a more thorough-going public debate about the purposes of our economic system and how it is to be shaped beyond our present short-term anxieties. There may now be an opportunity for St Paul's and for the Church more generally to take the lead.

A first step towards the redeeming of the situation might be for Giles Fraser's paper on the subject, which was to have been issued on the date of his resignation, to be published soon and a public debate on the issues hosted by the St Paul's Institute.

The Rev Phillip Jones


The Rev Prebendary Olwen Smith


It would have been more in keeping with the ethos of the real Christian Church if there had been some resounding sermons thundering from the pulpit on the evils of greed and the iniquity of bankers, rather than eviction notices from the administrative arm of the Church.

Tony Cheney

Ipswich, Suffolk

Propaganda against the EU

I have just read your leading article on the EU (1 November). At last, a balanced view. Thank you.

Is it any wonder many people think they are against our involvement in the EU when all they have been fed for the past 20 years is a diet, by most of the media, of anti-EU information, a great deal of it downright inaccurate.

I wonder if the 3 million who potentially would lose their jobs would vote to leave in any referendum if they realised the true position. We know the EU is not perfect, but it is certainly much better than any current alternative.

John Stevens

Stokenham, Devon

So, I've had it wrong all those years; the old maxim really reads "Beware of Greeks accepting gifts."

David Lyons

Poynton, Cheshire

Choice and the childbirth lottery

Sophie Heawood's colourful description of the joys of natural childbirth ("Not the type of birth to encourage", 1 November) tells us nothing about anything other than her own experience and preferences. Anyone who has ever given birth has earned the right to recount their experience and express a view on how it was for them – but they don't have the right to decide for anyone else how it should be done.

Women opting for a caesarean for no "good" medical reason are unlikely to do it for frivolous reasons, or because they don't care about what's best for their baby. Many of these women may well have already given birth "naturally", or attempted to do so. They may have already taken their chances with midwives who have neither the time nor the sensitivity Heawood optimistically describes, and made the entirely rational decision to have a birth where professional attention is guaranteed.

Three cheers for NICE for supporting a woman's right to opt out of the lottery of natural childbirth.

Catriona Moore

London SE15

Bookmaking in the high street

Mary Dejevsky is wrong to suggest there has been a "triffid-like advance" in betting shops (Notebook, 2 November). The number of betting shops in Great Britain has remained stable at about 8,500 for the past 10 years. This figure stood at over 15,000 at the end of the 1960s.

There are more betting shops specifically on high streets than there used to be. The 2005 Gambling Act gave bookmakers greater freedom on where to locate their shops. But this only reflects the fact that betting shops are modern leisure retail businesses, offering a safe leisure product to adults who choose to use it. Latest figures from the Gambling Commission show that over 99 per cent of our customers use our product safely and responsibly.

It is also incorrect to suggest that "council tax payers all over the country are complaining" about our industry. Out of the 400 or so licensing authorities, betting offices have only become a local political issue in a handful of London boroughs. Indeed, the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee's current inquiry into the Gambling Act has received representations from only one local authority.

We would invite Ms Dejevsky to visit one of our shops in her neighbourhood one Saturday morning to see for herself. She might be pleasantly surprised.

Dirk Vennix

Chief Executive, Association of British Bookmakers

London SW1

Gove's favourite academy

Is Mossbourne the only successful academy? ("Gove tells heads to stop whingeing", 1 November) It should be remembered that Mossbourne has new buildings and pump-priming. Currently money is being taken from the general education budget to bribe schools to become academies, at the expense of education generally. In the long term, this must threaten the financial stability of all schools, even the academies themselves.

Michael Gove, by repeatedly focusing on Mossbourne, gives the impression that the academy programme is universally successful. Unfortunately, this is not true. A higher proportion of academies than LEA schools have been criticised by Ofsted. On the other hand, there are many local authority schools which are as successful as Mossbourne, but without the extra money.

One way of improving education is for politicians to spend more time supporting and visiting successful local authority schools and to stop playing politics with children's lives.

Jane Eades

London SW11

Prince's law

David Cameron's refusal to remove the Prince of Wales's right of veto over legislation which might affect his interests is shocking and indefensible. The least Mr Cameron can do is extend the same privilege to the rest of us.

Mark Walford

London N12

Poppies for remembrance

Richard Walker (letter, 2 November) exhibits a common misunderstanding of the purpose of the poppy. It is worn as an act of remembrance. It does not condone. It does not take sides. It is the expression of a national and heartfelt regret that any should lose their life in conflicts fought on behalf of their country.

That such a conflict may be misconceived or wrong is not in doubt, but this does not negate a sentiment that has come to transcend national boundaries. We honour those who died, and in so doing recognise the heroism and pathos of their loss, and remember down the generations the ultimate cost of all war.

Christopher Dawes

London W11

Elusive genius of Shakespeare

Sheikh Zubair was obviously an Arab. Can we now end this speculation around the identity of the Bard?

Khalid Haneef

Watford, Hertfordshire

Those who have difficulty in believing that a nobody from a small country town could possibly produce works of genius might consider the life and works of Leonardo da Vinci.

Brian Mayes


Who was that?

Tuesday you reported: "Celebrities and activists kick up a stink over plan for capital super-sewer". Why would anyone give a toss about a celebrity's opinion?

Andy Harrington

Wembley, Middlesex

React Now

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

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...

Ashdown Group: C# Developer - (C#, VB.Net, SQL, Git, TDD)

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Developer (C#, VB & ASP.Net, SQL Server, TSQL) - Pe...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Benedict Cumberbatch attends a special screening of his latest film The Imitation Game  

Benedict Cumberbatch race row: What's the actual difference between 'coloured' and 'person of colour'?

Matthew Norman
Pressure is growing on Chris Grayling to abandon the Government bid to advise Saudi Arabia on running its prisons (Getty)  

What in sanity’s name is Chris Grayling doing in the job of Justice Secretary?

Matthew Norman
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea