You may find this the only letter you receive that offers support or apology for Maria Miller. She is my constituency MP, a role I and others can confirm that she carries out assiduously and very effectively, even though I’ve never voted Tory. It seems she has been crucified by the media for a combination of things: her unfortunate amnesia over expenses claimed under a discredited regime over five years ago; her lack of humility in apologising for something where she felt she’d been found not guilty; and her failure to implement a post-Leveson regime acceptable to the media.
The vitriol rains down on her. Her crime seems to be weakness and apparent arrogance in taking advantage of an expenses regime that still has a long way to go before it passes reasonable probity tests. However, let’s just consider whether, compared to what should be happening in respect of, say, the leaders of the Met, a sense of proportion has been lost. Or does the media have different standards for those who offend it directly?
Geoff Burnes, Basingstoke
Come on Basingstoke, finish the job: deselect your MP, or even better just vote her out!
Maria Miller will still walk away with a prospective profit of £600,000 to £1m, depending on how much capital gains tax she can get away with, on a taxpayer-financed home for her parents!
Not bad work, even by MPs’ standards.
Dr A D Kitcher, High Wycombe
I can’t say I’ve shed any tears over the resignation of Maria Miller. With the opportunistic Nigel Farage hotfooting it to Basingstoke, we now have the even more unpalatable prospect of a Ukip MP here.
Recognising her responsibility for this, many here hope she will quickly resign as our constituency MP too!
Like many before her, Maria Miller has been far from transparent and has gained financially on selling the property at the centre of her expenses scandal. She was grossly over-claiming her expenses. Only when cornered did she eventually resign.
And the Government wonders why the electorate is so disengaged.
Tony Corbin, Basingstoke
The Maria Miller case demonstrates the power wielded by the press and the reluctance of politicians, with the possible exception of David Cameron, to stand up to the perception of public opinion reported by the press, which is often manufactured to sell newspapers and influenced by the style of reporting.
Grant Shapps, on The Daily Politics, was positively fawning over the rights of a free press and Ian Burrell’s comment (10 April) that Sajid Javid would not want to risk his generally good press “by putting pressure on papers to sign up to the unpopular Royal Charter” says it all about how the press applies its own pressure on politicians to get what it wants.
Richard Lott, Chepstow
Maria Miller cannot blame her role in Leveson. Her actions, and those of other MPs in reducing her payback to £5,800 show how out of touch they are with middle England. Their actions simply show greed, followed by arrogance. David Cameron has shown poor leadership.
Dennis Jones, Edgmond, Shropshire
Maria Miller is not redundant, she has a job; she has been demoted. No one but a politician would get a cheque because they could mistake the need to claim accurately for expenses paid from public funds.
The “redundancy cheque” is as great an insult to the taxpayer as the original fraud. There is no excuse for failing to claim accurately for up-to-date mortgage costs.
Jonathan Devereux, St Albans
Useless flu drugs
Congratulations on the excellent article concerning the fortune squandered by the Government on the ineffective drugs obtained to combat a predicted “flu epidemic” (10 April).
I recall unheeded reservations by professionals that the claims made on the performance of the drugs were without adequate testing or substantiated proof. Such a newspaper article is rare and, for me, makes i such a bargain (notwithstanding the price appeal to a Scot).
Robert Gordon Clark, Gorebridge, Midlothian
While the Government is rightly criticised for its naivety in trusting drug companies when purchasing anti-flu drugs, what of the companies themselves?
Jeff Smith, Beeston, Bedfordshire
I sign petitions on Change.org, 38 degrees and Avaaz. I am disabled and could not get to London to march or stand and protest. Online petitions are a boon to people like me who want to be politically active and register opposition to this government but physically cannot do so.
Matthew Norman (9 April) would do well to remember that we are not all physically able.
Ian Foster, Brentford, Middlesex
Why we got rid of Saddam
Susan Boldrini (letter, 9 April) asks “what exactly we gained” from intervening in Iraq.
We gained the removal of a genocidal, WMD-ambitious despot who had bombed and invaded his neighbours; repressed, tortured and gassed his opponents; harboured terrorists; sponsored suicide bombers; stoked ethnic hatred and extreme Islamist and anti-Western sentiment; torched oilfields; destroyed marshlands; wrecked his country’s economy; ignored UN resolutions; duped, bribed and expelled weapons inspectors; and provoked sanctions that killed 100,000 innocent Iraqis annually.
We paid a price for our intervention and we would have paid a price for not intervening.
Keith Gilmour, Glasgow
Bird that soared to disaster
On 9 April you carried an interesting snippet about the bar-headed goose, which you state is the world’s highest-flying bird, flying at over 23,000 feet.
However, on 29 November 1973 an aircraft flying over Abidjan, Ivory Coast, suffered a bird strike at 37,000 feet. Upon landing, enough remained of the bird to identify it as a Ruppell’s vulture (Gyps rueppellii). This has been listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s highest-flying bird, as a result of this incident.
Bill Robinson, Slough
Andreas Whittam Smith is right (10 April).
Britain outside the EU wouldn’t be a ship of state like the one that traded the world from the 16th century to the 1960s, the British Empire. It would be more like the Isle of Man (chief industries: tourism and nil corporation tax).
Mike Belbin, London SW3Reuse content