Letters: The fuss over Gaddafi's killing is rank hypocrisy

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The British media fuss over the manner of Gaddafi's death is hypocrisy of the rankest kind, tinged with racist colonial superiority. When the Americans chucked Bin Laden out of a plane into the sea, perhaps for fear his grave would become a martyr's shrine, they murdered an unarmed man, something they then lied about. But who could blame them? No one in the media, as I recall.

Gaddafi was armed when caught and no doubt he was shooting back. He said he would go down fighting and he probably did. He lived and died by the gun. All war is murder on all sides, from beginning to end, regardless of uniforms. The rest is propaganda.

If the Yanks can murder someone and sling his dead body out of a plane "observing Muslim custom", as they said, why can't the Libyans do what they did to Gaddafi? After all, Gaddafi was Libyan but Bin Laden was Saudi Arabian, not American. Gaddafi was a monster, but he was their monster.

Phil Lewis

London SW15

The delay of Colonel Gaddafi's burial may allow some of his closest friends to attend the event. Representatives of the British state and the British arms industry should certainly

pay their last respects to so valued a customer. Britain firms sold £4.7m of military equipment to Gaddafi in 2010, and the British government did not see fit to refuse the request for a single arms export licence to Libya that year.

I trust that the governments of France, Italy, the US, Brazil and Germany – all of which did business with his regime will also send representatives.

Members of both the UK and US spy agencies should also be on hand to see Gaddafi off. After all both the CIA and MI6 built close ties with their Libyan counterparts during the "war on terror".

I hope all Gaddafi's former chums can be there to see off the man Blair once argued should be feted as a "strong partner of the West". Nor should Libya's triumphant National Transitional Council begrudge Gaddafi's Western friends a last farewell. After all, as Lord Palmerston once said: "Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests."

Sasha Simic

London N16

The views of Dr John Cameron (Letters, 22 October) are certainly not shared by the vast majority of the liberated Libyan people. They have waved pre-Gaddafi era flags with glee and shown an overwhelming appetite for freedom, whatever the setbacks and dangers of the path ahead. By contrast, every vestige of the loathed Gaddafi-era green flag have been burnt and all traces of his Green Book have been pulverised. In the heat of the moment, after four decades of savage repression, it was only natural that they should vent their spleen on the perpetrator of so much misery. Perhaps it is only up to the Almighty to judge the ethics of this cathartic act against Gaddafi's many acts of genocide and state-sponsored war and terrorism?

Anthony Rodriguez

Staines, Middlesex

Not so long ago, when we were building our relationship with this evil dictator, we heard much about the quality of the hospitals and healthcare and the excellence of the education, road, and transport systems. What happened? Why suddenly is he the most awful being on the planet? Was it because China was building closer ties with him? The saying of the moment is "follow the money"; I say "follow the oil".

Eddie Johnson

Long Melford, Suffolk

Energy companies exploit our inertia to boost profits

The pathetic result of Cameron's meeting with the energy companies highlights the nonsense that is talked about the benefits of competition (Letters, 18 October).

Does anyone seriously think that the huge range of tariffs on offer to the customer are intended as a benefit? Just suppose you find your way through this tangle to what seems the best offer. Do you honestly think it will remain that way for many weeks?

However it will have had the intended effect of exhausting your patience in testing the market so that the true nature of the policy – encouraging inertia in the customer – will have been served.

Inertia selling is a modern curse. Insurance companies offer better terms to first-time customers in the hope that they will let the policy run into a second year, when the company can hike the price. At one time loyalty discounts were offered to customers who stayed with a company year by year. No longer.

Inertia selling always works against consumer interests. There is no answer but regulation. But can you really expect that this is the government that will defend the interests of consumers in the face of its business backers?

Pete Parkins


Encouraged by the exhortations of David Cameron, Ofgem and energy secretary Chris Huhne to seek out the cheapest energy tariff, I studied the web site of EON, my current energy supplier, but did not have the mathematical skill to work out whether I was on their cheapest rate, so I phoned them to ask. My query was eventually answered with: "I can't tell you that because I don't have the figures available, but all the tariffs are listed on the website". Mm.

Mike Smith


The energy companies can easily help families struggling with their bills. By reducing the first-stage tariff and slightly increasing the main tariff, the bills low energy-users face would be reduced but higher energy-users would pay a bit more – most of whom are high earners. This could be done with little effect on average profit margins.

My primary gas tariff is 8.756p but the main tariff is half the rate – 4.036p. The two-stage tariff is nothing more than a recreation of the meter standing charge. Most users get through the primary tariff allowance just to basically heat and light their homes.

Patrick Newman

Stevenage, Hertfordshire

Mobile phones may cause cancer

You report on the new BMJ study that appears to show that the radiation from mobile phones is not harmful (21 October). The headline, "Mobile use 'not linked to cancer'", suggests this is an open-and-shut case.

But the major limitations of the data, especially misclassification of users – acknowledged by the research group itself – undermine if not negate their conclusions.

A more reliable source of information is the WHO, whose 30-strong expert cancer panel recently carried out a global review of the evidence. It concluded that mobiles may cause cancer (class 2B carcinogen).

The distorted results of this new study should not be allowed to conceal the fact that the safety of mobile-phone use remains in doubt.

Professor Denis Henshaw

Emeritus Professor of Human Radiation Effects

University of Bristol

Nothing to stop food speculators

The EU's proposals for financial market regulation are likely to be completely ineffective at preventing speculation driving up food prices ("EU makes its bid to tame speculators", 19 October).

European commissioner for the internal market, Michel Barnier, has called financial speculation on basic foods "a scandal", and has pledged to curb it. But leaked drafts of the plans reveal a series of loopholes that could allow speculators to continue with business as usual.

With its ear to the City of London, the UK government has long resisted controls on speculation. There will be much debate, and plenty of horse trading, before the European Parliament votes on the proposals next year. The question is whether, this time, George Osborne will put the needs of a billion hungry people before the profits of investment banks.

Hannah Griffiths

Head of Policy

World Development Movement

London SW9

The myth of big, fat Greek wages

As a Greek who was gainfully employed both before and after Greece joined the euro I can assure you that my salary never "ballooned" (report, 18 October). The only immediately noticeable change was the upward price adjustment of most consumables, careering to a more than 30 per cent hike for staples such as milk and bread.

Claiming that Greeks have been enjoying "excessive wage levels" is inaccurate in a country where university graduates are looking at a yearly salary of less than €9,000 after tax. As an experienced young professional with a postgraduate degree, my compensation was so dire that I enjoyed a 300 per cent salary hike overnight just by moving to London.

A Papadopoulos

London NW

In brief...

In praise of apprenticeships

Hurrah to those captains of industry championing apprenticeships (Letters, 20 October). I learnt my engineering through an apprenticeship, became a Chartered Engineer, and an enjoyable and rewarding career in industry followed.

Just remember, captains of large companies, that one of the reasons smaller companies find it difficult to justify apprenticeships is because you tend to pinch their best apprentices after completion because you can offer them better salaries. But despite that, all strength to your cause.

John Verity

Abenhall, Gloucestershire

Oh, the suspense

I remember that the great advantage of attending an all-girls' school was the ability to adjust one's suspenders as needed, without fearing that a boy might get a glimpse of stocking. That would have been truly shocking.

Helen Maclenan

Teddington, Middlesex

St Paul's protest

I have just visited the protest camp at St Paul's and it is clear the camp is not getting in the way of the cathedral's activities – indeed, there was a wedding going on when I was there.

The Church of England has now reverted, after a week of supporting God, to its normal service to Mammon. Given who makes up the membership of the St Paul's Foundation, it seems that, rather than evicting the money lenders from the temple, the money lenders now own the temple.

Chris Guite

London N1

The Occupy London protesters are significantly interfering with activities in and around St Paul's Cathedral, causing economic harm to numerous innocent institutions and individuals, and no one at The Independent objects. If the protesters forced the shutdown of The Independent for a week, how would you react?

Scott Varland

Purley, Surrey

Naming of parts

Regarding Caitlin Moran's "Wookie", I can't agree with John Walsh (20 October) that men don't indulge in body-part naming. After an advertising campaign in the 1980s, I baptised my right testicle Martini ("It's the right one..."). The left one, as seemed only fair, came to be renamed Cinzano.

G Sadler