Letters: Visions of Britain in the future



In Mary Dejevsky's deliciously plausible account of 2037 Britain (24 August), she doesn't tell us what has happened to that purported "special relationship" with the US, a relationship that in the twenty-noughties and –teens, dragged us into unwinnable wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, possibly Iran, possibly China); useless expenditures (missile defences) and illegalities (unequal extraditions, assassinations by drone).

That relationship has been looming over us, ever since Macmillan gave up our nuclear independence back in the 1960s. By 2037, shall we have perhaps have shaken it off and settled back into our actual ancestral, geographical home, on this side of the Atlantic?

Elizabeth Young

London W2

Predictions of the future are always contentious and entertaining, but Mary Dejevsky's is slightly less believable than most. She must be the only person other than George Osborne who believes that the environment will play no major part in our immediate future, other than as something to gleefully trash without consequence. (Severn barrage! New airport on the Thames!)

Sadly, whatever we do between now and 2037, we will no longer be able to ignore what is already obvious. Our climate is changing and the effects of an insanely increasing population and rapacious resource use will be felt ever more strongly.

By 2037, nobody will be talking about new airports, Boris Johnson or the 2012 Olympics; they'll be talking about how the hell we can survive in the midst of the mess we've created. By then, maybe even national newspapers will be devoting space to the planet, instead of six daily pages on "business". Or is that a prediction too far?

Albert Ravey

Maghull, Merseyside

I usually enjoy Mary Dejevsky's pieces and find much in them with which I am comfortable. Not this time. Suppose we do build the Severn barrage and Boris's airport. What is going to happen to all the birds to which these areas are home?

Both projects may well come up against a great deal of perhaps violent hostility. We really cannot go on and on "solving" our problems by ruining the planet and exterminating everything else that should live in it to make more room and more "wealth" for our profligate species.

I am 80 and many of the birds which I knew and loved as a boy in the countryside I have not seen for years. As a species, we have a long way to go to evolve ways of living on the planet without wrecking it and we are only paying lip service to environmental issues. Huge, damaging projects in sensitive areas are not the way forward even if they seem to be the obvious solution to our present difficulties.

Dudley Dean

Maresfield, East Sussex

Murdoch's revenge on Leveson

It had to be one of Murdoch's papers that broke the restraint shown by the rest of the press by publishing the images of a naked Prince Harry.

Not satisfied with the breach of his privacy or the subsequent publication by the media outside of the UK, The Sun had to demonstrate just how morally low it can stoop, pandering to the prurient and pig-ignorant of its readers in a desperate attempt to increase its circulation.

This is Murdoch and his editor's way of showing contempt for the embarrassment they suffered at the hands of the Leveson inquiry.

Henry Page

Newhaven, East Sussex

How immensely noble of the heroic Sun newspaper to publish photos of important people naked in its magnificent, principled defence of a "free press", a value which had to be "defended", because if The Sun didn't actually publish such photos we might all run away with the idea that illiberality and repression gripped the nation so deeply that it couldn't.

Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour! What need, when we have Elizabeth Murdoch?

Michael Ayton


The Sun's brave stance for press freedom (by printing "naked photographs" of Prince Harry) should echo around the globe as a shining example to those fighting for a free press in China, Burma and Zimbabwe, and other lesser struggles.

Bob Morgan

Thatcham, Berkshire

It is unfair to compare Prince Harry with Edward VIII, who never held down a responsible job in his life and was protected from public scrutiny and ridicule in this country. Harry works as a soldier with men of other social classes and gets along with them wonderfully. It is a dangerous job. He deserves a little R & R.

As for the pictures, I quite enjoyed them. They were funny. Though I would not stoop to buying a Murdoch rag in order to see them.

Helen Braithwaite

London NW3

In the photograph I saw, Prince Harry was covering his privates and there was nothing about the rest of his body, which could be seen on a beach, to object to. What is all the fuss about?

David Pitts

East Molesey, Kent

Harry's party looks like it was absolutely spot on. But given that I'm paying, next time I'd like to be invited.

Martyn Housden


Playing politics with exam results

Some 50 years ago, I took my A-Levels, having been offered a place at the new Sussex University. To my dismay, I didn't get good enough results and the offer was withdrawn.

This failure had a huge effect on my self-confidence and my career. Many, many times over the years I have looked back and wondered how different my life might have been had I not "failed" and had been able to take up that place. I blamed myself for it, and have regarded it as the most significant turning-point in my life.

A year or so ago, an old school-friend, now very high up in social science research, told me that the government of the day had not planned for the increase in university places required for those of us who were part of the post-war "bulge".

So they "failed" intelligent, clever people who might otherwise have contributed greatly to the nation and, in so doing, made us blame ourselves for it, causing considerable suffering and loss.

Fifty years later I now know it was not my inadequacy at all, but that of politicians and civil servants.

I was lucky; I eventually fell on my feet, but now I see it happening all over again to another generation and my heart bleeds for them.

When will politicians ever learn?

Sara Neill

Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Athletics all year round

Terence Blacker is grossly unfair in his summation (21 August) that sport is really all about money. Why shouldn't Mo Farah and Usain Bolt cash in on their success? Mr Blacker is wrong to say that all athletes do is prepare for the Olympics every four years while poor footballers have to put up with it nine months of the year.

There are countless championships and competitions Mo Farah and his comrades participate in – and win – without a fraction of the public support and recognition they get for an Olympic gold medal.

Footballers have hundreds of thousands of fans of their sport up and down the country willing to buy into their brand and talk about what they do for a living every day of the year while getting paid more than they could ever spend.

Our Olympians are in a far more solitary position of simply pushing their bodies to the limit at every opportunity.

With all the investment, financially and emotionally, from their fans, I would be angry if footballers were not scrutinised by the media and it is a nonsense to compare them to the likes of Mo Farah and Usain Bolt.

Hannah Webster


Stand up to Chinese power

I am inclined to agree with Owen Jones (23 August) about our "once in a century" opportunity to create a more balanced world order in the face of comparative US decline and before the rise of assertive Chinese power.

Will he then agree that the way forward is for Great Britain to rearm massively, in concert with reliable allies including Australia, Canada and New Zealand and more locally with France and Germany, with the happy side-effect of getting our economies moving and rebuilding our hi-tech and manufacturing industries?

Or does he favour yet more liberal blether about "soft power" and "multi-lateral action"? The Chinese are building aircraft carriers and nuclear attack submarines. The "rest of the West" needs to do the same, and we could lead the way. Anything less is wishful thinking that leaves us as clients of a diminished US in the face of Chinese power.

R S Foster


Good guys don't rape

If rape is rape, then rapists are rapists. Laurie Penny (25 August) reminds us that sex without consent is always rape, and victim-blaming is wrong. Somehow she simultaneously asserts that a rapist can be "a nice guy", forgetting it seems, where our blaming should rightly be directed.

One reason that rape committed by someone trusted or loved can be, as Penny says, at least as damaging as any other kind, is that it confronts the victim with the fact that we are often deceived by a false appearance of goodness. To write that someone can be raped by "a good guy", reduces rape to an outburst with the moral value of a Tourette's syndrome tic.

Josh Hulbert

Woodford Green, Essex

Where wealth comes from

In his letter of the 27 August Mike Perry seeks to perpetuate the myth that wealth is created by the prudent and dissipated by all others.

There are, of course, individuals who fit his hypothesis. If, however, we exclude football players, bankers and their like, wealth is normally accumulated from untaxed, unearned capital appreciation. In the majority of cases this is the capital gain from home ownership. The greatest value of accumulated wealth is from inheritances, which, of course, also had been predominantly accumulated from untaxed, unearned capital appreciation.

Clive Georgeson

Dronfield, Derbyshire

Called to teach

I take issue with your leading article (22 August) on the University of Bristol research into teachers' pay and results. Perhaps state-sector schools in more affluent areas struggle to retain staff, because teachers (in spite of years of meddling from left and right since the 1944 Education Act) have both enough vocational intelligence and downright old-fashioned decency to want to continue to make a difference.

John Nutt

West Buckland, Somerset

Law for all

I couldn't help smiling at your leading article comment on Richard Branson that "the law is the same for everyone" (28 August). Indeed it is; as is often said, it forbids both rich and poor alike from begging for bread and sleeping under bridges.

Terence Hollingworth

Blagnac, France

React Now

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

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £550 - £650

£550 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Traded Credit Risk - Investmen...

Data Insight Manager - Marketing

£32000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based o...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux, Redhat, Solaris, SAN, Puppet

£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL, MSMQ, SQL, GIT, SQ...

Day In a Page

Silhouette of clubber dancing Hacienda nightclub  

A comedian has opened an alcohol-free nightclub. Is he having a laugh?

Jessica Brown Jessica Brown
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape