Letters: Will they check teachers’ politics?

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So these are the new criteria that we have to live with. Rotherham Borough Council is selecting foster families on the basis of the political views of the applicants. It recently removed children from foster care because the carers had the wrong political viewpoint.

This presumes that they are investigating the political persuasion of all of the people who work with children and are supervising children in care at the moment. No doubt they will be concerned about the political views of the teachers in local schools, not to mention the carers of children in nurseries

And yet I believe that this council is allowing this couple to foster other children. Is this not a form of discrimination?

Perhaps these people (Labour Party supporters, one presumes) will be sacked for their bigoted views.

JH Moffatt

Bredbury, Stockport

Foster children were taken away from a family in Rotherham because the carers were members of Ukip.

This family have apparently successfully fostered children for many years and were considered extremely competent.

A social worker is reported to have said that this family does not embrace multiculturalism – because Ukip is against immigration – and the interests of these children must be considered.

Rotherham is controlled by Labour which, when in power, forced multiculturalism on Britain. What next? Does that mean that those of us who are against uncontrolled immigration will automatically be classed as racist and will have pensions and welfare benefits refused under a future Labour government?

Clark Cross

Linlithgow

Rotherham Council's decision to remove three young children from foster parents with whom they were quite happy, merely because the foster parents support Ukip, is beyond outrageous and needs to be urgently investigated by the Children's Minister.

The children involved (and all other children in the care of Rotherham Council) are obviously in far greater danger from petty-minded Labour ideologues responsible for making such an incomprehensible decision than they would face had they been allowed to remain with a loving couple with an excellent record as foster parents.

Rotherham Council is guilty of the worst kind of discrimination and deserves to be pilloried over this appalling error of judgment – and heads must roll.

Robert Readman

Bournemouth

All fostering and adoption services and agencies should be shut down forthwith. A training programme should then begin testing thoroughly all potential carers to ensure unqualified acceptance not just of multiculturalism – they must also provide irrefutable evidence of total belief in uncontrolled, unfettered immigration. Anything less must be considered out of the question.

Edward Thomas

Eastbourne

Self-regulation is like thieves being the police

The editor of The Independent (24 November) suggests self-regulation as the way to address the problem of press misconduct – which we know is resulting in criminal prosecutions.

No doubt most journalists operate to proper standards, but in any other sphere offenders are prosecuted. Should thieves regulate themselves?

And as for suggesting that readers are in some way complicit for reading the fruits of journalists' information-gathering, you might as well abolish the offence of handling stolen goods.

Andrew Riley

Newport, Telford and Wrekin

Chris Blackhurst, in his "Letter from the Editor" (24 November), links scandals in Parliament, the City, the press, the armed forces, the Catholic Church and the BBC to an underlying sickness in a society obsessed with material gain, risk-taking and disdain for our fellow man. Mr Blackhurst then asks who is to blame.

Well, Thatcher, obviously.

Anthony Fitzgerald

Enfield

It's a prosaic argument

I cannot agree with John Walsh (22 November) when he writes: "Illustrations in novels are for children, or those who have trouble keeping up." I can assure him that there is a legion of Dickens readers who enjoy the combination of pictures and prose; most are adults and do not "have trouble keeping up".

Phiz and Boz worked as a partnership for 20 years, and the illustrations are a part of the text of each novel – not an addition to it. For example, while Dickens is concerned to tell the reader about Arthur Clennam's preoccupations, he leaves it to Hablot Browne's beautiful picture of Little Dorrit looking out of the window, while thinking about fortune-telling, to convey her unrequited love for him.

CF Tunnicliffe's contributions to Henry Williamson's Tarka the Otter provide another outstanding example of a wonderful blending of the visual with the verbal.

A more contemporary combination is at work in Cyra McFadden's The Serial (1976). Set in California, it has been described as an adult soap opera and focuses on a couple who are trying desperately to stay hip. There are 52 episodes and 52 amusing illustrations by Tom Cervenak which richly enhance the satirical prose

Given the success of these, I'm surprised that more novels aren't cooperative ventures of this kind.

John Chambers

Batheaston, Bath

Don't close down our creativity

Chris Beanland (21 November) presented a plea for balance when local authorities are weighing complaints about noise with the cultural vitality promoted by live music.

He points to examples such as Hyde Park in London and The Point in Cardiff. However, these issues are also to be found at a level close to the grass roots. The Blue Cat Café has been providing a venue for live music, comedy and occasionally poetry in Stockport for over 15 years.

My personal experience is of the welcome and encouragement the venue gives to original songwriters. It has provided a step for creators and performers, a place where they can play in a professional, friendly and respectful environment. Original performers with promise are given an opportunity to reach a wider audience.

Sadly, the Blue Cat is having to close its doors at the end of December because the local authority seems unable to take account of the value of the contribution it makes in weighing the significance of the complaints of some local residents about noise.

The erosion of the soil of creativity this represents, by those bodies who should be preserving and promoting it, is disappointing to say the least. It comes in a week when the contribution of 22 number-one albums internationally is being lauded as a source of the UK's "soft power" in the world, and when other local authorities are cutting public funds for the arts. It is a perfect example of how not-joined-up thinking on the part of the authorities is stifling the cultural and, to a significant degree, the economic life of this country.

John Gash

Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire

Outdoor concerts – and car radios – are the only art forms where people are forced to listen, whether they want to or not. You can go to an art gallery and no one grabs you by the throat, stands you in front of a painting and forces you to look at it for 10 minutes. You can choose to go or not go to an indoor concert; no one snatches you from the pavement, bundles you inside the concert hall and says; "Listen to that! I don't care if you don't like it. I do."

It is the forced participation that is so demeaning and brutal. No wonder the Americans have been said to play music 24 hours a day at Guantanamo to degrade the prisoners.

And it is no wonder that noise is the greatest source of anxiety, after crime, for citizens of the European Union.

So when Chris Beanland (21 November) writes so glibly that our "eclectic live music and clubbing scene... can't be allowed to wither because of a few complaints", he displays arrogance and egotism.

Chris, please listen to whatever you want to – just don't make me listen too. And I will never force you to listen to my choices.

Fabian Acker

London SE22

Self-regulation is like thieves being the police

The editor of The Independent (24 November) suggests self-regulation as the way to address the problem of press misconduct – which we know is resulting in criminal prosecutions.

No doubt most journalists operate to proper standards, but in any other sphere offenders are prosecuted. Should thieves regulate themselves?

And as for suggesting that readers are in some way complicit for reading the fruits of journalists' information-gathering, you might as well abolish the offence of handling stolen goods.

Andrew Riley

Newport, Telford and Wrekin

Chris Blackhurst, in his "Letter from the Editor" (24 November), links scandals in Parliament, the City, the press, the armed forces, the Catholic Church and the BBC to an underlying sickness in a society obsessed with material gain, risk-taking and disdain for our fellow man. Mr Blackhurst then asks who is to blame.

Well, Thatcher, obviously.

Anthony Fitzgerald

Enfield

It's a prosaic argument

I cannot agree with John Walsh (22 November) when he writes: "Illustrations in novels are for children, or those who have trouble keeping up." I can assure him that there is a legion of Dickens readers who enjoy the combination of pictures and prose; most are adults and do not "have trouble keeping up".

Phiz and Boz worked as a partnership for 20 years, and the illustrations are a part of the text of each novel – not an addition to it. For example, while Dickens is concerned to tell the reader about Arthur Clennam's preoccupations, he leaves it to Hablot Browne's beautiful picture of Little Dorrit looking out of the window, while thinking about fortune-telling, to convey her unrequited love for him.

CF Tunnicliffe's contributions to Henry Williamson's Tarka the Otter provide another outstanding example of a wonderful blending of the visual with the verbal.

A more contemporary combination is at work in Cyra McFadden's The Serial (1976). Set in California, it has been described as an adult soap opera and focuses on a couple who are trying desperately to stay hip. There are 52 episodes and 52 amusing illustrations by Tom Cervenak which richly enhance the satirical prose

Given the success of these, I'm surprised that more novels aren't cooperative ventures of this kind.

John Chambers

Batheaston, Bath

Don't close down our creativity

Chris Beanland (21 November) presented a plea for balance when local authorities are weighing complaints about noise with the cultural vitality promoted by live music.

He points to examples such as Hyde Park in London and The Point in Cardiff. However, these issues are also to be found at a level close to the grass roots. The Blue Cat Café has been providing a venue for live music, comedy and occasionally poetry in Stockport for over 15 years.

My personal experience is of the welcome and encouragement the venue gives to original songwriters. It has provided a step for creators and performers, a place where they can play in a professional, friendly and respectful environment. Original performers with promise are given an opportunity to reach a wider audience.

Sadly, the Blue Cat is having to close its doors at the end of December because the local authority seems unable to take account of the value of the contribution it makes in weighing the significance of the complaints of some local residents about noise.

The erosion of the soil of creativity this represents, by those bodies who should be preserving and promoting it, is disappointing to say the least. It comes in a week when the contribution of 22 number-one albums internationally is being lauded as a source of the UK's "soft power" in the world, and when other local authorities are cutting public funds for the arts. It is a perfect example of how not-joined-up thinking on the part of the authorities is stifling the cultural and, to a significant degree, the economic life of this country.

John Gash

Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire

Outdoor concerts – and car radios – are the only art forms where people are forced to listen, whether they want to or not. You can go to an art gallery and no one grabs you by the throat, stands you in front of a painting and forces you to look at it for 10 minutes. You can choose to go or not go to an indoor concert; no one snatches you from the pavement, bundles you inside the concert hall and says; "Listen to that! I don't care if you don't like it. I do."

It is the forced participation that is so demeaning and brutal. No wonder the Americans have been said to play music 24 hours a day at Guantanamo to degrade the prisoners.

And it is no wonder that noise is the greatest source of anxiety, after crime, for citizens of the European Union.

So when Chris Beanland (21 November) writes so glibly that our "eclectic live music and clubbing scene... can't be allowed to wither because of a few complaints", he displays arrogance and egotism.

Chris, please listen to whatever you want to – just don't make me listen too. And I will never force you to listen to my choices.

Fabian Acker

London SE22

Young Gove must do better

So David Cameron has appointed an Education Secretary who can't do maths ("Schools face cuts to pay for £1bn academies overspend", 22 November). And one whose understanding of equal opportunities is to take money from the state schools that did not become academies. I don't think he would get an "outstanding" from Ofsted.

Vanessa Raison

London NW3

Cheers, girls!

If the top three of the 50 best "Christmas gifts for her" (Independent Radar, 24 November) are a cooking pot, a flowery serving plate and an oven glove decorated with little pink dachshunds, should we males raise a manly pint of ale to the demise of feminism while our womenfolk enjoy our generosity and prepare us a proper dinner?

Tom Ladds

Kerridge, Cheshire

Signs of success

You report that the relaxation of door-to-door selling regulations are seen as a way of encouraging "young entrepreneurs" to trade (24 November). Could I suggest that the first young business person to manufacture and sell "No hawkers or pedlars!" signs for front doors will make a fortune.

Colin Burke

Manchester

Sir Alex morphs

The Sir Alex Ferguson statue is a rum affair. It starts out as Gillette Man and morphs into Taggart. But to some of us of a certain age, if we screw up our eyes a bit, we see a very young Harold Wilson in his Gannex raincoat.

Dai Woosnam

Scartho, Grimsby

Pigeon German?

Would it not be super if the message found on the pigeon's foot in the chimney (24 November) turned out to be in German code: "It will be 6 June, Normandy"?

David Toresen

Bletchley

God or mammon

CA Bentley (Letters, 24 November) is mistaken to believe that God is calling fewer men into the ministry of the Anglican Church. Being omnidirectional, he calls an equal number of men and women, but the remuneration package entices more women than men.

Kartar Uppal

West Bromwich

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