Letters: Yes, some bankers are honourable

Related Topics

It is good to have a banker pointing out the difference between banking and gambling (letter from Peter Croggon, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, 9 November). Perhaps real bankers should be more vocal in defence of the vital role they play in any capitalist system. Perhaps, too, those of us who are not anti-capitalism but simply fed up with its abuses should make clear that we do not blame bankers. We blame the computer-aided croupiers in their casinos camouflaged as banks who play with our money. We also blame the politicians who lay down the rules of the games they play so that the croupiers can count on "heads I win, tails you lose". So let's hear it for honourable and much-needed real bankers.

Mike McKinley

Steeple Aston, Oxfordshire

At last (Dr Kitchen's letter, 9 November) someone is placing the blame for the banking crash at its source. We want the cheapest loan and the best return on savings. Banks seek ways of supplying that demand. No one complains when their desires are satisfied but when the inevitable decline in asset (usually houses) value occurs we look around to blame anyone but ourselves, exclaiming that banks are greedy and of course we are not. But we must bring in politicians also, who benefit by encouraging "a property-owning democracy".

G D Morris

Port Talbot, Neath

I think Jo Bousfield (Letters, 9 November) is wrong to lament the bloodless anonymity of modern banks' customer relations. If she has been with a bank for 42 years, she will be able to remember how awful it was when the bank manager was a little god in his own parish, a jealous god demanding loyalty and obedience.

For many years, when I was young and poor with a growing family and a mortgage, my bank manager would command me to attend his office on regular occasions so that he could berate me for some imagined extravagance such as overspending a few pounds at the supermarket. To escape, I changed banks the very minute I finally went into the black.

Then there was the Captain Mainwaring type who demanded to know all kinds of personal information such as: "Tell me, do you intend to have any more children?".

Oddly, I also knew a bank manager personally and I asked him once what criteria he used to allot his loans. He told me he never lent to anyone who lived in a house with two grown women: "You know, two women in one kitchen, if you get my drift. And I never, never lend money to a man who wears suede shoes."

Give me faceless, unfeeling indifference every time. I don't want bankers as my friend or confidant. An ATM machine and online banking are as close as I want to get to the species.

Chris Payne


Has the largely taxpayer-owned Lloyds Banking Group really picked up on customer care by introducing a "professional complaint handling qualification"? (8 November). Would not a professional "get it right first time" qualification be better proof of this?

Gordon Whitehead


Remembrance is not enough: soldiers need help

Up in the loft I have the letter my father sent to his brother in 1917: "Great news! I am going with the Expeditionary Force at last! Please don't tell mother..." He had joined up in London in 1914, and had lectured in ballistics to machine gunners. He was sent on leave between courses, while many of the people he had taught met their deaths. All his life he refused to put on medals, but he always wore a poppy on 11 November.

His brother had joined the Norfolk regiment; later known as the "vanishing Norfolks". Brother Arthur suffered from what was then called "shell shock" from his experience at Gallipoli. The vivid nightmares and episodes of depression were probably made worse by the social convention of some things being considered "too horrible to talk about".

Modern armaments and modern medicine create new tragedies for our soldiers and these are things we need to talk about. A bowed head and comfortable donation to a good cause while remembering "the fallen" is simply not enough.

Judith Spencer

Claygate, Surrey

Robert Fisk (Opinion, 5 November) is spot-on. Forget about the BBC newsreaders he mentions, just switch on the lunchtime show Loose Women. As I write, each of the panel is wearing a glistening, silver-edged, sequinned poppy which would brighten any Christmas tree. After dazzling me, they made me feel physically sick. And it is hard to believe that whoever created them handed their profits to the national poppy factory.

My father's father didn't come home from the Great War and therefore never saw his baby son. My father's stepfather didn't make it back from the sequel. I shall wear a poppy in their memory and in honour of all the other fallen; but I shall wear it only on Remembrance Day. There is rarely a day I don't wonder what my many fallen relatives went through. But surely one day of sincere, focused, symbolic, nationwide memory is honour enough.

PJ Davison

Richmond upon Thames, Surrey

I work in a primary school where we acknowledge Remembrance Day each year. Far from the poppy being a "fashion appendage", as Robert Fisk suggests, we use it as a focus for children to think about war and the suffering it causes.

We have poppies available in the playground and each class makes poppies to be used in our ceremony at 11am on 11 November each year. We invite guest speakers and present two different ways of thinking about the issues related to war in assemblies. We have children in school who have been affected by war in various parts of the world and we have staff who have connections with casualties of war from the Second World War to more recently. It is a thoughtful and moving experience.

John Pickering


Will non-poppy wearing England international footballers be ostracised? Will any have the courage to go au naturel?

Nicholas E Gough

Swindon, Wiltshire

No one should presume to know what motivates other people to wear the poppy (even TV presenters and MPs). For many of us the First World War was a history lesson from our parents and school. We were too young to fight in the Second World War, but we had family members who did and some did not return. We wear the poppy in remembrance of those who gave their tomorrows for our todays and we are eternally grateful to them.

John Dixon

Banstead, Surrey

Leaving aside the arguments as to whether or not we need to have a specified day and symbol of remembrance for the country's war dead, I am appalled that we rely on charitable collections to provide for the needs of disabled ex-servicemen and the upkeep of war memorials.

Surely in a country that has no hesitation in spending tens of billions of pounds annually on weapons of mass destruction and other military hardware, government could afford to pay the relatively small sum of £30m to the British Legion to provide, free of charge, poppies to those who wish to wear them?

Tom Minogue

Dunfermline, Fife

Children's heart surgery reviewed

It is wrong to suggest that the review of children's heart services has been "derailed" by the outcome of the Royal Brompton's judicial review (report, 8 November). The case for change has never been stronger – clinicians, parents and national heart charities all agree that we need fewer, larger centres carrying out children's heart surgery.

We think that it is unacceptable that the outcome of the Royal Brompton's legal action is to prevent the NHS from considering the 75,000 responses and petitions already submitted from people across the country. We are preparing to appeal the Court's decision so that these voices may be heard. The review continues and, regardless of the appeal, we will reach a decision on the future of children's heart services by spring 2012.

Sir Neil McKay

Chair of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts


Heads have every right to strike

For so short a leading article, yours on the headteachers' strike (10 November) contains two breathtakingly large assumptions. Since when does striking indicate a lack of moral responsibility? If this strike is the first in the NAHT's history, it is hardly an ill-considered action. Let us hope that any children who think beyond a day's holiday are having it explained to them that this is a principled action against the errors and greed you yourself instance.

And then you repeat the old canard that parents will have to take time off work. Yes, they will. But it has never been the business of schools to act as crèches for working parents, nor to prop up an ailing economy by doing so.

Jean Gallafent

London NW1

Could the train take the strain?

Your correspondents (10 November) have referred to the involvement of HGVs in the recent sad events on the M5. While not knowing where these particular HGV journeys originated and would have terminated, one notes that the M5 runs between Birmingham and Exeter and that there is a parallel railway line for the entire route. Indeed, it extends beyond the limits of the M5 to Penzance and Scotland. Might we, with profit, reflect on the factors that caused the loads incinerated and spilled on the M5 to be on HGVs rather than freight trains?

Malcolm Everett


Despicable U-turn on cluster bombs

It really is dispiriting that our government should even consider a U-turn on the banning of cluster bombs ("UK backs bid to overturn ban on cluster bombs", 9 November). Is this another example of their craven and slavish posturing to the US? I doubt they could even spell "ethical" let alone understand its meaning.

Mike Bone

Saxtead, Suffolk

The long, the short and the tall

We'll do a deal, Adrian Hamilton (Comment 9 November). As a woman of 6ft with a husband of 6ft 6in, we will stand at the back of exhibitions and sit in the back few rows at the theatre if those under 6ft stop booking extra leg-room on flights.

Catherine Davies


Not enough women on top

Your correspondent R Havenhand (letter, 7 November) says: "We were promised that women in high positions in politics and business would do a better job than men". Who exactly promised him this – his mum? Nobody made that promise to me.

I believe that if we had more than 50 per cent women in Parliament, the culture would begin to change, and our MPs would begin to behave less like children in a primary-school playground. But then Simon Carr would lose much of his material!

It'll be a while yet before things start to improve.

Henrietta Cubitt


React Now

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

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Sales Manager

£60k - 80k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Our political system is fragmented, with disillusioned voters looking to the margins for satisfaction  

Politics of hope needed to avert flight to margins

Liam Fox
David Cameron delivers his speech on immigration at the JCB World Headquarters in Rocester, Staffordshire  

Cameron's speech was an attempt to kill immigration as an election issue

Andrew Grice
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game