Letters: Brooks is back - and a threat to our culture

The following letters appear in the 5 September edition of The Independent

Independent Voices@IndyVoices
Friday 04 September 2015 18:40

“Brooks is back to spearhead Murdoch’s battle against the BBC” (3 September) and “It is expected that The Sun will bring down its paywall, placing it in direct competition with the BBC”.

This would be laughable were it not so serious: the wrecking ball of The Sun attempting to smash into the structure of one of the finest cultural assets of Britain. And then the Daily Mail will join in the fray? These are not newspapers: they are prejudice re-enforcers.

This is Brave New World stuff: Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks keeping everyone perpetually entertained. Britain reduced to Fox News and Disney. But it won’t last: true culture will well up and break free of the greed and unbelievably blinkered empire-builders. It’s just a pity that we have to waste so much time fighting them.

Peter Hart


As an ordinary person, a mum, a working woman and hopefully someone who has a bit of a moral compass, I was shocked to hear that Rebekah Brooks will be returning to News International. My first thought was for Milly Dowler’s mum – how on earth she is coping with this I don’t know.

Then I thought about how you or I would be treated if, at work, we had “not known” that all these things were going on in our organisation. I’m sure a headteacher, police commissioner, hospital director, bank manager or any one “in charge” wouldn’t receive a reference, let alone a multimillion-pound pay-off and then be reinstated.

If I were a Sun reader, I wouldn’t be buying the paper on Monday – just to let Mr Murdoch know that I don’t think this is right. I know that Ms Brooks has been acquitted of all charges, but does she feel OK with this? Doesn’t she think she owes some apologies (especially to Milly’s family)? Shouldn’t she be guided by her moral compass?

Jane Wilson

Alresford, Hampshire

One can only admire Mr Rupert Murdoch’s kindness and compassion in reappointing Ms Brooks to a position in which, on the basis of her defence at her trial in the phone hacking affair, she displayed outstandingly ignorant incompetence.

Christopher Bolger


As she missed selection for the latest nominations to the House of Lords, might we hope Rebekah Brooks could retrospectively be included – on the grounds of her friendship with Mr Cameron, proximity to Mr Murdoch (an unelected director of UK plc), and past and present newsworthiness?

Harry Crew

Easingwold, North Yorkshire

Our drug laws are killing people

Only three sentences inform us that a record number of people died from drug poisoning in 2014 (report, 4 September).

Two-thirds involved illegal drugs. There were no headlines for those mainly avoidable deaths nor for the thousands who grieve for them.

When is the Government going to face up to the fact that its laws are killing people? They leave the supply of drugs in the hands of criminals. They do nothing to bring drugs under reasonable legal control.

They are so afraid to appear soft on drugs, so afraid that the tabloids will condemn them, and so afraid that they will lose votes, that they do nothing.

Drug-users matter just as much as anyone else, and the Government has blood on its hands.

Hope Humphreys

Creech St Michael, Somerset

Zero-hours workers deserve a better deal

New zero-hours contract figures demonstrate the increasing emphasis on flexible work in our economy, but also suggest that some employers are failing to commit to their workforces (“Nearly three-quarters of a million workers rely on zero-hours contracts”, 3 September).

The post-recession economic recovery has been built on dynamism and flexibility. As the chief executive of an apprenticeship and training organisation, I celebrated this but believe that it should not come at the employees’ cost.

Zero-hours contracts are particularly prevalent in the home-care sector, where employees are often given no guarantee of work and, despite not being able to work elsewhere, are earning nothing while waiting at home for a phone call. The advantages to some businesses are clear, but less so for the employee.

The solution is for the Government to ensure that a contract of employment includes a minimum number of guaranteed working hours and the commensurate pay. Employers must then accept that “zero-hours” workers are employed on a freelance basis whereby they are also free to seek employment elsewhere.

Jackie Bedford

Chief executive, Step Ahead

London EC1

Immigration MUST be spread across UK

Almost all your letters (3 September) about the refugee crisis were from areas that could be described as “the shires”. None was from an area that has seen massive immigration over the past 30, 40 or 50 years, such as Bradford, Oldham, Manchester, the West Midlands and my own town of Rochdale.

Recent asylum-seekers have also been located into these same areas. Such concentrated immigration has caused, and continues to cause, severe problems for local authorities.

While I am totally sympathetic to the situation in which people involved in the current crisis find themselves, any immigration into places that have already got a large population of immigrants would be unwelcome by the people who live there. Any immigration because of the current crisis must be evenly spread across the UK

I doubt that the Tory shires really do want to accept these unfortunate people. The likelihood is that a Tory Government will see that this new immigration will be into the same areas as before – areas largely represented by Labour MPs.

Frank Shackleton


For months our papers have written about migrants drowning and we remained unmoved. Now they show us an image of a single drowned child washed up on a beach, and our sympathy wells up. An alien from outer space would assume we couldn’t read.

Elizabeth Morley

Trisant, Ceredigion

Well done, The Independent, for avoiding the soft option used by all the other papers and showing the poor child on the beach on the front page. A very brave decision by all concerned. It must have ensured that Cameron could not ignore this plight any longer.

Helen Moore

Bromley, Greater London

Cameron will repent and let a few refugees in. He is a man who goes in whichever direction the wind is blowing. And, thanks to The Independent, he has met a hurricane.

Alan Peacegood

Hughenden Valley, Buckinghamshire

Is it not ironic that some British Muslims wish to leave this Christian and supposedly decadent Western country for Syria, while half of Syria has travelled through a neighbouring Muslim country, Turkey, and halfway across Europe to reach another Christian and supposedly decadent Western country, Germany?

Robert Senecal

London WC1

Hynde was right about taking responsibility

Many commentators appear to have misinterpreted Chrissie Hynde’s comments about rape. She is talking about “taking responsibility” for how we live and move in life. She does not seem to be apportioning blame or fault – a societal ill that has grown exponentially over the past 30 years or so, where so many of us want to “blame and shame” someone else, some thing or other phenomena for what has befallen us.

Attacking another human being is wrong in whatever form it may take, unless one is life-threatened, and it is a crime. However, in life, we play a role and have some responsibility in everything that we do.

As a male, if I dress in a pink T-shirt and shorts and wear my most alluring aftershave, then go to a football match between Chelsea and Millwall, the odds of my experiencing some of the horrors of what too many women have experienced in their lives might become all too real. So I won’t put myself in that position.

Yes, there are situations that occur, with horrible repercussions, that none of us will ever condone. Yet how we present ourselves is our own responsibility.

Resist the urge to blame straightaway and always ask yourself: “What did I do to help create this situation?”

Mark Langley-Sowter

Brentford, London

The real reason for Chilcot delay?

After another whole week of No Chilcot, a dark proposition needs to be considered. Is the interminable delay a device to allow all the leading players (culprits?) to die before the day of reckoning?

Godfrey H Holmes

Withernsea, East Yorkshire

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