The true colours of this “all in it together” Government are finally being exposed.
They impose a pay freeze on public-sector workers, insist on less-than-inflation pay rises for our valued health service staff, and threaten to take even those away.
They drive workers into part-time and zero-hours contracts and claim this as a success in reducing unemployment. At the same time, they fail to address the issues of tax loopholes costing the Exchequer billions, and vote to keep their generous and unjustified expenses and above-inflation pay rises.
How can we respect our politicians when they behave with such hypocrisy? No wonder people are less satisfied with politicians than they are with loan sharks and estate agents.
We need a new political era, based on something other than self-interest.
Pete Rowberry, Saxmundham, Suffolk
Yet again, you report companies dodging tax via a British tax haven. Why don’t we sell these territories, and make some money for the British public, instead of these territories increasing the tax burden on the British public?
The Channel Islands could join France, Gibraltar Spain, and the Caribbean islands the USA. The Isle of Man would join the UK. Subject to transitional arrangements for residents of these places, why do we not close these tax havens as soon as possible?
Richard Maples, Salisbury
My blood boils at the naked class interest of this government. With tax cuts for the rich – in a recession where they have got yet richer – and corporation tax being practically voluntary for many who trade here, mortality figures expose the truth about life in modern Britain.
In Glasgow’s poorest part, male life expectancy is 53 years, whereas it is 82 in the wealthiest area.
Now, after clobbering social housing tenants with bedroom taxes, Jeremy Hunt slams foreign NHS-users over what are trivial sums in the context of how much the City made from the Royal Mail privatisation.
Howard Pilott, Lewes, East Sussex
Control the press by law reform
To suggest, as Nigel Farage does (“No to Leveson!”, 21 October), that ordinary people can use the courts and defamation law to make the press behave is ridiculous. Even in these days of no-win-no-fee litigation there is still a substantial risk of the plaintiff being left with an unacceptably large bill to pay.
The courts would be a good way of controlling the press, but a few changes are needed. First, we need a proper privacy law. Second, we need a system of legal aid for this type of case. Third, we need a system of preliminary hearings to ensure that frivolous and vexatious cases do not get to court. And fourth, we need to follow the Americans, to some extent, in extending the use of exemplary damages.
If these changes were made, the effect would be exactly what most people are looking for, and the system would be free from political interference.
Some readers will recall an incident 30 or more years ago when an “expert” employee of one of the major newspapers said in public that his job was not to tell the truth but to sell newspapers.
As demonstrated by the Leveson Inquiry, that is still the attitude of many newspaper people today. They don’t care if they wreck lives, businesses or marriages, as long as they sell their papers.
Maresfield, East Sussex
Pictures of West Bank violence
Ben Lynfield (“West Bank simmers as Palestinian anger builds in face of occupation”, 19 October) detailed the escalation of violence in the West Bank recently, during which three Israelis were killed by Palestinian terrorists, and a nine-year-old girl was injured.
The latest incident involved a Palestinian driving a tractor into an army base and attempting to run over a soldier. However, the accompanying photos, on a double spread, misrepresent both the content of the piece itself and the reality on the ground. Six of the seven photographs portray a simplistic, one-sided Palestinian narrative.
In one photo, we see a man holding the picture of his relative, who committed the terror attack. Missing are any photos of the Israeli victims or their grieving families. Thus, a balanced portrayal of the events is also, unfortunately, missing.
Yiftah Curiel, Spokesperson, Embassy of Israel, London W8
Forget a freeze, go for carbon tax
Will we ever have politicians who think things through? If you announce a price freeze for energy suppliers some time in the future, you can expect everyone to establish as high a price as possible before it comes into effect.
If you then implement a price freeze, you will either lock in a high level of profitability or concede defeat if market prices for energy make it unsustainable.
If you tell everyone to change supplier, you are simply moving customers to the last company to increase its prices. Let’s bite the bullet and have a carbon tax.
Jon Hawksley, London EC1
Further to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s intervention regarding astronomical fuel pricing, there is far too much hand-wringing at British Gas that reducing executive pay would make no difference in the grand scheme of things.
On the contrary, were the chief executive of Centrica, Sam Laidlaw, to distribute his windfall of £2m (from bonuses, not salary!) between 20,000 shivering, penniless pensioners, each of the latter would receive £100.
Godfrey H Holmes, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
Not waste but food fit for pigs
A few years ago, I peered into the waste bins behind the Co-op in my local village. I saw plastic bags full of bread, fruit and vegetables.
I wrote to the Co-op and obtained an agreement that I could collect this waste food, which was destined for landfill. I have a few rare-breed Tamworth pigs whose food bills had recently risen hugely. So since then, my sows and their offspring have feasted on all sorts of plain and fancy breads, vegetables and fruit, perfectly legally. So long as they don’t have any meat or cooked food, all is well.
Mind you, those salads in plastic bags are a bit of a pain – more plastic than food – but the plastic gets recycled through my council collection, so I reckon I and my pigs are doing the best we can for the environment in our small way.
Sparsholt Down, Wantage, Oxfordshire
Millions spent on Madeleine
I hope someone can explain why the police are spending £5m of UK taxpayers’ money on the search for Madeleine McCann.
Six years have passed since this tragedy happened, and however sad her disappearance/abduction was, it seems an inordinate amount to spend on this one inquiry, not to mention Crimewatch on BBC last week.
Does this indicate that all children who disappear in strange circumstances will have this amount of money spent on efforts to trace them?
Or is it just that the parents of Madeleine McCann have friends in high places, eg the Prime Minister?
Penny Proudlock, Fleet, Hampshire
Belief in culling born of ignorance
Janet Devoy (“This English thing about badgers”, 18 October) insists that “top predators”, such as badgers, must be culled. This public belief that wildlife numbers are regulated only by direct killing is baffling to scientists – as if within-species competition over territory and food resources, competition with other carnivores, weather, quality of habitat and, yes, disease have no impact.
And it is the same with prey species such as hedgehogs. Top-down effects from predators might be much less significant than bottom-up effects from habitat loss and pesticides. It is concerning to say the least that the British public so readily underestimates the complexity of ecosystems.
Adele Brand, Caterham, Surrey
The real scandal of Plebgate
Andrew Mitchell admits to swearing at police officers. It seems that the officers involved lied about the incident. Both parties behaved badly.
Such misdemeanours should be publicly aired. But at a time of austerity is it really necessary for the airing to waste quite so much public money?
Susan Alexander, Frampton Cotterell, South Gloucestershire
Is it coincidence that the supermarkets that are growing – Aldi, Lidl, Sainsbury’s (report, 23 October) – are the ones that don’t inflict piped music on their customers?
Bob Carlisle, London SE18
Our job is to be educators, not border guards
We write as academics concerned with the way in which the rhetoric over security is undermining the university as a place of learning and open discussion (“Is this really necessary? Universities introduce fingerprinting for international students”, 21 October).
The latest move by the universities of Sunderland and Ulster, singling out international students to give fingerprints to prove their attendance at lectures, is reprehensible and to be condemned in the strongest terms.
As academics, we have a duty of care towards all our students, and such policies undermine that relationship. We call on the universities of Sunderland and Ulster to withdraw the use of this system, and for all other universities to take seriously their commitment to equitable treatment of all their students.
We also call on the Government to stop putting pressure on universities to enact such immigration policies. This damages the international reputation of UK higher education at all institutions. We are educators, not border guards.
Gurminder K Bhambra, University of Warwick
John Holmwood, University of Nottingham
Chris Rossdale, City University, London
Anupama Ranawana, University of Aberdeen
Robbie Shilliam, Queen Mary, University of London
Hannah Jones, University of Warwick
Cecily Jones, University of Warwick/Independent researcher
Adam Barker, Independent academic
Kirsten Forkert, Birmingham City University
10. Sonia McKay, London Metropolitan University
11. Mark Cresswell, Durham University
12. Steve French, Keele University
13. Malcolm J. W. Povey, University of Leeds
14. Alan Warde, University of Manchester
15. Aaron Winter, University of Abertay
16. Alexandra Kokoli, Middlesex University
17. Andrew Sayer, Lancaster University
18. Bev Skeggs, Goldsmiths, University of London
19. Dennis Leech, University of Warwick
20. Alison Phipps, University of Glasgow
21. Myriam Salama-Carr, University of Salford
22. Cath Lambert, University of Warwick
23. Steve Jefferys, London Metropolitan University
24. Gavin Brown, University of Leicester
25. Cristian Serdean, De Montfort University
26. David McCallam, University of Sheffield
27. Claudia Marquesmartin, University of Aberdeen
28. Sarah Annes Brown, Anglia Ruskin University
29. James Elliott, University of Oxford
30. Mark Toogood, University of Central Lancashire
31. Marci Green, University of Wolverhampton
32. Christian Fuchs, University of Westminster
33. Lucy Suchman, Lancaster University
34. Catherine Baker, University of Hull
35. Michael Lewis, University of the West of England
36. Mark Campbell, London Metropolitan University
37. Dr Jacob Copeman, University of Edinburgh
38. Luke Martell, University of Sussex
39. Rosa Vasilaki, University of Bristol
40. Daniel Chernilo, Loughborough University
41. Jo Grady, university of Leicester
42. Kate Tunstall, University of Oxford
43. Kathleen O’Donnell, Oxford Brookes University
44. William McEvoy, University of Sussex
45. Emma Mason, University of Warwick
46. Michael Bailey, University of Essex
47. Anne Barron, London School of Economics and Political Science
48. Colin Wright, University of Nottingham
49. Meera Sabaratnam, SOAS, University of London
50. Kevin Sanders, University of Huddersfield
51. Deana Rankin, Royal Holloway, University of London.
52. Julia O’Connell Davidson, University of Nottingham
53. Christine Achinger, University of Warwick
54. Catriona Kelly, University of Oxford
55. Adam Kaasa, London School of Economics and Political Science
56. Katherine Ibbett, UCL
57. John Parkinson, University of Warwick
58. Charlie Louth, University of Oxford
59. Alexander Smith, University of Warwick
60. Clive Gabay, Queen Mary, University of London
61. Ana Cecilia Dinerstein, University of Bath
62. Naomi Eilan, University of Warwick
63. Natalie Fenton, Goldsmiths, University of London
64. Malcolm MacLean, University of Gloucestershire
65. Anna Strhan, University of Kent at Canterbury
66. Angela Last, University of Glasgow
67. Jonathan S. Davies, De Montfort University
68. Hazel Conley, Queen Mary College, University of London
69. Des Freedman, Goldsmiths College, University of London
70. Jeffery R. Webber, Queen Mary College, University of London
71. Jan Culik, University of Glasgow
72. Jenny Pickerill, University of Leicester
73. Daniel Orrells, University of Warwick
74. Ayça Çubukçu, London School of Economics and Political Science
75. Matthew Donoghue, Oxford Brookes University
76. Patrick Ainley, University of Greenwich
77. Suzanne Hall, London School of Economics and Political Science
78. Lee Jones, Queen Mary College, University of London
79. Michael Loughlin, Manchester Metropolitan University
80. Barry Smart, University of Portsmouth
81. Gargi Bhattacharyya, University of East London
82. Alain Viala, University of Oxford
83. Rick Jones, University of Leeds
84. Hilde C. Stephansen, The Open University
85. Helen Swift, University of Oxford
86. Hugo Gorringe, University of Edinburgh
87. Marika Sherwood, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London
88. Geoff Williams, UCL
89. John MacInnes, University of Edinburgh
90. Goldie Osuri, University of Warwick
91. Paul Bagguley, University of Leeds
92. Victoria Blake, University of Leeds
93. Uri Gordon, Loughborough University
94. Brenda Johnston, University of Southampton
95. Srila Roy, University of Nottingham
96. Lynne Pettinger, University of Essex
97. Ruth Kinna, Loughborough University
98. Rachael Dobson, Kingston University
99. David Owen, University of Southampton
100. Bahar Baser, University of Warwick
101. Bob Brecher, University of Brighton
102. Jo Littler, City University, London
103. Andreas Bieler, University of Nottingham
104. Nick Clark, London Metropolitan University
105. Anna Kemp, Queen Mary, London University
106. Michael S. Northcott, University of Edinburgh
107. William Outhwaite, Newcastle University
108. Deborah Lynn Steinberg, University of Warwick
109. Alpesh Maisuria, University of East London
110. Philip Moriarty, University of Nottingham
111. Derek Sayer, Lancaster University
112. Raphael Salkie, University of Brighton
113. Marion Hersh, University of Glasgow
114. Mick Carpenter, University of Warwick
115. Katherine Angel, Queen Mary, University of London
116. Philip Grant, University of Edinburgh
117. Ronald Mendel, University of Northampton
118. Bronislaw Szerszynski, Lancaster University
119. Karma Nabulsi, Oxford University
120. Pablo Schyfter, The University of Edinburgh
121. Cassie Earl, Manchester Metropolitan University
122. Emma Carmel, University of Bath
123. Roger Jeffery, University of Edinburgh
124. Patricia Jeffery, University of Edinburgh
125. Michael Rosie, Sociology, university of Edinburgh
126. Jeff Hearn, University of Huddersfield
127. Anamik Saha, University of Leeds
128. Karim MurjI, The Open University
129. Doreen Crawford De Montfort University
130. Joe Deville, Goldsmiths, University of London
131. Sara Ahmed, Goldsmiths, University of London
132. Kay Peggs, University of Portsmouth
133. Caroline Warman, Jesus College, Oxford
134. Stuart Hodkinson, University of Leeds
135. Mikko Kuisma, Oxford Brookes University
136. Les Back, Goldsmiths, University of London
137. John Baker, University of Westminster
138. Marian Mayer, Bournemouth University
139. Steve Garner, Open University
140. Chris Jones, Liverpool John Moores University
141. Max Farrar, Leeds Met University
142. Khursheed Wadia, University of Warwick
143. Bahadur Najak, Durham University
144. Richard Hall, De Montfort University
145. Isobel Urquhart, University of Cambridge
146. Susan A J Stuart, University of Glasgow
147. Gavin Williams, St Peter’s College, Oxford University
148. Kate Hardy, University of Leeds
149. Will Davies, University of Warwick
150. Colette Fagan, University of Manchester
151. Hannah Lewis, University of Leeds
152. Saer Maty Ba, Independent Academic
153. Bernard Sufrin, Oxford University
154. Aylwyn Walsh: University of Lincoln
155. Lauren Tooker, University of Warwick
156. Andy Danford, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England
157. Jason Hart, University of Bath
158. Siobhan McGrath, Lancaster University
159. Charles Brown, University of Westminster
160. Madeleine Davis, Queen Mary, University of London
161. Tony Side, Middlesex University
162. David Evans, St Mary’s University College
163. Jason Tucker, University of Bath
164. Anne-Marie Kramer, University of Nottingham
165. Nickie Charles, University of Warwick
166. John T. Gilmore, University of Warwick
167. Stephen Williams, Worcester College, University of Oxford
168. Ben Rogaly, University of Sussex
169. Viviana Ramirez, University of Bath
170. Peter Cressey, University of Bath
171. Emma Jackson, University of Glasgow
172. Dženeta Karabegović, University of Warwick
173. Mette Louise Berg, University of Oxford
174. Shahnaz Akhter, University of Warwick
175. Diana Paton, Newcastle University
176. Maja Savevska, University of Warwick
177. Dibyesh Anand, University of Westminster
178. Gary Hazeldine, Birmingham City University
179. Judith Bara, Queen Mary University of London
180. Roberta Mulas, University of Warwick
181. Ima Jackson, Glasgow Caledonian University
182. Graham Smith, University of Northampton
183. Christine Gledhill, University of Sunderland
184. Joyce Canaan, Birmingham City University
185. Mark Addis, Birmingham City University
186. Claudia Baldoli, Newcastle University
187. Xavier Guégan, Newcastle University.
188. Naaz Rashid, University of Manchester
189. Carlos Frade, University of Salford
190. Jill Steans, University of Birmingham
191. Ross Abbinnett, University of Birmingham
192. Simona Pino, University of Warwick
193. Lisa Tilley, University of Warwick
194. Neelam Srivastava, Newcastle University
195. Christalla Yakinthou, University of Birmingham
196. Franck Düvell, University of Oxford
197. Laura Jenkins, University of Birmingham
198. Felix Robin Schulz, Newcastle University
199. Tessa Wright, Queen Mary, University of London
200. Oscar Garza, University of Bath
201. Robin Cohen, University of Oxford
202. Beatrice Godwin, University of Bath
203. Laura Povoledo, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England
204. Christian Karner, University of Nottingham
205. Nick Mai, London Metropolitan University
206. John Clarke, Open University
207. Sarah Campbell, Newcastle University
208. Rachel Lara Cohen, City University London
209. Andrew Wells, Independent Academic
210. Deema Kaneff, University of Birmingham
211. Nando Sigona, University of Birmingham
212. Kevin McSorley, University of Portsmouth
213. Julie Ryan, Manchester Metropolitan University
214. Maddie Breeze, University of Edinburgh
215. Nicola Clarke, Newcastle University
216. Luke Yates, University of Manchester
217. Georgie Wemyss, University of East London
218. Anneliese Dodds, Aston University
219. Tom Vickers, Northumbria University
220. Bryce Evans, Liverpool Hope University
221. Ben Jackson, Oxford University
222. Ipek Demir, University of Leicester
223. Clare Madge, University of Leicester
224. Parvati Raghuram, Open University
225. Veit Schwab, University of Warwick
226. Stephen Jones, University of Bristol
227. Duncan Harcus, Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University
228. Elizabeth B Silva, Open University
229. Robert Fine, University of Warwick
230. Peter Fletcher, Keele University
231. Lena Karamanidou, City University London
232. Vicky Margree, University of Brighton
233. Martin Farr, Newcastle University
234. Alice Mah, University of Warwick
235. Bahadir Çeliktemur, University of Warwick
236. Esther Bott, University of Nottingham
237. Stephen Kemp, University of Edinburgh
238. Marijn Nieuwenhuis, University of Warwick
239. Marisol Sandoval, City University London
240. Laura Harvey, Brunel University
241. Matt Kranke, University of Warwick
242. Seref Kavak, Keele University
243. Sarah Burton, Goldsmiths College, University of London
244. Darya Malyutina, UCL
245. Dave Featherstone, University of Glasgow
246. Benjamin Houston, Newcastle University
247. Elisa Lopez Lucia, University of Warwick
248. Maja Cederberg, Oxford Brookes University
249. Laura Prazeres, Royal Holloway, University of London
250. Daniel Fitzpatrick, UCL
251. Tracey Warren, University of Nottingham
252. Melissa Fernandez Arrigoitia, LSE
253. Robert Cowley, University of Westminster
254. Ibrahim Sirkeci, Regent’s University London
255. Guillermo M., Goldsmiths College
256. Simon Bradford, Brunel University
257. Rowland Atkinson, University of York
258. Jennifer Fraser, Birkbeck College
259. Elizabeth Dowler, University of Warwick
260. Stephen Ashe, University of Stirling
261. Jo Halliday, Goldsmiths College London
262. Marika Mura, University of Warwick
263. Liz Bondi, University of Edinburgh
264. Simon Cross, Nottingham Trent University
265. Tim Lang, City University London
266. Sian Lucas, University of Salford
267. Kim Allen, Manchester Metropolitan University
268. Gail Davidge, Manchester Metropolitan University
269. Sarah Goler, University of Warwick
270. Sanoj Tulachan, University of Warwick
271. Aggie Hirst, City University London
272. Rachna Leveque, University College London
273. Jim Lusted, University of Northampton
274. Samiksha Sehrawat, Newcastle University
275. Leah Bassel, University of Leicester
276. Derek Averre, University of Birmingham
277. Sarah Lamble, Birkbeck College, University of London
278. Liza Schuster, City University London
279. Misato Matsuoka, University of Warwick
280. Benoit Dutilleul, University of the West of England
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies