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Letters to the Editor

Sunday April 24, 2005
The Observer


School ties

'A class of their own' (OM, last week) was yet another of those articles which undermines state education. It smacked of those parents you meet whose children are just so special/bright/sensitive that they wouldn't thrive in the local primary or secondary, and, although they are good liberal-minded people, they just had to send their special child to the private or nearby county school or home-educate.

So the rest of us, with our less special/bright children continue to send them to those awful state institutions. How can they possibly thrive? They do. The vast majority of children in this country go to local state schools and benefit from that experience. I'm not naive - education needs a shake up - but I believe in supporting what we have.
Anne Morrison
Bristol

False economy

Why do so many people think Britain's economy compared with France's is so good (Will Hutton, Comment, last week)? Hidden unemployment here is considerably higher than official figures suggest and, on top of that, we have more than a million people on incapacity benefit. With British firms, staff are poorly educated, semi-literate and exceedingly slow at doing their job.

Why is it that Mars has relocated to France and Germany? Because continental staff work more effectively.
K Jane Ewing
Watford

Children in need

I could not believe my eyes when I read that, at long last, Margaret Hodge has concerns over adoptions and that mothers may have been coerced into giving up their children (News in Brief, last week). Then I discovered she was referring only to adoptions of Cambodian children. If the Minister for Children returns to her post, she must ensure forced adoptions are substantially reduced and a more open adoption system is introduced.
Trevor Jones
Parents Against Injustice
London N4

Japan's shame

The protesters in China against Japanese school textbooks (World, last week) have often been presented in the Western media as a mindless mob. Suppose in Germany a similar book was published, claiming Nazi actions during the Second World War were justified as a defence against Jews and communists. There would understandably be uproar across Europe.

The assault on Nanking and other countless atrocities are comparable to the crimes against humanity in Europe, yet the Japanese crimes seem to go under our moral radar.
John Butler
Kidderminster

Friction editors

Stephanie Merritt (Cheap shots, rich pickings, Review last week) and Sandra Laville, writing in the Guardian under the headline 'Women writers: dull, depressed and domestic', used fragments of Ali Smith and Toby Litt's introduction to their book to make a generalisation about women writers.

Of course it is easier to misdirect blame to two editors of a literary collection instead of taking a closer look at the context of the underlying issues, such as why writing is a risky business.

Is it possible that journalists pose an even greater threat to novelists than the demands of our society?
Bridget Hannigan
Cambridge

Why Wayne?

David Aaronovitch is right when he says (Comment, last week) that we may just be snobbish and envious of Wayne Rooney and his money when we rubbish his taste in houses and recreation.

However, some people may be only pale green in their jealousy and, in criticising Wayne, may be attacking the values of a society which pays a young man so much for doing so little in a world where so many struggle to satisfy their basic needs.
Francis McCrickard
Ilkley, West Yorkshire

Normal is nice

Why does Andrew Rawnsley (Comment, last week) say Charles Kennedy's 'baby-Lag' spoiled the launch of the Lib Dem's manifesto? It's been the only thing I've related to in this campaign. The electorate doesn't mind 'normal' you know. In fact, we probably prefer it.
Kathy Pearson
Plymtree
East Devon

Rover's return

What a fuss is being made of the Rover redundancies (News,last week). I have been made redundant twice and no one made an outcry. No one said the directors must return millions of pounds. There was no gnashing of teeth or rending of clothes, just a quiet sadness as we parted company.
Richard Bateman
Walsall

Foot in mouth

Ruth Kelly, Yvette Cooper and Harriet Harman were called 'ambidextrous ministers ... with a foot in both camps' (News, last week). Surely, if the boot was on the other foot, they would be ambipedstrous.
Laurence Morgan
Stockport

Quote, misquote

Your quote ('Boycott threat to Israeli colleges', News, last week) of my saying 'I'm not going to say whether it is right or not to burn down a synagogue, I can see that it is a rational act' is inaccurate and taken out of context. By no means did I justify any form of violence against Jews, Jewish interests or any innocent people. In the School of Oriental and African Studies we were debating the question of rationality of anti-semitism. I claimed that since Israel presents itself as the 'state of the Jewish people', and bearing in mind the atrocities committed by the Jewish state against the Palestinians, any form of anti-Jewish activity may be seen as political retaliation. This does not make it right.
Gilad Atzmon
London NW2

Baghdad fog

Richard Ingrams (Comment, last week) is critical of the spin the government is putting on Iraq. He may be right. The BBC's coverage consists almost entirely of Caroline Hawley perched on a rooftop in Baghdad, wringing her hands over the latest shooting or car bomb. What else is going on in Iraq? Until the BBC and others start to give us some proper reporting we will be none the wiser.
Richard Mann
Dorchester, Dorset






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