Letters

Article excerpt

John Lloyd's excellent article is a timely reminder of the issues at stake. The liberal left must embrace global capitalism and sell it as a force for good, in much the same way as classical liberals embraced the free market, paving the way for the industrial revolution that brought untold benefits to mankind.

The anti-globalisation movement is being led down a blind alley because Marx foolishly equated smashing the repressive state with destroying private enterprise. The far right equally opposes globalisation because it is really collectivist, statist, authoritarian and exclusive (racist) - the road to Treblinka.

Andrew Jones

Folkestone, Kent

And not a drop to drink

John Pilger's column (6 May) is based on a misleading Christian Aid campaign. The reality is that most poor people have no access to clean water, the urban poor pay large amounts for buckets of water and the urban elite receive subsidised public service provision.

The decision to invite private sector involvement into Ghana's urban water sector came from the government of Ghana, with the support of the main opposition party (which is now in power). Both concluded that a partnership with experienced private operators would be the most practical way of redressing the severe lack of resources and expertise within the water sector. It is simply wrong to describe this as a privatisation. The infrastructure will remain in public ownership.

The Christian Aid report quoted by Pilger includes the inaccurate assertion that the UK, the World Bank and others have made private sector involvement a condition of our support for reform of the urban water sector. This is simply not true. Our main concern is that the resources we provide - currently [pound stering]10m for water network improvements in two regions - are used to support the government's plans for improving the water system, provided they make provision for the needs of poor people.

Rt Hon Clare Short MP

Secretary of State for International Development

UN on Baghdad babies

London SW1

With regard to Iraqi child welfare, Richard Gott's claim ("In Saddam's land, they hold their breath", 13 May) that "the sanctions menace has in effect been defeated" in Iraq flies in the face of every available briefing from the United Nations Children's Fund. Gott has fallen for the fallacy that because the entire society is not on its knees things are fine.

Dr Eric Herring

Senior lecturer in international politics

The media and anti-Semitism

University of Bristol

Lindsey Hilsum (Observations, 13 May) misinterprets Israel's concern over the recent rise in anti-Semitism.

First, Israel does not need (or use) the anti-Semites to vindicate its existence, as Hilsum suggests. The Israeli people are, however, determined not to indulge a sanguine Europe the breathing space that so catastrophically allowed an earlier generation of Jews to be marched into the gas chambers. Vigilance is the imperative of a scarred people, not the cynical manipulation of scheming politicians.

Second, not all that passes itself off as "legitimate criticism" of Israel is indeed that. When commentators and polemicists describe Israeli behaviour as Nazi-like, they are not legitimately criticising Israel, they are wilfully slandering it in the most hurtful manner.

When criticism of Israel morphs into the ideology of anti-Zionism -- the denial to Jews of the national rights that are claimed for all others -- then we have here a double standard that Jews have learnt to recognise as anti-Semitism.

And when the Arab media regularly demonise Israelis and Jews, and Muslim preachers call upon their flock to "kill the Jew wherever he is to be found", this is not criticism of Israel, it is racial vilification and incitement to violence. …