Magazine article The Spectator

Letters

Magazine article The Spectator

Letters

Article excerpt

Pirates and Tories

Sir: Daniel Hannan is himself a pirate, masquerading as a Conservative MEP ('Here come the pirates!', 4 January).

Oddly, since he's fighting an election against it in May, he found nothing to criticise in Ukip, while attacking the European People's Party, who are not standing in the south-east of England. He's certainly right that we should not lump all protest parties in Europe together, though on weak ground in suggesting there are no differences between the mainstream EU parties. What did surprise me, though, was his description of the Front National as 'essentially constitutional'. So he'd be confident that, were the Front National to gain power in France, subsequent elections would proceed smoothly?

Andrew Marshall London NW3

Basement bargaining

Sir: I fear that Sebastian Faulks has lost the plot over basements in Kensington and Chelsea (Diary, 14-28 December). He calls the council 'supine' but then concurs that national planning law is indiscriminate, ineffective, permissive, and deaf to the impact of the particular disruption and inconvenience to others caused by the current fashion for troglodyte living in this most densely populated of boroughs. The council does indeed want to see tougher controls, but it does not have the power to make up its own rules. We are proposing significant limitations, but these will need to be approved by a national planning inspector and will be hotly opposed by developers with little interest in the disruption they cause to others. I would urge Mr Faulks to support greater local discretion in planning matters if he wants to be sure that this story has a happy outcome.

Cllr Nicholas Paget-Brown Leader of the Council, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, London W8 Friends for dinner Sir: Hugo Rifkind was as witty as usual on the topic of bestiality (4 January). But as far as his moral dilemma goes, surely the answer is that as we do not normally expect to eat those we shag, why should we agonise over failing to shag those we eat?

Fanny Prior London NW3

Whose pennies?

Sir: The radio is, as Kate Chisholm writes, a well-spent 40p for her (14-28 December).

However, for her to get this bargain, thousands of other citizens of this country - such as me - have to pay their 40p as well, even though they have no interest in BBC radio. It is not obvious to me that this is a reasonable state of affairs.

John Duffield Loughton, Essex Independent thought Sir: Charles Moore reports that one of the reasons his Dublin contacts fear the prospect of Scottish independence is that this might result in Scotland becoming more attractive than Ireland to foreign investors (Notes, 14-28 December). …

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