Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

Baby blues

From Mrs Davina Fernyhough

Sir: While I agree with many of Alice Thomson's sentiments in `New Labour's war against the childless' (20 May), I should like to respond to the implied criticism against exclusive supermarket parking for mothers and babies.

In not too many days' time Alice Thomson will discover how difficult it is to remove and replace a baby's car-seat when the door can be opened no further than the 12 inches often allowed in a standard parking bay; she may even find it distressing to leave her baby screaming in a trolley while she reverses, in order that said door can be opened wide enough to instal her baby safely inside the car. A few supermarket trips later she may realise how few mother-andbaby spaces there are compared with those provided (quite rightly) for the disabled. When the Thomsons' weekly supermarket bill for family necessities (forget the luxuries) invariably exceeds 100, she will realise whom the supermarkets need to value in order to safeguard their profit margins. Davina Fernyhough

London SW18

From Mrs E. Hewison

Sir: Well said, Alice Thomson. Many of us share her views, and find the over-worship of `kids' repellent but have been watching our backs since the Thought Police started to stalk the land. As I am a parent of two and grandmother of three, these are not the opinions of a singleton.

E. Hewison London SW20

From Mr Michael McManus

Sir: New Labour is pro-kid? I have to support two children at university, for which there is now no financial assistance, even though fm on only a teacher's wage. Accommodation and fees take L(English Pound)6,000 a year out of my taxed income; loans and part-time work supply them with the rest of their needs. In effect, Labour has doubled my monthly tax bill from 500 to 1,000. The childless are massively net-gainers from other people's children, and not just when they need care in old age. Parents should be helped, not penalised. No children, no future - for anyone.

Michael McManus

Academies of nogoodniks

From Mr George Rafael

Sir: Regarding the privatisation of universities (`Not one of us', 20 May), Justin Marozzi does not go far enough. Why stop at universities? With the almost total victory of free-enterprise wisdom throughout the West, every aspect of life that can be turned to profit should be privatised, from the air we breathe to the animals in zoos. We could privatise, say, the military. Imagine the sponsorship opportunities for brewers and manufacturers of condoms.

As we all know too well, the so-called disinterested pursuit of knowledge has proved to be an inefficient economic model. Humanities departments, in particular, are simply not pulling their weight. It's time to put their pampered, freeloading nogoodniks out into the fields or into the factories, teach 'em what honest labour is all about. Let's make the great leap forward into a market-led cultural revolution.

George Rafael London W14

Fayed's mistake

From Mr Matthew J. Steeples

Sir: A reading of Boris Johnson's interview (`Why Gaddafi is a better man than Blair', 13 May) surely would convince all `those ordinary people' who continue to support Mr Fayed as to why he should never receive a British passport.

Mr Fayed's backing of Colonel Gaddafi, his suggestion that Prince Philip, MI5 and MI6 colluded to kill Diana and Dodi, and his assertion that Tony Blair might have `boyfriends or is himself bisexual' simply serve to highlight how ridiculous this character really is. Mr Fayed may well believe that `no one has the right to criticise' him, but Boris Johnson is quite right to highlight that what he says is `frequently profane and slightly honkers'.

If Mr Fayed believes he can buy the support of the British public through appearances on Da Ali G Show, donations to charity and a warehouse full of sympathetic letters, he is very much mistaken. …

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