Sir: As a Spectator subscriber, I read every issue from cover to cover. Sadly I often find myself wondering what has happened to editing and sub-editing and why so many contributors seem to have poor standards of grammar and spelling.
I am currently studying closely, as usual, the edition of 02 January. Greg Hunt writes in his Diary of a meeting in airport “hangers” and also states that on Day Two the “Leader’s have gone”. The Leader’s cat’s, spouse’s or assistant’s perhaps? I was taught as a very young child that the unnecessary apostrophe would only be seen in the greengrocer’s shop where Apple’s were for sale.
I was going to let these go until I reached Miriam Gross’ Diary in which she uses the word “inartistic” which I have not come across before and cannot find in any of the dictionaries at my disposal. The sentence could have been reconstructed to avoid the need for this ugly word.
Errors like these cannot be attributed to so-called “typos”.
Dr Alex Teare
Dunedin, New Zealand
Sir: The lack of balance … or make that A TOTAL ABSENCE of balance in what passes for our education system’s history curriculum (Angus Taylor’s Diary, 16 Jan.) is something that has been on my mind lately, when musing what “facts” any future grandchildren of mine would be indoctrinated with … oops, sorry; “taught” in their schooling. Mr Taylor answered my question and confirmed my worst fears. With both my son & daughter-in-law of a soft-left persuasion (I’m not too worried… they’ll grow out of it I’m sure) I also realised that as a grandfather I will have my work cut out for me in providing some balance for my grandchildren, teaching them a different perspective on events.
Perhaps what is needed is a voluntary Conservative Outreach program, with some well read & educated seniors or others with time on their hands and an interest in historical truth or perspective, visiting primary & secondary schools to provide a counter-narrative to what they are being officially taught. Failing that, maybe we need such volunteers sitting in on history classes, listening up the back and banging a hand-held gong when they hear the class teacher not giving a balanced viewpoint or telling outright porkies. Thereupon, the Conservative volunteer would come in front of the class and present the counter-argument.
East Lindfield, NSW
Sir: Catherine Priestly asserts that smug-already-have-it-all Western women should apply their feminist rage to the eradication of ISIS. Without diminishing their particular level of viciousness, what makes rape such an effective weapon for groups such as these is that it is liberally applied within cultures where a woman – or girl – is deemed ruined, i.e., unmarriageable, if she is forcibly “dishonoured”, making her an outcast from her family and tribe. There are countless examples of this phenomena, including in Kosovo, where I lived in 2003-2004, (next to an orphanage populated only by girls). The entrenchment of such beliefs in cultures where scourges like ISIS thrive suggest change is unlikely to be achieved by agitation from some well meaning Western “sisters”. It clearly needs to come from within.
Sir: As James Forsyth points out (‘Scary Monsters’, 16 January), David Cameron and other ‘In’ campaign supporters wish voters to base their decision on the short term, as this enables them to highlight the uncertainty and fear factor. But this vote is about the long term, and in 20 years’ time one thing is certain: the ‘ever-closer union’, and all that it means, will exist. What I don’t understand, and what I hope every interviewer will force him to explain, is why David Cameron believes it will be better for Britain to be increasingly ruled by the bureaucratic tyranny that is the EU.
Doctors of madness
Sir: As a right-leaning junior doctor, I agree that the NHS needs reform (Leading article, 16 January). Most GP practices are in fact private businesses and there is no reason why hospitals could not also be independent ‘for profit’ or ‘not for profit’ organisations with government contracts.
But I strongly believe the strikes are necessary. Official statistics are often fudged. From a local survey, it was clear that most junior doctors work at least 10 per cent more hours than we are contracted to each week, which is not officially recorded. Most of us work more hours than is allowed by the European Working Time Directive. Then most of us go home to spend our ‘free time’ studying for postgraduate exams, preparing lessons for medical students and working on research projects. To suggest we should work even more antisocial hours for less pay than now is madness, and if this version of the new contract is enforced, it will lead to a brain drain from the NHS.
Dr Jake Matthews
Sir: It might help Labour to win more votes in the West Country if possible future cabinet ministers (Tristram Hunt’s Diary, 16 January) realise that Crewkerne is in Somerset and not Dorset.
Buckland Newton, Dorset
Cyborg, heal thyself
Sir: Clearly, those who are to be ousted by machines (‘I, robot. You, unemployed’, 16 January) should be training urgently in robot research, repair and maintenance. Or will that be undertaken by robots as well?
Dr Ian Olson