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Letters

Letters

7 January 2017

9:00 AM

7 January 2017

9:00 AM

Meatloaf monarchy

Sir: I realize that sending pro-republic letters to the Spectator Australia is akin to sending meatloaf recipes to PETA, but just how ridiculous does David Flint have to get before somebody pulls him into line (‘Long before Trump & Brexit…’, 31 Dec)? Some quick questions for David: why would the patriotic souls who voted for Brexit and Trump possibly think it was a good idea to have a foreign head of state living on the other side of the world who supports another country at the Olympics? And if the governor-general is the head of our ‘crowned republic’ – despite having no crown and no republic – then why isn’t this mentioned in our Constitution; and do they sing ‘God Save the Governor-General’ at the ACM meetings? Answers must be three words or less and may be edited for clarity.
Russell Graham
Highton, Victoria

Colourful

Sir: As the editorial this week (31st December) has Pauline as a ‘ . . . confidant, rational and . . . principled voice . . .’
– sentiments with which I almost completely agree – my required salary for being recalled to the colours has just gone up (and I will limit my reading to your editorials of course) by a thousand a month.

It is a great pleasure to have to the new edition to hand; this mag is worth its weight in gold. Thank you, keep up the good work – and more power to your elbow.
Norm Humphreys
Coffs Harbour, NSW

In a hole

Sir: Melanie McDonagh’s sarcastic misrepresentation (‘Positively Trumpian’, 31 December) of Norman Vincent Peale’s book The Power of Positive Thinking saddened me. He may be Donald Trump’s favourite pastor, but his book is not a Bible for billionaires or aspiring Trumps, as she insists; rather it is an inspirational self-help guide for those who may often be at the lowest ebb. I write from experience. At a time in my life when I was jobless, homeless, deserted by my husband and with a child to support, this book brought me a timely reminder to trust in God. By following the priceless advice within its pages, I bounced back and continue to be grateful. Norman Vincent Peale was a friend indeed to many millions of people.
Noreen Pryor
Yandina, QLD.

Yet another kind of snob


Sir: May I offer another definition of a ‘snob’ to the one described by Bryan Appleyard (‘A different class of snob’, 31 December)? I have always believed that a snob is someone who has risen in the world and now looks down with disdain on those they have left behind. This is an altogether more cynical and divisive form of elitism than that of the serial narcissists Mr Appleyard describes in his article.

In the United Kingdom the abolition of grammar schools and the incursion of cheap foreign labour have damaged the legitimate aspirations of those wishing to improve their lot in life, stalled social mobility, and polarised society.

We can tolerate Mr Appleyard’s snobs because, for all the irritations they may arouse, they are basically harmless. But the breed of snob I have described is not. The bitter resentment that is felt towards those who escape fair taxation, who exploit their workforces with zero-hours contracts, and who deny their employees a just pension, is a significant threat to social cohesion.
Tom Blackett
London W1

What the USSR gave us

Sir: Max Hastings’s catalogue of Soviet failings (‘Red with the people’s blood’, 10 December) overlooks one crucial benefit the western democracies derived from the very existence of the Soviet Union: that is, the various forms of social democracy they virtually all adopted in the wake of the second world war.

Social democracy may not have represented the most efficient or desirable form of societal organisation, but there can be little doubt that it saved most western states. It obliged the propertied classes to compromise, and obliged the left to come up with reasonable and pragmatic solutions to the challenges of communism.

It may also be true that it was the disappearance of communism as a plausible alternative to western capitalism — broadly in the late 1960s — that freed up the loopier elements of the right to mount their crusades against reason, while condemning the left to the charlatanism in which it currently wallows.
Richard Michaelis
New York

Sad!

Sir: Melanie McDonagh’s sarcastic misrepresentation (‘Positively Trumpian’, 31 December) of Norman Vincent Peale’s book The Power of Positive Thinking saddened me. He may be Donald Trump’s favourite pastor, but his book is not a Bible for billionaires or aspiring Trumps, as she insists; rather it is an inspirational self-help guide for those who may often be at the lowest ebb. I write from experience. At a time in my life when I was jobless, homeless, deserted by my husband and with a child to support, this book brought me a timely reminder to trust in God. By following the priceless advice within its pages, I bounced back and continue to be grateful. Norman Vincent Peale was a friend indeed to many millions of people.
Jenny Nisbet
London EC2


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