The Spectator

Feedback | 3 September 2005

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Comments on The last days of the Tartan Raj by Andrew Neil

I agree wholeheartedly with Andrew Neil's comments. The devolution settlement is an absolute disgrace.England has been left out in the cold. The West Lothian Question remains unanswered, and MPs representing English constituencies sit on their hands.
May I suggest a follow-up article featuring the Campaign for an English Parliament, whom you will find very vocal in their demand for an English Parliament? They can be found at
Derek Marshall

Comment on letters

Three weeks ago I was sitting in a cell in a Pakistani military jail, after being rounded up with my film crew, while travelling from India to Afghanistan to make a documentary for British TV.
It was a pretty grim experience - very thin on luxury. There was lots of graffiti, mostly in blood and faeces, and a room stuffed with torture gear that would make a James Bond villain look under-equipped. Spend time on the torture block, as I did, and you have lots of time to reflect on the War on Terror.
Ordinary people like me and my two Swedish colleagues were mistaken for bad men, while Bin Laden and his gang are still free, nearby in the so-called ‘Tribal Area’. I became preoccupied by the absurdity of it all. The interrogations were always held at night and were often terrifying, and usually held while chained and blindfolded. But there were times that my mind reeled. One night the interrogator said he would take me shopping for local chappals, sandals, when I got out. On another night he asked if I could help get his son into a Canadian university to study forestry and on a third, the officer moaned at how utterly low the new recruits were in IQ. Then he let me take off my blindfold so that I could admire his watch.
When we were finally released without charge, after 16 days and nights, the guard announced that I was being deported to London. He turned to the Swedes, who were weak from being totally detoxed. ‘And you two are being sent to Norway!’ he announced smugly. ‘Whatever for?’ they said. Twelve hours later we arrived back at Heathrow. The Swedes had taken liberal advantage of the in-flight drinks trolley and were all toxed up again. They stumbled off the flight into the arms of loved-ones, after refusing to get on the connecting flight to Norway. But the last laugh was on the Pakistanis – all our bags were sent to Oslo.
Tahir Shah

Comments on Take away their votes by Theodore Dalrymple

Dr. "Dalrymple" is absolutely correct. I accept logo ballpoint pens from drug companies as bribes to prescribe their medicines. One pen per pill. I now have approximately 400,000 pens in my office so I have just advised all the drug reps that it is time to switch to something new, maybe ping pong balls. I think I might like it better however if Dr "Dalrymple" would just send me the identity of the drug companies that send doctors on free trips to European capitals. I seem to have missed that one. Now there's a bribe worth taking.
Anthony M. Perry, M.D.

Comments on The protocols of the elders of the BBC by Rod Liddle

An excellent article on an amazing programme, which I viewed. Amazing, considering the BBC has been less than fair in its reporting of the Israel/Palestine conflict. Not surprising with Orla Guerin, married to a Palestinian, who takes every opportunity to vent her vitriol against Israel. Why that country still gives her accreditation beats me.
Recently in Manchester a Muslim meeting, which had invited leading local Jewry to participate in meaningful discussion, was hijacked by Yvonne Ridley (a Muslim convert) She attacked Israel and Jews, but instead of being stopped or an embarrassed silence by the audience, every time she made a vitriolic comment she was greeted with 'rapturous applause'[reporter-speak], and most of the invited Jewish leaders left. Wake up Britain, there's a take-over being planned.
Brian Lux

Comments on Hold your tears by Mark Steyn

How very irritating, your paper's commentary on Cindy Sheehan. How very Rush-Limbaugh-ish. But I'd like to focus on one part of your article: the idea that the people dying are not children; that this mother's child is an adult.
The soldiers dying in Iraq and Afghanistan are responsible for their own acts. They have made their choices. The fact that they (and we) were misled by their (and by our) government does not absolve them from their responsibility, nor does it save them from the consequences. Yup. They're dead. Some of those who have died have killed. Their choice. Ever since America’s all-adult, all-volunteer army went into Iraq, the anti-war crowd have made a sustained effort to characterise them as ‘children’.
I teach people the age of many of the dead. And they are children. Easily manipulated kids. Many of these kids signed up for the Reserves or the National Guard, thinking they'd never get anywhere near Iraq. Many of them were tricked into thinking they were being "noble". All of them must have thought they were immortal.
Your reporter has the gall to refer to Cindy Sheehan's loss as "narcissistic rage". Was it Cindy Sheehan who landed on an aircraft carrier to declare "Mission accomplished"? Was it she who told the insurgents to "bring it on"? Did Cindy Sheehan say she would do "whatever it takes"?
You want narcissism? Look at Bush.
Raymond Modiz

Mark is a splendid thinker, with a unique gift for seeing right to the heart of an issue.

Amy Brooke

Mark Steyn is brilliant. Congratulations to you for seeing that.