The Spectator

Letters | 22 November 2008

Spectator readers respond to recent articles

The problem with Pakistan

Sir: It is preposterous that Elliot Wilson pleads for the bailing out of Pakistan (‘Britain can’t afford a failed Pakistan’, 15 November). The country is not facing a natural disaster; its economic meltdown is self-inflicted — it insisted on acquiring nuclear weapons and cosying up to Islamic terrorism.

Pakistan, both politically and economically, has always been a failed state. Ever since its inception in 1947, it chose to subsist on foreign handouts: first through the security structure of seato and cento and then by becoming a front-line state against communism and terrorism. It never bothered to learn the art of earning its living through strategic planning, economic reforms and investment in higher education.

Instead of propping up Pakistan time and time again through financial handouts, is it not time that the West encouraged Islamabad to cut its defence spending on nuclear technology, missile development and proxy wars, and learn to live within its means?

Randhir Singh Bains
Gants Hill, Essex

Sock horror

Sir: Venetia Thompson’s shock at finding cocaine in a sock (‘Cocaine in my sock drawer’, 15 November) reminds me of a similar quandary faced some years ago by an acquaintance of mine. He had bought a motor cruiser and during his first inspection of the engine room discovered packets of white powder neatly stacked under the floorboards. He knew enough to know it was not flour. What should he do? Dump them overboard? Or alert the police and risk losing his boat, as it would almost certainly be confiscated, pending investigation, with no guarantee that it would ever be returned?

I should add that he was a man of moral discipline, sincerely held. However, his love of his boat proved more powerful than his principles. He contacted the previous owner and told him to come and collect ‘some forgotten furniture’.

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