The Spectator

Letters | 24 October 2009

Spectator readers respond to recent articles

Race is still an issue

Sir: I do not share Samir Shah’s flawed assumption that Britain is no longer a racist society (10 October). How many people of ethnic minorities are members of the current cabinet? How many vice-chancellors are non-whites? Would it be possible, in the current climate of religious prejudice, racial discrimination and Islamophobia, for a person of any ethnic minority group to become prime minister? Are ethnic minorities fairly represented in the house of lords and house of commons? Yes, Britain is more racially tolerant than it was ten years ago, but it still has a long way to go before it can break down social, cultural and racial barriers, and be unshackled from its centuries-old white supremacy and slavery mindset.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob
London NW2

Blameless bookies

Sir: I wonder why Ferdinand Mount asserts ‘There have always been jockeys who would take a deliberate tumble to oblige an insistent bookie’ (Diary, 10 October). Although jockeys have occasionally lost races deliberately, it has usually been for their own gain, or that of the owner, trainer or some other punter. It is in the bookmaker’s interests for sport to be straight. As a third-generation bookmaker, I object to this lazy stereotyping. Bookmakers in this country annually contribute more than a billion pounds in taxes and levies to support the Treasury and racing. None of the examples of cheating Mount gives — ‘Bloodgate’, Nelson Piquet, the Gothenburg goalie moving the goalposts and Fred Perry moving the service line — were anything to do with betting or bookmakers.

Will Roseff
London W1

Cycle logic

Sir: If motorist Anthony J. Burnet (Letters, 17 October) cares to ‘take a look at the rules of the road’, as he exhorts others to do, he will see that the Highway Code para.

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