The NHS must spend less on executives and more on front-line care

Working for whom?

SIR – I missed a call from my building society one morning recently, and the person who left a message said that I would be unable to return the call because she was working from home (Letters, May 3).

She said that she would call back, but didn’t indicate when, so afterwards I had to have my phone with me at all times.

Do the managers who run these businesses have any idea how ridiculous this is?

Michael West
Poole, Dorset

SIR – I travel to the Continent frequently and will shortly need to renew my passport. To do this, I need to submit my old passport with the application. With the present Passport Office delays, this means I will not be able to leave the country for three months at best.

What sort of “world-class” service is this?

Malcolm Thomas
East Hanningfield, Essex

SIR – Since retiring, I spend one day a week volunteering as a signalman on a heritage railway. More recently, in response to a labor shortage, I have also been working part-time as a bus driver.

Can anybody suggest how I can possibly undertake either of these jobs from home?

Peter Dew

Court closures

SIR – Your report about the Government’s drive to recruit magistrates seems to indicate that the fall in the number of JPs – from 30,000 in 2009 to 12,300 now – is due to the public’s lack of interest in joining their local bench.

In fact, it is the closure of courts that is the real problem. When I started on the West Suffolk bench in 1982, there were six courts in this half of the county. When I retired from the bench in 2008, the only remaining court was Bury St Edmunds. This court closed in 2016 after dispensing justice for 440 years, and now the only court in the whole county is in Ipswich. Potential magistrates do not want to have to travel long distances to sit in courts away from their local area.

Local justice has been the essence of the system since it began. Until the Courts Act in 2003, magistrates had to live within 15 minutes’ travel of their commission area.

Opening more courts, as well as recruiting more magistrates, would go a long way towards reducing the national backlog of approximately 370,000 cases still waiting to be heard.

Dr Richard Super
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

One of the girls

SIR – As a father of three girls, I do not intend to belittle the concerns of parents of teenagers attending a summer camp where boys who identify as girls can sleep in the girls’ dorms.

However, on a lighter note, I recall the occasion at my grammar school in the late 1960s when a friend and I decided that we’d had enough of the termly rotation of metalwork with woodwork. We therefore petitioned the headmaster to let us join the girls in the needlework class.

The girls protested, arguing it was just a ruse for us to get close to them, but we won our case. Even now I can darn socks, replace buttons and do a good blanket stitch.

By the way, the girls were right to be sceptical.

Keith Appleyard
West Wickham, Kent

EU gas hypocrisy

SIR – Regarding Russia’s threat to withhold gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, Tony Lowery (Letters, May 2) says: “If [Vladimir Putin] wishes to sell energy to the EU, he must trade equally with all or none.”

Sadly, Russia has not been doing that for many years. Germany negotiated a separate pricing arrangement that gives it a sizeable discount on gas, meaning the German economy has had an unfair commercial advantage over its “friends and partners” in the EU for two decades.

This rank hypocrisy is conveniently ignored by Lord Heseltine, Alastair Campbell and others who still want Britain to return to that illiberal and undemocratic Franco-German stitch-up.

Steve Narancic
Wantage, Oxfordshire

Pornography scourge

SIR – Thankfully, Neil Parish, the Conservative MP, saw fit to quit after he admitted to watching pornography on his phone in the House of Commons.

He wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last – but there is a much wider problem. The evidence mounts by the day of the influence that pornography has on men’s attitudes towards and treatment of women. Teenage girls are constantly being urged by boyfriends to take explicit images of themselves, which are then shared.

There is an urgent need to tackle the problem in secondary schools, where many boys are already hooked on watching pornography on their phones. Unless head teachers admit that there is a problem and take action, we shall have yet another generation of young men who fail to treat women with respect.

Irena Morrison
Crowborough, East Sussex

SIR – Christopher Minter (Letters, May 2) writes that political parties should weed out the slightest tendency “towards stupidity, cupidity or perversion” when selecting candidates for election to Parliament.

I suspect the resulting shortlists would be very short indeed.

Dr Irving Wells
Yelverton, Devon

SIR – How many of us of a certain age will admit to reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover on public transport after it was cleared for publication in 1960, disguised by a newspaper – possibly The Daily Telegraph?

Mark Brazier
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Gallic spluttering over superior English wine


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