Letters,Wednesday, February 11, 2015

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A question of royal ancestry

IN 1972, I was teaching a class of 10-year-olds, and I pinned a poster of the kings and queens of England on the wall.

One girl examined their faces and asked: “Sir why haven’t there been any black kings or queens?”

 Out of the mouths of young children come the most awkward questions. The answer seems obvious to you and me, but it’s not obvious to a child growing up in multi-ethnic Britain.

 “It’s a long story,” I said. “But we haven’t got time for it today.”

 Excuses, excuses. I had one black child in the class, and I had no intention of upsetting him or his parents by saying something controversial.

 What should I have told her? That the English were fair-haired people with pink skins who came here from northern Germany – whereas now immigrants from all parts of the former British Empire call themselves English. The gene pool of the monarchy has been diluted by marriages with other European dynasties, but no English king ever had a black or Asian bride.

 Should I have mentioned the slave trade? How we transported Africans to the West Indies in chains? That the black boy in our class was probably descended from such slaves?

 Should I have told her how we exploited the people of the Indian subcontinent and our other colonies? Which is why we are morally obliged to allow immigrants to live here.

 So, Paula, this is why we’ve had no black kings or queens – except on a chess board. Some day Prince George might get himself a girlfriend from one of our ethnic communities. Then we might get a Queen Indira or Beyonce.

Henry Whipple

Washington

Public services are not for profit

EVEN though capitalism has bankrupted practically every country in the western world, and left the taxpayers to pick up the bill, only Iceland has had the courage to jail the perpetrators.

 David Cameron’s Government has rewarded all the guilty people in our country.

 He also let Circle Holdings PLC take over and run Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire.

 It opened to rave reviews and in his words the way forward. Now the tax payer is picking up the bill for this magnificent failure, as inspectors placed the hospital in special measures for “inadequate” care.

 When are Mr Cameron and Mr Osbourne going to realise public services cannot and should not be run for profit?

Ged Taylor

Barnes

Action is needed

THE Islamic state has been allowed to go too far.

 We have a few brave men and women fighting them, then it takes an Arab country to kickstart a fight back.

 Winston Churchill and our armed forces did not fight for our freedom only for us to sit back while our governments sit and do nothing but suck up to Putin.

 The Islamic state needs stopping and now.

K Stoker