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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK

At last, a sensible article on Prince Harry and his book

‘It was an eye-opener to find a journalist analysing the book without a preformed judgment that one side is wholly right and the other wholly wrong.’
‘It was an eye-opener to find a journalist analysing the book without a preformed judgment that one side is wholly right and the other wholly wrong.’ Photograph: Maureen McLean/REX/Shutterstock

I almost passed Catherine Bennett’s article by, so fed up have I become with the outpourings of blind condemnation that have been the norm (“Prince Harry has left the zoo. So why is he being treated like a caged animal?”, Comment). It was an eye-opener to find a journalist analysing the book without a preformed judgment that one side is wholly right and the other wholly wrong. Instead, there was a straightforward look at what Harry’s book, Spare, tells about being inside the royal family. They have a life so far removed from the ordinary experience that it is incredible so many believe they truly “know” the character of individual royals and are prepared to die in a Twitter or Facebook ditch defending them.

What is most strange is that Catherine Bennett’s observations are so obvious, and should have been so to everyone. But it is as Harry says: so many people imbue the royal family with qualities and celebrity that they have done nothing to earn, except by simply being born.
Mike Wisbach

Promoting insecurity

The ever-changing demands of the beauty/fashion industry, while clearly functioning to undermine women, also serve the purposes of consumerism, by creating demand for otherwise unnecessary products (“Buccal fat removal is a new take on an old theme: a means to keep women in their place”, Comment). This is why the cosmetics industry has extended its reach to men as well, though perhaps not yet to the same degree. Expanding the market by promoting insecurity and unattainable, ephemeral ideals is at the core of these unsustainable industries.
Fliss Watts
Workington, Cumbria

Thanks for your generosity

I want to say a huge thank-you to Guardian and Observer readers for supporting the 2022 charity appeal. We see the difference Locality members make every day, but the way readers have responded has been inspiring. These are the community organisations who run our food banks and warm spaces. But they also provide hope – helping people into jobs, setting up businesses, improving people’s health and providing spaces for people to connect.

The stark reality is that much of the money raised will go towards keeping doors open and lights on. With government reducing support for rising energy bills, even with your donations some Locality members will struggle to survive.

Beyond helping community organisations continue their vital work, we hope the appeal will spark something longer lasting. Far more people are now aware of the value of organisations that have the local knowledge and tenacity to achieve change. Perhaps the appeal resonated so strongly because it showed something we all want – caring communities and neighbourhoods to be proud of. So, whether you donated or not, we encourage everyone to connect with your community. You might be surprised at what you can achieve.
Tony Armstrong, CEO Locality
London N1

Children bear the brunt

The government’s failure to support children starts not from birth but from well before that, when the wellbeing and health of mothers is uncertain, making pregnancy and birth a hazardous undertaking in the 21st-century UK (“From birth, UK is a hostile place to have children”, Comment). For significant numbers of children, poverty, substandard and precarious housing, poor healthcare and a decaying local environment is now all too common and directly associated with educational achievement. Even the care of children for whom the state has direct responsibility is outsourced; profit trumps welfare.

The effect of all this on today’s children is then visited on the next generation and so the cycle continues. Sure Start centres were so aptly named, but the same nasty George Osborne austerity policies that have so damaged family income and welfare closed them. Over 13 years, the Conservatives have systematically dismantled family and child welfare.
Dr Robin C Richmond
Bromyard, Herefordshire

Shocking story of farmed salmon

As your article reports, salmon are dying in record numbers on industrial Scottish farms, with mortalities nearly doubling in 2022 to reach 14.9 million (“Scottish salmon farms facing boycott call as fish deaths double”, News). These are staggering numbers made all the more shocking by the “hidden layer” of mortality that lies behind every farmed salmon’s death.

In the wild, salmon eat other fish in order to grow. In Scotland, the salmon industry uses hundreds of thousands of tonnes of small wild fish (such as sardines and anchovies) to feed the fish they produce every year. Research from Feedback Global shows that in 2019 the farmed salmon that died before being harvested led to a waste of about 25,000 tonnes of wild fish in the form of feed, enough to feed two million people their weekly portion of oily fish for a year.

The Scottish salmon industry claims that the dying salmon are a result of jellyfish, but in reality they are a result of an unsustainable industry that is being wasteful in its never-ending chase for profit. The only solution is to reduce our dependence on farmed salmon for good. By diversifying the fish that we eat, we can reduce the environmental toll of salmon farming and make more fish available for more people around the world.
Teigist Taye, campaigner, Feedback Global
London SW17

Social murder

Will Hutton details frightening numbers of excess weekly deaths caused by austerity and a “failing NHS and care system” (“Lest we forget: our NHS crisis is the deadly legacy of George Osborne’s austerity”, Comment). He closes his article with three powerful words: “Tory policies kill.”

This is a pattern with a history. In 1845, Friedrich Engels studied the effects of poor housing and working conditions in Manchester and wrote The Condition of the Working Class in England. “The class which at present holds social and political control places hundreds of proletarians in such a position that they inevitably meet a too early and an unnatural death.” Even more to the point than Hutton, Engels chose two words to describe this deliberate neglect, “social murder”.
Dr John Hull

Stoatin’ stuff

Alex Clark’s article (“A regional accent can take you a long way. Just ask Daniel Craig”, Comment) reminds me of Stanley Baxter’s “Parliamo Glasgow” in which you could learn, among other things, to deal with conversations about the weather – “scummindooninbuckets” – or ward off the attentions of an unwanted suitor down the Palais – “takyurhonaffmabum”.
Kevin Donnelly
Sanremo, Liguria, Italy

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