Letters

Letters: Post Office scandal shows it's too easy for the rich and powerful to hide

The Post Office scandal emphasises deep-rooted problems in our society, according to one Big Issue reader

Toby Jones in Mr Bates vs The Post Office

Toby Jones in Mr Bates vs The Post Office. Image: ITV

Big Issue readers react to articles on the Post Office scandal, the rise of independent publishers, inspirational poetry – and pay tribute to a beloved pet.

The Post Office scandal and the post-truth era

The treatment of the postmasters highlighted by the drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office was – and is – truly dreadful. Ordinary, honest people who can’t get themselves heard. 

But isn’t this a bit symptomatic of the way life in England has developed over the last 40 years or so? Companies who deliberately won’t answer phones they have no intention of answering, hiding behind technology. 

Villages without enough facilities to cope with lots of badly planned, expensive and out-of-reach new
housing by very loosely controlled builders. Large companies legally hiding profits in tax havens, while still able to buy up housing they don’t need
as investments. 

There is too much secrecy in England: most ordinary folk in pressured jobs have no idea who owns which large company or big plot of land they can’t access, but which spoils their local river or ruins environmentally vital peat bogs so that rich foreigners can shoot more game birds. It must be time for the bright light of transparent ownership to be shone on secret ownership before Big Brother organisations get even worse and cause even more environmental degradation and even more social inequality. 

It’s too easy for some of the rich and powerful to hide from their personal and corporate responsibilities at the moment. 

Tony Rowe, Sudbury, Suffolk

Dead good

It was great to see a feature about Dead Ink books [Issue 1597, 8 January]. Equally, it was great to see two books published by independents reviewed by Doug Johnstone in the same issue. Too often we see the same half a dozen books promoted by ‘The Big Five’ publishers. They hardly need the help of a magazine like
The Big Issue.

James Marshall, Devon

Vendor wish

I was in Central London and had the pleasure of meeting Paul on Cavendish Square. Could you please let him know that he really made my day and that his Christmas card and smile were very much appreciated and that I wish him all the very best for 2024. Thank you so much.

Emma Lyne

Feel the benefits

I agree with your editor when he calls for the next government to properly fix the health service and affordable housing [Issue 1596, 28 December]. I also think that a third main pledge needs to be a basic minimum income guarantee for all, as the current benefit system is patently not fit for purpose.

C Hopper, Swansea

RIP Ralph

How nice to see your touching tribute to Kelvin’s beloved dog Ralph [Issue 1597, 8 January]. Kelvin always cheers my Monday journeys to work with a chat about the weekend’s football (and life in general). 

Kelvin – I know that you will leave it a while to mourn – but then get another dog!

Julian Critchlow

Poetic justice

When I was visiting Norwich last December I bought a copy of The Big Issue from Simon, whose pitch is outside Mountain Warehouse and opposite Pret a Manger. I mentioned to him that I had written a poem inspired by The Big Issue. He invited me to read it to him, and he said he found it moving. 

Imagine how delighted I was to read the article in the copy I had just bought [Issue 1594, 11 December], written by Lord Bird entitled ‘The solution to our problems can be found all around us’. In it, Lowestoft is praised for a number of initiatives connected with poverty-busting projects, as well as the investments being made in off-shore wind power. It was our local MP Peter Aldous who invited Lord Bird to visit our town. I have since written to Peter congratulating him on this. I received a very appreciative reply.

Patricia Peters, Lowestoft

Robot world

Surely the total belief in technology is not the answer to this nation’s problems. What would happen if these systems break down, and only money could be exchanged? Law and order and the distribution of wealth are the imperative issues, plus civil responsibility. Open borders will increase homelessness as well as other extreme liberal policies leading to addiction. 

Social isolation is not just about not having enough computer technology in the house, it is about ‘mobility’ and being able to go shopping for immediate gratification. It is all too robotic. Even human voices on telephones are becoming indistinct. Society must be built on all skills – many of which technology will never replace.

Terence G Springthorpe, Southend 

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