Readers' letters - August 16

Grammar schools provide equality
What do you think about grammar schools?What do you think about grammar schools?
What do you think about grammar schools?

I believe in equality of opportunity when it comes to education. Which is why I’m against private schooling, where the rich can spend tens of thousands a year to get an elite education for their offspring.Sadly, it seems that Labour are more hostile to grammar schools, despite the fact that they have provided the opportunity for thousands of working class children to gain an excellent schooling which doesn’t depend on the ability to pay. Yes, it was wrong that some areas had more grammar schools per pupil than others. And, of course, those late developers who failed their 11 plus should have the opportunity to take whatever exams necessary to succeed academically.Yet the fact remains that some children are cleverer than others and they should never be denied the chance of gaining an education appropriate to their academic ability. As things stand, the rich can purchase a place at a public school, while the middle classes buy houses near to good schools – ones which the poor can’t afford.So guess who has the worst choice when it comes to schools? That’s right. The least well-off who, in the past, could have gone to grammar schools if they were bright enough.Tim Mickleburgh Address supplied

politicsRight to wear what we likeI write with reference to the comments made by Mr Moncrieff regarding the former foreign secretary’s comments about the wearing of burkas (LP August 14). I can’t agree with his rather pathetic attempts to justify that pound shop Enoch Powell’s stupid and insensitive remarks. It’s not Johnson’s right to make the remarks, it’s the wisdom of him making them that is so questionable.Politicians, especially those who aspire to the highest office, have responsibilities to all parts of the community. Politicians have an obligation to maintain and build community cohesion – not drive a wedge through it. It beggars belief that one part of the community can be the subject of a cheap and unfunny joke at any time but, with current tensions, it is utterly irresponsible. A corollary of free speech is free expression and people should be free to express themselves by the clothes they wear. To paraphrase Voltaire: “I disapprove of the clothes you wear, but I will defend to the death your right to wear them”Robert Boswellvia emailwildlifeProtect haresGrouse moor gamekeepers, not happy with killing the hen harrier to near-extinction, have now killed the blue/mountain hare to one per cent of its 1950 population in Scotland (source BBC). Culling (the PC word for killing) still persists on grouse moors because these animals may eat some of the food that grouse also eat. The blue hare exists in the Peak District and Scotland and is the only native species, there is debate over the origin of brown hares. How can we let this beautiful mammal become extinct just for the blood sport? Grouse aren’t shot for food...There is no reason why hares cannot live in the Forest of Bowland.Simon Hvia emailenvironmentOur children won’t thank us

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Re: We all benefit from trees in our towns and cities, (LP Letters, August 8). There are not enough trees, and house and warehouse building projects are set to see the numbers of trees and green spaces greatly reduced. Scientific evidence shows that green spaces absorb pollutants and World Health Organisation safe limits are exceeded in many towns and cities. Our children and our children’s children will not thank us for a legacy of strokes, cancer and lung diseases due to increased levels of pollution. We reap what we sow and we would be best to listen to the scientists on this and not blindly allow building on green belt without first considering the environmental impact.Joanne Smithvia emailpoliticsIrony of Tory poverty planThe Government has announced plans to spend £100m to end the misery of homeless people forced to live on the street. Somewhat ironically, this is a similar figure the Government said they hoped to save when they made Draconian changes to the benefits system in 2012. Those changes are directly responsible for the massive rise in homelessness as the new system meant that many disabled people, even though they are still deemed unfit to work, have had their benefits stopped. Martin J Phillips Address supplied