Sir John Major was right that the universal credit scheme is cruel and vindictive. This is a small scheme that is bound to entrap people within a cocoon of absolute poverty, homelessness, a parody of pain and hunger, food banks and forceful evictions.

Depriving wretched families of £200 or £300 a year won’t do much to lower the budget deficit. Why doesn’t the government reclaim money from the very rich who invest their wealth in offshore destinations to avoid paying taxes?

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob
London NW2

On and off but, seemingly and distressingly, more on than off, the government of the UK and Northern Ireland has been more about sorting out the problems of the Conservative and Unionist Party than has it been about governing in the interests of the country.

This has been ongoing for at least half a century and it is about time that the electorate realised that the self-styled “natural party of government” has nothing but its own interests at heart.

In this context, Theresa May’s exhortation to Labour MPs to put the interests of country first by supporting her doomed Brexit plan is laughable. And, in a different context, the otherwise sensible John Major is currently instructing the Conservatives that universal credit is the new poll tax that will push it out of government, rather than focusing on how to remove the snags that are said to be causing grief to a greater fraction of the nation than the derisory fraction that belongs to the Conservative party.

Ian Reid
Yorkshire

Theresa May is in no place to talk about the national interest

Theresa May shows unbelievable chutzpah when she asks Labour MPs to go against Jeremy Corbyn and vote in favour of her Brexit plan.

This is the same Theresa May who, while having a small but workable majority, called an early election in the hope that with Corbyn as the new Labour leader she would increase her majority to become unassailable, but having lost the gamble formed a devil’s pact with the DUP in the Tory party’s and her own interest but certainly not in the “national interest”.

Unless she is unbelievably naive she must have known that the DUP would never countenance any agreement that involved any slackening in the union with Britain to allow a frictionless border between Northern Ireland and the Irish republic. Yet, for the sake of keeping power, she found a magic money tree with £2b of fruit to buy their support. And now she talks about “in the national interest” as if everybody, including MPs, is suffering from collective amnesia!

Patrick Cleary
Devon

We need to get better at celebrating women in motorsports

As many fans are, I’m torn over what I think about the women’s only motorsport series announced this week. It will increase female participation in motor racing but the impediments to women competing that currently exist are not down to ability.

What is interesting, however, is that the announcement made far more headlines than Flick Haigh becoming the first woman to win the overall British GT championship at Donington Park on 23 September amid a very talented, mostly male, field. Not only that, her female counterpart Jamie Chadwick had previously won the GT4 class in 2015 – another success that was widely underreported.

Michael O’Hare  
Northwood, Middlesex

The Supreme Court was wrong about Ashers bakery

As your editorial pointed out, it is impossible not to link the refusal of Ashers bakery to supply a cake promoting equal rights for a gay wedding with homophobic discrimination. We were told the bakery would not refuse a gay couple to make a cake celebrating their marriage.

So I phoned Ashers Bakery and tried to order an anniversary cake for myself and my partner. Ashers advertise UK-wide delivery. Ashers also have (or until very recently, had) a website called “build your cake”. Mysteriously, this site has been taken down, so I phoned the Belfast branch of Ashers to make a telephone order. Before taking the order I was asked what the celebration was, when I said a wedding I was told: “Ashers no longer do celebration cakes except for birthdays”. So no chance of being caught discriminating in the future, then.

We should all be appalled at the actions of Ashers owners. The Supreme Court has let us down and allowed blatant discrimination to flourish in the United Kingdom.

I would also ask all Independent readers in Northern Ireland to check, and keep checking, that Ashers only will supply birthday cakes. Anyone for a gay birthday celebration?

David Bouchier
Address supplied

Who will pay for Fiona Bruce’s latest taxi ride?

I see it’s reported that Fiona Bruce was taxied to work by the police

I thought they were hard-pressed and surely the BBC had plenty of people who managed to get themselves in who could read an autocue

I hope she will be sent the bill. Please don’t bill the BBC as that would be a further waste of licence payers money

Dr Anthony Ingleton
Sheffield

Nicola Sturgeon’s priorities seem somewhat skewed

In Nicola Sturgeon’s conference speech, she mentioned education once and independence 29 times.

The nationalist leader has asked us to judge her by her record in reversing the ongoing decline in Scottish education on the SNP’s watch.

We shall, Ms Sturgeon; rest assured, we shall.

Martin Redfern
Edinburgh



The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

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