Is it Britain or France that is exploiting the migrant tragedy for political ends? – .

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Is it Britain or France that is exploiting the migrant tragedy for political ends? – .


SIR – I was surprised to read that Marks & Spencer had permission from Westminster City Council to demolish their beautiful Art Deco Marble Arch store (report, November 26).

Why do we allow our cities to become so ugly? Soon they will all be alike.

Any long shot of London now fills with consternation. Images of our beloved and admired buildings are now dominated by hideous monstrosities.

Have our architects simply lost or abandoned their sensitivity? They do not conceive of anything of value, nothing of beauty and nothing lasting. Is there a global conspiracy to make us all feel depressed? If so, it works.

Barbara Davy
Ilkley, West Yorkshire

SIR – In the many antiques television shows, Art Deco objects are greeted with reverence and appreciated for their role in artistic dialogue, yet such a building can be laid flat.

The store was built at a time when great changes were sweeping our social culture and as such it should be left on Oxford Street as part of our retail heritage.

Avril Wright
Snettisham, Norfolk

The Falklands are playing

SIR – May I provide some context to the controversy over The Falklands Game by Ian Curteis (Obituaries, November 26).

I was the BBC One controller at the time and read the script at the start. I still judged it far from being good enough to justify investing a lot of taxpayer money. I had no problem with Curteis’ pro-Thatcher point of view, but it took a lot of rewriting, especially the dialogue.

For example, I remember General Galtieri had to look out the window of Casa Rosada exclaiming that Margaret Thatcher “embodied the spirit of Elizabeth I and Winston Churchill”. In another example, Willie Whitelaw said, “Argentina, isn’t that where the nuts come from? ” Truly?

In the somewhat charged political atmosphere of the time, Ian confused every scenario suggestion with an attempt to get him to change his point of view. I asked him to clarify his point of view on the sinking of the Belgrano, as it was not clear in his script. He publicly described my appeal as an attempt to get him to condemn the sinking.

There was an important piece somewhere, which the normal script editing and development process could have delivered. Tumbledown, the film by Charles Wood (with a very young Colin Firth), which I gave the green light at the same time, was about how Commander John Lawrence, who blew his skull in the conflict, has shamefully treated by the establishment of the army on his return. It was not anti-Falklands, anti-Thatcher, or political in the strict sense of the term.

Ian Curteis was an iconic television dramatist to whom we owe the genre of “historical docu-drama”. I very much regret his politicization of the normal editorial process which made it impossible to develop his screenplay into a work to match his previous pioneering efforts.

Lord Grade de Yarmouth
London SW1

GPs out of reach

SIR – After an attack of viral pneumonia, I had what I thought was a fungal infection. I bought a cream, but my symptoms were atypical so I followed the advice to see a doctor.

An attempt to secure an appointment with a general practitioner resulted in a most embarrassing discussion with a receptionist (Letters, November 25), followed by a text. This did not contain the details of the expected appointment, but informed me that a prescription had been sent to a pharmacist – for the product I had purchased in the first place.

I did not realize that the introduction of remote consultations removed the requirement for a clinician, at the very least, to speak to a patient. I am surprised that I can get a prescription after a conversation with a receptionist.

Carole Molyneux
Heswall, Wirral

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