Dear Editor

It is not often that I choose to share my personal views with others, unless specifically asked to do so, but the recent literary exchanges between some of your readers and Skip Bandele has impelled me to write to you (clearly, I am easily impelled).

In Skip’s reply to Mr. Hammond’s letter, which appeared in the June 3 issue of your publication, I detected a patronising and supercilious tone, which ill-becomes this great social commentator and man of letters. For instance, was it really necessary for Skip, in his final paragraph, to remind Mr. Hammond of his full name, very much in the manner of a disappointed schoolmaster scolding a pupil? I think not.

I do not wish to respond in detail to Skip’s somewhat muddled and woolly thinking on the rights or wrongs of warfare, but it must be a great comfort to many millions of war veterans throughout this poor, benighted world of ours that he grudgingly accepts at least one global conflict, that against Hitler, as being possibly ‘justifiable’. How nice for us, the great and ignorant unwashed.

At the very least, Skip, as a direct consequence of the sacrifice of millions, is free to proclaim his views without fear of having his front door smashed down in the wee small hours, never to be seen or heard of again.

The real point of my letter concerns not only Skip but all those columnists who, with complete disregard for their own safety and heroic self-sacrifice, are willing to inflict their opinions on any and every subject, with or without the benefit of knowledge, on the rest of us mere mortals. What qualifies them to make such sweeping statements, to proclaim with such authority? Why do they think we are remotely interested in their pearls of wisdom? And why do Editors seem to think these opinionated individuals enhance the readability of their publications?

I accept that some people actually find these columnists entertaining to read, if only to have their thoughts provoked. In this regard, Skip appears to think himself as a high-achiever. My own view (see, Skip, you have succeeded, yet again, in provoking even me!) is that these columnists all possess a common character set. They believe themselves to be good (perhaps even great) writers, they feel they know more and better than the rest of us, they assume the moral high-ground and they all demonstrate a finely developed smug, sanctimonious intellectual superiority, which, I regret to inform them, is totally without foundation. Please, Editors, spare us from further punishments!

Richard Burr