Letters to the Editor for 3 June 2013

Snoopers’ charter

[Re: Snoopers’ charter is the wrong response to the brutal murder in Woolwich, Thursday]
Emma Carr argues that the Communications Data Bill is dangerous because it promotes general surveillance rather than targeted surveillance of existing suspects. But this draws the wrong inference. No matter how well targeted surveillance of existing suspects works, it cannot reveal otherwise unknown wrongdoers operating among the public. As experiments have shown, a random check on the flow of traffic, for example, will quickly throw up crimes that were never previously suspected. Similarly, a random trawl of communications data can help reveal new terrorist suspects.

Paul Weighell

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EU Tobin Tax

[Re: It’s not all good – but EU’s Tobin tax won’t be as bad as feared, Friday]
The EU has finally backed down on the worst aspects of the proposed Financial Transactions Tax. But it’s still a mess. The EU wanted the tax to raise money for its coffers, socialists wanted to spite capitalists, politicians wanted to punish bankers, all oblivious to the fact that it would reduce the value of pensions and increase borrowing costs for companies and countries. How much time, effort and money have been wasted on an idea originally proposed in the 1930s? Let’s just scrap the idea and, while we are at it, scrap stamp duty on all shares. There are better and more equitable ways of raising money for governments.

Christoper Clayton

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BEST OF TWITTER

Ukip didn’t just poll 17.3 per cent in Patrick Mercer’s seat in locals. It did so from standing start – it only launched its branch in March.
@wallaceme

If it’s bad enough for you to resign from your party, how can it be ok to continue representing constituents? Where’s recall?
@ZacGoldsmith

Huge gas price advantage for US over Europe. 100+ projects, $100bn in industrial investments now planned in the US.
@ianbremmer

All David Cameron’s house market interventions have few beneficiaries other than the banks.
@Ian_Fraser