14 DECEMBER 1991, Page 35

LETTERS Up the workers

Sir: I read your extraordinary leading arti- cle on the subject of Sunday trading (`The English Sunday', 7 December) having just received a letter from a friend who happens to supplement family income by working in the retail trade. In the course of her letter, my friend offers an alternative perspective on this subject to your own, expressing her fear of the risks involved in declining to work on Sunday, should the chain for which she works decide to break the law by open- ing for business on that day.

One might argue that a new law to per- mit full Sunday trading would contain prop- er safeguards for employees who wish to spend the day with their families. However the flouting of current legislation by many large retail chains does not inspire confi- dence in the likelihood of their respecting such freedom in the event of deregulation.

It is the frenetic quality of modern life that makes the case for a significant restric- tion on Sunday trading so convincing. Part of that case is, for many such as myself, a specifically religious one. The special observance of Sunday, which you confuse with church attendance, has not 'nothing to do with the regulation of trade'. On the contrary, it is a bulwark against the preda- tions of mammon, a corporate declaration that whilst commerce is of value, God comes first. However, the larger case against complete deregulation can be defended on non-religious grounds and is ably and fully set out in the literature of the Keep Sunday Special Campaign. Readers should examine this literature for them- selves and not be put off by your ill- informed accusations. KSS is a front for neither German economic expansionism (a rather desperate slur, I would have thought) nor fundamentalist Sabbatarian- ism (the puritan sabbatarian ideal is explic- itly disowned). The issue is a serious one and the arguments against full deregulation are all too often ignored or misrepresented by the press. Your article affords a lamentable example.

Robert Braley

14 Channel Close, Hounslow, London