15 NOVEMBER 1997, Page 34

A good Speaker

Sir: When Robert Rhodes James castigated at length those of us who paid tribute to the life of Viscount Tonypandy (Not as nice as all that', 18 October), I was moved to com- plain about his article. In the event I decid- ed that it was the petty rantings of a thwart- ed person who considered he had not been given the position he deserved in life.

R.J. Evans's letter (25 October) is a dif- ferent matter; he did not know the George Thomas my mother, aunts and uncles played with, nor the one I have known for many years and shared ideas and correspondence with (always handwritten). I suspect the contumely directed at the ex- Speaker is an example of the narrow think- ing and envious spite which seed itself in small communities which cannot compre- hend that a man can grow intellectually to understand the big picture, and so mistake an appreciation of tradition, and the reason therefor, as sycophancy. George Thomas discharged himself from a hospice and through sheer strength of character lived a full political life for another seven years. Even last year his oratory was on a par with Aneurin Bevan's, but his humility was gen- uine. I don't believe Mr Evans speaks for 'a large section of the population of Wales', and I shall be at Westminster Abbey next week to give thanks for the life of this good man and friend to so many.

Gillian Faulkner

Olivers, London E4