12 AUGUST 1972, Page 15

Defending Canute

Sir: Many a man is remembered for little more than a single deed; but was such a deed ever so frequently misrepresented? And was the reputation of such a man ever so consistently traduced by a congeries of journalists in search of slick abuse?

Hugh Macpherson (July 22) refers glibly to "the cathode tube Canutes who are opposed to the televising of Parliament." This is presumably a reference to the story about Canute's inability to stop the waves; yet it was precisely the poor king's object •to demonstrate to sycophantic courtiers that he was impotent in such matters. Your columnist nevertheless helps to secure Canute's reputation as a doddering fool. Mr Macpherson's other shortcomings — his poor grasp, for example, of elementary grammar (" Much of the criticisms ... " a few lines earlier!) — can be forgiven in that they reflect on no one but the writer himself; but let him not malign a man dead these thousand years.

S. P. Jennings

Stand House, Ringley, Road, Whitefleld, Nr Manchester