22 JULY 1972, Page 28

Thatcher bash

Sir: What a pity Mrs Gradgrind Thatcher couldn't have been born in fifth-century Athens: they had a terribly troublesome chap there who got up to just the sort of things she talks about in her articles and she'd obviously have sorted him out in no time; the Athenians didn't get rid of him till he was seventy. This fellow used to wander about showing the young that by a quite ordinary process of mental cross examination you could cast doubt on anything, especially ideas about the nature of the gods, the meaning of good and evil and the principles behind the society their elders and betters had set up. He would discuss ad infinitum things in heaven and things in earth and actually boasted that he himself knew nothing — why he wouldn't even pass his A levels nowadays. He seemed to think that questions were as important as answers, if not more so.

They got rid of him in the end and just as well: where would western civilisation be if chaps like that got the upper hand? Let's not worry about school milk then, just bring back compulsory hemlock for the ones who keep putting their hands up and let the rest get back to the facts, ma'am. Then we'll all get the education we deserve.

Marigold Coleman 57 Redcliffe Close, London SW5

Sir: To demolish Mr Gilmore once and for all, he stated that I had joined the Labour Party before its defeat in the 1970 General Election. This was untrue. He then stated that I had said that I would join the Labour Party at some future time, before the election was held. This was also untrue.

If Mr Gilmore required a tutor in the meaning of English words and in English Grammar I must decline to take up this formidable task.

Humphry Berheley PO Box 42890, Nairobi, Kenya. This correspondence is now closed. — Editor, The Spectator.