My ID card makes life so much easier

<span>A UK voter carrying a passport. In Belgium, an ID card serves the same purpose.</span><span>Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA</span>
A UK voter carrying a passport. In Belgium, an ID card serves the same purpose.Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

Having lived in Belgium for the past 40 years, I still find British opposition to identity cards extraordinary (“Jacob Rees-Mogg is wrong: Britons do want ID cards”). Rather than take away freedom, they make life a whole lot easier. Just three examples: I go to the doctor, who puts my prescription on to my ID card, which I then take to the chemist, all done electronically, no paper. I need a new driving licence: I go to the town hall, show my ID card, give some new photos and a week later collect my licence. In order to vote, I show my ID card, my name is recorded and I vote.

Sure, my details are in a centralised database, but so are the details of any driver in the UK, and in order to verify my identity and/or proof of residence, I don’t have to show utility bills or any other bits of paper. Britain is a “papers, please” society and the views of Jacob Rees-Mogg and his fellow libertarians are out of date and out of touch.
Harriet Gibson
Wezembeek-Oppem, Belgium

The reason for opposing identity cards is straightforward: it risks giving prejudiced police officers the power disproportionately to harass those against whom they wish to exercise their powers and, assuming a level of non-compliance, to disproportionately criminalise particular communities.
Name and address supplied

Stewart Lee must be stopped!

Stewart Lee’s exposés of the utter absurdity of our world, and the idiots with influence in it, often make me laugh so hard I risk becoming temporarily incontinent (“The right is as stale as its ‘woke National Trust scones’ gambit”). He must be stopped at all costs! The nation’s high teas (and my trousers) depend on it.
David Summers

Wrong call, Cameron

Rather than send the navy to relieve starvation in Gaza, David Cameron might have found it easier just to stop selling arms to Israel (“David Cameron warns of Gaza famine as UK sends Royal Navy ship to boost aid effort”).
Caroline Westgate
Hexham, Northumberland

Engineer our way to success

The reason the UK doesn’t cut costs but disastrously cuts corners is because it doesn’t have enough engineers in senior roles (“From HS2 to the NHS, Britain doesn’t cut costs. Disastrously, it just cuts corners”). Salami slicing and cost overruns happen when the decision-makers don’t fully understand the systems or projects they are managing. Countries such as Germany, South Korea and the US get better value for money because they take an engineering-based systems approach and have many engineers in senior positions in government.

Trailblazing engineers such as Joseph Bazalgette and Isambard Kingdom Brunel enabled the growth of great cities and the economic miracle of the industrial revolution. They did not muddle through. It’s time the UK woke up to the fact that almost a fifth of the working population are in engineering jobs, but almost no one in government has an engineering background. Boeing for one is learning that cutting out engineers has consequences. It’s time to bring more engineering and systems thinking into our national management and policy-making.
David Cleevely

That magic Portillo moment

Thank you, Andrew Rawnsley, for stirring the memory of shortly after 3am, 3 May 1997 (“Cabinet ministers, look away now: your ‘Portillo moment’ could soon be on the cards”). As the Enfield Southgate result was announced to our living room, the gathering rapture saw me on my hands and knees banging the floorboards and shouting with joy. It woke the children who, heads round the door, got to experience the Portillo moment too. I’m not sure they appreciated it, though.
Jonathan Hauxwell
Crosshills, North Yorkshire

Why we need assisted dying

Sonia Sodha raises important questions about decision-making in the context of end-of-life care, but the answer is not to maintain a dangerous and cruel ban on assisted dying (“When the right to die becomes the duty to die, who will step in to save those most at risk?”). Some believe the way to remove the possibility of coercion is by the state denying people access to choice entirely. This exaggerates the protective capabilities of prohibition and ignores the lack of safeguards in the current law, not to mention directly contradicting the views of the vast majority of the public and the wishes of dying people.

Like abortion, banning choice at the end of life removes neither demand nor supply; it is merely driven behind closed doors or overseas. Politicians who are comfortable with outsourcing compassion to another country, only available to those who are wealthy enough to get there, should examine their conscience. Hundreds of Britons every year take control of how they die, either by travelling overseas for an assisted death or ending their own lives in violent and lonely ways at home. But this is out of sight of UK authorities or support systems and with only sporadic or after-the-fact scrutiny. How can we expect coercion to be detected and prevented if the very nature of the law forces this activity into dark corners and away from the disinfectant of sunlight?

Safeguarded access to end-of-life choice is, like reproductive choice, increasingly the hallmark of a progressive society and is underpinned by the intertwined principles of compassion, personal choice and safety. These values are what has driven assisted dying reform in New Zealand, Australia and parts of the US, and are what is propelling proposals for change in Scotland, Jersey and the Isle of Man. They will also be central to the debate in Westminster that both Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak have promised after the election.

The choice of assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults is a reasonable, proportionate and deeply compassionate option for those who are currently forced to die badly in our country. Concerns over how to introduce it safely must be a motivator to get this right, not a reason to persist with a law that was introduced six years before the Abortion Act and has remained unchanged in the intervening six decades.
Sarah Wootton, CEO, Dignity in Dying, London W1

Council tax: a simple fix

There’s a simple fix for the council tax conundrum (“‘A deeply broken system: is it time to abandon council tax?”): add a new band that charges a percentage of the sale price every year (say 1%) after a property is sold. No revaluation of the proverbial little old lady’s mansion, but a realistic charge on the new owners if she sells.
Wendy Bradley

Speed isn’t everything

To talk of Rubik’s Cubes only in terms of speedcubing is like seeing just the Olympic 100m and bypassing all those for whom jogging is a wholesome and enjoyable pastime (“Square dancing: why do we still love the Rubik’s Cube?”). I am in my 50s and will never be fast at solving my motley collection of cubes, but they help to keep my brain and fingers nimble without me ever feeling the urge to check my time. Not everything has to be competitive to be satisfying – thank goodness.
Kirsty Nicol
Ormiston, East Lothian