A casual approach to protecting our data
Dear Editor, Like R Fitzpatrick of Perry Barr, I certainly do not want the Labour Party within a million miles of the full electoral register for Birmingham. As an organisation they appear to have a very casual approach to data protection, as the current scandal over the loss of personal data by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs clearly demonstrates.

I, like millions of other British citizens, are now full of foreboding about what could happen if the Government's expensive and unproven identity card scheme is finally implemented. As for wanting the electoral register, like many Birmingham residents, I am becoming extremely irritated by the prolonged and politically motivated campaign for a mayoral referendum, one which on the evidence of the numbers of signatures obtained thus far suggests that popular support for the proposal is proving difficult to find.

Initially, campaigners appeared content that the validation of signatures should be performed by council officials, if and when the mythical figure of 36,000 was obtained. However, by alleging that the council is obstructing them in their endeavours, and by admitting that the level of support has yet to reach five figures, one wonders whether those behind the campaign now wish employ other methods to garner support, hence their request for the electoral register.

I hope that both the Chief Executive and Chief Legal Officer of Birmingham City Council ensure the register is kept firmly under lock and key.
 D A JOHNSON, Birmingham

Power of a mayor is too much for some
Dear Editor, I'd vote 'NO' in any referendum for an elected mayor of Birmingham. The powers would be nothing like those of the London example but would still be too much for a bad person to be trusted with, or a good leader to crave.

Unlike R Fitzpatrick, I wouldn't deny the pro-Mayor lobby access to an electoral register to validate a petition, since their efforts might be thrown out on a technicality bringing renewed jibes about our city being a banana republic (Council should fight demands, Post Agenda, Nov 21).

His/her wishes that the Labour Party cannot get personal details of electors have already been dashed, as all Post readers should be aware.

All candidates are given a free copy of the voters register in their ward containing such details. If Labour city-wide is united in backing a mayoral campaign - which they opposed when running Birmingham until 2004 - they only need to pool their existing information.

Readers might not know, but lists of residents who actually vote in elections are also publicly available for inspection or copy.

If R Fitzpatrick is wary of personal details falling into 'grubby hands' then those fears are shared by 25 million claimants betrayed by the latest Government example of IT incompetence.

I'd join politicians like Nick Clegg MP in jail before carrying an ID card but I suspect the summons might also be lost in the post.
 STEVE KIRKHAM, Kings Heath

Our MPs should be expelled
Dear Editor, I had the misfortune to watch Wednesday's Prime Minister's Questions. I was utterly appalled by what I saw and heard.

Two female members of the Cabinet gossiped and giggled through most of the half hour. Abuse was bawled from both sides of the House. The instructions from the Speaker to be quiet were ignored.

With one exception, the Prime Minister did not answer any of the questions put to him from the Opposition benches

Our parliamentarians are constantly complaining about the behaviour of our young people; why should they behave when the behaviour of our legislators is bad enough to get a school student expelled or to get arrested for offences under the Public Order Act.

Brown and Cameron and their acolytes should set the right example. They refer to each other as "honourable members". It would be difficult to identify a more inaccurate description.
 ROGER CORBETT, Walsall Wood

We trusted the Government to be wise
Dear Editor, I learnt yesterday that the cost of bailing out Northern Rock is going to be £1,300 per taxpayer.

For my husband and I, both tax payers and with a baby on the way, that is £2,600 of our gross earnings being used by the Government - £2,600 which we could do with ourselves.

Like other tax payers, we work hard for a living and live within our means. Therefore we entrust the Government to spend the tax we pay wisely on public services, such as our schools and the NHS, not on bailing out private industry. This sends out a very dangerous message indeed.
KEELY HUXTABLE, Northfield

What a short memory
Dear Editor, In your Business section, John Duckers writes about peace in Europe saying it was, and is, maintained by the European Union. What a short memory he has.

Without the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato), which vitally included America, there would have been no peace in Europe. At times of crisis - such as the Berlin airlift in 1948, the Russian invasion of Hungary in 1956, the Czech uprising of 1968 - without the strength of Nato things could have turned out very differently. The European Union was not even formed at these times.

I normally agree with most of what John says, and enjoy his writing but on this occasion must strongly disagree with him.

I have travelled many times to Europe and enjoy the countries and people, but admit I am not very keen on the European Union as it seems undemocratic to me. It's accounts have not been agreed for the last 13 years and any commercial organisation in this position would have been closed down many years ago.
 RAY PEARCE, Castle Bromwich