Geoffrey K. Pullum's otherwise praiseworthy article, "Inflammatory language" (18 August), was marred by his comparison of David Starkey to the now infamous rose-quaffing Croydon looters.
Verbally inarticulate the looters may be, but their actions and the symbols they employed (not cider, not lager, but rose) were highly effective in shocking a nation of shopkeepers. They amply illustrated the sentiments of a growing number of people in the UK who find themselves equipped with only a half-decent education and facing the prospect of a lifetime's mindless, deeply unrewarding and poorly remunerated labour, all the while being told via every medium possible that identity and social standing can be achieved only through ever-increasing consumerism.
By contrast, despite his (outdated) Northern working-class "credentials", good education and privileged social position, Starkey talks like a hawk and acts like a poodle.
Kyra Pollitt, Edinburgh