A giant ‘F you’ from the Anglo-Saxons? | Brief letters

14-year-old Guardian readers | Cerne Giant | ‘Painting is dead’ | Peter Mandelson | Boris Johnson

It’s gratifying that the Guardian still publishes letters from 14-year-olds (10 May). After the Manchester Guardian printed mine in 1955, a teacher commented sardonically on my poor handwriting in a report: “Does he type his letters to the press?” Seven years later I was taken on as a graduate trainee reporter in Manchester, starting a decade on the paper. You may not have seen the last of Joseph Walker.
Richard Bourne
London

• Given that the Cerne Giant hillside carving is apparently from the same period as Cerne Abbey and there are no records at the abbey of it (Cerne Giant in Dorset dates from Anglo-Saxon times, analysis suggests, 12 May), could it be that locals unhappy with the abbey, or the imposition of religion, decided to carve this magnificent “F you!” for abbey residents to contemplate? I expect religious controversy, and possibly planning objections, are not just modern human reactions.
Marsha O’Sullivan
Derby

• David Hockney, who wrote a book on art and optics, should know that it was not Derrida, or even Delaroche, who first said “painting is dead”, but Constantijn Huygens in 1622, on first seeing an image in a camera obscura (Letters, 11 May).
Philip Steadman
London

• Is the Peter Mandelson who urges Labour members to avoid factionalism and give Keir Starmer a chance (Labour can be reformed if it looks outwards, not just inwards, 11 May) the same Peter Mandelson who said in 2017 that he tried to undermine Jeremy Corbyn every day?
Val Hart
Middlesbrough

• So Boris Johnson is a man of judgment after all, though not of conviction (Boris Johnson to apply to have court judgment struck out, says No 10, 12 May).
Christopher Punt
Barnstaple, Devon

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