We love a poet, but do you know it? | Brief letters

Rifles in India | Blood donors | Chuka Umunna | Poetry | Charlie Brown

Peter Betts is quite right (Letters, 23 October). Ever since the so-called “mutiny” of 1857, British Indian troops were habitually armed with obsolete weapons. The then state-of-the-art 1850s Enfield rifle-musket was replaced with an inferior smooth-bored version, and when regular troops received the lever-action Martini Henry in 1879, the poor old Indian service had to make do with the relatively primitive 1867 Snider-Enfield conversion. And so on. The extent to which all this was a matter of conscious colonial control or sheer logistical expediency remains a matter of debate.
Jeremy Muldowney
Heworth, North Yorkshire

• I applaud Marc Quinn’s message in an article about his new artwork (Artwork taps 5,000 blood donors for refugee message, 24 October). Years ago a neighbour, who was a blood donor and whose heritage was Indian, said she always hoped that a white racist might get her blood – a silent attack on their views from the inside!
Linda Rhead
Hampton, London

• May I, as a fellow party member, ask Chuka Umunna if there are any more centrist thinktanks in need of a chair (Nick Clegg’s second act is a sad loss of face, 22 October)? I’m available for double the hours and half the money Progressive Centre UK are paying him and I don’t have the distraction of a day job.
Rev Dr Peter Phillips

• Claire Armitstead writes that “poetry is stealing a march on the novel for inclusion and innovation” (Light verse is booming, Opinion, 25 October). Just a thought – but when was the last time the Guardian reviewed a book of poetry?
David Pollard
Hove, East Sussex

• Charlie Brown summed up my life when he said: “The day my ship comes in, I’ll be at the airport” (Take that, Charlie Brown!, 24 October).
Jennifer Henley

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