Mistaken identity?

Steve Richards (15 January) reckons that the government, "like Chaucer's Wife of Bath . . . gives the impression of being busier than it really is". Unfortunately, Steve's grip on 14th-century literature has gone - it was the Man of Law (no surprise) who seemed busier than he was.

On the other hand, the Wife of Bath had got through a number of partners, made no secret of her infidelities, was a bit deaf, got uppity if anyone in the congregation tried to upstage her, made great use of selective quotation and repeated herself endlessly. So maybe Steve was right after all.

Bill Greenwell
Morchard Bishop, Devon

This article first appeared in the 22 January 1999 issue of the New Statesman, Goodbye to all that boiled cabbage