There’s been a bit of reaction to Piush Patel’s moan about the National Federation of Retail Newsagents’ terms and conditions in the 14 August issue. He objected to having to put his membership cancellation in writing with three months’ notice. He used the term ‘shafting’.

I did point out that not all members see all the work that is undertaken on their behalf by various associations, and this elicited some response.

Praful Mehta, who runs Meads News in Holborn in central London, wrote: “There is a lot of work behind the scenes lobbying on behalf of all independent retailers. In the last five-six years the NFRN has worked brilliantly for me.”

He says he has never had a problem with his wholesaler; it has all been taken care of, for a small fee.

And Jayesh Patel (Classic News, Northampton) who is a delegate for his local NFRN branch representing Northamptonshire, also leapt forward in defence.

He is tired of people not putting their money where their mouth is: “If you don’t like something, come to the meetings.” He points out, to those who say that the federation is powerless, that its hands are tied by legislation. Apparently, when press mogul Robert Maxwell was still around, he managed during his time as an MP to get legislation passed that said no two newsagents can take any action against publishers which would be detrimental to the supply of papers. So you can’t club together and demonstrate against The Mirror for example, thanks to good old ‘Capt Bob’.

I tried but couldn’t get this verified by the NFRN. Any enlightenment would be welcome.