Cold!

Cold 22th April 2013

I trot round the park today and listen to the Navy lark. I Oh dear, oh dear
Troutbrige is off to Batawana land to do some depth soundings. An island risings up out of the ocean taking Troutbridge with it. She is marooned three mikes inland! Our gallant crew get home by paddle steamer inly to be told that the island has sunk agains as rapidly at it risen and they can go back in the paddle steamer and fetch Troutbridge. Priceless.
I go out and sweep the paths and pick up the leaves so much for the spring its cold and it rains.
Upstairs Downstairs: The general strike
Mary wins at Scrabble today and get just under 400, I might get my revenge tomorrow, I hope.

Obituary

Patrick Garland
Patrick Garland, who has died aged 78, was a director and producer who first came to prominence with two highly successful West End shows in 1968.

Patrick Garland Photo: REX
5:49PM BST 21 Apr 2013
The first was Alan Bennett’s Forty Years On (Apollo), starring John Gielgud as an irascible public school headmaster whose pupils present an end-of-term revue, and reflecting on changing British attitudes after the Great War. The second was the one-man show Brief Lives (Hampstead Theatre Club and Criterion), with Roy Dotrice as the 17th-century antiquarian John Aubrey looking back on his run-down London life.
By this time Garland had already embarked on a successful career as a director and interviewer in arts programmes for BBC Television. But the reception of Forty Years On and Brief Lives persuaded him that the theatre was ultimately where his future lay.
He went on to stage a wide range of drama — Shakespeare, Ibsen, Shaw, musical comedy and revue — and is the only director to have had four plays running in the West End of London at the same time. In the mid-Seventies he directed Michael Crawford in the musical Billy at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane; and in the early 1980s he directed the revival of My Fair Lady on Broadway, with Rex Harrison (about whom he wrote a successful book, The Incomparable Rex).
But it was perhaps Garland’s staging of one-man shows and dramatic recitals that set him apart. In that genre his best-known productions after Brief Lives included Beecham (1980); Kipling (Mermaid and New York, 1984); A Room of One’s Own (Hampstead, 1989); and Vita and Virginia (Chichester and Ambassadors, 1993).
A gentle, considerate and courteous director, Garland always tried to spare the feelings of those with whom he worked, and conceded that he could sometimes be “a bit circuitous” in his kindly criticism: “Actors are generally very vulnerable and sensitive. There are ways of saying things and getting through to people. I think tact is very important… I’ve never been the least bit impressed by people who pride themselves on telling you outright what they think. Candour is an unlikeable moral virtue.”
Patrick Ewart Garland was born on April 10 1935 and educated at St Mary’s College, Southampton, and St Edmund Hall, Oxford, where he was president of the university dramatic society . He then spent two years acting with the Bristol Old Vic before moving to Paris, where he wrote two plays for television — The Hard Case and Flow Gently, Sweet Afton (1962) — and decided to abandon acting. He worked under Huw Wheldon at the BBC’s arts programme Monitor, the start of 12 years as a producer and director with the Corporation’s Arts Department during which time he interviewed figures such as Stevie Smith, Philip Larkin, Sir Noël Coward, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Ralph Richardson, Dame Ninette de Valois and Marcel Marceau .
At the same time, Garland was building his career in theatre, with productions including Cyrano (National Theatre, 1970); Alan Bennett’s Getting On (Queen’s, 1971); Hair (Israel, 1972); A Doll’s House (New York and London, 1975); and An Enemy of the People (Chichester, 1975).
As Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre from 1980 to 1984 and from 1991 to 1994, he staged The Mitford Girls, Goodbye Mr Chips, As You Like It, The Merchant of Venice, Pickwick and Pygmalion, among many other productions.
Garland also directed films, including The Snow Goose (1971, starring Richard Harris and Jenny Agutter), which won a Golden Globe for best television movie.
As part of the celebrations for the Queen’s 60th birthday in 1986, he directed Fanfare for Elizabeth at Covent Garden, and in 1989 he masterminded the thanksgiving service in Westminster Abbey for Lord Olivier.
Garland was the author of a novel, The Wings of the Morning (1989), and also published poetry. He started the Poetry International foundation in 1963 with Ted Hughes and Charles Osborne.
Patrick Garland married, in 1980, the actress Alexandra Bastedo, who survives him.
Patrick Garland, born April 10 1935, died April 20 2013

Guardian

Delighted to read that the state-run East Coast requires less public subsidy than any of the privately run rail franchises (Report, 19 April). Hopefully this will be used as an argument to keep the east coast mainline in the public sector. The same argument applies to local rail services. Passenger numbers on branch lines in the south-west have grown spectacularly because of public money invested by local authorities. The Rebuilding Rail final report 2012 makes the case for public ownership.
Julie Boston
Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways
• I was struck by a phrase in your editorial (20 April): [The Chechen diaspora] “seek asylum from a barbaric regime in Grozny, whose leader has no qualms in ordering assassinations of his opponents abroad”. Ironic given that Obama – through the US drone strategy – has probably ordered more assassinations of opponents abroad than any other contemporary leader?
Roger Jarman
Exeter
• So M&S wants to sell more clothes (Report, 20 April)? Simple. Have the right sizes in stock. I always go to M&S first. I find several things I want – in sizes 8, 10, 12, 18 and 20. I come out empty handed and go somewhere else.
Hilary Moxon
York
• Rejoice! Frog spawn on pond in sunny Hertford. Despite several bloated corpses floating up at the end of the freeze, there is hope.
Carol Howard
Hertford

The latest poll from the King’s Fund shows how both young and old continue to support the principles of the NHS: that healthcare, funded through taxation, is available to all on the basis of need, rather than the ability to pay. On 24 April the Lords will debate competition regulations made under section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act, which, if implemented, establishes a default position of local commissioning groups having to put services out to tender. It would put profit before patients, quick fixes before quality care and seriously undermine the NHS, leaving many people to suffer under a postcode lottery. Yet experience has shown that the market has already damaged the culture of the NHS. From 1948 onwards the public have helped create, fund and support the principle of healthcare for all. The government has no mandate to end this. Those of us who value the NHS must defend it. Contact a peer and ask them to show their opposition to the competition regulations.
Dot Gibson National Pensioners Convention, Ken Loach Director, Spirit of ’45, Paul Nowak TUC
• The BMA’s call for the withdrawal of the NHS regulations may seem just technical, but nothing could be further from the truth. The regulations would in effect force commissioning doctors in the English NHS to put services out to tender – which hugely advantages large profit-hungry healthcare companies. The regulations would continue the parcelling up and selling off of many parts of our NHS. Lib Dem peers should ignore the whip and vote to defend our NHS from irreversible commercialisation.
Dr David Wrigley
Bolton-le-Sands, Lancashire

Headlines such as “She ruined my family’s life. She took everything” (18 April) rightly focus on long-held resentments from devastated ex-mining towns in northern Britain but fail to explain to younger generations how Thatcher had gained such popularity in the first place, and was prime minister for so long.
By a quirk of timing, I am transcribing letters home to my parents in Stoke, covering the period in 1978-79 that became known as “the winter of discontent”. A 16 January 1979 letter refers to my five-year-old being off school because there was no heating: “We’ve heard that the school had a delivery of oil late this morning, but the heating won’t be immediate for various reasons. Then we aren’t sure whether the Nupe strike starting next Monday will affect the schools. It’s all a mess. In some parts of North Manchester they have no water, having to boil unpurified water before use. I think we must be worse off than other parts because the lorry drivers seem to be particularly militant. There was the unofficial strike before they all came out, and now they are trying to put a stranglehold on the area’s food supply [saying] ‘we can’t afford to buy food so why should the public have it’. I don’t think much of their socialism!” (I thought of myself as a socialist then and still do.)
My mother well remembers that winter, coping with a sick husband, snow and strikes. If he had died – which was a possibility – he would not have been buried for weeks because of the gravediggers’ strike.
All these actions by powerful unions, whether justified or not, affected ordinary people’s lives, and laid the path for Thatcher in 1979. Confronted with this recent outpouring of anti-Thatcher sentiments, I am struck by the strident tones from “wronged” miners and other working people, and a marked absence of any mea culpa. It was self-serving unions that divided the country, brought down Callaghan’s Labour government, and caused people to turn to the Conservative party, with its strong woman leader. I didn’t, but could understand those who did.
Susan Treagus
Manchester
•  During the 70s I was a stay-at-home mum with three small children. On the strength of my husband’s moderate salary we obtained a mortgage for a detached house with large garden and ran two cars. There was not much money to spare but it was not penury. So what do we have now “in place of strife” and an industrial base? Low-paid jobs with no security and vanishing pensions. To which we may add MPs’ abuse of an expenses system introduced by Mrs Thatcher, outlandish bankers’ bonuses, privatised utilities owned abroad, student debt, house prices out of the reach of millions, unemployment and increasing inequality.
We’ve lost the vocational ethos that had been the basis of professions like teaching. Agricultural research institutions have been closed or privatised and the agricultural advisory service dismantled, leading to the loss of an irreplaceable knowledge bank and the decline of agriculture. From here we move on to austerity politics: the steady dismantling of the welfare state, vilification of the poor and disabled, the undermining of municipal services provided by local authorities, such as libraries, parks and leisure centres. And so on.
So in what sense was Britain “saved” and made “Great’ again?”
Helen Self
Maidstone, Kent
•  By saying trade unionism had “gone beyond the pale” in the late 70s and then bemoaning that Thatcher demolished the voice of “ordinary working people”, David Stapleton (Letters, 18 April) demonstrates the kind of muddled thinking that has today’s social democrats propping up a vicious right-wing government. Where the unions arguably did go wrong in the 60s and 70s was to use their collective strength for purely economistic goals in the mistaken belief that the postwar boom would endure. Apart from some misconceived support for supposedly socialist regimes east of the Brandenburg Gate, there was little appetite for developing alternative socioeconomic models to the capitalist status quo.
In 2013, trade unions have been emasculated but remain the only cohesive force on the side of “ordinary working people”. We have to find a new, more egalitarian, order for the benefit of people and planet, and stop trying to pretend we can somehow run capitalism better than Thatcher, Cameron and their opportunistic social democrat allies.
Bert Schouwenburg
International officer, GMB
•  We might get Thatcher more nearly right if we stopped trying to treating her era as a seamless whole. Taking on the miners was ugly, but they had created the 31.5% wage increase of 1973 – something selfishly destructive of other workers’ jobs. General liberalisation and deregulation were essential. No Labour government, like one I hope that dangerous leftie Ed Miliband will lead, would reverse them. Per contra, Thatcher’s denouncing “the enemy within”, invoking laws against union representation at GCHQ and ordering a three-line whip to fight Richard Shepherd’s private member’s bill on the Official Secrets Act were irrational. Her opposition to Maastricht owed nothing to poor fiscal standards in southern Europe (Denis Healey said that) – she talked of a Fourth Reich. The poll tax was fought by cabinet ministers who had supported every deregulation, and trialling it on the Scots answered every SNP prayer. Sending police to break down the doors of BBC Radio Scotland over the Zircon programme was hysteria. By the end, she was being reported by one cabinet minister as screaming at Sir Geoffrey Howe and, when this man intervened, screaming at him. Take her item by item and get a clear picture.
Edward Pearce
Thormanby, North Yorkshire
• I incline to Groucho Marx’s view of the crowds at the funeral. Watching the cortege of Harry Cohn, much-hated head of Columbia Pictures, pass through the crowd-lined streets of Beverly Hills, Groucho observed: “Give the people what they want they’ll turn out.”
Colin McArthur
London
• Charles Moore claims that Thatcher saved the country (Report, 20 April). But she herself defined Thatcherism as “living within your means”. During 1980-2005, private household debt soared to £1.5tn, equal to total national income. Financial debt rose to £7tn. After the banking crash of which her policies sowed the seeds, public debt will reach £1.4tn by 2016, equal to GDP. These are the highest levels of indebtedness in British peacetime history.
“Living within your means” implies buying only what you can afford. In 1980, her first full year in office, the UK balance of trade in goods was in surplus by £1.3bn. By 1990, it was in deficit by £18.7bn, and because of her laying waste UK manufacturing industry it has steadily eroded ever since then till last year it reached £106.3bn, nearly 8% of GDP.
She set great store by “sound money” – that the currency should hold its value through restraining inflationary credit creation and giving priority to productive investment. Money supply, broadly stable in the 1960-70s, escalated five-fold by 1990 and then continued to rise exponentially to 2011, a 20-fold explosion after Thatcher dismantled all controls over bank credit. The money supply ballooned at a 12% annual rate when inflation was averaging only 3%-4% – an era of unsound
Thatcher also claimed to have made Britain strong again. In fact only 8% of this hugely increased bank lending went into productive investment; most of the rest went into inflationary housing and credit bubbles.
Michael Meacher MP
Lab, Oldham West and Royton

Independent

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Sir Jackie Stewart’s support for the ruthless, one-family dictatorial dynasty in Bahrain is disturbing, not least for his analogies (“Bahrain’s F1 protest? It’s just like the Old Firm derby, says Jackie Stewart”, 20 April).
Like all in the F1 circus – drivers, team officials, mechanics, even most of the spectators who come from outside the country – Sir Jackie is taken from airport to limo to hotel to racetrack without seeing the real Bahrain, the Bahrain of cruel and often lethal discrimination against the Shia majority. Indeed, they are prevented by the security forces from doing so (as was the ITN TV crew who were kicked out for trying to tell the world, including Sir Jackie, what was going on). 
Having lived and worked in Bahrain during the 1980s, and maintained contact with my Bahraini friends since, I can assure Sir Jackie that the self-styled “kingdom” – its top sheikh decided to declare it a kingdom and call himself King just over 10 years ago – has neither “started a move towards democracy” nor shown any sign of doing so.
To compare the majority Shia population’s struggle for democracy with the Protestant-Catholic football rivalry in Glasgow is not only ludicrous but offensive to all concerned, including Glasgow football fans and police. Bahraini Shia are regularly jailed and tortured and, in recent years have been killed in their struggle for democracy. 
To say “You can go in shorts and a bikini in Bahrain” shows Sir Jackie’s unfortunate ignorance of life outside the F1 bubble. For the Bahraini majority, democracy has nothing to do with wanting to go in shorts or bikinis. If, and more likely when the Bahrainis overthrow the family which has ruled them for close to 200 years I can assure you wearing shorts or bikinis will be the last things on their minds.
P J Davison, Richmond upon Thames
 
‘Star Wars’ cops flood streets of Boston
Am I the only one who thinks that America is fast becoming a laughing-stock? Obama’s speeches have praised the people of Boston for being resolute, brave and not cowed; yet the city was locked down, tanks and Swat teams packed the streets while the residents stayed behind locked doors. Why? A teenager was on the loose.
Eddie Johnson, Long Melford, Suffolk
 
The Boston bombing was a very grave matter and needed a proper police response. But I wonder how many other readers felt qualms at the photograph of the Boston “armed police descending on the town” (20 April)? 
Their Swat force looked like something out of Star Wars. Not only does this picture glorify the gun culture but it brings home the reality that modern democracy has a very fragile base: we may think it depends on the votes of the people but when push comes to shove governmental brute force could easily win the day.
David Ashton, Shipbourne, Kent
 
It would appear that the vicious Chechen Islamic separatist war which has plagued Russia for decades has now reached US shores courtesy of our misguided foreign policy leaders (such as Zbigniew Brzezinski, Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright) who subscribe to the principle that the “enemy of my enemy must be my friend.” 
We need to cease our pro-Muslim extremist and pro-separatist policies in places such as Chechnya, Bosnia and Kosovo as we are continuing to suffer much “blowback” as a result.
Dr Michael Pravica, Henderson, Nevada, USA
 
Watching the massive display of weaponry from the US police on the streets of Boston, I am reminded of Brendan Behan’s remark: “The terrorist is the one with the small bomb”.
Keith Nolan, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, Ireland
 
Hard to enforce minimum wage
The leading article identifying the problem of non-enforcement of the minimum wage (20 April) was spot on. Those likely to be affected are unlikely to be in a union or to be aware of the law or able to represent themselves.
However, the enforcement agency is HMRC, which is not able to represent individuals seeking redress for underpayment. Thus there is no incentive for a worried worker to go to HMRC. They may persuade HMRC to issue an order, or even to name and shame an employer, but their reward will be to feel good, not to be recompensed – that needs them to go to an employment tribunal.
I have been through the process for somebody who had been badly trapped, and got nearly £10,000 underpayment at a tribunal, but the experience with HMRC was not encouraging.
Professor Tony Pointon, University of Portsmouth
 
Thatcher’s mentor?
Attempts to equate Baroness Thatcher with Sir Winston Churchill do a disservice to the memory of that great man. A more apposite comparison might be with another titan of British history, Oliver Cromwell.
Cromwell and Thatcher both came from modest backgrounds and rose to positions of great power. Both presided over a divided nation, embracing in one case civil war, in the other public disorder.
Whereas Thatcher was a political zealot, Cromwell was a politico-religious one, sustained in part by military force. Cromwell demonised a section of his fellow countrymen – the royalists; Thatcher did the same with trade unionists.
Cromwell’s body was twice carried through the streets of London, initially at his extravagant state funeral; then, following its exhumation after the return to constitutional government, his head was mounted on a pole outside Westminster Hall, where it remained for nearly a quarter of a century, a reminder to all that unjust use of power eventually brings its reward.
Mike Timms, Iver, Buckinghamshire
 
Drama on the railway track
Further to Sophie Goodrick’s intriguing letter (19 April), following your entertaining profile of Scarfolk: The Finishing Line (1977) was a late and, yes, truly unforgettable short film by British Transport Films. This highly respected production unit turned out decades of well-crafted travelogue, public information and training films on behalf of nationalised transport. The Finishing Line was perhaps the most unusual chapter in its illustrious history.
Director John Krish is himself one of British cinema’s best kept secrets: an outstanding talent, particularly in documentary, public information and films for children. The Independent’s critic Anthony Quinn, reviewing the BFI’s 2010 re-release of earlier short films by Krish, hailed their “technical accomplishment”, “humane sensitivity” and “timeless” imagery.
Readers interested to learn more are encouraged to check out the growing range of books, DVDs and webpages exploring such rich, but unfairly neglected seams, of Britain’s film heritage. A high-definition transfer of The Finishing Line is included in the recent DVD/Blu-ray release of Krish’s hitherto unavailable Captured (1959).
I was slightly too young to have caught The Finishing Line the first time round, coming to thrill to its anarchic moralism later in life. I was, however, subjected sometime in the early 1980s to the Central Office of Information’s Apaches (1978), and duly traumatised. But that’s another story.
Patrick Russell, Senior Curator (Non-Fiction), BFI National Archive, London W1
 
Iraq war was not a crime
Richard Carter (letter, 20 April) is wrong to claim that Tony Blair or anyone else could be prosecuted for the Iraq war under the proposed crime of aggression at the International Criminal Court.
This proposed crime so far has only been accepted by five out of the 122 members of the court. If there were a two-thirds majority in favour by 2017 the court could only exercise its powers over alleged aggression that took place after January 2018. This “crime” would be optional and state parties could opt out of accepting the jurisdiction of the court over it. The full text of the crime also makes highly dubious that it would cover the circumstances of the 2003 war.
Those who believe that the Blair government committed a crime over Iraq are misguided. The war might have been wrong but it was not a crime.
John Strawson , Reader in Law, University of East London
 
Both sides of the MMR argument
I have followed the MMR controversy only from a distance and have been swayed one way, then the other by the arguments. But I would like to support the editorship of The Independent in having the courage to present both sides of the story (Letter from the Editor, 20 April).
The public needs the truth and sometimes the only way is to print both sides of an argument and let the individual decide. It is for this reason that I shall continue to read The Independent.
Keep being controversial.
Cliff Woodcraft, Sheffield
 
An obvious reason for not bringing in a single measles vaccine (letter, 19 April) is that there is nothing wrong with the MMR vaccine. It is also likely that those at risk with respect to measles are equally at risk to mumps (sterility in adult males) and rubella (high risk in pregnancy).
Max Richens, Lymm,  Warrington
 
No salvation by good deeds
David Hooley writes that religious good deeds are not so much moral as prudent (letter, 20 April). 
Martin Luther read the words of Paul and preached that we are justified with God by faith and not through good works. Luther’s teaching resulted in the Reformation. No Protestant should believe in salvation through prudent good deeds.
Vaughan Clarke, Colchester,  Essex
 
Hospital parking
You report on the burden of hospital parking charges for cancer patients (19 April). Some hospitals recognise the expense for close family visitors to long-term in-patients, and offer discounted parking on a “bulk purchase” ticket. It would be worth finding out whether they do the same for out-patients receiving regular and lengthy treatments. 
S Lawton, Kirtlington,  Oxfordshire
 
Heavy lift
The piece about Horacio Cartes and the election in Paraguay (20 April) mentions “a small plane” carrying a 370-tonne cargo of drugs. Very impressive, if not exactly laudable.
Norman Foster, Duxford,  Cambridgeshire
Times

We need to reform the 42-year-old Misuse of Drugs Act but is “war on drugs” an accurate way to describe the current siutation?
Sir, Mark Littlewood was right to say that drugs liberalisation can “reduce state spending, lower crime and improve public health in one fell swoop” (“The time is ripe to end this horrific drug war”, Opinion, Apr 19).
The decision to reform our 42-year-old Misuse of Drugs Act could now be made, ideally on a cross-party basis, with a tidal wave of support. Seventy-seven per cent of MPs know that our drug policies are not working. Two immediate steps could be taken to begin to achieve a rational and evidence-based policy. As the British Medical Association argued in its excellent report Drugs of Dependence published in January, addiction is a health problem and not a crime. It is therefore illogical for the Home Office to be the lead department for drug policy. This should be transferred to the Department of Health, bringing the UK into line with most of our neighbours.
The second uncontroversial policy would be the replacement of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs by a decision-making Independent Commission on the Classification of Drugs, thus removing politicians from the sensitive decisions about the class of individual drugs. These decisions should be made to reflect the level of risk of each substance and should not be influenced by political considerations. We have two precedents for sensitive decisions being made by scientists independent from politicians: the Monetary Policy Committee has decision-making powers with respect to interest rates; and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence decides which treatments will be funded by the NHS. Drug classification is an obvious candidate for similar treatment.
These two changes would underline the fact that addiction is a health issue and would help to clarify the reality that alcohol and tobacco are far more dangerous than most illicit drugs. Drug policy could then be debated and reformed with improved public understanding.
Baroness Meacher Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform Baroness Stern Vice-Chair, APPG for Drug Policy Reform, House of Lords
Sir, Mark Littlewood repeats the puzzling allegation that this country’s authorities are engaged in a “war on drugs” . Where on earth does he get this idea from? The Wootton Report of 1969 (and the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act which was informed by it) began the informal decriminalisation of cannabis possession. This process, urged on by establishment figures, has now reached the point where the preferred response of the police to this offence is the “cannabis warning”. This legally empty procedure was never even authorised by Parliament. A similar dilution of penalties for possession of all illegal drugs has, unsurprisingly, followed.
If this is a war, one wonders what a surrender would have looked like.
Peter Hitchens
London W8

Today the Government has the opportunity to act to ensure that all public sector fire and police services are treated as equals
Sir, Defence Police and Fire and Rescue Services play an invaluable role on the front line in the UK and overseas. They deploy to war zones and have decorated personnel. Their work is dangerous, gruelling and essential to both force asset projection and British service personnel’s safety.
It is anomalous, therefore, that the Public Sector Pensions Bill sets a normal retirement age of 60 for uniformed services, including the Armed Forces, civilian police and firefighters, and yet links their counterparts in defence to the state retirement age, projected to be at least 68.
While taking into account differing terms and conditions but not roles, there is no justification of a higher pension age for uniformed services in the defence sector. On health grounds alone this is a dangerous move not just for the individuals involved but for the services they support. Indeed, the House of Lords passed an amendment, championed by Lord Hutton whose report forms the basis for the Bill, to end this fundamental discrepancy.
This is being debated in the House of Commons today and the Government has the opportunity to act to ensure that all public sector fire and police services are treated as equals. We urge MPs to uphold the Lords amendment.
Sir Peter Bottomley, MP; Nick Harvey, MP; Alan Reid, MP; Thomas Docherty, MP; Sandra Osborne, MP; Nick Smith, MP; Elfyn Llwyd, MP; Angus Robertson, MP; Caroline Lucas, MP; Ian Paisley Jr, MP

The Iron Lady might well have changed her views on environmental issues over time, but she would have followed the scientific concensus
Sir, I am fairly rebuked by Lord Lawson of Blaby about Lady Thatcher’s views on climate change (letter, Apr 19). She changed her position — having accepted a more doom-laden case at the beginning, and then concluded that most of the original scare was unjustified as she studied the science more closely. Lord Lawson’s writing, and Mr Booker’s more Chestertonian views, doubtless played a part in that. My point was really that she would have followed the science; and if the consensus of serious science had led her further to revise her opinion, she would have done so on the basis of the evidence — and not of lobbying or political fashion.
Lord Waldegrave Of North Hill
House of Lords
Sir, Lord Lawson desperately uses the opinion of Margaret Thatcher to bolster his doubts about global warming. He has also doubted the support of the President of the Royal Society, Sir Paul Nurse, for the considered view that the emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have altered the composition of the atmosphere sufficiently to cause some global warming since 1850, as the presence of any greenhouse gas slows down the emission of radiation to space. He discounts Sir Paul’s views because he (Sir Paul) “is not a climate scientist”. This is a logical mistake because Baroness Thatcher, FRS, was not a climate scientist either. Those who understand the basic physics know that increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere must lead to some global warming, just as raising the height of a dam leads to the holding back of more water. The recent flatlining of global temperature does not falsify the physics. There are natural cycles that episodically contribute to global warming or to global cooling. The atmosphere is currently experiencing natural cooling that opposes the warming provided by the extra CO2 that we are emitting.
Dr Jack Barrett
Poling, W Sussex
Sir, An international conference on hunger, nutrition and climate justice in Dublin last week offered an important opportunity to highlight the impact climate change is having on the world’s poorest children. Each year two million children die because they cannot get enough food to eat and the lives of a further 165 million children are blighted by chronic under-nutrition. Climate change is affecting food production with floods and droughts becoming increasingly frequent and severe. As always it is children who are the hardest hit.
A new Ipsos-MORI poll commissioned by UNICEF shows that 74 per cent of young people surveyed are worried about how climate change will affect the future of the planet, and want the UK Government take more action to combat it. By showing strong leadership and committing its fair share of new money to the Green Climate Fund to help children adapt to the effects of climate change, the UK Government can help to ensure that children everywhere have enough nutritious food to eat, grow up to fulfil their potential and do not pay for our past mistakes with their futures.
David Bull
Executive Director of Unicef UK
Lord Frank Judd
Lord David Chidgey
Lady Doreen Massey
Mike Crockart, MP

Like many other charitable organisations, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust has not been immune from the financial crisis
Sir, Your reports on the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust (Apr 13 & 17) painted an unnecessarily gloomy picture of this project.
Like many other organisations dependent on the goodwill and charity of donors, we have not been immune from the fall-out of the financial crisis. This slowed fundraising and extended the duration of the project.
Despite this, we retain the support of our key donors. The progress of the project would not have been possible without the active — and continued — involvement of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and Project Hope as lead consultants in building the business case, helping to impress the need for the hospital and setting in place qualified professionals for its construction.
With Mr Mandela nearing his 95th birthday, the project is now fast approaching the stage where we will break ground.
Sibongile Mkhabela
CEO, Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust

Kim may well have been written while Rudyard Kipling was staying at the Old Manse in Creich, Sutherland, during the summer of 1899
Sir, I had always been brought up to believe that Kipling wrote Kim at the Old Manse at Creich in Sutherland (letters, Apr 19 & 20). Rudyard Kipling stayed at the Old Manse during the summer of 1899 together with his father and the painter Sir Philip Burne-Jones. On August 21 Sir Philip sent a letter to Andrew Carnegie at nearby Skibo Castle in the form of a pen sketch showing the three of them weeping around an empty bottle of whisky, thus intimating that they had finished their last bottle. Carnegie immediately dispatched a case from the castle cellars and received in response another sketch celebrating the joys of the national beverage and his generosity. Much amused by the whole episode he had the sketches framed.
This does not prove that Kim was written at Creich, but it would be nice to think so as both sketches are now hanging in the Old Manse.
William Thomson (Great-grandson of Andrew Carnegie)
The Old Manse, Creich, Sutherland

Telegraph

SIR – At the end of last month, the then Government Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor Sir John Beddington, set out a long-term vision for the critical role of nuclear energy in Britain’s future low-carbon energy mix.
The Government also published its nuclear industrial strategy, aiming to expand Britain’s contribution to its domestic nuclear programmes, enhance international business, drive innovation through research and development and develop nuclear skills.
At around the same time Ed Davey granted planning consent for Hinkley Point C, marking a significant step towards realising a new nuclear programme in Britain.
Nuclear energy brings significant public health and environmental benefits. Hinkley Point C alone will save more than 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year if replacing gas.
Building a fleet of new nuclear power stations rather than one reactor at a time will lead to considerable economies of scale and lower costs for consumers. It will also provide the reliable, secure, low-carbon energy urgently needed in this country.
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Lady Thatcher set the lower classes free
21 Apr 2013
However, we are becoming increasingly concerned at the apparent slow progress of negotiations between the Government and EDF Energy for Hinkley Point C, and we fear this aspiration could be undermined if a deal on the pioneer project is not resolved satisfactorily.
Professor Sir David King
Former Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government
Professor Dame Sue Ion
Independent Consultant
Dr Malcolm Grimston
Honorary Senior Research Fellow, ICEPT
Imperial College
Professor Simon Biggs FREng
Professor of Particle Science & Engineering
University of Leeds
Professor Jon Billowes
Professor of Nuclear Physics
The University of Manchester
Professor Colin Boxall
The Lloyd’s Register Foundation Chair in Nuclear Engineering and Decommissioning
Lancaster University
Professor David Cope
University of Cambridge
Professor Michael Fitzpatrick
Lloyd’s Register Foundation Chair in Materials Fabrication and Engineering
The Open University
Professor Martin Freer
Director, Birmingham Centre for Nuclear Education and Research
University of Birmingham
Professor Chris Grovenor
Co-Director, Bristol/Oxford Nuclear Research Centre
University of Oxford
Professor Neil Hyatt
Professor of Radioactive Waste Management
The University of Sheffield
Professor Malcolm Joyce
Head of Engineering Department
Lancaster University
Professor Bill Lee FREng
Director of Centre for Nuclear Engineering
Imperial College London
Professor Francis Livens
Professor of Radiochemistry
The University of Manchester
Professor David M G Newbery
Emeritus Professor of Economics
University of Cambridge
Dr Geoff Parks
Cambridge Nuclear Energy Centre
University of Cambridge
Professor Patrick H Regan
Department of Physics
University of Surrey
Professor Gerry Thomas
Chair in Molecular Pathology
Imperial College London
SIR – Given the complete failure of the last government to do anything to renew Britain’s nuclear power generation, allowing indigenous expertise to decline to such an extent that we now rely on foreign companies, it would be more than a pity if EDF Energy were to pull out of the Hinkley Point project.
Lord Hutton’s warning of the failure to reach an agreement may well be coming true, now that Hitachi is also considering its position (Business, April 14).
As a consumer I am incensed that my bills partly subsidise hopeless wind turbines.
I would be far happier if this money went to ensure an adequate rate of return for EDF for the deal to be agreed and progress to get under way. There is too much at stake to procrastinate on this issue.
B J Colby
Portishead, Bristol
SIR – I was concerned by the article “MPs: No more wind farms in our backyard” (report, April 16). Because gas turbines must be used when the wind does not blow, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions it should be “no more wind farms anywhere”.
France, where most power is nuclear, has zero carbon dioxide emissions from the actual generation of electricity. There are more deaths every year worldwide in gas and oil exploration and production than those as a result of nuclear power. Wind is indirectly polluting and dangerous as well as being extremely unreliable and expensive.
Whatever Britain does will have little effect on climate worldwide but the high costs of wind will continue to destroy our economy.
Clive Dray
Newbury, Berkshire
SIR – Lord Hutton states that 25 per cent of the agreed price for the supply of nuclear fuel will come back to the public through taxes (Business, April 14). That is clearly wrong. Taxes are taken from the public, either directly or indirectly, and go to the Government, which is not synonymous with providing for the public good.
On the contrary: a large portion of tax revenue is used to fund the costs of our current big government and bloated civil service, the EU gravy train, quangos, or is paid in interest on loans because our Government is incapable of living within its means.
The extra tax we will all now have to pay on top of our energy costs will provide very little, if any, value to the taxpayer in return.
Roger Earp
Bexhill, East Sussex
Ukip has a lot to prove at local council level
SIR – Ukip appears to be a one-policy organisation pretending to represent the public at large.
It desperately wants to be taken seriously and is contesting many local council seats this May. But I have some queries.
How will Ukip’s sums add up when council budgets are required? Can they be trusted to make sure all youngsters will receive a proper education?
Will they make sure hospitals and social services do not come to a grinding halt? What are their plans with respect to public transport, energy conservation and taxation – indeed, all the services that have an affect on county councils? They have no experience of running them.
Richard Grant
Burley, Hampshire
Dog-tired
SIR – With regard to your article regarding the Kennel Club’s issue with the (alleged) marginalisation of dogs (“Forever in the dog house…”, report, April 14); the comments of the Kennel Club secretary, Caroline Kisko, fail to take account of the alternative view.
In my experience dogs are a public nuisance at best and at worst, a danger to the public.
Their faeces litters our streets and parks, their barking disturbs our peace and quiet, and attacks on humans (including children and babies), some of which are fatal, are increasing.
I would suggest that we all have a right to a dog-free environment.
Brian Chambers
Malvern, Worcestershire
Panning out
SIR – Isn’t it time for the BBC to open a designated channel for their cooking programmes?
This would take away the endless hours of pots and pans from prime-time television.
David Smith
London W14
Let it flow
SIR – Following several toilet waste pipe blockages at home, I questioned Dyno-Rod as to why they have increased significantly. The answer is that modern, EU-specified lavatories flush only three to five litres compared to the old British designs which flushed around 13 litres.
Hence, installing EU-specified lavatories on existing British waste pipe systems causes blockage problems in many cases because of insufficient water flow. As a consequence, business for Dyno-Rod has mushroomed in recent years and of course, we all pay. Well done the EU once again!
Roy Thomson
Sheffield, South Yorkshire

SIR – Janet Daley is absolutely right that the working- to lower-middle classes were set free by Margaret Thatcher (Opinion, April 14). She understood what the majority of people wanted to achieve – namely independence from the government, self-worth and the ownership of property.
When an individual works hard and has the opportunity to own property, they have self-worth and respect, as they have something to show for their labour. In addition, they become less dependent upon others, as property acts as a security when times are tough. The Conservative principle of ownership of property sets people free.
Lady Thatcher will always be a working-class heroine, as she liberated them from government control and the left-wing belief that a group of individuals with similar social backgrounds are in solidarity with each other.
Individuals achieve their full potential when they are autonomous. We will always be in her debt.
James Adam Paton
Billericay, Essex
Related Articles
The Government should not delay on its nuclear power plans
21 Apr 2013
SIR – The nation’s farewell to Lady Thatcher was a fitting salute to the woman who changed Britain, and to some extent the world, for the better. She was the most formidable statesman that this country has produced since Winston Churchill.
The only thing that grated was the presence of so many hypocrites at the service in St Paul’s cathedral – including some members of her own party.
Robert Readman
Bournemouth, Dorset
SIR – Lady Thatcher may no longer be with us but her spirit still is, as the whole world could see when 19 year-old Amanda Thatcher read the lesson with dignity and composure at her grandmother’s funeral service at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Ted Shorter
Hildenborough, Kent
SIR – May I ask why dissent and disrespect at the funeral procession of one of our greatest-ever leaders is not a police matter whereas it does appear to be whenever certain minority groups gather?
Is not hatred of Thacherism and Lady Thatcher on a personal level just as much of a hate crime as hatred of some other controversial doctrines and beliefs and just as likely to lead to a breach of the peace?
R P Gullett
Bledlow Ridge, Buckinghamshire
SIR – Last week, as part of a piece on “the winter of discontent”, you published a picture of me from 1979 that suggested we were on strike. I was not on strike — I was protesting in my own time as part of a dispute over pay for the ambulance service. Staff from our ambulance station in Greater Manchester did not strike. Incidentally, I was, and still am, a firm supporter of Mrs Thatcher.
Ron Gillatt
Woodstock, Ontario, Canada
SIR – We should praise the BBC for raising the ghosts of the likes of Arthur Scargill, Derek Hatton and Neil Kinnock from their well-padded oblivion. It reminds us all how grateful we should be to Lady Thatcher, who saved us from their nonsensical notions, with the help of our votes.
Murray Schwalbe
Manchester
SIR – I was a middle-ranking civil servant in the Department of Trade and Industry during the Thatcher years, and recall how opposed the upper echelons of the civil service were to her policies. Sir Keith Joseph was the minister at the time, and he would have been horrified to hear some of the anti-government remarks being made by his supposedly neutral officials. Before the Falklands War, when the Conservatives were so unpopular that it looked like they would lose the next election, many senior civil servants were positively drooling at the thought of Michael Foot becoming Prime Minister, with all the opportunities that would bring for bureaucratic interference and job opportunites in the public sector.
I recall one assistant secretary telling me, “Thatcher is only an interlude”. It would be more accurate to describe Mrs Thatcher as a Leader of the Opposition than a Prime Minister.
Kenneth Cole
Watford, Hertfordshire
SIR – Con Coughlin, admiring Margaret Thatcher’s refusal to allow the British government to negotiate with terrorists, claims that it is “a policy that survives to this day” (Opinion, April 14). If that is so, how does one explain the Good Friday Agreement and its successors? Or the deal that returned al-Megrahi to Libya?
John Waine
Nuneaton, Warwickshire
SIR – The Margaret Thatcher Library sounds an excellent idea (“A monument to her greatness”, report, April 14), as long as it’s limited to preserving her legacy by teaching her core beliefs, as she would have wanted. Do we really need an exhibition of her clothes and handbags? In what way will they help coming generations to understand the principles of low taxation and the free market?
Virginia Price Evans
Whitland, Carmarthenshire
SIR – David Jones suggests that David Cameron’s legacy may be gay marriage (Letters, April 14).
However, the Prime Minister decided to have an early night while the final discussions about the state regulation of the press were taking place. This may prove to be his most important legacy for Britain: the end of a free press. One cannot imagine Mrs Thatcher either conceding the loss of an essential pillar of democracy or taking an early night when the national interest was at stake. Mr Cameron is not so much a political pygmy as Sleepy the dwarf.
P de G McKie
Heathfield, East Sussex.
SIR – There was more to Clive Dytor’s highly apposite observation (Letters, April 14) that we are now not Lady Thatcher’s children but her orphans, than may have met most readers’ eyes. His letter sat discreetly on the page among those praising the Iron Lady’s role in recovering the Falklands.
It was on Two Sisters Ridge in June 1982 that a certain Lieutenant Dytor won the Military Cross.
Robert Warner
West Woodhay, Berkshire
SIR – Margaret Thatcher won three elections. But it should be remembered that without the Falklands conflict she might well have lost the 1983 election; the Tory total vote actually fell by 700,000. Thereafter, the Labour Party was in serious strife, and Mrs Thatcher began her best years in office. However, at no time did the Tories increase their share of the vote.
While I celebrate her many achievements, I also find it difficult to forget the damage she did to whole communities. The poll tax and the resulting riots showed just how out of touch she had become. I like to think that today at her peak Margaret Thatcher and Nigel Farage would have been singing from the same hymn sheet.
David Rammell
Everton, Hampshire

Irish Times
Sir, – The new insolvency guidelines (Front page & Home News, April 18th) are tantamount to “guiding” the borrower into slavery. Borrowers will be in bondage to the banks until their debt is paid off while the insolvency practitioners will be paid per case. In addition to the veto which the banks can exercise before agreement is reached with the borrower, will the CEOs and senior executives of the banks claim bonuses on the amounts paid back by borrowers ? – Yours, etc,
ANGELA HEFFRON,
Rushbrooke, Cobh, Co Cork.
Sir, – Under the new personal insolvency guidelines an adult with a car will be allowed to spend €1,030 per month. The usual coalition of bleeding-heart quangos and publicity-seeking interest groups have tried to portray this as forcing people to live in subsistence poverty.
Out of sheer curiosity, I checked my own records for the month of March and discovered that, excluding rent and loan repayments, I spent €1,169 – just €139 more than this new limit or less than €5 a day.
While I can’t claim to live a lavish lifestyle, I most certainly do not live in penury! I would be surprised if my lifestyle was anything other than very average for someone of my age and income.
If taxpayers such as myself who have not racked up huge debts are to be expected to pay to write-off the debts of those who have, is it all that unreasonable to expect them to reduce their spending by such a modest amount? – Yours, etc,
THOMAS RYAN,
Mount Tallant Avenue,
Harold’s Cross,
Dublin 6W.
Sir, – I note with interest the reference to a “reasonable standard of living”, and the “reasonable living expenses” required to maintain it, as outlined in the guidelines published by the Insolvency Service of Ireland. Citing a publication of the European Consumer Debt Network, it defines a reasonable standard of living as the ability to “be able to participate in the life of the community, as other citizens do. It should be possible for the debtor ‘to eat nutritious food . . . to have clothes for different weather and situations, to keep the home clean and tidy, to have furniture and equipment at home for rest and recreation, to be able to devote some time to leisure activities, and to read books, newspapers and watch television.”
The point is that, net of mortgage/rent and agreed debt repayments, the amount needed by a single person to achieve this “reasonable standard of living” is €900.08 (€1,029.83 with a car) per month. A cursory glance at some of the items in the breakdown will reveal some extremely conservative valuations. Try buying a year’s supply of heating oil for €687.72. And how about €343 per annum to cover not only boiler service and getting your chimney swept, but waste charges, property tax and the eventual water charges. Good luck with that. Basically, using its own criteria, this amount isn’t even enough. But despite this, the total figure does include €43.33 for savings and contingencies and €125.97 for social inclusion and participation, acknowledging these essential needs.
This is official recognition, not only of the minimum financial requirement of individuals living in this State to achieve this “reasonable standard of living”, but for individuals to “be able to participate in the life of the community”. Reconcile this with the payment made to individuals on Jobseeker’s payment. This payment falls far short of this minimum. Does this mean that the unemployed are less entitled to this “reasonable standard of living” or being “able to participate in the life of the community”? It would appear so.
Unfortunately, the guidelines then undermine the case somewhat with the apparent reiteration of the fallacy that two people can live as cheap as one. “Where two adults reside in the household then it will be presumed that the reasonable living expenses of the household are split equally between them”. Divide the figures above by two and they are not quite as they seem. Or did I miss something? – Yours, etc,
TIM O’BRIEN,
Miltown Malbay,
Co Clare.

Sir, – There is a one-word answer to C Murphy’s advice (April 19th) that the answer to “public service pay, waste and over-staffing” lies in threefold privatisation. Eircom! – Yours, etc,
DESMOND O’TOOLE
Ash Park Avenue,
Lucan, Co Dublin.
Sir, – C Murphy believes the solution to the Government’s problems with the public sector would be solved by the words “privatise, privatise privatise”. I assume he is not referring to such shining private sector successes as the banking, property or insurance industries, all of which sectors have been repeatedly bailed out by the public taxpayer. – Yours, etc,
Dr MAIT O FAOLAIN,
Beechwood Court,
Stillorgan,
Co Dublin.
Sir, – When it comes to Croke Park, the replay is never as good as the first match. – Yours, etc,
CONOR O’MAHONY,
Sandymount Avenue,
Dublin 4.
Sir, – C Murphy (April 19th) recommends that the Government’s response to the voting down of Croke Part II should be to privatise vital services. Clearly he is very selective when reading the news as he obviously missed reports that this formula in the supply of vital utilities has seen 1,800 households having their electricity and gas cut off every month and this during a period in which Bord Gais made €120 million in profits. This is precisely what happens when profit-making is introduced into the provision of such services – a small group profit at the expense of another’s deprivation. There is indeed only one word for that: vulgar, vulgar and vulgar. – Yours, etc,
JIM O’SULLIVAN,
Rathedmond, Sligo.

Sir, – The HSE, while teetering on the edge, has issued one more missive that should truly indicate dysfunction.
In its enthusiasm to cut costs it has issued a missive to all prescribers, signed by the DG designate, asking them to use “preferred drugs” from particular classes of medicines. In both cases it uses the two main proprietary names.
This is despite the stated objective of the Government, and the HSE, that doctors would prescribe using generic names. Truly an organisation that needs some internal communication lessons. – Yours, etc,
JACK SHANAHAN,
Church Street,
Castleisland, Co Kerry.

ir, – In his letter regarding the “Britishness” of Charles Villers Stanford, Dr O’Brien (April 18th) makes reference to perhaps the most misattributed quote in Irish history. The theory that a man born in a stable is not necessarily a horse was not original to the Duke of Wellington. A contemporaneous source ( Reports of State Trials , 1844) attributes the following quote to Daniel O’Connell: “The poor old Duke! What shall I say of him, to be sure he was born in Ireland, but being born in a stable does not make a man a horse” (October 16th, 1843). The consistent misattribution of this quote characterises the persistent attempts to create an iron wall of separation between Irish and “British” culture; to make every historically figure fit neatly into the separate categories. Of course Stanford was heavily influenced by England and of course his music has now become part of “British” culture. The same could be said about Yeats, Wilde, Moore and Goldsmith – this does not mean that they are not Irish. Ireland and England (never mind Wales and Scotland) have always had a pooled culture. This should be acknowledged before further attempts are made to uncover cultural purity. – Yours, etc,
WILLIAM PRASIFKA,
St Edmund’s College,
Cambridge,
England.

Irish Independent

Madam –Eoghan Harris’s article (Sunday Independent April 14, 2013), reflecting on the reaction to Margaret Thatcher’s death was thought provoking and it made me consider the troubles in the North.

Mister Harris’s rebuke of Gerry Adams’ comments was well warranted. Gerry Adams accusing Margaret Thatcher of prolonging the war and causing great suffering is as hypocritical as it gets. Adams’ addiction to blaming most of his people’s woes on the British Government is just nonsense. He, like most Irish people, need to look a lot closer to home when reflecting on the troubles in the North.
From 1922 through to 1969 we in the Republic stood idly by while Catholics were increasingly discriminated against in the North making the thirty years of the troubles inevitable. During these years there was some political posturing but nothing concrete from our state to relieve the oppression Catholics were suffering in the North. Why were our people not encouraged to at least protest on the streets of Ireland or England against the oppression that was rampant in one part of our country? It was not as if our State was unaware of the power of civil rights marches as they occurred in the United States from 1955 through to 1968 which culminated in the Fair Housing Act of 1968 which banned discrimination in the sale or renting of housing. Would the British government not have acquiesced and given Catholics those rights in Northern Ireland if our Government had put them under sufficient pressure in earlier years.
Sadly it was left to the downtrodden Catholics in the North to organise the civil rights protests which then led to the Troubles. In the end our indifference in a lot of ways led to a needless bitter war that caused thousands of people to lose their lives.
When the debris was cleared from the War of Independence and the Civil War, we accepted a near apartheid system in the North for the next 60 years. Was this the Ireland envisaged by Collins, Connolly and Pearse, et al, before they died, I do not think so.
It is time that Gerry Adams, our politicians and our people reflected on this.
Gary O’Connor,
Blanchardstown, Dublin 15

Madam – Regarding K Nolan’s letter (Sunday Independent, April 14, 2013), the anti-Israel vote of the TUI is indeed ludicrous – especially when members happily work in colleges with extensive academic links with great upholders of human rights such as Russia, China and Saudi Arabia.
The motion calling for the academic boycott of Israel uses the old canard – also used in Harry Browne’s letter – that Israel is an “apartheid state”. Anyone who believes this clearly hasn’t the faintest idea as to what apartheid in South Africa was actually like.
Anyone who visits Israel will see that Israeli Arabs have full rights in a country that has been consistently democratic for nearly 70 years – the only one in the whole Middle East that can claim this.
The motion also calls for an “awareness campaign” amongst TUI members. I hope that if this campaign discusses Israeli attacks on Gaza, it will also explain these are retaliations for Gazan attacks on Israel.
I trust that any reference to Palestinian refugees will also mention the nearly one million Jewish refugees expelled from Arab and Islamic countries in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.
It would also be nice to think that when they come to talk about the Israeli presence in the West Bank, it will be made clear that the 1967 Six Day War leading to this started after weeks of Arab provocation including, but by no means limited to, the closure of the Straits of Tiran and the blockading of the Gulf of Aqaba.
An awareness campaign should be balanced: otherwise it becomes an exercise in spreading partial and biased misinformation and no group representing educators should have anything to do with such a charade.
Ciaran O Raghallaigh.
Cavan, Co Cavan

Madam – I appreciate James Fitzsimons’ brief riposte to my letter (Sunday Independent, April 14, 2013). However he errs in his claim that public servants, new teachers included, ‘don’t pay’ for their pensions. An independent Trident report published in November 2010 reports that under present government pension arrangements for newly qualified teachers, these workers will pay more into their pension schemes than they will get out.

As Mr Fitzsimons well knows, the Houses of the Oireachtas, the legislature and the relevant organs of state combined, possess the wherewithal to appropriate money in order to provide for the general welfare. In the model of the ‘welfare state’ that we have in Ireland, it is expected that these taxes are collected to support sickness, accident and old age pensions.
Mr Fitzsimons is keenly aware of the decline in living standards due to a major depression created by a global financial system which is flawed and coming apart at the seams. As he himself states, ‘the rich get richer while the majority are worse off’.
We live at a time when wealth begets wealth and poverty begets poverty, and this trend is reinforced by the perverse influence of money in politics.
At a recent congress, INTO advocated a complete overhaul of the current taxation system which has proved self-serving for many well-heeled, high-earners. There is now a moral imperative on economists and commentators in the media and elsewhere to put forward the case for a system of taxation and appropriation which will deliver for all of the citizens of this state and not just for the wealthy few – the Irish oligarchy.
Colin Quigley,
INTO Athboy/Trim,
Trim, Co Meath

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