Kettle 30th April 2013

I trot round the park today and listen to the Navy lark. I Oh dear, oh dear
Pertwee has a cast iron certainty but he need help. Nunkie is too busy, and his uncle will demand too large a cut of the profits. Meanwhile Leslie crashes into am unmanned lightship which they have to repair. Priceless.
I go out an buy a new kettle the lightest one possible, meanwhile its back to book listing.
Upstairs Downstairs The making of the series lost of quotes from old actors
Mary wins at Scrabble today, just and gets just under 400, I might get my revenge tomorrow, I hope.


He arrived in the city in 1960 from Barbados, where he had learned his trade, working on hotels, schools and government buildings on the island.
He was primarily a walling mason, his role being to dress and lay walling stone (which in the Oxford and Cotswolds areas is limestone). Traditional walling — as distinct from dry stone walling (a different skill) — is laid as random rubble or coursed rubble, some being axed or dressed into shape with a walling axe, in a lime-based mortar.
As a layer, Prescott’s skill lay in selecting appropriate and varying sized walling stones for particular positions in the wall so that the end result blends and is harmonious.
He was involved in building new walling on important modern buildings within the historic city and University of Oxford as well as the repair and maintenance of rubble stone walls to buildings dating from the medieval period. Walling is also found within the building structure, often concealed behind plasterwork or panelling, and he applied his skills to the alteration and repair of this too.
Unusually for a walling mason, Prescott was also a skilled plasterer and when not active on walling would be much in demand carrying out restoration as well as the conservation of traditional plasterwork.
In addtion to his work on historic buildings in Oxford, Prescott carried out stone restoration work at nearby Blenheim Palace over many years. He worked for the Symm group, which throughout its 200-year history has undertaken specialist building works at most of the colleges of Oxford and many of the city and University buildings.
George Wellington Prescott was born at St Philip, Barbados, on June 21 1921, one of seven children whose father died young. Educated locally, he started work labouring for a firm of Barbadian builders, one that specialised in stone buildings rather than the more numerous timber ones.
Prescott came to Britain shortly after his marriage in 1960 and settled in Oxford, where his sister was working as housekeeper to a wealthy couple. He took a job with Symm and Co, where he was to spend the next 25 years as a mason in a team of craftsmen builders, specialising in conservation, restoration, alteration and extension of historic buildings.
As a senior craftsman, much of his best work was carried out at University colleges including Christ Church, Merton, Worcester and St Hilda’s, as well as at churches and city council buildings.
After retiring in 1985 he continued to keep his hand in as a builder. In his eighties he built an extension to the family home in Oxford and played a prominent part in the renovation of the Elim Pentecostal Church in Botley Road, where he was baptised late in life.
George Prescott is survived by his wife, Evelyn Drayton, and by their son and three daughters.
George Prescott, born June 21 1921, died March 8 2013


Emma Cook writes about her young family’s fixation with the world of iPads and iPods (Should we fear the iNanny?, Family, 27 April), and I can well understand it. My toddler grandson Edward recently outgrew his cot, but the introduction of a bed meant he was free to wander around at unearthly times and wake mummy and daddy and brother Henry as the mood took him. A gate was introduced to the bedroom door, and there was much angry shouting and crying when he realised his early-hours activities were being curtailed. Then, at 3am, came his final throw of the dice. In a wonderful display of abject misery he flung himself against the bars and sobbed loudly: “I want to FaceTime grandpa!”
Jonathan Buss
• No doubt like many students of Glasgow School of Art I feel the world a less lively place upon reading of Graeme Gilmour’s passing (Obituary, 27 April). His student sculptures were against po-facedness, and once during a student demo he warned me: “Don’t shout ‘Maggie-Maggie-Maggie! Out-Out-Out!’ It’s a cliche.” Although, of course, he shared the sentiment.
Professor Craig Richardson
Charlbury, Oxfordshire
• You report that “A 2011 study showed that judges give more lenient sentences after lunch” (This column will change your life, Weekend, 27 April). Pope characteristically noted the downside in The Rape of the Lock: “wretches hang that jurymen may dine.”
Priscilla Martin
• At one time the claim to fame was to have been the first to hear the cuckoo (Letters, 29 April). Now I think it would be to have heard one at all. I’ve not heard one in Edenbridge for about four years.
Val Dissington
Edenbridge, Kent
• The most insightful spellcheck correction I have come across (Letters, 27 April) changes “headteacher” to “heartache” and “Ofsted” to “foisted”.
Jane Goodwin
Oldham, Greater Manchester
• What, no muesli (The 10 best breakfast recipes, Cook, 27 April)?
John Carter

It is Tom McNally, the justice minister, who is confused (Letters, 26 April), not your article. He says that legal aid reforms will look to remove things like “visits or correspondence”, yet these were exactly the type of cases removed from legal aid funding back in 2010 by the then Labour administration. What the recent government announcements seek to remove is any effective funding for the majority of legal issues faced by prisoners, such as all internal disciplinary measures like governor adjudications and segregation, the separation of mothers and babies in the specialist mother and baby units, and any resettlement issues. There are no exemptions for children or vulnerable prisoners.
Mr McNally says that the government “believes” these proposals will cut 11,000 unnecessary cases and make savings of £4m. This seems to be an entirely hypothesised estimate – back-of-an-envelope stuff. The Ministry of Justice has repeatedly failed to set out how these figures have been arrived at. Are they one-off savings or cumulative? Do they factor in additional costs to the rest of the criminal justice system such as keeping people in prison if they are not released?
Mr McNally also seems to have a touching belief in the complaints system to deal with everything. The poor literacy levels, high levels of mental health problems and significant learning disabilities within the prison population are well documented. Governors are clearly not independent of the institutions in which they work, and of the other “safeguards” mentioned by the justice minister, Independent Monitoring Boards have no enforcement powers, and even the prisons and probation ombudsman can only make recommendations. The prison service can and does ignore such recommendations, and will feel increasingly relaxed about doing so given that, if these proposals go through, there will be little or no prospect of external legal scrutiny.
Matthew Evans Managing solicitor, Prisoners Advice Service, Simon Creighton Bhatt Murphy, Andrew Sperling Association of Prison Lawyers, Laura Janes Howard League for Penal Reform, Sally Middleton Birnberg Peirce and Partners
•  Tom McNally seems badly briefed. Prisoners already have to exhaust internal complaints remedies before they can apply for a court to review the legality of a Prison Service decision, and the courts regularly find such decisions to have been unlawful despite them having been maintained by the complaints procedures. The courts have ruled, for example, that it is unlawful for the Prison Service not to provide indeterminate prisoners with rehabilitative courses so that they can reduce their risk and progress to release, and that decisions on recategorisation and transfer (an example Mr McNally cites) have a direct impact on liberty because they can impede the prisoner’s progress to release, as well as confining them to more severe conditions and difficulties maintaining family relations than may be justifiable. Such rulings are in the wider interests of society as well as to the individual prisoners, and ironically are likely to have saved considerable financial and other costs in the longer term.
Prisoners’ ability to access the courts in such cases provides them with a means of understanding and engaging with the system when it appears to have failed and acted unlawfully, and has enabled many to access rehabilitative opportunities sooner and be released either earlier or better prepared for life outside than they would otherwise have been if the prison authorities had proceeded without independent court scrutiny. There is a name for it. It’s called the rule of law.
Daniel Guedalla
Birnberg Peirce and Partners

It is worrying that parents are paying for extra tutoring in the hope that their children will reach the required A-level grades for a university course (Poorer parents digging deep to fund boom in private tutoring, 27 April).
Such students, even if successful, are being set up to struggle once they get to university, where class contact time will be minimal and teaching does not focus on passing exams.
University teachers are increasingly seeing a mismatch between our incoming students’ perceptions of education and our own.
While we try to develop the skills of independent research, analysis, critique and original thought, they just want to be told the “right” answer (or the one that will get them a first-class mark).
Their confusion is total when this meets with not just a refusal but a suggestion that there might be more than one…
Professor Rosemary Auchmuty
School of law, University of Reading

I welcome Ed Miliband’s fair pay challenge (Report, 27 April) but it doesn’t go far enough. On the floor of my bus yesterday was a leaflet offering jobs for “stock pickers” at the princely sum of £7 an hour. It is at least above the minimum wage but is not enough for anyone to live on in London, and neither is the living wage that Miliband will “encourage” firms to use – in fact will bribe them to use with tax credits, ie subsidies.
Why can he not demand that all people in full-time employment receive a wage they can live on without subsidies from the rest of us? Right now we subsidise employers indirectly, by allowing them to pay their workers less; under Miliband’s system, we would subsidise employers directly – how will that produce a good, sustainable result?
The living wage he talks about, £8.55 an hour, still means workers need support including tax credits and council tax benefits; a real living wage in London is £10.40. With plumbers etc charging a minimum of £65 for a callout and half an hour of work, this sum is not large. But at this level a careful person can at least live an unsubsidised life; anything else is a form of slavery.
Thatcher’s attack on trade unions resulted in a situation where workers have no power and companies can pay bad wages; this is the culture that needs to be attacked.
The Tories can demonise the poor; why can’t Labour demonise the people making them poor?
David Reed
• Great that Ed Miliband is making the connection between the tax credit benefits bill and low pay. Perhaps he could apply the same logic to subsidising landlords through housing benefit? Here in Haringey, where the benefits cap is being “piloted”, a single parent with three children is left with £160 a week after paying the accepted (and lowest) rent for a three-bed flat in the poorest area. If rents were controlled again, the money could help her feed and clothe her family.
Ruth Valentine

I’m surprised none of your correspondents on George Osborne’s difficulty with the Reinhart-Rogoff data (Letters: Economic howlers of our time, 23 April) made mention of the carbon bubble you reported a few days earlier (Report, 19 April).
Surely there can be no greater economic howler of our time than to persist with the assumption that Earth’s resources and services are so abundant they can be treated as infinite and excluded from the price function.
Price plays a critical role in markets, but the free market is distorted by treating the primary resource as the thing that is “free”. The basis of this thinking was the 18th-century Enlightenment, when human population was much lower: the assumptions on how we could use natural resources were workable then. A world population of 500 million using a resource at a rate that would appear to have it last 500 years could be forgiven for thinking 10 generations was sufficiently far away to be ignored. Unfortunately the same resource would be consumed by a 7 billion population in just over 35 years.
The market system has delivered unprecedented human development, but the ecological debt it has built should make discussion on sovereign debt redundant. George Monbiot illustrates some of the difficulties and suspicions that face efforts to make human economy and Earth’s ecology symbiotic (Comment, 23 April) but that is what we need to achieve. Few would disagree with the common sense that the Earth is finite. Can we now agree a common morality that our money system should stop pretending that it isn’t?
Harold Forbes
Author, How to be a Humankind Superhero: A Manifesto for Individuals to Reclaim A Safe Climate

The debate around umbilical cord-clamping raises a number of questions for both mothers and medical practitioners (Cutting cord too early puts babies at risk, NHS warned, 26 April).
Despite a number of studies into the effects of both early and delayed cord-clamping on the newborn baby, we at blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan believe the evidence that delayed cord-clamping has long-term benefits for a mother or a full-term baby is inconclusive.
Our pioneering cord blood programme uses stem cells from cord blood collected at five UK hospitals to help people with leukaemia and other serious blood disorders. For someone who needs a transplant, it’s often their last chance at life. Delaying clamping adversely affects the chances of us being able to use a mother’s donation. We currently advise mothers that a decision on cord-clamping, and donation, is ultimately one of personal choice.
We have written to the health minister Anna Soubry outlining our concerns and look forward to contributing to a National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) review of medical practices that bases any decision on future clamping guidance on firm evidence, and takes account of the wider implications for other life-saving treatments within the NHS.
Henny Braund
Chief executive, Anthony Nolan
•  The risks and benefits of early umbilical cord tying have been debated for far longer than the 50 years suggested in your article. As a GP obstetrician I too was guilty of slavish early cord-cutting, despite the recorded experience of a 19th-century predecessor. In 1908 Dr Lancelot Newton reported to the Cambridge and Huntingdon BMA on his 40 years of GP midwifery, observing: “For a short time I did not tie the cord and had no difficulty on account of haemorrhage. I recommenced tying the cord after 20 cases because the nurse on one occasion when I visited the patient the day following her confinement said she had tied the cord after I left because she thought I had forgotten to do so. Verbum sap.”
From Newton’s meticulous obstetric records, all 20 confinements in this short series had resulted in live births and there were no apparent ill effects for the mother or the infant.
Moreover, Dr G Morgan, a retired US obstetrician, has drawn attention to the following opinion of Charles Darwin’s grandfather, Erasmus Darwin: “Another thing very injurious to the child, is the tying and cutting of the navel string too soon; which should always be left till the child has not only repeatedly breathed but till all pulsation in the cord ceases. As otherwise the child is much weaker than it ought to be, a portion of the blood being left in the placenta, which ought to have been in the child” (Zoonomia, 1801; Vol III, page 321).
At least there is now unanimity between Nice, paediatrics experts and the parenting charity NCT that the policy should be changed if the evidence is in favour of delayed cord clamping and cutting.
Robert Berrington
Former honorary professor, school of medicine, University of East Anglia
•  The medical profession has apparently taken 50 years to realise that pulsation of the umbilicus after birth has a function and that perhaps a third of the blood of a newborn baby has yet to be delivered. Contraction of the uterus and pulsing of the umbilicus forces blood out of the placenta into newly arrived young mammals. Current birthing procedures seem to be more supportive of control by the attendants than the natural process of birth. How long will we have to wait for the next revelation in human obstetrics – that the most effective aid to delivery is gravity? If you need a better insight into our animal aspects, just ask a veterinarian.
Henry Collins MRCVS
Cronulla, New South Wales, Australia
•  Your articles reminded me of some advice given to me years ago by an elderly district nurse midwife whose career stretched over the 1930-60s in which she delivered more than 2,000 babies and lost not one. Whether cutting or clamping, the cord was never touched until it had stopped pulsating. Will the NHS never learn?
Brian Lawrence
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire


Ministers are again discussing means-testing pensioners’ benefits (“Tax on pensioners’ perks seen as way to save billions”, 25 April).
They need to decide whether they want  to encourage the current working generation to save  for their retirement, or to discourage them.
Means-testing benefits – or even merely discussing it – raises the question as to how worthwhile pensions saving will be. If people who save for retirement end up paying for things themselves, and people who don’t save are likely to be given the same things as benefits, then why save?
The Prime Minister wants to give people certainty on which to base their savings decisions. His colleagues in government are undermining this.
Paul Main, Fleet, Hampshire
We live, if our politicians can be believed, in such desperate times that every penny saved from the public purse is essential. This has led to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, saying that wealthier pensioners should hand back their fuel allowances and free travel passes.
This is an area in which the Government should lead by setting an example. Can we therefore expect, in the next few days, wealthy members of Parliament, commencing with Iain Duncan Smith himself, setting that example by not only handing back their expenses, but in the case of multi-millionaire MPs, their salaries also?
Ian McNicholas, Waunlwyd, Ebbw Vale
Could I suggest to Iain Duncan Smith a much simpler way of dealing with pensioners’ benefits?
Get rid of all of them – free bus passes, winter fuel allowance, free TV licences, even free prescriptions. They are patronising and demeaning, and suggest that older people are too mentally limited to manage their own budgets but need portions of their money ring-fenced for a single purpose lest they spend the money for their fuel on tonic wine and bingo.
Instead I suggest the Government increase the guarantee level of Pension Credit by about £15 a week for single people.
Catherine Petts, Steventon, Oxfordshire
Iain Duncan Smith’s suggestion that well-off pensioners should voluntarily return the cost of their fuel allowance, bus pass and free TV licence (and presumably free prescriptions, eye-tests, extra tax allowance, exemption from bedroom tax, etc.) to the Government is ludicrous. Will George Osborne now invite high earners to send 5 per cent of their top slice of income to the Government, as they do not “need” the recent cut? If not, why not?
Alan Pavelin, Chislehurst, Kent
Police who needed no  proof of guilt
I have no knowledge of the prevalence of torture in Dubai (“Queen dragged into torture row ahead of Windsor gala”, 19 April) but was reminded of an incident when I was working in the Gulf on a ship that was based in Dubai during the war between Iraq and Iran in the late Eighties.
One day I was invited to visit the splendid forensic science laboratory in the compound of the Special Branch. I saw that the chemistry laboratory was very well equipped and the apparatus all neatly positioned in its allotted places, but, as a chemist myself, could not but notice with surprise that not a single item of glassware with any substance under examination was on any of the benches.  
I pointed out this remarkable degree of tidiness to the man in charge – an Arab from a different country  – who was showing me round. His explanation was chilling, and chills me still: “Ah, most of our prisoners confess”.
Sidney Alford, Corsham, Wiltshire
Scotland sold for English gold
It is curious how much South Britons love to rubbish those on the nationalist side of the debate on Scotland’s future. If Dominic Lawson (24 April) had a better grasp of Scottish history he would know that the Darien disaster in the 1690s played virtually no part at all in the debate over the Union, except as a reminder that the English American colonies refused to help Scots at Darien when the latter were dying. All the pressure came from London. It is a classic southern fantasy to suppose the Scots were gagging for union. On the whole they were not, and English douceurs had to be offered.
Critics fasten on to the economic aspects of independence, but seldom look at the wider picture. If you look at Ireland and Slovakia, for example, they knew they were likely to be poorer if they seceded. I have not yet met a national of any of these countries who for a moment regrets the decision. There are other things more estimable than money, including national freedom of action. Democracy works far better in small countries.
David McDowall, Richmond, Surrey
Dominic Lawson, writing about Scotland, says: “That proud nation’s disastrous investments in Central America led to its being rescued by the government in Westminster at the cost of its independence.” I am no expert on Scottish history. Like most Scots, I was not taught anything about our country pre-union. We might have had a bit of social history, but the political stuff was always post-union.
As I now understand, Scotland’s attempts to set up a trading colony were thwarted by the English and I believe Spain.
The aristocrats who ran Parliament and had lost money on the failed and thwarted venture to establish a Scottish trading post accepted the bribe from Queen Anne to reimburse them in return for joining a union with the English Parliament. There were riots all over Scotland at the time and many years later, in writing of the Union, Robert Burns said: “Bought and sold for English gold, such a parcel of rogues in a nation.”
Cyril Mitchell, Dumfries
Landlords let out decent housing
In response to John Boulton’s letter (“Landlords cash in on poverty”, 25 April) I admit to being one of the buy-to-let landlords he criticises.
I have been self-employed since leaving school in the late Eighties and have built a few successful small businesses over the years. This allowed me to buy a couple of houses to put out to let several years ago. Since the property price crash I have been building my portfolio with interest-only mortgages.
Mr Boulton points out that we buy “cheap” housing. Has he ever asked himself why it is cheap? Most commonly it is cheap because it is either derelict or in need of major repair. With no money or drive coming from government, it is likely to stay derelict unless an enterprising buy-to-let “scrounger” brings it back into use.
Once I have bought one of these “cheap” properties, I then expend several thousands of pounds renovating it. When it is finished it can often be worth 20 per cent more than my outgoings, but this is never guaranteed, and as with any investment we can often lose money on a development.
Over 70 per cent of my tenants are waged. Of those claiming benefits, if it were not for the private landlord where would they live? There just isn’t enough social housing to go round. Would Mr Boulton rather they roam the streets, or does he have a spare bedroom he could let out?
I, like the majority of private landlords, take my responsibility to provide decent, well maintained affordable housing very seriously. There are some exceptions. Regulation or licensing as proposed by some councils seems a sensible way forward.
Ronnie Gerrard, Freshfield, Merseyside.
Assault on the football field
Luis Suarez has decided to acquiesce in the matter of his 10-match ban. Opinions differ as to whether his treatment at the hands of the FA is fair and reasonable. The question remaining to be asked is why the matter rests with the FA at all.
While such sanctions as the ban are clearly appropriate in the narrow context of the game, Suarez’s conduct, which was in no way connected with the conduct of play, constitutes assault – and should be treated as such.
If I bit someone during a scrum at the January sales I wouldn’t get a 10-sale ban from Harrods, I’d find myself in a court of law. Why does the law of the land not apply on the sports field? There’s a distinction to be made between unsafe and “dirty” play and wanton aggression.
John Welch, Telford, Shropshire
When GPs did the whole job
You suggest that pressure on A&E units might be reduced if GPs could be persuaded to take back 24-hour responsibility for their patients (26 April). Sixty years ago, when I was a very young boy, I fell on concrete steps and cut open my eye. I was whisked into the village surgery and the doctor stitched up the wound, without an anaesthetic.
If that happened to a child today he would probably be flown by air ambulance to the nearest hospital A&E unit. In the days of proper family doctors, minor operations were carried out in the doctor’s surgery or even in the patient’s home.
Mike Stroud, Swansea
Flourishing fritillaries
I was interested to read Michael McCarthy’s article on the declining number of snakeshead fritillaries in the UK (24 April). I make every effort to replicate a natural environment which bulbs can thrive in, planting in drifts and swathes.
This year has been no exception, and I am thrilled to say that at Arundel Castle we have had virtually no losses among our newly planted bulbs. We are currently proud to have nearly 10,000 snakeshead fritillaries approaching full bloom, naturalised at the entrance to the Castle’s walled gardens.
Martin Duncan, Head Gardener,  Arundel Castle, West Sussex
No profit, no problem
James Paton (letter, 24 April) is clearly one of Thatcher’s children in that he shares her obsession that only things that are run for profit can excel. This is clearly untrue. The best regarded bank in this country is a mutual, the best insurance company is a mutual, the best supermarket is a workers’ co- operative. The best schools in the world are the state comprehensive schools of Finland, where private education is simply not allowed.
Dudley Dean, Maresfield, East Sussex
Starbucks excuse
When I hear a representative from Deloittes stating that “Starbucks does not make a profit in this country” (the UK, where Deloittes audits Starbucks accounts), I am reminded of President Bill Clinton claiming “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Both are good legal defences, but they do not wash with the public.
Joel Baillie-Lane, Bristo


Cognitive thinking and deductive reasoning should not get more attention than other kinds of intelligence
Sir, Matthew Parris’s piece (Opinion, Apr 27) about a University Technical College (UTC) in Staffordshire exemplifies his thoughtful journalism but, regrettably, he makes the same mistake that has bedevilled UK learning for at least the whole of my lifetime — the conceit that there’s the vocational and then there’s the academic.
Academic is associated with universities (although they deliver vocational learning, such as medicine and electrical engineering), while vocational is associated with just about everything else. The fundamental flaw we suffer is the attention we have given cognitive thinking and deductive reasoning above any other kind of intelligence. In the performing arts, where I am, you would have to close your eyes to what is in front of you to suppose that performers and those who make performance possible (yes, vocational) are inactive intellectually.
Mark Featherstone-Witty
Founding Principal/CEO, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts
Sir, What a joy it was to read Matthew Parris’s article and to learn of his, and Michael Gove’s, thinking about the need to offer a vocational training option for 14 to 19-year-olds — something which has been overdue since, in 1868, the House of Commons Select Committee on scientific instruction highlighted the need for systematic vocational training from shop-floor to boardroom.
In his 2004 City & Guilds fellowship lecture, Education for Industrial Defeat: the Postwar British Record, Correlli Barnett described in graphic detail the failure by successive governments to tackle this issue. He concluded: “We are still stuck in that unending prologue. Who can guess what tomorrow’s one-off and short-term Whitehall educational wheeze will be?”
Let’s hope the UTC concept and the new TechBacc become firmly established as mainstream options and not “wheezes” to be undone by the next government.
Andy Watts
Upminster, Essex
Sir, Academies need not be aimed only at those with a practical technology and business future, but can be extraordinary places for arts education. We do not question the idea of very young students attending music schools or schools for the performing arts, from younger than age 14. Both my parents attended art school in the 1930s from the age of 14 to 18 before continuing to the Royal College of Art to take their ARCA degrees.
The education they received was rigorous and wide-ranging and gave them a real depth of learning.
From their generation came the great designers and image makers of the Festival of Britain and the surging creativity of the 1960s with all that meant for the economy. It was a proper apprenticeship, with the same concentration on excellence and learning of skills that any technical apprenticeship must provide. A modern arts-based academy could achieve all this and more with the technologies now available.
Liz Howes
Hempstead, Kent
Sir, A good further education (FE) college already offers the same as a UTC. Lord Baker of Dorking is being unhelpful and financially wasteful and risks destabilising the FE sector.
David Clark
Neston, Cheshire

‘A person who is willing to come to be interviewed at the police station does not need to be arrested’
Sir, Libby Purves (“The police must stop this craze for arrests”, Apr 29) does not mention a crucial further point: the arrests to which she refers were probably all unlawful.
The Serious Crime and Security Act 2005 s.24(4) states that an arrest is only lawful if it is necessary. A person who is willing to come to be interviewed at the police station does not need to be arrested.
The PACE Code of Practice on Arrest was amended last October to make the point crystal clear. New Note 2F says that an arrest would not be necessary where the officer “is satisfied as to their identity and address and that they will attend the police station voluntarily to be interviewed, either immediately or by arrangement at a future date and time”.
This February Lord Hanningfield won damages for unlawful arrest after the police arrived mob-handed at his bungalow at 6.45am.
His arrest was unlawful, the court held, because he would have been willing to attend voluntarily at the police station.
If more of those subjected to this abuse took Lord Hanningfield’s course of action, and sued, the police might pay more attention to the law.
Michael Zander, QC
Emeritus Professor, LSE

While stories of proms and limos for nursery age children abound, it seems to be a different story in South Wales
Sir, I live in a high-unemployment, recession-ravaged area of industrial South Wales. As I read about proms and limos for nursery schoolchildren, police commissioners squandering money on fanciful posts and elocution lessons for babies (Apr 29), I feel increasingly that I must be living on a different planet. These stories are so far from the reality of life around here. I feel that we are regressing to the age of serfs and lords who inhabited the same land but whose lives were totally divorced from each other.
Joy Davies
Ammanford, Carmarthenshire

It will be shameful if the British Government does not enable the Afghan interpreters to settle in this country
Sir, Afghan interpreters have exposed themselves and their families to real danger in the service of this country.
If, as appears likely from your report (Apr 27), the Government refuses to allow them to settle in the UK, it will be nothing less than shameful.
They deserve better from us. After all, we are only talking about a maximum of some 600 people and their families.
Robert Rhodes, QC
London WC2

‘If the distress caused cannot be atoned for by a self-regulating press, then some may say that legislation is the only answer’
Sir, Like many members of the public I will welcome a Royal Charter that enshrines press freedom and self-regulation, like the one suggested by the industry itself (report, Apr 26), but doubts still remain.
In regard to apologies, your article quotes the charter as stating, “the board should have the power to require the nature, extent and placement of a remedy”. Celebrities and politicians aside, many members of the public have been victims of misleading headlines from some publications in the past. If the distress caused cannot be atoned for by a self-regulating press, then some may say that legislation is the only answer.
A commitment by the press to move apologies to a more prominent place in the edition and a commitment to expend as much coverage and effort to correcting mistakes as they expended committing them would be a very welcome addition to what is the only practical Royal Charter of the two.
Mark Finnigan

SIR – Thousands of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) in Britain are being denied the treatments, support and access to neurologists and nurses they need.
Research by the MS Society shows that six out of 10 eligible people with MS are not getting treatments that can reduce the frequency or severity of attacks, and in some cases slow the progression of disability. Those under the greatest financial pressure are the most in need of social care and support, but the least likely to get it. Access to treatments and services also varies dramatically across Britain.
Living with MS can be a daily battle to manage – it shouldn’t involve a battle with health and social care authorities, too.
As people whose lives are affected by MS, we urge the Government to stop this lottery and ensure people have fair access to the treatments and services they need, when they need them, wherever they live.
Max Beesley
Actor and musician
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The Vaccines
Danny Wallace
Former professional footballer
Gok Wan
Fashion consultant and TV presenter
Joe Wilkinson
Comedian and actor
Janis Winehouse
Mother of singer Amy Winehouse
Oritsé Williams
SIR – Ministers are considering the way forward as our Trident nuclear deterrent approaches the end of its life.
It is sometimes said that our nuclear deterrent is a waste of money because no British prime minister would ever dare to authorise its use. But we should not seek to define the circumstances when the prime minister might take such a momentous decision, save with the hallowed words “when our supreme national interest so requires”. Nor should we depart from our long-standing position regarding the first use of nuclear weapons, except to say that we shall never be the first to use any weapons, save in response to aggression.
To be effective, any nuclear deterrent must be absolutely secure against pre-emptive attack. Neither land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) nor weapons launched from aircraft meet this basic requirement. Cruise missiles, from wherever they are launched, must be considered second best, particularly in respect of their limited range and greater en-route vulnerability.
The second essential requirement is continuous at-sea deterrence, that is to say 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year. Relying upon a submarine in the process of deployment or returning to base is not acceptable. It would be a brave prime minister – some might say foolhardy – who would authorise the inevitably visible departure of a missile-carrying submarine at a moment of rising tension or international difficulty.
Trident’s successor must consist of submarine-launched ICBM’s and four submarines. I very much hope that the Prime Minister and his colleagues are approaching the same conclusions.
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Lord Trefgarne
London SW1
SIR – The Prime Minister sets out why Britain needs an independent nuclear deterrent for our long-term insurance (Comment, April 4).
He might recall the replacement of the “Trip-Wire” philosophy of the Fifties and Sixties by that of Flexible Response. This provided strong conventional forces to underpin nuclear weapons, with a nuclear response as the last resort, not the first. It was a credible strategy that stood the test of time; it may no longer be possible.
Our conventional forces are the smallest since the Twenties. We may have some excellent capabilities but we are close to critical mass, if not below. Further cuts to defence are threatened. All this reduces the credibility of replacing the nuclear deterrent without an honest and comprehensive review of our conventional capabilities.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon
Vice-Admiral Sir Jeremy Blackham
Allen Sykes
London SW1
Press regulations
SIR – Critics of the press industry’s proposed royal charter, who claim that it is “defying Parliament”, ought to be a bit careful about how they are divining what the “will of Parliament” actually is in this matter. The charter put forward on March 18 was never voted on in Parliament, which merely had before it a motion that day to “consider… the Prime Minister’s intention to submit the Charter to the Privy Council”. There was no division on a substantive motion, so we don’t know what the view of the House might have been.
The only vote that took place – the one that was passed by 508 votes to 40 – was in fact merely on a technical timetabling motion relating to the proposed new clauses on exemplary damages in the Crime and Courts Bill, which is an entirely subsidiary issue. Furthermore, no votes have taken place on the charter in the House of Lords.
So it is impossible to work out what the will of Parliament on the proposed charter is, and wrong, therefore, to say that the press is defying it. If Parliament were in fact to be prescribing specific systems of regulation, that would be statutory control with all its massive implications.
Lord Justice Leveson called for independent voluntary self-regulation. As a former president of the Privy Council, it seems to me that the press’s proposal deserves the equal consideration and full public scrutiny that the charter process gives it.
Lord Wakeham
London SW1
No more hard copies
SIR – I have just finished researching the story of my uncle, who had no children, using hard copies of letters, photographs and documents from 70 or more years ago.
What are researchers going to do in 50 years’ time when there are no such archives left from present and future generations, who have relied on email?
John Franklin
East Horsley, Surrey
Fine dining
SIR – I was interested to read that Princess Margaret believed “three or four courses for lunch and five for dinner are sufficient” (report, April 26). In this household, lunch consists of one course and dinner, two. My GP would have something to say if we took four courses for lunch, and five for dinner.
Lynne M Collins
Hadleigh, Essex
Vote on gay marriage
SIR – The Government is forcing through fundamental changes to the nature of marriage, and has failed to think through the consequences properly. We are leaders of large, ethnically diverse denominations in Britain – growing churches. Instead of hearing our concerns, the Government is taking direction from tiny faith groups to infer backing for its plans.
If the Government gets its way, it will not be a victory for equality. Equality requires diversity, and diversity requires distinctiveness, and marriage is and always will be distinctively a union between a man and a woman. By changing marriage from its historic foundation it would be creating a legal fiction, and consequently devaluing this vitally important social institution. The Government is not respecting difference, and it is not promoting a plural society.
The people of Britain need to have their say. These plans were not in any party’s manifesto, and if the Government had any respect for democracy it would allow a referendum before making fundamental changes to the nature of marriage.
Rev Yemi Adedeji
Director, One People Commission
Rev Kingsley Appiagyei
Senior Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church
Bishop Eric Brown
National Overseer, New Testament Church of God
Rev Dr Daniel Chae
Executive Director, Amnos Ministries
John Glass
General Superintendent, Elim Pentecostal Church
Pastor Agu Irukwu
Senior Pastor, Jesus House
Dr Tani Omideyi
Senior Minister, Love & Joy Ministries
Pastor Siew Huat Ong
Senior Pastor, Chinese Church in London
Manoj Raithatha
National Coordinator, South Asian Forum
Bishop Wilton Powell
National Overseer, Church of God of Prophecy
Sheep dogs
SIR – Your report (April 25) on the sheep that thinks it is a dog after being brought up with three puppies provided much amusement for my family.
We have a four-week-old Castlemilk Moorit orphan lamb happily sharing the garden by day, and the Aga by night, with three whippets, a retriever plus a large lurcher. Recently, this canine majority was further increased when our two children arrived for lunch with their two terriers and two Rhodesian ridgebacks.
In spite of being outnumbered, the lamb continued to rule the pack.
Nigel Thursby
Patney, Wiltshire
SIR – About 25 years ago, we had a lamb that was orphaned at three days old; we had no option but to bring it inside, and bottle feed it.
It soon thought that it was one of our sheepdogs, playing football with them outside. It was initially known as “lamb, lamb” but before too long became known as “that damn lamb”, especially as it used to rush upstairs and jump on our bed, waking us up.
Candy Haley
Cobham, Surrey
Churchill’s image should feature on a £50 note
SIR – The outgoing Governor of the Bank of England’s valedictory act has been the adoption of Winston Churchill’s image on the £5 note, to be introduced in 2016 (report, April 27).
However, at the time of Churchill’s famous wartime speech, a fiver was a magnificent crisp white note of high value. A £50 note would make a more suitable background for the great leader’s image.
Charles Ranald
Stoke, Hampshire
SIR – Why has it taken so long to afford this honour to Britain’s greatest statesman, and why have we to wait another three years before the banknotes enter circulation?
Bill Hollowell
Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
SIR – I hope that the incoming Governor of the Bank of England will use his influence to ensure that the new £5 note is as tough and long-lasting as Winston Churchill, by ensuring that it is produced using the latest polymer technology.
With luck, our other banknotes will follow suit, reducing printing costs in the long term and avoiding the disgraceful condition some notes are in.
Richard Sweet
SIR – I am delighted that Winston Churchill’s image will appear on a new £5 note. Hopefully, too, in my lifetime, Margaret Thatcher will be similarly honoured.
Dominic Shelmerdine
London W8

Irish Times

Sir, – Minister of State for Small Business John Perry told Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tóibín in the Dáil this week that people are leaving Ireland by choice and not because there are no jobs in the country.
As a recent graduate of St Angela’s College, Sligo, I now teach in Essex. Being a “young person”, as Mr Perry puts it, I have always wanted to travel and it was on my list of things to do in my life. However, there is an insurmountable difference between wanting to travel and leaving your home, family and friends for a job. Just because we are young and may not have families or commitments, emigration is not as easy and exciting as it seems in the idealistic view.
There is a strange numbness to living and working abroad with no one close to you. We are not here on a holiday; we are here because we need to be. Yes, when the initial move happens, leaving can build up a level of excitement. It has to. It’s either that, or cry!
However, within a few days, weeks or maybe months, that excitement fades and you are fully faced with reality.
You are faced with the reality that you are away from all your family and friends. The disturbing reality that you will miss important family events. You miss being there for the major milestones; your parents’ birthdays. You will miss being there for your siblings as they go through their Leaving Cert; you will miss their debs. These are the most important days in their lives.
You miss the excitement that a family shares with the news of a family member expecting, you miss the news of friends getting engaged. You miss the local news of the community, football results, and deaths in your local area, closure and opening of businesses, birthdays; the list is endless.
Every time you ring home you and speak to the family that you miss so much, all of these things, no matter how big or small, build up in your heart until that night when you’re sitting in your new “home” alone, feeling lost.
It’s hard to understand the difficulty of being away from home until you experience it. Personally, I forget that life goes on back home while I’m here and therefore when news arrives it takes me by surprise. There are two things you can do: accept that your life is different now and that you won’t be as involved in family life as before, or refrain from settling in your new niche and live in hope of the day that you can go back home.
Mr Perry states, “You just cannot wave a magic wand”. I fully agree, but the situation is not as simple as to say, “It’s a choice!”
I could be at home right now in a country that cannot support me, and claim social welfare rather than live away from loved ones, lonely (despite the friends you make abroad it is not the same!), work endless hours and try to make pennies stretch so that I can support myself. Which would the Minister prefer me to choose?
We need to do all we can to find that magic so people like me can get home to their families and live at home. As the saying goes, Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin.
Don’t stop fighting to keep people in their homeland because of a false belief that it’s their choice to go, because I for one would be in Ireland if it were my choice. – Yours, etc,
(From Galway),
Westbourne Grove,

Sir, – There are grossly unfair disparities in the property tax valuations (already alluded to in your columns), as between artisan dwellings and neighbouring suburban properties in this ward. Modest single- and two-storey dwellings are in the same valuation category with larger ones. The latter include terrace type red-brick properties of two and three storeys with front and larger rear gardens, some with garages. A few even possess a mews with about the same floor area as some artisan dwellings! ( Perhaps the same penal valuations may also apply to similar dwellings countrywide).
In order to quantify these disparities, I applied the former rateable valuation (RV) standard – it sufficed for nearly 120 years – to the Revenue Commissioners’ mid-point valuation bands of the property tax table. This analysis disclosed the excessive valuations ranged from 53 per cent to more than 200 per cent.
It is difficult to understand how economists, trade unionists, certain voluntary bodies, Dáil deputies, senators and councillors failed to detect such rack-rent valuations. Should any such persons – and others – wish to check my figures, that can be arranged. – Yours, etc,
Thor Place, Dublin 7.

Sir , – With reference Manchán Magan’s article on the Tricolour flying over the Imperial Hotel and other buildings in 1916 (Weekend Review, April 20th), may I point out that the flag on the hotel was that of the Irish Citizen Army, a green flag with the a plough and the stars across its centre and a fringe of gold around the edge.
On the GPO was hoisted a Tricolour flag, but this was a green flag with the words “Irish Republic” in white and orange inscribed across its centre. A report from the Dublin Saturday Post early May 1916 states, “High above the building [GPO)]the Republican flag flutters excitedly over the stifling atmosphere of dust laden smoke. The flames lick and kiss the pole on which it hangs. With the aid of a powerful field glass I see its white letters with the words ‘Irish republic’ on its surface . . . During four days and nights it had flown above the building proudly and defiantly.”
It fell to the ground on the fifth day when the base of the flagpole caught fire, and was discovered by British soldiers as they advanced up the street after the ceasefire.
Both flags are at the National Museum Collins Barracks. The tricolour flag “in a homologically vertical arrangement” was not flown in 1916. – Yours, etc,
Walled Garden,

Sir, – I support Dr Greg Foley’s request (April 15th) that he should be allowed question the proposal that IoTs are deserving of university status without having to be called elitist and caricatured as a snob. I am also staggered that there has not been an avalanche of rebuttals of his argument from those leading that upgrading campaign. Dr Foley’s argument is that since students in IoTs have on average 300 points, they are not properly capable of taking honours (level 8) degrees and thus an institute could not conceivably be a university.
Apart from the fact that a focus on output instead of input would be a more accurate indicator of whether the institutes’ students are up to scratch; and leaving aside the larger question of whether the university brand would be damaged by the IoTs’ inclusion, this claim that IoT students are simply not able for level 8 degrees cannot go unchallenged.
Surely there is someone in the management stream of the IoT sector (the stream that is spearheading this upgrading campaign) who will provide evidence to counter this open denigration of the IoT product? It’s not as though Dr Foley is merely talking about a future scenario, as IoTs have been running honours degrees for yonks.
Can we have some articulate leadership and communication on this issue? – Yours, etc,
Lecturer in Communication,
Cork Institute of
Technology, Cork.
Sir, – I disagree with Dr Greg Foley’s letter (April 15th). With all of his experience, Dr Foley has failed to realise that the CAO points system comes down to merely supply and demand and is not an indicator to the quality of the education received or to the work ethic of every student on that course.
Although a student may gain entry to an institute, that is not to say he or she will exit the institute with a qualification, – Yours, etc,
Waterford Institute of
Technology Student,
Ballydehob, Cork.

Irish Independent

• I am writing to you in response to the speech by Minister of State for Small Business John Perry in the Dail. He told Sinn Fein’s Peadar Toibin that people are leaving Ireland by choice, not because there are no jobs here.
Also in this section
McDowell right on whip system
Special accolade for hypocrisy
Disenfranchised are real victims
As a recent graduate of St Angela’s College, Sligo, I now teach in Essex. Being a “young person”, as Mr Perry puts it, I have always wanted to travel, and it was on my life’s list of things to do. However, there is a difference between wanting to travel and leaving your home, family and friends for a job.
Mr Perry is in a situation where he goes home to his family and has his friends nearby; he does not know the strange numbness that exists in living and working abroad with no one close to you. We are not here on holiday – we are here because we need to be.
The excitement of being away fades and you are faced with the reality that you are away from all your family and friends; you will miss important family events – your parents’ birthdays, your siblings’ Leaving Cert and their debs. These are among the most important days in their lives.
Every time you ring home and speak with the family you miss so much, all of these things, no matter how big or small, build up in your heart until that night when you’re sitting in your new ‘home’ all alone, feeling lost.
Mr Perry says “you just cannot wave a magic wand”. I agree, but the situation is not so simple as to say: “It’s a choice!”
I could be at home right now in a country that cannot support me and claim social welfare rather than live away from loved ones, work endless hours here in the UK and try to make pennies stretch so I can support myself.
Which would you prefer I choose, minister?
Una O’Neill
Galway (working in Essex)
Time for a super tax
• It would seem Finance Minister Michael Noonan is unable to place any constraint on the over-inflated pay packets of Richie Boucher and others. This is due, he constantly attests, to contractual obligations brought on by the heroic Soldiers of Destiny’s rampage through our economy some years back. He is well able to cut like an acetylene torch through the wage packets and pensions of ordinary workers and the meagre allowances of those unable or too ill to defend themselves.
Perhaps I can make a suggestion that might help our beleaguered, if somewhat uninspired, minister. Tell Messrs Boucher, Kane and others that they can have their astronomical salaries and perks, but that due to newly enacted legislation they will have to pay a super tax of 75pc on them. I know this sounds harsh, but it will still leave Mr Boucher with an annual salary of around €250,000 – about five times the pay of a garda, nurse or teacher.
If this tax was spread among all the captains of commerce and banking earning €500,000 and more per year, we would not be long in clearing the debts we owe without having to tell the poor, sick, disabled and those struggling with an unpayable mortgage that this country does not care about them and that they will have to continue to bear the burden while Mr Boucher et al can continue to live the dream.
I am not a consultant or anything like that, so I probably won’t get any financial recompense for my advice, but hey, Mr Noonan, this one is on the house.
Chances of this ever happening? Snowflakes and hell suddenly spring to mind.
Tom Mangan
Ennis, Co Clare
Saving ourselves
• There will no doubt be plenty of coverage of the Icelandic elections in the media over the forthcoming week, with the usual talking heads wheeled out to make the usual good and bad comparisons between Iceland and Ireland.
However, with the Government, politicians and commentators eagerly promising and expecting the emergence of Ireland from the scrutiny and rigours of the troika – and in the process raising expectations that things will soon be returning to normal – perhaps we should bear in mind the words of Hallgrimur Helgason. Iceland’s most famous novelist, when commenting on Iceland (these words could equally be applied to Ireland), said: “We have to save ourselves from ourselves. We have to minimise the effect our own politicians can have on our society. We have to get some rules from the outside.”
Maybe we should reflect on the past 12 years and welcome the departure of the troika with not a small amount of apprehension and alarm.
Justin O’Callaghan
Booterstown, Co Dublin
I’m disgusted at FF
• Having seen the image in Saturday’s Irish Independent, I wish to object strongly to the use by Fianna Fail of the famous photo of the raising of the Stars and Stripes on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima, shot by Joe Rosenthal in 1945.
Extremely brave men fought and died in the hell that was the battle for Iwo Jima, and I think it is nothing short of disgusting for Fianna Fail to hijack and use this iconic image for their own selfish publicity.
Joe Rosenthal would surely turn in his grave.
Frank McGur
Get outside and play
• What do children play nowadays? Do they spend all their time on Facebook and Twitter? Do they spend hours continuously at the computer in their bedrooms, getting no fresh air? Do they arrive at school with tired eyes and fall asleep at their desks, having no time for conversation or study? I think so.
Let me bring you back to when I was a young teenager. We had a valley behind the house where I lived on the Naas Road and we played Robin Hood and his Merry Men. I was always Maid Marian as I was the only girl in the group of six or seven boys, but we had such fun robbing the rich to save the poor. We would be out playing our games for hours and hours in the fresh air.
We also enjoyed playing cowboys and Indians in the roles of the famous Annie Oakley, Billy the Kid, Jesse James, the Sundance Kid and Wild Bill Hickok.
We copied in our childishness the cowboy films ‘Gunsmoke’, ‘Shane’ and ‘Stagecoach’. Our imaginations were as glorious as the Technicolor on the screen. We, as children, could have written the screenplays for the films as we were so polished and exact in our performances with each other as heroes.
There is a lot to be said for those days. Enjoyment, fun, friendly interaction, using our imaginations and, most of all, fresh air. When our mothers and fathers called us for bed, you could be assured we would sleep well until the next morning because using our imaginations and being out in the fresh air were exhausting in the best way possible.
As the Lone Ranger used to say: “Hi-yo, Silver! Away!”
Terry Healy
Kill, Co Kildare
Eating their words
• Having trounced Newcastle United 6-0 at the weekend, what genius said Liverpool would lack “bite” without the suspended Luis Suarez?
Sean Kelly
Tramore, Waterford
It just makes no sense
• If a farmer suffers suicidal ideation because his livestock are starving, does anyone recommend, let alone legislate for, the destruction of his cattle?
Would anyone say, sure the animals are going to die anyway? Surely every effort will be made to save the livestock – and thus the farmer?
If I am threatening to take my own life because I can’t pay my debts, am I entitled to have my debt ‘terminated’? In the same way, legislating for the destruction of the unborn just doesn’t make sense.
Fr Eamonn McCarthy CC
Charleville, Co Cork


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