Joan

Joan 3rd May 2013

I trot round the park today and listen to the Navy lark. I Oh dear, oh dear
Troutbridge is sent off to escort a German visiting flotilla. They of course get lost but finding them eventually Troubbridge races in order to get ahead and lead them into Portsmouth harbour. But they both enter simultaneously and there isn’t room so crash. Priceless.
A warm day so tired see Joan her pants arrive see Sandy,
We Watch Forsyke Sage third episode James wife dies and Soames finds an unwilling bride
I wins at Scrabble today, just and gets just over 400, she might get her revenge tomorrow, I hope.

Obituary:

Countess Ilona Edelsheim Gyulai
Countess Ilona Edelsheim Gyulai, who has died aged 95, was the daughter-in-law of Admiral Nicholas Horthy, Hungary’s head of state during the Second World War, when the country was allied with Nazi Germany.

Countess Ilona Edelsheim Gyulai Photo: GETTY
5:56PM BST 03 May 2013
As such she was at the heart of a regime considered by many to be characterised by anti-Semitic Fascism. Yet in the end she and Horthy were arrested by the Gestapo, suspected of betraying the Reich; and she herself was the recipient of a crucial document written by two escapees from Auschwitz that helped alert the outside world to the plight of Jews in the camps. The beautiful scion of an ancient Hungarian noble family, she eventually married a British military attaché and settled in Sussex.
The Vrba-Wetzler report was written in late April 1944 by Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler, both Slovaks who had managed to escape from Auschwitz two weeks previously. It gave details and contained sketches of the camp’s gas chambers and crematoria, estimating that up to 6,000 people a day could be murdered and disposed of. For many readers the document was the first to lay bare the true scale of the genocide then under way.
Scholars have debated when exactly the report was distributed in Hungary, though most suggest mid-May, several weeks after the Germans had occupied Hungary for the first time and begun deporting Jews in earnest. Ilona Edelsheim Gyulai insisted, however, that she did not receive it until July 3, when it was given to her by Sandor Torok, a writer and president of the Society of Christian Jews in Hungary.
The German occupation of March 1944 brought to an end years of relative independence for Hungary, during which Horthy, as Regent, had negotiated a delicate, turbulent relationship with Hitler. Notably, he had profited from German influence to regain some territory lost in 1920 at the Treaty of Trianon, and used the Nazis as a shield from potential aggression by the Soviet Union.
In 1941 Horthy had yielded to Hitler’s demand that Hungary allow German troops to cross its territory en route to Yugoslavia. But he managed to resist outright domination until the penultimate year of the war, when the Germans – who suspected that he was secretly negotiating an armistice with the western Allies – invaded and ordered him to form a new government.
Ilona Edelsheim Gyulai claimed in her memoirs that in the months following the occupation she became part of a secret band of “conspirators” that included churchmen and Jean de Bavier, the Swiss International Red Cross Commissioner. The secret committee was in touch with Jewish groups, which passed on information about the rapidly deteriorating situation, and it was thus that Torok came to give Ilona Edelsheim Gyulai the Vrba-Wetzler report.
“As soon as Torok left I went down the spiral staircase to my parents-in-law’s apartment,” she wrote in Honour and Duty (2000). “Only my mother-in-law was there. I handed her the record… she was moved to tears and promised to give it to Miklospapa [Horthy] as soon as he returned from his study.” When he read it, she noted, he was “deeply shocked”.
Three days later, on July 6, Horthy’s government refused to carry out any further deportations. By then, however, some 400,000 Jews had been sent to their deaths from Hungary. “Some people,” she wrote, “allege that the Regent knew much earlier about the Auschwitz extermination camp. In my judgment this is impossible… he would certainly have told us. He would have had no reason to hide it from me.”
In fact, she insisted, Horthy had long held out against repeated German demands for the deportation of Hungarian Jews. Until the Germans marched into Hungary, the country’s Jewish population — numbering a quarter of a million in Budapest alone — was virtually untouched by the Holocaust.
Within weeks of the occupation, however, the Jewish population in the Hungarian countryside had been rounded up and loaded on to trains bound for Auschwitz. Whether Horthy could have done more to prevent these deportations has long been debated. Despite the huge death toll, more than 200,000 Hungarian Jews survived the war, a number inconceivable had Horthy not secured relative independence for his country for so long.
Ilona Edelsheim Gyulai de Marosnémethi et Nádaska was born on January 14 1918 in Budapest, the youngest daughter of Count Leopold Edelsheim Gyulai, who had wanted a son. She had barely passed her first birthday when Hungary was declared a Soviet Republic and a Communist dictatorship was briefly established. In 1920 the Treaty of Trianon stripped Hungary of two-thirds of her territory; the family’s estate in the Carpathian foothills of Upper Hungary – where Ilona spent her childhood – was ceded to Czechoslovakia. In the same year Horthy, a naval hero who had commanded the counter-revolution following the collapse of the Hungarian monarchy at the end of the First World War, was elected Regent.
When Ilona’s mother departed to live with a man from a nearby village, her father was left to bring up three young daughters. He soon remarried, his second wife already having a daughter of her own, and the four girls were educated by governesses. Winters were spent at the family’s elegant house in Budapest, where the girls did “the season” and, aged 18, “came out”. When she was 19, in 1937, Ilona travelled to London for the Coronation of King George VI, and backed a couple of winners at Newmarket.
During the bitter winter of 1939, Ilona Edelsheim Gyulai attended a grand ball at the Opera House in Budapest where she met Stephen Horthy (named after Hungary’s first king and called István in Hungarian and Pista by his friends), the elder son of the Regent. A fighter pilot in the Hungarian Air Arm, he was then 35 and unmarried. He was also Vice Regent.
He proposed during a subsequent skiing trip, and the couple married in April 1940. After a honeymoon touring the Middle East in Stephen Horthy’s private aircraft, they settled into their small flat at the Royal Palace in Budapest.
Her husband, she said, bridled under the Nazi yoke like his father. And in August 1942 he was killed in an unexplained air crash over the Russian Front, rumoured to have been an act of German sabotage. Although Hitler sent Ilona Edelsheim Gyulai his personal condolences, she believed he was gratified to be rid of the young airman. A report by the German ambassador to Budapest a few months earlier had described him as evil, pro-British and anti-Nazi, and (as Ilona Edelsheim Gyulai noted in her memoirs) “not above being friendly with Jews”.
She also believed that the Germans had bugged a conversation between her and her husband in which he had determined to return to Budapest from Russia as soon as possible in order to help save Hungary from “its predicament between two enemies” – Russia and Germany. More acutely, he had told her of a secret plan to fly on to England to report on the desperate situation on the Russian front and to plead for help for his country from the Allies.
She remained with her in-laws after her husband’s death. Working as a nurse for the Red Cross, she tended Hungarian wounded returning from the Russian front and casualties wounded in American bombing raids. She also helped her father-in-law with official business and her image even appeared on postage stamps. She was visiting the central city of Szolnok for the unveiling of a statue of her husband in March 1944 when she heard that German troops had crossed the Hungarian border.
On her return to Budapest she found two armed German guards flanking the gate to the Palace courtyard. Her father-in-law, just back from Berlin, appeared in a state of exhaustion, having been informed by Hitler that Germany had received proof of Hungary’s intention to go over to the enemy side, and was thus invading as a precautionary measure.
Six months later, in October, Horthy was arrested after announcing on radio that Hungary had indeed signed an armistice – but with the Soviets, whose army had reached Hungary’s borders.
Negotiations with Stalin had in fact been going on for months. Ilona Edelsheim Gyulai recalled her “indescribable sadness” when, in July 1944, Horthy read to her a draft of his letter to Stalin offering to discuss an armistice. Yet talks dragged on and, as the situation continued to deteriorate, Horthy decided to bring matters to a head by broadcasting news of the ceasefire on October 15.
The Germans responded immediately by driving into the palace courtyard and arresting the 76-year-old Regent, his wife, Ilona Edelsheim Gyulai and her young son, and interning them in a castle in Germany. Horthy was forced to repudiate the armistice and to abdicate on pain of the life of his younger son, Nicholas Jr, who had earlier been sent to Dachau. Although Horthy was assured that his signature would guarantee his son’s immediate release, Nicholas Jr remained a prisoner until the end of the war. At Schloss Hirschberg in Bavaria, Admiral Horthy and his family, including Ilona, were guarded around the clock by 100 Waffen SS men.
After their eventual liberation by American troops in May 1945, Ilona and her son remained in Germany. Admiral Horthy, considered a prisoner of war by the Americans, was not released from a Nuremberg jail until Christmas 1945.
In 1948 she and her father-in-law were driven back to Nuremberg, where Horthy testified at the trial of Edmund Veesenmayer, the wartime German plenipotentiary to Budapest. Though sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment, Veesenmayer was released shortly afterwards.
With the help of funds collected in the United States, Ilona, her son and her two in-laws settled in Portugal in 1949.
With her second husband, Col Guy Bowden of the Queen’s Own Hussars, whom she married in 1954, she lived in Baghdad, where he was a British military attaché in the early 1960s. In the early 1980s they bought a manor house in Portugal where she wrote her memoirs, translated into English in 2005.
Admiral Nicholas Horthy, who died in 1957, was reburied in Kenderes, central Hungary, in the family crypt on the Horthy family’s former estate, in 1993. Also reburied were Horthy’s wife and their son, Nicholas Jr, who had died earlier that year.
Ilona Edelsheim Gyulai, who was living at Lewes, East Sussex, at the time of her death, is survived by her son.
Countess Ilona Edelsheim Gyulai, born January 14 1918, died April 18 2013

Guardian

The success of Ukip in the English council elections and South Shields byelection has signalled that the party is now a real political force south of the border (Report, 3 May). Ukip has evolved over the two decades since it was created from an anti-EU pressure group into a fully fledged party which has now proved that it can succeed beyond European elections. The leaders of all other political parties will now be considering how to respond, what to say and what to do in the face of the party’s rise.
To some extent it’s already been offered – David Cameron has pledged a referendum on EU membership next term, for example. UK withdrawal from the EU is likely now to be hastened with Ukip’s success. It will also see the current UK government develop harder positions on immigration and law and order.
As we contemplate a referendum on our nation’s constitutional future, the choice for voters is clear. We can either continue to be part of a UK which will inevitably lurch to the right and withdraw from the EU, or be part of an independent nation which wants to play its full part in the world. Ukip may have been called “clowns”, but it is they who are having the last laugh.
Alex Orr
Edinburgh
• Last month, the chancellor claimed that the government’s policies had the electorate’s support. The local elections would seem to contradict him. Meanwhile, the South Shields ballot pushed the Tories into third place for the second successive byelection; the party has come third or worse in 10 of the 14 mainland byelections of this parliament. The Lib Dems registered a share of 1.4% at South Shields and came seventh. It would be interesting to know if, in their different ways, these two results represent the worst-ever poll showings for governing parties.
W Stephen Gilbert
Corsham, Wiltshire
• My wife said she’d give me a lift to the polling station if I promised not to vote Liberal Democrat. Fat chance of that. Their broken promise not to increase university tuition fees is about to cost my son an extra £18,000 over the next three years. More fundamentally, however, the Lib Dems have robbed me of my belief in politics. I imagine I’m feeling a bit like a religious person who’s lost their faith.
I’ve voted in every election since I was 18. That’s 40 years of voting; 40 years of weighing up the pros and cons of the candidates and comparing what they were saying against my own view of what was right, sensible, just, compassionate, affordable and all the rest of what makes me me. And now I cannot trust any of them.
People have asked me why I don’t stand for election myself. Well, I know first-hand of better people than me who, having been elected with the best of intentions and motives were mauled and spat out by the system leaving them, and me, to reflect on what might have been in a different political landscape. Maybe I should have seen the light back then, but it’s taken the Lib Dems to truly remove the scales from my eyes. And to be fair, it’s not just the Lib Dems, it’s all of them.
So it was another spoiled ballot paper for me, although I did manage not to write obscenities on it this time.
Alan Bowen
Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire
• The Ukip vote on Thursday was a reminder, as the Icelandic election was last weekend, that people disgruntled about the austere world we live in don’t always turn to the left. Above all, however, it is a vote from the saloon bar. Given that such bars and the pubs that contain them are under serious threat, if Farage could focus his attention on saving them from closure, he might at least do something useful at last.
Keith Flett
London
• As a member of Ukip, I note that Nigel Farage admits that one or two BNP members and other undesirables may have “slipped through the net” into our party. I shall be looking to him to see to it that they slip out again as soon as possible.
Robert Edwards
Hornchurch, Essex

The Guardian (27 April) and the Observer (28 April) have recently given coverage to my alleged views about Eton and public service. In both I was quoted out of context. I was not denigrating any school, state or private. Indeed, I have spent large parts of my life working in or around education. This includes running an NGO giving away new medical textbooks in Eastern Europe, during and after the Communist period; serving as board member of an inner-city comprehensive school; helping to set up an early online learning provider; and supporting education and training programmes for young people today, through various local and national organisations. I also taught philosophy for six years at University College London. In my constituency I vigorously promote and support local schools. Indeed, two years ago I set up my own pilot programme for KS2 children in Herefordshire who struggle with maths. Much of this is a matter of public record on http://www.jessenorman.com and http://www.jesse4hereford.com.
Jesse Norman MP
Con, Hereford and South Herefordshire

A royal charter (Editorial, 26 April) is a logical, independent form of press regulation but for it to be effective the new industry watchdog must not be open to the accusation that it is both poacher and gamekeeper. In both of the proposed charters it is suggested that the board will be responsible not only for owning the new standards code, but also for policing it. To avoid this conflict of interest, the new press standards code should be developed and maintained independently of the board, following a process of broad stakeholder involvement, public consultation and consensus. Such an approach already exists in the form of the national standards-making process, for which responsibility lies with BSI as the national standards body. The process is underpinned by an independent, open, collaborative approach to ensure that consensus on any standard is achieved and maintained during future revisions among stakeholders. We are ready to support the charter by overseeing the drafting and maintenance of a new press standards code by experts, who would be drawn from representatives of relevant stakeholders, as agreed. Our well established, independent and internationally respected process would strengthen public trust in the new framework.
Scott Steedman
Director of standards, BSI
• Ed Miliband was the only politician to take on Murdoch two years ago (Comment, 2 May) and he has nothing to lose by taking on the press because they will be setting out to rubbish him in the next election. It’s in our interests that he should succeed because the alternative is a further lurch to the right.
Rod White
Uley, Gloucestershire

We along with thousands of others took part in the magnificent May Day march and rally in Trafalgar Square. A brass band led the procession of trade unionists, students, pensioners and others. Where was the coverage? Not in the Guardian. We found a picture of a druid celebration. There were reports about May Day events in Bangladesh, Spain, Greece, Italy and Turkey. Is there a problem with reporting May Day events at home unless they are about druids?
Ted and Sandra Cuskin
Gateshead, Tyne and Wear
• If it turns out, like Bob Diamond (Report, 3 May), that bankers “never did anything for the money”, we can reduce their salaries and bonuses in the clear knowledge that they won’t seek jobs abroad after all.
Arthur Gould
Loughborough, Leicestershire
• What’s strange about petrichor (Letters, 2 May) is that it’s identical all over the world. A mixture of that and perhaps ions released after rain are odiferous markers of some of the most emotional experiences I ever had of place, from Alaska to Mexico to Ratcliffe on the Wreake.
Brian Smith
Berlin, Germany
• What about hedgehogs (Letters, 2 May). A first sighting today of a road accident hedgehog since the badger population explosion made a hedgehog survival a nightmare. I now treasure sightings of queen bumblebees, also less frequent because of hungry badgers who turn out their nests to eat the bee pupae.
Deb Nicholson
Barrow Gurney, Somerset
• Julian and Sandy may have convinced the innocent audience of Round the Horne that “trollin” involved strolling along the high street with no real purpose, as Joe Birkin puts it (Letters, 1 May). But anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Polari knows it actually means looking for “trade”. I won’t shatter Mr Birkin’s illusions by spelling that out.
Simon Edge
London
• “If you value your privacy, stop Googling” (Letters, 3 May). Coincidence that the writer so concerned about not been snooped on lives in Watchet?
Noel Privett
Whitchurch, Hampshire

As a member of the former Italian Communist party (PCI), can I respond to two assertions made by Alberto Toscano in his article on the new Italian government (Comment, 30 April)?
First, he claims that the proposed historic compromise, supported by Giorgio Napolitano, referred to an alliance between communists and Christian Democrats and that it was “an ill-conceived idea in its own time”. In fact, Eric Hobsbawm, in his extended interview with Napolitano in the mid-70s, explained it more accurately when he said that Berlinguer, then leader of the PCI, observed that the historic compromise must be conceived not as a mere political alliance, but as a mobilisation of a broad range of diverse social groups. The proposal was set out in three articles written by Berlinguer in 1973, after the coup in Chile. Berlinguer talked of a coming together of the three strands of popular socio-cultural and political traditions in Italy – communist, socialist and Catholic – as a possible way forward in the light of the Chilean experience. It was never about a compromise with the Christian Democratic party as such, rather with the Catholic left movement.
Second, Toscano claims the Partito Democratico formed the present government coalition because it wanted to see off Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement. This was not the case at all. The PD, under Pier Luigi Bersani, tried to negotiate a political, policy-based agreement with Grillo, who refused. Grillo is nothing but a dangerous anti-politics clown who is holding the country to ransom and, as a result of his populist demagoguery, the present government was the only viable alternative to fresh elections. It is Grillo’s so-called challenge that is responsible for Berlusconi being back in a position to dictate terms.
Romy Clark Giuliani
Lancaster
• The reason why most of François Hollande’s activity has backfired (Editorial, 3 May) is that he has failed to get on the front foot at any point. Blinded by the desire to be the opposite of the extravagant Sarkozy, Hollande has attempted to be a mixture of “normal” and “presidential”. But with a five-year term in the midst of a severe economic crisis, the public are looking for their president to lead, not be buffeted by events.
Eventually, Hollande has been forced to act – but reluctantly, and in response to the various crises engulfing his government and his ministers. It is no surprise then that he has failed to make a persuasive case for his agenda. The worry is that it is not just his failed government, but the whole regime that is heading for years of political and social upheaval.
Professor John Gaffney
Co-director, Aston University Centre for Europe

Independent

As a long-term Conservative voter who voted Ukip for the first time on Thursday, I despair at the reaction to the local election results by both the Tory and Ukip parties.
The Conservative party chairman seems to think that what they must do to get voters like me back is to “redouble” their efforts to get the economy, jobs, and the welfare system on track. Nigel Farage believes that the reasons so many people have voted for his party is their stand on Europe and immigration.
The Tories will undoubtedly try harder to get the economy right and will in all probability announce plans for a referendum during this parliament on the Europe issue, but this alone will not win back my vote – nor many others.
Ukip is the only party that stands firm against the madness of changing the status of marriage by introducing same-sex “marriages”, and that opposes carbon taxes and wind farms. Yes, Ukip’s position on Europe and immigration are central to their support, but for many it is these other issues that tip the balance.
Henry Paul
Hastings
That Ukip is a one-trick pony is beyond doubt, but one thing is clear: British politics are getting more German. With the Lib Dems rejected and Labour flagging under Ed Miliband, the middle-ground spoils will be up for grabs in May 2015. The most likely outcome at the next general election is a German-style grand coalition led by a Conservative Prime Minister. 
The Germans have kept recession at bay with a conservative parson’s daughter at the helm. The Conservatives have a potential Angela Merkel in Theresa May. Like the Germans, Mrs May is ruthlessly hard-working, can be eye-wateringly blunt and only shares the odd joke in private. 
At the next general election, the fight will be less for a majority than a place at a cabinet table more colourful than a rainbow. Having handbagged the Home Office back into shape, Mrs May could be the Prime Minister to hold all these multi-coloured strands together. The new Iron Lady is on the march; Nigel Farage beware.
Anthony Rodriguez
Staines, Middlesex
The success of Ukip in the English council elections has signalled that the party is now a real political force south of the border.
The leaders of other parties will be considering how to respond. An “in-out” EU referendum is now likely this parliamentary term, moving the UK closer to the exits. It will also see the current UK Government develop harder positions on immigration and law and order.
As we in Scotland contemplate a referendum on our nation’s constitutional future the choice for voters is clear. We can either continue to be part of a UK which will inevitably lurch to the right and withdraw from the EU, or be an independent nation which wants to play its full part in the world.
Alex Orr
Edinburgh
Dear David,
Maybe you are listening now?
John J Cameron
Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire
Stuart Hall case vindicates right to know
The Independent’s Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has played a pivotal role in triggering the police investigation that exposed the sordid secret world of Stuart Hall.
The heart-rending letter she received from a victim of Hall’s “historic” abuse echoed young victims of Jimmy Savile: a sense of shame and a fear that the fame and power of their abuser would stop any complaint being believed.
It was the same (all too often, well-founded) fear that prevented me as a newspaper editor from exposing Savile back in 1994, when two historic victims lost their nerve.
It’s far from unreasonable to conclude that, if it wasn’t for the positive legacy of Savile’s posthumous exposure, none of Stuart Hall’s victims would have found the courage to talk to police. They were luckier, too, in that Lancashire police, unlike some forces in the past, took the allegations seriously.
It’s highly significant, too, that Lancashire police defended disclosing Stuart Hall’s arrest from the start – an eloquent rebuff to those seizing on the Leveson Report to lobby for anonymity for arrested suspects as part of dangerous drift to a more secretive justice system.
For all the Press’s faults, it remains the great protector of the public’s right to know. That is why it’s disappointing that The Independent and its owners haven’t rallied behind the newspaper industry’s alternative Royal Charter proposal.
PAUL CONNEW
St Albans, Hertfordshire
 
Volunteering spirit in London
Mary Dejevsky can rest assured that far from allowing the Olympic volunteering spirit to perish, we are harnessing the fantastic goodwill of last summer’s Games and making volunteering a way of life in London. (“The volunteering spirit of London may perish without a new big idea”, 2 May)
Our army of Team London Ambassadors will continue to bring a smile to people’s faces at central London locations throughout this summer, as well as providing crucial help at major sporting events including the Euroleague Basketball and the Champions Trophy.
Our Ambassadors are also being matched to schools across London to inspire young people to volunteer in their local communities. Research has shown that engaging pupils in volunteering increases their confidence and attainment and improves community cohesion. In addition, we’re targeting more unemployed young people as volunteer recruits and giving them skills training and opportunities at major sporting and cultural events, including the Uefa Champions League Final.
One year on from the Games, in July, we and national charity Join In are hosting an event in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for all the 2012 volunteers to inspire them to continue volunteering and encourage their friends and family to do the same. From the end of May, we will be reaching out to all Londoners to sign up to new Team London opportunities and do something great for our city and local communities.
Volunteering has been rising in London since 2011 and our recent Team London survey showed that 68 per cent of Londoners have been involved in some form of volunteering over the last 12 months. We are determined to build on the volunteering legacy of the Games and to drive thousands of rewarding opportunities across London’s communities.
Veronica Wadley
Senior Adviser to the Mayor of London (Team London and Volunteering), City Hall, London SE1
 
Taking the train from Dorking
Beware statistics! I can well believe the low number of passengers at Denton and Teesside Airport given the paucity of their train service (“Britain’s ghost trains”, 2 May).  But I occasionally use Dorking West, and it is not a ghost station. There are generally a few others on my train. But I won’t be counted in the figures because my ticket will be to “Dorking Stations”, equally valid at Dorking Deepdene, the next stop, served by far more trains.
I doubt if Dorking West has a ticket machine, so passengers would either pay on the train, or would buy their ticket in advance from the staffed Dorking North station on a different line (very close to Deepdene). 
H Trevor Jones
Guildford
 
Too posh to do  the housework
Rosie Millard (2 May) reports her interviewees, who can no longer afford cleaners, as complaining that “it seemed to be the middle class that are suffering most” in the recession, with one saying: “I didn’t go to university for four years in order to do this [cleaning her house].”
As somebody with an “arty, creative, inessential” job who is just about to do the vacuuming, I’m glad that I saw my time at polytechnic 25 years ago as an opportunity to learn about something that I was interested in, rather than as a means of “having it all” and claiming the right to employ somebody to clean up after me in my own home.
John Riches
Brighton
 
Let MPs vote on cigarette packs
The Government will have dropped the ball if it doesn’t find room for standardised cigarette packaging in the Queen’s Speech.
If it’s not part of next week’s speech, MPs must be allowed the opportunity of a free vote on standardised packaging – in the same way they voted to ban smoking in pubs and clubs in 2006. Standardised packs are popular and inexpensive and will help to stop young people getting hooked on a lethal habit. We cannot afford any further delays.
Simon Gillespie
Chief Executive, British Heart Foundation, London NW1
 
We need bees
The National Farmers’ Union predicts the temporary restriction on some neonicotinoid pesticides will cost UK farming £200m a year. But the cost of replacing pollination by bees is estimated as nearly 10 times that. In April an MPs’ inquiry reported that neonicotinoids are not fundamental to farming. But pollination by bees always will be. Government must help farmers face the challenges of today  to avoid the catastrophes of  tomorrow. We need a Bee Action Plan now.
Andy Atkins
Executive Director, Friends of the Earth, London N1
Those French
Anne Penketh (1 May) rehearses a standard British journalistic theme: that the French are somehow strange, or even to be laughed at, for their eccentric wish to speak … French! At least the French take pride in their language, while we seem complacently to allow British English to collapse more and more rapidly beneath American English.
A C Bolger
Stoke-on-Trent
 
Stereotype
You report (3 May) that Mark Bridger, the man accused of murdering April Jones, had cans of Strongbow cider “which the jury heard Bridger bought with benefits on the day April went missing”. What is the relevance of the fact that the cider was bought with benefits?
owen leeds
Preston
 
Fast flowers
Faith Davis (letter, 2 May) tells of her 120 fritillaries. I planted six fritillaries here in my garden in central London four years ago. This year I have had 29, two of which have hopped flower beds.
Elizabeth Kennet
London W2

Times

Sir, Margaret Thatcher was noted for her adoption of the monetarist theory that the way to beat inflation was to limit the supply of money. It is regrettable that the same principle was not adopted to avoid the boom in house prices caused by unrestricted mortgage lending. Before the deregulation of building societies it was not possible to borrow more than the guaranteed maturity value of the associated Life Assurance Policy. In good years this led to a healthy bonus pay-out on maturity, easing the homeowner into retirement. What has now happened was entirely predictable.
Peter Schofield
Oxford
Sir, The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) warning that more than a million interest-only mortgage holders face debts of tens of thousands of pounds at the end of their loan term (report, May 2) should ring alarm bells for mortgage brokers too.
While the FCA’s chief, Martin Wheatley, may have accused some borrowers of wilfully ignoring their own plight, many others will be looking very closely at the advice they received from their broker when they first took out their mortgage.
Those who feel they were not given good advice, or those who believe their broker’s sales pitch was inaccurate or breached appropriate guidelines, may well choose to make a complaint to the FCA. If upheld, this could lead to an investigation into whether the adviser followed the mortgage and home finance conduct of business sourcebook when providing the advice, and if found to have not they could face enforcement/disciplinary action.
Brokers who arranged interest-only mortgages for clients in the boom times would be well advised to review their records carefully, lest they too are caught with their heads in the sand.
Craig McAdam
Slater & Gordon LLP
Sir, When I was practising as a solicitor it was normal for borrowers to be given an illustration of the costs and benefits of the arrangement and this is, presumably, still the case now. These illustrations made an assumption as to the profits and tended to show a surplus at the end of the term, but they also stated that the figures were not guaranteed and that if there was a shortfall at the end of the term it would be the borrower’s responsibility to make it up. When advising a client, it was my practice to reinforce this verbally but, inevitably, in the excitement of buying the house, the potential borrower tended not to read or listen and, in any event, all of that was 25 years into the future. There is, therefore, something in Ross Clark’s suggestion (Thunderer, May 3) that borrowers are not blameless in the situation in which they now find themselves.
Michael Morris
Haverhill, Suffolk
Sir, It would be interesting to know how many of the 13 per cent who did not know they had to organise a repayment plan also claimed that they were mis-sold PPI.
Paul Hughes
Prenton, Wirral
Sir, It has been suggested that some people taking out “interest-only mortgages” did not understand what they were doing. Given the name, will some enterprising lawyer mount a challenge based on the mortgager’s mental incapacity to contract?
Michael Stannard
Verbier, Switzerland

As mobile technology evolves, forces should look for a service that enables them to adapt quickly to opportunities
Sir, While Tom Winsor’s warning about the poor quality of much police technology is by and large correct, he is not making a new observation (report, Apr 29). Police leaders, the Home Office and Police and Crime Commissioners need to understand and address why opportunities offered by technology in the past have not been fully grasped. On a practical level, this means focusing on the outcomes that they want to achieve through technology and then exploring new ways of buying and implementing it.
As mobile technology is evolving rapidly, for example, forces should look for a service that enables them to adapt quickly to opportunities as they come on stream — rather than just buying a single product that can become quickly redundant. They should challenge any preconceptions that police technology is always unique and start with a presumption of collaborating with other sectors and adapting proven solutions. And there should be much greater engagement with industry to explore ideas before procurement and to run procurement in a way that really tests propositions from suppliers.
There are great examples of technology transforming police operations, such as automatic numberplate recognition, but there could be more. The first step is to understand the mistakes of the past.
Neil Amos
PA Consulting Group

There is more than one memorial to the Indian soldiers who gave their lives in the First World War, both here and abroad
Sir, Dr K. Rajagopal (letter, May 1) need not fear that the Indian soldiers who died at Ypres will be forgotten. In addition to the South Downs memorial he mentions, they are commemorated near Ypres by what is easily the most beautiful of all its monuments to the dead. A year ago I witnessed a small, moving ceremony by a detachment of the present Indian Army. One wonders how many of those gallant men would have subscribed to Dr Rajagopal’s reference to “the Empire that had enslaved them”?
John Rimington
London N5
Sir, Dr Rajagopal can be assured that the Indians, and others, who died in the Great War are not forgotten. My wife and I have by chance visited two small war cemeteries devoted to them. One is in a little lane at Neuville, outside Montreuil-sur-Mer, and contains Indians — Muslims on one side of the central path, Hindus on the other. The other is near Arques-la-Bataille near Dieppe, and commemorates men of the African Labour Corps, many of whom just have one name — John, say. What is so poignant about both places is that it seems almost certain that the men in them are totally forgotten by their own communities.
Richard Channon
Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk

Voting to make a point to the mainstream parties in an act of protest only works when the candidate wins a large number of votes
Sir, In some respects, UKIP winning a number of county council seats (report, thetimes.co.uk, May 3) is a good thing; the electorate will now be able to see the capabilities of electing individuals from an unserious, archaic, protesting party. Voting to make a point to the mainstream parties in an act of protest only works when the candidate wins a large number of votes; not when the candidate wins.
My prediction is that the new UKIP councillors will be akin to their European colleagues who abstain from committees and make large noisy protests for any glimpse of media attention, making a mockery of the political system. I do not doubt that there were serious UKIP councillors elected, but they will be in a minority.
When they find out that trying to work with colleagues is difficult, expect either defections to the Conservative Party or withdrawls from the party whip to sit as independents.
James A. Paton
Billericay, Essex

‘There is only a fixed amount of carbon in wood which is released as CO2 whether it rots in the forest or is combusted
Sir, The allegation that “burning wood for power can increase greenhouse gas emissions” (letter, May 2) is false. There is only a fixed amount of carbon in wood which is released as CO2 whether it rots in the forest or is combusted for energy in a boiler.
If wood is converted into composites which are subsequently landfilled after use, greenhouse gases are produced. The major one is methane which is 64 times more powerful than CO2, in greenhouse effect terms.
Professor Andrew Porteous
Wellingborough, Northants

Telegraph

SIR – How sad to feel envious of the beautifully sewn-in name tapes that the Middletons provided for their daughters (report, May 1). At every boarding school pupils come from a variety of backgrounds, some with parents who are exceedingly well off, while others make great sacrifices.
On prize day, old Fords and flashy, new Jags turn up. Most pupils can’t care less.
Christel Pryce
Plymouth, Devon
SIR – My mother sent us to school with name tapes neatly sewn into our clothes. On holiday recently in India I noticed how smart the local children looked as they walked to school along dusty roads from their probably quite poor homes. It’s called pride in one’s appearance.
Sue Tyers
Oakham, Rutland

SIR – While many mothers provide their offspring with “beautifully sewn-in name tapes”, always to have “the ‘smartest’ tennis racquets” is the sign of an arriviste.
Niall Garvie
Bromley, Kent

SIR – Richard Mead (Letters, May 2) asks why the Conservatives refer to Ukip members as “loonies, closet racists and fruitcakes”. The answer is: fear.
The Conservative Party is currently in a vacuum between established dogma and new directives.
Interestingly a similar position faced Robert Peel in 1834, when he revived a declining and discredited Tory Party, damaged beyond repair by Catholic emancipation and political reform.
He asked: “What will you conserve?” before addressing the key issues of the day, and creating a “Conservative” party that combined reform with maintaining the cornerstones of the establishment.
To survive, the Conservatives of today need to create a credible future policy structure, that “conserves” what is essential to the country, while introducing reforms that cross political boundaries, but within party control.
Hamish Alldridge
Pittenweem, Fife
SIR – I am sorry Peter Oborne (Comment, May 2) thinks that I do not “understand the Conservative Party”. Had he said the modern, detoxified, coalitionist party, as opposed to the one which used to gather the votes of more than 13 million electors, I might have found it easier to accept.
Nor can I accept his view that Harold Macmillan was a true Conservative. He was of course a corporatist, as he set out in his book The Middle Way, favouring state controls on the prices of “essential” goods and services, and a blend of state capitalism and socialism.
I regret even more that Mr Oborne could not find room to quote the advice I gave to Conservatives on casting their votes in the local elections. In my Telegraph blog I wrote: “For my part I will be voting for my Conservative candidates. It would be madness to damage our council by the election of Labour, Lib Dem or Green candidates… It isn’t so clear for many other electors. If you have a Labour councillor, the best vote is the one most likely to replace him with a Conservative, Ukip or sound independent one.” That strikes me as good Conservative advice.
Lord Tebbit
London SW1
SIR – David Cameron’s promises remind me of the pub sign: “Free beer tomorrow”.
Brian Hall
Lavant, West Sussex
SIR – Mr Cameron says he will introduce legislation to ensure a referendum is held after the next election, but, constitutionally, a government cannot bind its successors.
Brian Gilbert
Hampton, Middlesex
SIR – Ministers have been referring to Ukip members as clowns. As a writer for the circus magazine The King Pole, I know that, unlike today’s politics, the profession of clowning is an honourable one.
Don Stacey
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
Fracking reality
SIR – As a geologist who has worked in the oil industry for almost 40 years, it was a pleasure to read Peter Lilley’s article on fracking (Comment, April 30). For once, we had somebody who had made an effort to understand some of the technical aspects of the process and who dismissed some of the more alarmist myths.
In contrast, I listened to Question Time last week where Caroline Flint and Caroline Lucas were discussing the same issue. From a technical point of view both were completely wrong and it was obvious that they knew nothing of the actual process involved.
Their comments about fracking causing droughts, due to vast water use, about pumping of heavy metals into the ground and about 3,000 rigs being needed were so ill-informed as to be laughable.
Is it too much to ask our politicians actually to know something about the topic under discussion?
Chris Shannon
Sleaford, Lincolnshire
SIR – When are Tony Bosworth of Friends of the Earth (Letters, May 2) and his supporters going to inform us what happens to renewable energy when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow?
In case he is not aware of the end result of current policies, I will tell him. The lights will go out.
Roy Deal
Locks Heath, Hampshire
SIR – The effects on our landscape and heritage of large-scale shale gas exploitation are nowhere near being properly understood.
Peter Lilley assumes that environmental organisations have already made their mind up. At Campaign to Protect Rural England we are currently considering our policy on the issue, and the approach we take will be based on solid evidence.
Paul Miner
Senior Planning Campaigner
Campaign to Protect Rural England
SIR – If Edward Davey, the Energy Secretary, is deliberately delaying movement on fracking, when it could prove important to the economic future of this country, then where is David Cameron?
C P Fish
Chippenham, Wiltshire
Ring-fencing aid
SIR – The six think tanks (Letters, April 30) were wrong to propose that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should abandon the ring-fencing of overseas aid, which has received cross-party support.
This year Britain will reach the international target to invest 0.7 per cent of national income on desperately needed aid. With a percentage allocated to aid rather than an absolute value, we are already seeing a lower-than-expected budget, due to the economic climate.
Britain should be proud that its aid makes a vital difference to those in the poorest countries. In the past year alone, British aid delivered through Sightsavers has restored sight to nearly 100,000 people.
Dominic Haslam
Director of Policy, Sightsavers
Haywards Heath, West Sussex
Spanish silence
SIR – Aficionados of Verdi (Letters, April 30) should be thankful for what they get. The centenary of the death of Isaac Albéniz, one of Spain’s greatest composers, fell in 2009, and 2010 was the 150th anniversary of his birth, yet he hardly got a mention in either year. Spanish music in general gets short shrift in the BBC’s musical world.
Richard Holroyd
Cambridge
Division over Sri Lanka
SIR – I would question your assertion that changing the venue of the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) from Sri Lanka is “not feasible, because that would require unanimity among Commonwealth members” (Leading article, May 1).
On September 28 2001, only days before the CHOGM was due to take place in Brisbane, the Commonwealth Secretary General, Don McKinnon, announced its postponement. In the wake of the attacks of September 11, he had learnt that a number of heads of government no longer intended to be present.
Concluding that there would not be enough high-level representation to make the CHOGM viable, he acted on his own initiative, advising John Howard, the prime minister of Australia, to postpone it.
There was no formal agreement among member states, nor even any unanimity. The Secretary General is the guardian of the Commonwealth’s reputation.
McKinnon’s successor, Kamalesh Sharma, should have done more to warn heads of government of the divisive consequences of endorsing the decision to hold the next CHOGM in Sri Lanka. If a number of leaders follow Canada’s lead and announce they will not be coming to Colombo, Sharma has a duty to act.
Professor Philip Murphy
Director, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London
London WC1
SIR – There should be no dilemna over Sri Lanka. Remember that Sri Lanka stuck out its neck and voted for Britain at the UN over the Falklands – just one of a handful of countries to do so.
Sri Lanka had to defeat the terrorist Tamil Tigers, and such a long war creates many difficulties. The country is now at peace, the refugee camps are empty and people are enjoying for the first time in nearly 30 years a normal peaceful life.
Instead of listening to the Tamil Tiger-orientated diaspora, all the countries of the Commonwealth should attend the conference and see for themselves, as I have.
Lord Naseby
Chairman, All Party British Sri Lanka Parliamentary Group
Sandy, Bedfordshire
Fair-weather friends
SIR – If Scotland becomes independent will the UK weather maps on television end at the border?
Murray Brazier
Chelmsford, Essex
Motorists need to understand cyclists’ behaviour
SIR – Teaching children cycling skills (Letters, April 24) is to be welcomed. However, the vast majority of motorists are unaware of what cyclists are being taught.
The Bikeability schemes, for example, teach cyclists to adopt the “primary position” in the centre of a road lane when approaching a traffic-calming island in the middle of the road.
This makes it plain to the motorist behind the cyclist that there is not enough room for both to pass the traffic island at the same time.
Unfortunately, most motorists don’t understand: to them, a cyclist cycling in the middle of the lane is a cyclist hogging the road.
Motorists need to be aware of what cyclists are taught on road positioning.
Alan Nugent
Wednesbury, Staffordshire
SIR – Getting children on bicycles will not put them in more danger (Letters, April 29). Only by having more bikes on the road will drivers recognise they are part of the traffic and share the road with them.
Richard Dugdale
Clitheroe, Lancashire
SIR – As a national standards instructor working with schoolchildren, I often hear parents’ concern about traffic speed. An urban 20mph limit would allay these fears.
John Holiday
Mold, Flintshire

Irish Times

Sir, – Many of the distressed women who came to Cuan Mhuire over the past 50 years, came because they were suffering distress having undergone an abortion. Our mission at Cuan Mhuire is to help them understand their own goodness and their infinite value before God. They tell us of the difficulties they encountered at the time of their decisions. Despite all of our support and encouragement to help them rebuild their lives and relationships, many find it exceedingly difficult – almost impossible – to cope with their sense of loss.
It has long been accepted practice in Ireland that there are rare occasions where intervention may be necessary to save a mother’s life. This sometimes results in the unintended death of the child. This causes deep grief for the parents but mothers intuitively understand the reasons and may come to accept them.
The Government seeks to make abortion available in Ireland on the grounds of a “threat of suicide”. Medical and psychiatric evidence does not indicate abortion as an appropriate treatment for suicidal tendencies. In my experience abortion has never proved to be the appropriate response to the threat of a suicide. On the other hand we have helped many, many women who had abortions and had subsequently developed suicidal tendencies. Many of them did not really understand the consequences of an abortion and the devastation it causes. They needed love and care and non-judgmental support.
We – all of us – will have to live with our conscience if we allow, or acquiesce, in the enactment of this legislation. It is for this reason that all political representatives should be free to follow their individual conscience in deciding how to vote. Our medical, nursing and midwifery professions are central to the values, loving culture and quality of our society. They have long protected the right of an unborn child to live and fulfil God’s plan. Let us recall the words of Christ: “What does it prophet a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul”.
I am writing this letter – the first such letter I have ever written – in defence of the unborn child and the welfare of the mother. Also, I will know on my death bed that I have done all that I can to speak out on their behalf and on behalf of so many more were such legislation to be enacted in our name by our political representatives. – Yours, etc,
Sr CONSILIO
FITZGERALD,

Sir, – Disappointment and resignation were my reactions to the list of heavily decorated eminent medics who saw fit to write collectively on the Halappanavar inquest (May 1st). Their suggestion that some of Dr Peter Boylan’s evidence at the inquest was not expert infers that they know better.
The case was about more that management of sepsis. It was also about preventing the onset of such sepsis in high-risk cases. That the outcome of the inquest did not recommend a change in Irish law does not make Dr Boylan incorrect. I have published in academic journals on inconsistent and even simply wrong conclusions in Irish inquests and await action from the Attorney General on two such cases, unrelated to obstetrics.
Dr Boylan obviously touched a nerve among a group of Irish medics, but I consider that he did some service to culture change to make the Halappanavar tragedy less likely to recur. For that I, for one, thank him. – Yours, etc,
Prof BILL TORMEY,
(BSc, MD, PhD, DCH,
FRCPI, FRCPath),

Sir, – Minister of State, Alex White (Home News, May 2nd) continues to perpetuate the myth that “only the wealthiest 5 per cent” are to be affected by the latest reduction in income limits for medical cards. I have seen this figure of 95 per cent eligibility for medical cards in respect of the over-70 age group quoted before by Government spinners. Where is this figure coming from? I don’t believe it. – Yours, etc,
LOUIS HOGAN,
Harbour View, Wicklow.

Sir, – I fully support your editorial statement (Editorial, April 29th) that “Barriers to participation in cultural, economic and social life must be removed”. One has only to refer to the NESF report Post-PCW Negotiations – A New Deal? of August 1996. This document states, “Both employer and trade union bodies have fundamental objections in principle to having the community and voluntary sector involved in the wage component of the negotiations”.
Put simply, this was the beginning of the end to the community and voluntary sector, which should have had full stakeholder participation since Partnership 2000 for Inclusion, Employment and Competitiveness of December 1996. As is well known now, this community and voluntary sector should have been the counterbalance in the entire wage bargaining process.
The casino wage-bargaining process that was adopted and which continued for the past decade has put this little country of ours into a tailspin and brought us where we are today! – Yours, etc,
DENIS O’BRIEN, PRO,
Knocknacarra Active
Retirement Association,

Sir, – Having just stuffed my organic waste bin with lush green grass, maybe local authorities would arrange central collection points where householders and indeed local authorities themselves could leave their cut grass to relieve the fodder crisis for Irish farmers instead of importing fodder?
Maybe Patrick O’Reilly would also donate his 30ft “Haystack” art work to this worthy cause (Front page, April 26th). – Yours, etc,
BRENDAN BUTLER,
The Moorings,
Malahide, Co Dublin.

Irish Independent

Your report and photographs relating to a union official who was less than rigorous in his management of funds (Irish independent, April 30) provided me with further evidence of a theory I have held for years about the relationship between girth preference and a predisposition to self-indulgence at public expense.
Also in this section
Teen’s campaign shows true compassion
Public and private sectors must fight austerity
Scarring debate is already unbearable
The spiritual equivalent shows itself amongst the bishops and cardinals of the church.
The closer a cleric moves towards the centre of power, the more likely he is to tend towards increased rotundity, misconstruing the papal injunction to go global. Some suggest it arises from the Gospel encouragement to over-eat with sinners.
It is good to see that the selection of the new Irish rugby coach, Joe Schmidt, was based mostly on waist measurement.
He has the well-trimmed body of a Bertie Ahern when he was at his fittest. Bertie showed little evidence of self-indulgence, leading a junket-free, simple lifestyle.
Had the Mahon Tribunal taken one look at him they would have seen that he had none of the marks of a dishonest man.
This would have saved the country the unnecessary expense of a lengthy interrogation.
The waist of our time must surely be that of our leader, Enda. He has little unethically acquired weight to throw about.
It seems absurd that politicians and bankers are not fully held to account. Many continue to be ‘on the make’ when a simple check on unaccountable weight increase would provide a clear indication of the level of probity in the conduct of their affairs. Those calling on the Irish people to tighten their belts seem to be loosening theirs.
It has been suggested that my theory does not carry much weight in the scientific community. The fact that it does not carry much weight is a clear indication of its validity.
Philip O’Neill
Edith Road, Oxford
Yabble origins
• Has our former beloved leader created a new word when suggesting that his detractors can ‘yabble’ away? Remember this is the politician who informed us that the boom got boomier and if so, the opposite is like the lady who got implants – the bust got bustier. However the ‘yabble’ is another addition to Bertieisms. Or could it mean: Youse-Are-Bleedin’- Brutal-Like-Enda?
Sean Kelly
Tramore, Waterford
United, not conquered
• When we are divided we are well on the way to being conquered.
Is it not time for all of us – be you man or woman, god-fearing or atheist, public servant, unemployed, private sector, self-employed, farmer or pensioner – to unite as Irish citizens?
Is it not time that a message was delivered loud and clear that you and your neighbours and friends are no longer prepared to accept the condescension of “maith an buachaill” from our unelected EU dictators, whilst faceless German, French and other bailed-out bondholders quaff champagne with our money.
A retired Irish pensioner lost his entire pension overnight. Our Government said: “So what? Let him have cake instead.”
Maybe a national rally will remind us that we are on the same side. We are all citizens of Ireland. We all breathe the same air. When my three young children grow up and ask: “Dad, did you ever do anything about it?” I might be able to say to them that I drove to Dublin one day and the traffic was crazy but it was a joy to see. They think we are divided but are they right? We can tell them.
Denis Kelleher
Midleton, Co Cork
History lessons
• Kim Bielenberg had an article in your edition of May 1 on the importance of history as a school subject (with which I completely agree). He poses the question of whether future students would be able to pick out Eamon de Valera in a photo. Your own newspaper published a photo of de Valera around the time of the 75th anniversary of our 1937 Constitution. The caption then referred to de Valera looking on as a woman casted her vote in that referendum.
There were two problems with that caption. The woman was not just any citizen. It was de Valera’s wife, Sile. And anyone familiar with Dev would know that the photo dates from much later than 1937.
Yes, even the Irish Independent staff need a better knowledge of history!
John F Jordan
Killiney, Co Dublin
Austerity must go on
• In her letter (Irish Independent, May 1), Dr Margaret O’Keeffe makes a number of observations about what she calls ‘austerity fatigue’.
She is right when she says austerity fatigue is growing and that cuts in the public sector cause losses in purchasing power across the economy. Given the increased stridency of the public debate, however, I have doubts about another of her assertions that “there is increasing awareness that the well-being and prosperity of us all . . . is inextricably linked”.
What I have I hold and the devil take the hindmost seems more and more to be the motto. That is so even among those prominent people who were part of the decisions, taken during the Celtic Tiger period, which bankrupted the country.
Similarly, her repeating of the mantra, being proclaimed by many in the media, that austerity is bad for us is open to challenge. The problem with this diagnosis is that government departments are spending billions more than is being collected in taxes, a fact that is being ignored. The truth is, austerity fatigue and damage to purchasing power notwithstanding, austerity is unavoidable as a consequence of past recklessness by our most powerful citizens.
A Leavy
Sutton, Dublin 13
Making a bomb in bust
• A man accused of fraud in England gets 10 years for selling devices that he claimed could detect bombs and explosives, but was actually a machine for finding lost golf balls.
Here in Ireland we have dozens of professional people who sold devices that they claimed could make the buyer a bomb, but instead exploded killing thousands of pensions and savings schemes. These men and women get financially rewarded and spend their days playing golf.
It seems fraud is a very fluid term.
Darren Williams
Sandyford, Dublin 18
Once bitten
• Recently dismissed ‘biting’ allegations in Ballybofey . . . or Ballybuffet?
Tom Gilsenan
Beaumont
Choice on how we leave
• In the 1950s my late father, who worked as a pharmacist in a hospital, told me there were times he would hear terminally ill patients screaming in agony and asking distressed nurses to help them because the dosage of painkillers was no longer sufficient to ease their suffering.
On such occasions he would pray for the arrival of a liberal doctor to come on duty knowing he would increase the dosage. Today the situation has greatly improved due to palliative care.
However, there are still tragic cases, such as Marie Fleming, whose wish for an end to her suffering has been denied. We have no say how we come into this world but surely we should have a choice as to how we leave it. I can only hope the day will come when people who are terminally ill can avail of euthanasia.
Tony Moriarty
Dublin 6
Irish Independent

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