Classics 27th May 2013

I trot round the park today and listen to the Navy lark. I Oh dear, oh dear
Troutbridge is sent off to deliver the ambassador Sir Willowby Tod hunter-Brown and wife, but they forget to let him off the ship and brink him and his wife back again Priceless.
A quiet day off out to Temple Newsam to collect some classic Latin books, lovely old academic couple
We watch There Was a young lady efficiency expert is kidnapped by lovable rogues a wonderful old film
I win at Scrabble today, just and gets just under 400, Mary might get her revenge tomorrow, I hope.


Bill Pertwee
Bill Pertwee, who has died aged 86, made his name as the irascible ARP Warden Hodges in the 1970s BBC sitcom Dad’s Army; he also successfully featured in Round The Horne.

Bill Pertwee, who played ARP Warden Hodges in Dad’s Army, has died at the age of 86 
6:42PM BST 27 May 2013
As chief tormentor of the local Home Guard commander, Capt Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe), Warden Hodges proved far more of an irritant than the armed hordes of Nazi Germany which (almost) invariably left the citizens of Walmington-on-Sea in peace.
Dressed in the brief authority of wartime office, Hodges pulled rank at every opportunity to act as a one-man counterweight to the military might represented by Capt Mainwaring’s platoon. With the perfect put-down — Hodges riled Mainwaring by twitting him as “Napoleon” — Pertwee played the town’s tinpot dictator with total aplomb.

The show’s creators, David Croft and Jimmy Perry, were apt to use the same coterie of actors in all their television series, and so Pertwee followed his long-running part in Dad’s Army with a regular part of the policeman, PC Wilson, in You Rang M’Lord?, which ran for 26 episodes between 1988 and 1992.
Yet it was as Warden Hodges that Pertwee found his place in the public imagination. For away from the Home Guard parades and manoeuvres, the character was a humble high street greengrocer, as in thrall to (and in fact in awe of) the pompous bank manager – Mainwaring – as Cpl Jones (the butcher) and even Pte Fraser (the undertaker). And it was upon such satirical appreciation of the essentially English nuances of class that the huge success of Dad’s Army was built.
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Bill Pertwee’s classic comedy
27 May 2013
William Desmond Anthony Pertwee was born on July 21 1926 at Amersham, Buckinghamshire, the youngest of three brothers. His father, who was of Huguenot descent (the family name originally having been Pertuis), had not followed his own father into farming, but made his living as an engineer working for a firm selling tarmacadam to councils. His mother had herself been born in Brazil.
In the early 1930s the family moved to Glasbury-on-Wye in Radnorshire, and then, as their fortunes faltered, to Colnbrook, near Windsor, Newbury, and finally Erith in Kent. There, Bill’s eldest brother joined the Atlas Preservative Company as export manager, the managing director being a 20-year-old Denis Thatcher, whose father owned the firm.
Bill was educated at a local convent and, following his father’s death, moved with his mother and brothers to Blackheath, south London. Evacuated at the outbreak of the Second World War to Sussex, he attended a local private school run by an eccentric called Felix Eames.
Another move, to Wilmington in Kent, landed him at Dartford Technical College, and in 1941 his eldest brother, who had joined the RAF, was killed when his aircraft crashed in Yorkshire while returning from a bombing mission over Germany.
After the family’s final move, to Westcliff-on-Sea, Bill found a place at Southend College and took a job at the Southend Motor and Aero Club, which before the war had repaired funfair rides and dodgem cars, but was then making parts for Spitfire cannons.
When the war ended, Pertwee was offered a job with Oxley Knox, a firm of City stockbrokers, but was sacked when he answered the office telephone with a facetious impression of the broadcaster Raymond Glendinning, only to find Mr Knox of Oxley Knox on the other end. An advertisement in The Daily Telegraph for salesmen vacancies at Burberry’s new sports department led to another job, but a family friend soon offered him a better one in his window and office cleaning business.
Throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s Pertwee developed his interest in showbusiness, becoming a regular at opening nights in the West End. In 1954 he became an assistant to his second cousin, the actor Jon Pertwee, and the following year he turned professional, joining a variety bill at Gorleston near Great Yarmouth on £6 a week.
As a performer his first big radio break came in the early 1960s as a regular in the comedy series Beyond Our Ken, starring Kenneth Horne, followed by Round The Horne. The latter achieved cult status, but after eight years Pertwee was abruptly dropped. He wrote to various television producers asking for work, and was used as a warm-up man on such shows as Hancock and Up Pompeii, before in 1968 David Croft offered him a few episodes as the Warden in Dad’s Army. The booking eventually lasted for nine years.
As well as the stage version of Dad’s Army (Shaftesbury, 1975) Pertwee also starred in the Ray Cooney farce There Goes The Bride, his first West End role, at the Piccadilly Theatre. In 1975 he was part of the Dad’s Army ensemble that took part in the Royal Variety Performance. In the 1980s he appeared in the Ray Cooney farces See How They Run and Run For Your Wife, which successfully toured in Canada.
Pertwee was the author of several books, the first of which, Promenades and Pierrots (1979) traced the history of seaside entertainment in Britain. A follow-up, By Royal Command (1981), looked at the links between the Royal family and showbusiness. His autobiography, A Funny Way To Make A Living, appeared in 1996.
Bill Pertwee married, in 1960, Marion Rose. She predeceased him, and he is survived by their son, Jon, who is also an actor.
Bill Pertwee, born July 21 1926, died May 27 2013


The antisocial behaviour, crime and policing bill is currently working its way through the House of Commons and receives its second reading on 10 June. It is our contention that this bill, as drafted, is flawed and will lead to a host of unintended consequences.
Our first cause for concern is section 1 (2), which defines antisocial behaviour as “conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person”. With such a broad definition, it is tantamount to making everything illegal. At a time when police services are looking to utilise their resources effectively, this bill seems to be counterproductive as it is inviting those in dispute to seek the intervention of frontline police officers. The bill, however, does not just deal with events that have happened – as long as someone believes the potential for misbehaviour is there, he or she can seek a police officer’s assistance.
Our other cause for concern is section 1 (3), which provides the courts with the power to: “grant [an] injunction for the purpose of preventing the respondent from engaging in antisocial behaviour”. Without any kind of definition, this will lead to magistrates – and in the first instance police officers and PCSOs – making decisions on what they personally deem unacceptable behaviour. It is our contention that the provisions of the bill have the potential to be misapplied, if not abused, just because the person in the dock has a different belief.
Many naturists already have the perception that the Public Order Act 1986 – introduced as an anti-riot measure – are being misapplied against them. These instances are frequently overturned at a higher court. It is our belief that the potential for a miscarriage of justice is higher with this new flawed bill than is currently endured by naturists.
Edmund Burke said in 1780 that “bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny”. We contend that this bill is bad law in the making, and would urge readers to inform their MPs of the need for amendment.
Reg Barlow
Chairman, Naturist Action Group

The argument against the public display of soft porn (Retailers told to remove lads’ mags or face test case, 27 May) appears predicated on the premise that offence is to be avoided at whatever cost to other freedoms – a clearly absurd position given there is no limit to what can cause offence to someone. Is it the pro-censorship argument that any offensive printed material should not be visible? Well, I often find the headlines of tabloids to be offensive, or, if that is somehow to be missing the point, what about the images displayed in bodybuilding or slimming magazines? When it comes to censorship be careful what you wish for.
Graham Hall
Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan
• Those customers who, like me, find the display of pornographic newspaper and magazine covers offensive and demeaning may wish to join my silent protest. Quietly turn the stack of papers over, leaving the back cover uppermost.
Louise Braithwaite
Redditch, Worcestershire

As an independent member of the Data Access Advisory Group, which provides independent scrutiny of the Health and Social Care Information Centre, I, with other members, have to review applications for anonymous information (Health firms can pay to see NHS patient data, 17 May). The group has to decide whether there is any risk that the data provided could be manipulated in order to reveal the identity of individual patients. If there is such a risk, the group refers the request to the Confidentiality Advisory Group in the Health Research Authority, where legally all such requests must be considered. In each case, we enter into strict agreements with those customers who have applied for information, to make sure they preserve people’s privacy. I have never experienced confidential patient information being “up for sale”. As a doctor (now retired from clinical practice), I know how important it is to respect patient confidentiality if we are to maintain the trust of our patients to provide us with all the information required to provide good care. There are important legal and ethical safeguards that ensure this and never – as your article implied – casual or secret routes for commercial companies to break these rules.
Patrick Coyle

David Lammy is right to focus attention on the growing alienation of young people and the need for concerted action across ethnic lines (Why are young British men drawn to radicalisation?, 25 May). In recent evidence to the education select committee, Michael Gove disavowed the need for the country to have a youth policy. It does need one – and one which does not simply respond belatedly to shocking events but comprehensively helps young people towards acquiring the skills, values and experiences for leading better lives.
Tom Wylie
Former CEO, National Youth Agency
• David Lammy dismisses “the suggestion” the Woolwich terrorist attack “was a direct consequence of British foreign policy” as “superficially compelling”. What, then, to make of the 2010 testimony from the head of MI5 between 2002 and 2007, who said “our involvement in Iraq, for want of a better word, radicalised a whole generation of young people” and “substantially” raised the terror threat to the UK?
Ian Sinclair
• “… not the time … to debate foreign policy” (Comment, 25 May). As one of the thousands who marched in London to protest against Blair’s war in Iraq, and were totally ignored, I now wonder if we should all have brandished meat-cleavers to gain the government’s attention. And thanks, Martin Rowson, for that wonderful cartoon on “You’re going to lose”.
Rev John Miller
• Among Theresa May’s proposals to counter Islamist extremism (Report, 27 May), a broadcasting ban, like the one imposed on Sinn Féin in 1988, merits consideration. That measure consigned the party to total obscurity. Who now remembers the names of Jimmy Adams or Martin O’Guinness? Without the ban, Sinn Féin could well have become a significant player in Northern Irish politics.
Michael Mullan
Bradford, West Yorkshire
• Thank you, Simon Jenkins, for a voice of reason (An echo chamber of mass hysteria only aids terrorists, 24 May).
Val Collier
Newent, Gloucestershire

On Friday, delegates from European football associations gathered in a London hotel for Uefa’s annual congress (Report, 24 May). They agreed new, strict guidelines to deal with racism, suggesting a commendable determination to combat discrimination in the sport.
We find it shocking that this same organisation shows total insensitivity to the blatant and entrenched discrimination inflicted on Palestinian sportsmen and women by Israel.
Despite direct appeals from representatives of the sport in Palestine and from anti-racist human rights campaigners across Europe, Uefa is rewarding Israel’s cruel and lawless behaviour by granting it the honour of hosting the European Under-21 finals next month.
Uefa should not allow Israel to use a prestigious football occasion to whitewash its racist denial of Palestinian rights and its illegal occupation of Palestinian land.
We urge Uefa to follow the brave example of world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking who, on advice from Palestinian colleagues, declined to take part in an international conference in Israel. We call on Uefa, even at this late stage, to reverse the choice of Israel as a venue.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Frédéric Kanouté Footballer, John Austin MP, Rodney Bickerstaffe, Bob Crow, Victoria Brittain, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Caryl Churchill Playwright, Rev Garth Hewitt, Dr Ghada Karmi, Bruce Kent, Roger Lloyd Pack Actor, Ken Loach Film-maker, Michael Mansfield QC, Kika Markham Actor, Luisa Morgantini Former vice-president, European parliament, Prof Hilary Rose, Prof Steven Rose, Alexei Sayle Author and comedian, Jenny Tonge House of Lords, Dr Antoine Zahlan, Geoffrey Lee Red Card Israeli Racism, Tomas Perez Football Beyond Borders, John McHugo Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine

In much the same way as Samuel Johnson stated that patriotism is the last refugee of the scoundrel, I think we can safely say fiduciary responsibility is the last refugee of a business leader on the ropes (Change the law and we’d pay more tax, says Google chief, 27 May). With 30 years of experience campaigning against many of the worst aspects of company behaviour, time and time again I have found this to be the last desperate response from those who have lost the argument in the court of public opinion.
I daresay abolitionist William Wilberforce was told by those who used slaves in their businesses that they had “a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders” to make use of what was legally available to them and that they could not just “arbitrarily decide” to stop using slaves while their competitors still did.
Moral leadership is now called for. Surely there is one multinational company out there willing to break ranks and do the right thing on tax?
Paul Brannen
Newcastle upon Tyne
• It may be of interest to learn that Google, Starbucks, Amazon and Apple are not the only companies who find that Luxembourg has better fiscal weather than the UK. Here are some recent “country of origin” entries from my credit card statements:
First Great Western: Luxembourg
William Hill: Gibraltar
EasyJet: Ireland
The Trainline: Luxembourg
These are, of course, good old British companies. And in the case of First Great Western, and presumably all of the other train operating companies for whom the Trainline does most of the ticketing, they got a UK government grant in 2011-12 of 7.5p per passenger mile. No doubt the managements of these enterprises have perfectly good explanations.
Peter Thomas-Cruttwell
Symonds Yat, Herefordshire
• When employees change jobs they expect the Inland Revenue to charge them at a temporary emergency rate until the tax authorities are fully acquainted with their actual earnings.
I suggest this method be used for companies like Amazon, which have not provided a convincing account of their UK profits. Thus each £100 sale would have added £20 VAT and £21 corporation tax, simply collected as 41% VAT.
Normal companies are allowed running costs against their corporation tax, so I suggest that this allowance be irretrievably forfeited until they provide a convincing account of their UK profits. This forfeiture could help shorten the time needed by their accountants to help them start an honest relationship with the UK. For companies like Google, which are paid per click on an advertisement, the payment should be claimed from the client.
David Monkman
Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
• Ed Miliband panders to the right in trying to shame Google (Miliband to tell Google: pay taxes or be cast like a rogue benefit claimant, 22 May). He could have scored a different political point by comparing them to other tax-dodgers such as people who bury their wealth in offshore accounts or MPs who fiddle expenses.
Anne Strachan
• “I cannot see the point of tax havens. Or rather, I can see the point, but not why we tolerate them,” writes Simon Jenkins (22 May). “We” don’t tolerate them; “we” are powerless. Tax havens are more than just tolerated by “them”, the good folk who profit from their existence: the powerful, and the politicians who hope to attract party donations. I see the future for tax havens and their admirers as rosy.
Eddie Dougall
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
• As a first step towards more concrete action, the party leaders could demand that their MPs (and lords) resign directorships in companies which are either based in tax havens, or are part of groups that make use of tax havens.
Anthony Hayward
Dudley, West Midlands
• I avoid Starbucks – don’t like the coffee (It’s got my name on it – but that doesn’t mean they care, 27 May). But if I did, I would give a name so as to hear the barista holler “Taxman”.
John Launder
Winchester, Hampshire



I spent two successive mornings shedding tears of despair over my morning cereals as I read your excellent, wide-ranging coverage of the appalling and tragic events in Woolwich.
Then I read the article by the humanist, A C Grayling, (letters, 25 May; Voices, 24 May) and felt a degree of hope at his logical and well-argued case for children to be taught to think for themselves, rather than to be indoctrinated into the dogma of religion from an early age.
But, for thousands of years, it has been in the very nature of the human race to invent a supreme being to explain the great questions of life.
Fair enough before science came along, but over time Man has used these “gods” to excuse all manner of extreme behaviour, thus saving us from the inconvenience of being responsible for our own actions.
I’m afraid it will take more than reasoned arguments from sensible people like Grayling and Dawkins to overcome this inbuilt characteristic. Back to despair …
Louise Thomas, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
As Salman Rushdie once observed, most religious people aren’t particularly theological. At the deepest level, their ties to religion are those of family and community.
But the same cannot be said of converts, who are over-represented in Islamist attacks in the UK. Professor Grayling’s proposal to stop the religious indoctrination of children is of no relevance to the Woolwich suspects, who chose rather than “inherited” someone else’s “picture of the world”.
Peter McKenna, Liverpool
A C Grayling says that most of the world’s ills are caused by dogma. He then proceeds to give us two-thirds of a page of his own dogma.
John Williams, Chichester, West Sussex
I admire the letters from the British Muslims (24 May) who are deeply upset by the Woolwich incident. But we need to seek a deeper reason for this outrageous act.
The core problem is the intolerance of all the world’s major religions. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all assert that they, and they alone, are the purveyors of the truth about God. So conflict is inbuilt. Christian and Muslims at loggerheads in Nigeria; Hindus and Muslims in India; and Buddhists and Muslims in Burma.
Religious belief grew because human beings were puzzled about what their purpose was in the universe and how they got there. The world’s religions came into being long before the modern scientific age demonstrated the hopeless inadequacy of their origin and tenets.
The Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees, is a strong believer in the multiverse theory. That is to say, there are countless universes out there of which we have no  knowledge. If true, humans  are unlikely to be God’s unique creatures, made in his own image. We may, in fact, be  in a situation of virtual reality. Yes, there may be a creator  (or creators) out there somewhere.
Our existing religions are emotional crutches which we could do without. Then we would stand a much better chance of us all living together in harmony with one another.
David Ashton, Shipbourne, Kent
Gay marriage no threat to justice
Jane Hayter-Hames (letters, 24 May) complains that gay civil partners receive fiscal benefits not available to single people. Civil partnership is about far more than fiscal benefits. It shows social acceptance of relationships akin to marriage formerly considered as unworthy and even evil.
There may be a case for allowing some of these fiscal benefits in the other circumstances she mentions but that is a completely different issue from that of conferring a status equivalent to marriage.
The differences between civil partnerships and marriage are legally minimal, but many perceive them as a signal that such relationships are inferior to equivalent heterosexual relationships. Strong feelings of injustice should be redressed unless doing so risks harming others. It is hard to find evidence of such risks in gay marriage.
John Eekelaar, Oxford
According to Ms Hayter-Hames, it is “infuriating and deeply unjust” that gay couples are accorded the same rights as those of heterosexual married ones. In fact, what is infuriating and unjust is that she still sees homosexual relationships as nothing more than sexual (quote, “Anyone can have sex; you don’t have to be given tax breaks to get that together”).
People who like to reduce their arguments against gay marriage to a sexualised issue should open their minds to the idea that any committed relationship is a tiny bit more sophisticated than to revolve around what goes on in the bedroom.
Alex Guthrie, Newcastle upon Tyne
What is the difference between register office weddings and civil partnerships (letters, 23 May)? In the register office, one recites an order of words imposed on one by the establishment, so that every marriage is exactly the same.
Civil partnership can be in any form one chooses, with any mode of ceremony or none. My partner and I simply signed on the dotted line and concluded the business.
Peter Forster, London N4
Act of equality
You repeat the word “actresses” in your article “Women in movies” (Arts & Culture, 17 May). We have no difficulty in talking of female singers; imagine the alternative of singesses. I think we have forgotten “usherettes” and “stewardesses”. Let us delete “actresses” too, the word, not the people.
Celia Jordan, Warrington, Cheshire
The hypocrisy that surrounds company tax
Margaret Hodge is surely right that tax raises a moral concern (“Companies have to pay their share”, 27 May). One moral concern unmentioned is the way in which company directors and government are typically disingenuous in their arguments.
First, directors often proclaim a legal duty to maximise profits for shareholders and hence to minimise tax. No such duty exists. The Companies Act 2006 makes it clear that directors must seek to promote the company’s success, explicitly noting, for example, that regard should be had for company reputation, employees’ interests and the community.
That is clearly a far cry from the “maximise profits” mantra. It is clearly a near-cry to “stop wriggling through loopholes to avoid tax”.
Second, parliament simply legislates that, unless explicitly permitted in the legislation (perhaps for ISAs, for example), operations which it is reasonable to believe as primarily for tax avoidance are deemed undone.
HMRC already has powers to treat certain artificial tax-avoiding operations as undone and, further, a whole range of legislation and legal judgements rest on what it is reasonable to believe about individuals’ intentions, motivations and knowledge.
Peter Cave, London W1
We applaud Margaret Hodge’s campaign to force companies to declare their tax avoidance  strategies. In the interest of  balance, and to avoid the possibility of charges of hypocrisy, should MPs make a similar declaration or declare that they are not using any strategies to avoid or mitigate their tax liabilities?
Clive Georgeson, Dronfield, Derbyshire
The problem of tax avoidance, we are often told, can be solved only by international co-operation on this issue, which Peter Popham hopes the EU, after many years of failure, will soon achieve, (Voices, 23 May).
While we all hold our breath and wait for such a miracle, I propose another idea. First, let’s declare that any income, to any party in the UK or elsewhere, derived from transactions which pass through or involve parties within the UK economic sphere, is fully subject to UK taxation.
Second, allow that any taxpayers who can prove that they have paid, or are required to pay, a specific amount of tax elsewhere on all or part of this UK-derived income can deduct this (typically small) amount from their UK tax bill.
Surely such a system would render most forms of offshore tax-dodging futile?
Andrew Clifton, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire
Divorce not part of housing crisis
Penelope Keith’s comments on women divorcing in later life (“Crisis in housing stock? Must be women divorcing for the fun of it”, Voices, 23 May) appears to underestimate the issues and concerns that many women face when their marriage breaks down.
Ms Keith claims that divorcées in their fifties and beyond are causing house prices to rise, as separated individuals seek to purchase smaller properties or flats to pursue their new-found single lives.
Whether or not this contributes to the growing housing problem this country faces is debatable. But in my experience as a family law solicitor, couples who decide to separate in later life often find their split to be far more amicable and less troublesome than those who do so early on. By removing the prospect of disrupting a young family, disputes and disagreements in “silver splits” can be kept to a minimum.
And, by deciding to end a marriage after 20 or 30 years, the couple have demonstrated a commendable effort to making the marriage work.
Sarah Thompson, Manchester
A tiptoe through the tulips with Lee
Geoffrey Macnab’s review of the film Liberace (22 May) reminded me of a totally outrageous meeting I arranged between Lee (Liberace) and the late, great Kenny Everett.
I was head of promotion for Warner Bros Records in the early 1970s. Lee was doing a TV special for ATV at Elstree Studios. I got a call from Kenny who said: “I’d love to meet him”, so I drove him to the studios where I was a spectator at a bizarre conversation.
Kenny’s conversation was full of double entendres and Lee was playing it totally straight so, although in English of course, it was not a common language.
After half an hour I drove Kenny back. “Don’t expect me to play a track from his [Lee’s] album on Radio 1 tomorrow morning, just because I’ve met him,” he said. As we drove on Kenny spotted a magnificent magnolia tree, “I’ve always wanted a tulip tree like that” he said”.
The next morning, a Saturday, on air Kenny played a short track from Lee’s album with the back announcement, “I just love the tulip tree”. Not payola so much as plantola.
Brian (Hutch) Hutchinson, London SW4


To bring Muslims fully into “the mainstream” an honest debate is necessary but it cannot be a simplistic one
Sir, Dr Hargey’s letter (May 25) is well meant and well taken. However, even if one concedes a relationship between the invasion of Iraq and the emergence of Muslim terrorism in the UK, his plea for the UK “to honestly address the roots of Islamic terrorism” raises complex questions.
Can we simply blame it on the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan without examining the records of Saddam Hussein and Mullah Omar? Should we discount the export of Wahhabism from Saudi Arabia? Should the failure of Third World states like Pakistan to control domestic terrorism be ignored? What of Iran’s state terrorism and its export to Iraq, Lebanon and Syria? What of the failure of Muslims to recognise a Jewish state in Israel? What of the rather mixed results for democracy of the Arab Spring? Then there is the fundamental question of whether Islam is truly compatible with democracy rather than some kind of theocracy.
To bring Muslims fully into “the mainstream” an honest debate is necessary but it cannot be a simplistic one. The greatest responsibility will rest on the shoulders of those like Imam Hargey who must teach the proper meaning of Islam to British Muslims. Despite these reservations, we must offer them every support.
Alan Sked
Professor of International History, LSE
Sir, Dr T. Hargey, Imam of the Oxford Muslim Congregation, says that the murder of a soldier has to be condemned without reservation immediately followed by a “however” suggesting that, in some way, the country brings these acts of terrorism upon itself. As long as this frame of mind exists and the roots of Islamic terrorism are found in the preaching of many imams in the Arab world, the UK and other European countries, terrorist atrocities will continue to occur.
Alan Miller
Edgware, Greater London
Sir, Muslims have as much stake in British society as Jews, Sikhs and other faiths, the difference being that other faiths recognise that Britain allows them to worship unheeded and without restrictions, while too often Muslim communities demand special treatment. I do not see how our intervention in Iraq has promoted barbarism by some Muslims on our streets, and to suggest British society needs to address the roots of Islamic terrorism is a denial of what some imams are preaching in their mosques. Terrorism as in Woolwich is anathema to all civilised society.
Brian Lux
Llandudno, Conwy
Sir, Real peace cannot prevail until people of every religion realise that violence has no place in our society. To seek to justify it is to promote it.
Dr Hargey does not condone, but he is mistaken in suggesting that the UK should address “the roots of Islamic terrorism”. If there are such weeds it is he that should be digging them out and, alongside leaders of every faith, should be teaching the peaceful opportunities to make our world a better place.
Jack Lynes
Pinner, Middx
Sir, I am troubled by the implication in Dr Hargey’s letter that the solution to Islamic extremism is to tailor our foreign policy to suit the wishes of those who otherwise risk becoming violent. This is tantamount to saying that a violent minority should be allowed to shape our foreign policy.
Hugh Rawson
London, SW17

relocation package falls short of guaranteeing protection and safety for many brave individuals
Sir, We welcome the decision to grant some Afghan interpreters the right to resettle in the UK. The principle was established in Iraq, and there is no reason to treat our brave Afghan interpreters differently.
However, the proposed relocation package falls short of guaranteeing protection and safety for many brave individuals. Specifically, the asylum offer may only apply to those working on or after January 1, 2013; excluding hundreds who risked their lives alongside UK troops in this decade-long war.
Death threats forced many interpreters to stop working for the British before 2013, and many are still in hiding. Under such a deal, Abdul — who courageously raised the alarm about the hundreds of men at risk and whom 82,000 people have backed — may not be offered sanctuary in the UK as he stopped working with the British Army in June last year.
It would be an affront to the proud tradition of this country as signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees to refuse protection and safety to those who put their lives on the line to serve with our forces. We urge the Government to extend the protection measures and offer a safe haven to all of our translators in Afghanistan, and not abandon the hundreds who, stranded by this deal, will be left to live in fear of execution by the Taleban.
David Davis, MP
Stephen McPartland, MP

A new report by Save the Children leaves little doubt of the link between poor nutrition and literacy – children need to develop properly
Sir, The appalling impact of poverty on health and life expectancy in the developing world is well known. As children’s authors we are particularly saddened to learn of the long-term impact of poor nutrition on children’s brain development and cognition. The physical impact of malnutrition means that even when children have access to education they often achieve less than their full potential, and many miss out on one of life’s greatest joys — reading.
A new report by Save the Children leaves little doubt of the link between poor nutrition and literacy. In a study of 7,300 children in four countries, those who were chronically malnourished were on average nearly 20 per cent less likely to read than those children who were not malnourished, allowing for socio-economic variables.
There are many reasons why children have trouble reading, including lack of support at home and poor education. Such problems are deep-rooted and difficult to solve. Nutrition interventions, by contrast, are relatively simple, and have a huge impact. It is a tragedy that at present they represent just 0.3 per cent of global development spending.
Ensuring that children have the nutrients to develop properly should be seen as a basic obligation. At the nutrition summit hosted by the UK before this year’s G8, world leaders must make a priority of tackling the hidden crisis of malnutrition for good. The futures of a generation in the poorest countries are at stake.
Axel Scheffler (illustrator of The Gruffalo); Ally Kennan (Beast); Brian Selznick (The Invention of Hugo Cabret); Cath Cassidy (The Chocolate Box Girls); Celia Rees (Witch Child); Cressida Cowell (How to Train Your Dragon); Charlie Higson (Young Bond); David Walliams (Mr Stink); Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl); Elen Caldecott (the great ice cream heist); Emily Gravett (Wolves); Elizabeth Laird (The Witching Hour); Francesca Simon (Horrid Henry); Georgia Byng (Molly Moon); John Boyne (Boy in the Striped Pyjamas); Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo); Lydia Monks (The Singing Mermaid); Michael Morpurgo (War Horse); Michael Bond (Paddington Bear); Nicholas Lake (Hostage Three); Oliver Jeffers (Lost and Found); Peter Dickinson (The Flight of Dragons); Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials); Rebecca Cobb (illustrator of The Paper Dolls); Rod Campbell (Dear Zoo); Sheena Wilkinson (Taking Flight); Tony Ross (illustrator of Horrid Henry)


Despite regular articles on the Cities Fit for Cycling campaign, only 63,798 people have signed the e-petition on the Government’s website
Sir, As a cyclist, and as a mother and grandmother of keen cyclists, I am concerned that despite your regular articles on your Cities Fit for Cycling campaign, only 63,798 people have signed the e-petition on the Government’s website ( cyclesafepetition) calling on David Cameron to implement a blueprint for increased cycle use; 100,000 signatures are required for the e-petition to be considered for debate in Parliament.
Surely your readers can do more to boost this excellent campaign, if not for themselves, then for their families and future generations. Some people may think that by signing up to your Cities Fit for Cycling campaign they have also signed the e-petition to the Government. They have not: they are separate items.
Rosalind Brierley

Reports of the lost first web page, which contained “text and a few links”, pose the question of what the page could have linked to
Sir, I was intrigued by the hunt for the first web page (report May 27), and even more so that it contained “nothing more than text and a few links”. As it was the first ever web page, were these links to the chicken or the egg?
George Medd
Twyford, Hants


SIR – On Thursday, you published a picture of Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Hudson at a party “to start the summer season”.
The Season always used to begin with Private View Day at the Royal Academy, held on the Friday before the first Monday in May – this year, May 3.
That would be followed up by Queen Charlotte’s Ball, around May 17.
Anyone interested in how the Season once worked should read Angela Lambert’s delightful and well-written book 1939: The Last Season of Peace. Of course, things would never be the same.
Richard Foster
Angmering, West Sussex

SIR – Recently working in the Prison Service, I found it overwhelmingly politically correct in its obsession with gender, race and sexual orientation.
Governors appeared frightened of Muslims and the potential for allegation of racism from them. Officers were fearful lest they appear “anti” something. This undermined cohesiveness and pride in the job. In prisons, the Government’s “Prevent” initiative (which seeks to divert Muslims from terrorism) was hopeless.
This toxic ethos – which the Coalition is too ideologically compromised to address – has connived against the constructive, reformative discipline that prisoners need.
There is a disgraceful unofficial policy of opposing ex-Forces personnel helping in prisons, on the grounds that they are “harsh”, whereas they are precisely the people required.
Fr Marcus Stewart
Broadstairs, Kent
Related Articles
The vanished Season, when debs delighted
27 May 2013
SIR – The Olympic Games provided the opportunity once more to see members of our Armed Forces in uniform. One of the many sad consequences of the murder in Woolwich may be a reversion to keeping our Forces hidden away. That would be an understandable, but in my view, regrettable reaction.
We should do what we can to encourage them to live their lives among us, not barricaded away to be seen only in emergencies. The quid pro quo, of course, is to ensure that they can defend themselves and are properly protected.
Edward Vale
London SW19
SIR – The most fitting memorial to Drummer Lee Rigby would be for the Government to rescind its proposal to disband his battalion, the 2nd Fusiliers, one of the most operationally experienced and well-recruited units of the British Army.
Brigadier Roy Wilde (retd)
Colonel, The Fusiliers 2001-2007
Bury, Lancashire
SIR – Following the grotesque murder at Woolwich, the Home Secretary is turning her attention to another “snoopers’ charter”. Such a communications Bill would reduce and threaten the freedom of every British citizen, when it would appear the Woolwich suspects were already in full view of the security services.
The Home Secretary’s priority should be to maximise the effectiveness of the state’s resources in managing the obvious and manifest threat posed by a few thousand or so people, rather than poking about the business of 58 million.
Derek Poots
Horsham, West Sussex
SIR – Why is the BBC building up the importance of the opinions of those who seek to promote terror?
Terrorism is about spreading fear, and I do not expect the BBC to allow itself to be used for that purpose.
Tom Green
Wigan, Lancashire
Too many laws
SIR – I commend Sue Cameron’s article (“The laws of the land aren’t fit for purpose”, Comment, May 23). The report to which it referred, When Laws Become Too Complex, by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, is exceptional. Over-legislation and its attendant complexity are bedevilling our whole culture.
On top of the 2,247 pages of primary legislation in 2009, there were around 14,000 additional pages of secondary legislation. This is no less the law of the land, though it receives utterly ineffectual scrutiny by Parliament, because statutory instruments, as they are called, cannot be amended!
Another indication of the self-defeating maze we have fashioned for ourselves is that last year the mere index (the Consolidated Tables) for Halsbury’s Laws of England ran to 3,554 pages.
Other democracies legislate far less. The Coalition, via its Red Tape Challenge, has indicated that it is not mindless of all this, but Parliament has fallen into self-harming ways, which are monumentally difficult to escape.
These include the mandate theory of government, which “entitles” or “requires” the government of the day to pass into law its overflowing basket of election promises. Then the whipping system produces a legislative production-line (only six defeats in more than 3,000 votes between 2001 and 2012). There is also the guillotining of debates, which leaves major parts of most Bills unscrutinised by the Commons.
This is at the root of a dangerous and growing disaffection with democracy. If ever a Royal Commission was essential, one is needed to grapple with these problems.
Lord Phillips of Sudbury
London SW1
Switch marked ‘parents’
SIR – There is a control against children viewing pornography (Letters, May 25). It is commonly known as parents.
Instead of looking elsewhere for controls we should maybe look to ourselves.
Douglas Robertson
Newcastle upon Tyne
Shale cannot fail
SIR – The Institute of Directors (report, May 22) rightly set out the potential benefits of commercial shale gas development in the United Kingdom.
We agree. We have lifted the moratorium and announced tax incentives to encourage exploration. There are more than 150 onshore oil and gas licences already in place.
We have a robust regulatory system that requires approval from environmental and health and safety agencies before any drilling is allowed.
We will also be proposing a programme of community benefits by the summer.
Michael Fallon MP (Con)
Minister for Energy
London SW1
Scent flying
SIR – For many years I have braved the perfume barrier of the department store (Letters, May 25), but over the past five years I have had to run the same gauntlet at airports. It is impossible to board an aircraft at a British airport without passing through a duty-free perfume sales outlet.
I have resorted to taking a deep breath and holding my nose as I transit the chemical warfare zone on my way to the departure gate. I have complained to airport operating companies but my words fall on deaf ears, or closed sinuses.
Roy Hedges
Cheadle, Staffordshire
Going into the red
SIR – The Coalition Government created the Major Projects Authority to oversee the robustness of various government undertakings. In its first report, the MPA has identified a number of risks in some of these projects (report, May 25) and has assessed them as being “red” or “red/amber”.
The immediate response of the Coalition is to say that the MPA is using out-of-date information, and that improvements have been made. This raises the obvious question of why such a quango was created.
It also makes me ask that if some of the at-risk projects have improved, how many of the projects assessed as “green” have now moved into being “at risk”?
Neil Raw
Ringing up charges
SIR – I have just received a letter from BT informing me that from July, customers will have to pay to receive a bill in the post.
This scheme will unfortunately hit pensioners and others who do not have computers. Why should these people, who have no choice, be forced into subsidising BT’s postal costs by having to pay for their bills?
S E Woodward
Burray, Orkney
What Kent did for us
SIR – Thank you for the reminder (Sacred Mysteries, May 25) that today is St Augustine’s feast day, and that he was welcomed by Ethelbert, King of Kent, a pagan who was converted to Christianity and converted the Cantware, the people of Kent.
He gave the land upon which Canterbury Cathedral was built in 597 and Rochester Cathedral in 604. Ethelbert also gave Kent the first code of English laws in about 604.
Sir Robert Worcester
University of Kent
Home and away
SIR – The German supporters attending Saturday’s Champions League final at Wembly provided, I thought, an object lesson to some of our hate-fuelled, home-grown football fans. They reminded me, dare I say it, of a rugby crowd.
Peter Wyton
Behind the secret German wartime radio station
SIR – I was fascinated, reading the Britain at War feature on the Court & Social page (May 24), to discover your correspondent at the time quoting the “secret German radio station Gustav Siegfried Eins”, among other sources for the report on the Italian situation in May 1943.
Even today, few people are aware of the secret British propaganda organisation, the Political Warfare Executive, though some of its activities – such as the aerial distribution by the RAF of millions of leaflets over the Continent, and the direction of the BBC’s foreign broadcasts to occupied Europe – are better known. I learnt more about it when researching my book British Propaganda to France, 1940-1944 (2007).
The Political Warfare Executive also operated a number of radio stations, all of which purported to be something they were not, to spread their propaganda message more effectively.
One was Gustav Siegfried Eins, the brainchild of the journalist Sefton Delmer. Intended to appear, as your correspondent says, “anti-Nazi but pro-Junkers”, its purpose was to sow seeds of doubt and distrust in ordinary Germans.
Its content was reinforced by the character of its main speaker, “Der Chef”, as a patriotic German who had served with distinction in the Great War, but who had come to despise the Nazi system and its excesses.
Mixing truth with credible fiction – such as the report of Italian overtures for peace – allowed Der Chef to provoke his listeners into questioning what else the Nazi-controlled news system was not telling them.
Whether it worked or not we shall never know, but that Gustav Siegfried Eins was seen as sufficiently reliable to be reported in The Daily Telegraph is evidence to suggest it would certainly have been believable to the Germans it was intended for.
Dr Tim Brooks
London E11

Irish Times:

Sir, – Eoin O’Malley (“Abolition of Seanad makes Dáil reform a vital priority”) writes that committee chairs and the Ceann Comhairle should be elected by secret ballot. Anyone who is a follower of Irish politics would see this as a naive proposal. Political party members would still vote along party lines and in fact such an initiative, if adopted, would ensure full government control over parliamentary and committee chairmanship across the board. There would have to be some other degree of qualification added, such as a d’Hondt system of allocation for a “rotating” Ceann Comhairle position, whereby two or more fill the role over a given Dáil term. – Yours, etc,
Dublin 14.
A chara, – Geraldine Kennedy (Opinion, May 25th) commented that the hearings at the Oireachtas Committee on Health on abortion make the case for the retention of a reformed Seanad. I fail to see the connection. Surely they make a much stronger case instead for strengthening the committee system as an avenue for drawing experts into the democratic process when relevant, as was done in this instance, rather than giving them a permanent place in a second house in the legislature. – Is mise,
Westfield Park,
Bray, Co Wicklow
Sir, – Your Editorial (May 16th) stated that “12 detailed reports on necessary reforms were allowed to gather dust”. Subsequently, Joe Stynes (May 18th) clarified that the only report which is both specific to the Seanad and unimplemented is the 2004 report of the Seanad Committee on Procedures and Privileges.
How then can Deputy Paschal Donohoe (Opinion, May 23rd) re-iterate that, after “10 reports”, “not a single reform has happened”? What ever happened to “facts are sacred”?
Which branch of the Oireachtas was responsible for implementing those reports anyway? – Yours, etc,
Dalcassian Downs,
Glasnevin, Dublin 11.
Sir, – Paschal Donohoe asks why the Scandinavian countries, which he says are “the most accountable and effective political systems in the world”, have similar populations to Ireland but have an average of 60 fewer national politicians than we do (Opinion, May 23rd). He concludes that it is because they do not have a second chamber of parliament, like our Seanad. This is an extremely rash conclusion which was clearly reached without any examination of the political systems of those countries.
The simple reason for this is that the constitutional structures of the Nordic countries have devolved far more political responsibility to local level, removing the need for a larger national legislature. They each have huge and vastly more powerful systems of local government than we have in Ireland. Denmark has 98 local authorities and 2,500 local councillors. Finland has 304 local authorities and just under 10,000 local councillors. And Norway has 423 local authorities and 12,000 local councillors.
Ireland, in contrast, has 115 local councils and 1,600 councillors. Under proposals put forward by the Government, which Mr Donohoe lauds in his column, this will be reduced to 32 local councils and 950 councillors.

Sir, – I have a problem with Brian Whiteside’s reported statement (Joe Humphrey, Home News, May 27th) that “Our cause is simply the promotion of humanism.” I don’t like the word “cause” and I don’t like the word “promotion”; both smack strongly of Richard Dawkins’s campaign to make atheists of us all. I’m an agnostic and so, I suppose, veer towards humanism and atheism, but I wouldn’t dream of trying to convert anyone else to my way of thinking. In fact, I’m envious of people who have a faith and of the security and comfort it brings them. – Yours, etc,
Glen Lawn Drive,

Sir, – The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill gives Government power to unilaterally cut pay and pensions, to change allowances, to freeze increments and to change conditions of service including working hours in the public service (Home News, May 24th). It enshrines in law a more penal version of the original Government demands made to unions in the recent Croke Park II process.
It has a key coercive clause. It contains a provision “for a suspension of incremental progression for three years for all public servants unless they are covered by a collective agreement that modifies the terms of the incremental suspension and which has been registered with the Labour Relations Commission”. This means that unless a trade union signs up to the agreement, even if the pay of members is under €65,000, its members’ increments will be frozen for three years. This is a draconian measure far beyond anything contained in the original Croke Park II proposals.
Union members or executives may vote for or against Croke Park II as revised. That is their privilege and their right. But what are the consequences if trade unions do not immediately reject this Bill by declaring that they will not register an agreement with a public service employer under its provisions? They would be forcing their members to vote on current proposals with the only choice being “Haddington Road” or worse. They would be enabling the Government to impose the legislation on all other unions and public service workers. They would be sanctioning pension cuts on members who have no vote on any proposals.
By doing this they would be becoming quasi-arms of government. They would be assenting to a version of corporatism which would undermine the right to free trade unions and to free trade union activity by individuals in the public service. They would be assenting to an unprecedented erosion of trade union rights in Ireland into the indefinite future. Unions can make this legislation unworkable if they refuse to register their agreement with the LRC even if they agree to “Haddington Road”.
As a former president of the TUI and a former member of the executive of Dublin Council of Trade Unions, I appeal to all unions to reject this Bill by making it clear immediately, that irrespective of their decision on Haddington Road, they will not register such an agreement under the provisions of this anti-worker, anti-trade union Bill. – Yours, etc,

Sir, – I wonder if Lord Haddington, a 19th-century viceroy, ever thought that a road on the southside of Dublin city would be called after him, let alone that an Irish government agreement with the trade unions would bear his title.
It is said that Lord Haddington was a man who said nothing, did nothing and was nothing. Perhaps.
Let us hope that the Haddington Road Agreement will go further than that and be successful. JFKs words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”, might be an appropriate maxim to be applied to the agreement. – Yours, etc,  
Beggars Bush Court,
Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.
Sir, – Rodney Devitt (Letters, May 25th) welcomes the revised Croke Park Agreement having a Dublin 4 title. It may imply class but will those with class, ie the teachers, accept it? – Yours, etc,
Acorn Road,

Sir, – Everyone in west Clare is celebrating the recognition of the Loop Head Peninsula as the overall winner in The Irish Times Best Place to Holiday in Ireland competition.
But the imminent arrival of fracking to the area threatens the rugged natural beauty of the whole region. The current Government – led by Ministers Rabbitte and O’Dowd – is intent on licensing Enegi Oil plc to explore and then drill for gas using fracking (or unconventional gas extraction).
Local tourism businesses and local residents face the transformation of the area into an industrial wasteland of toxic stillponds. Local farmers face ruined ground water and aquifers from a myriad of wells leaking toxic chemicals.
Indeed, it is an inconvenient industry fact that oil and gas wells will leak over time.
Moreover, the west Clare area is geologically unsuitable for this type of process and the whole Shannon estuary is threatened by this ruinous technology.
There is a growing realisation of the economic futility of the fracking project and of the horrific price in environmental disaster that will be paid by future generations of people in west Clare and across Ireland for this fiasco.
Let’s all keep Ireland fracking free. – Yours, etc,

Irish Independent:

* Recently, Pope Francis said: “The Lord redeemed all of us, all of us, with the blood of Christ, not just Catholics. Everyone.”
Also in this section
Strong objection to Crown piece
Reject the dirty shirt
We need public transport
Before popes were around, another emperor, atheist, statesman and philosopher said much the same thing: “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.
“If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” Marcus Aurelius AD 121-180.
The essence of what a good person is can also be marked by a man called Don Giuseppe Puglisi. He was a priest who was murdered outside his church in 1993 by the mafia in Sicily for speaking out against them. His catchphrase was a question to encourage others to stand up, too, ” . . . and what if somebody did something?”
It is that question that comes just before courage that defines for a person and a people what it means to be good, and gives hope for us all.
Barry Clifford
Oughterard, Co Galway
* People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, as they may Shatter.
Marie O’Reilly
Ballysimon Road, Limerick
* How can Alan Shatter score so many own goals with his foot in his mouth?
N Cunningham
Address with editor
* There is grave concern among doctors across the specialties about the proposed legislation for termination of pregnancy in the case of threatened suicide on the part of the mother.
Many of us have practised, or are now practising, in jurisdictions where such legislation was the first step towards what has become abortion on demand. Attempts to revisit legislation and reduce the number of abortions by restricting the grounds on which termination of pregnancy may be performed, such as gestational age, have been fraught and largely fruitless. Those who think there will be a second chance, whether by a so-called sunset clause or otherwise, are naive.
We would like to make a clear statement to the members of the Oireachtas that there is no evidence that termination is the treatment for threatened suicide in pregnancy and that if they vote for the proposed legislation, they will be voting for the legalisation of abortion in this country.
Those members of the Oireachtas who believe that they are only doing what the Constitution permits since the X Case judgment should seek to examine the psychiatric evidence heard by the Supreme Court in 1992. They will find none.
They might alternatively examine the statements of the psychiatrists called before the Oireachtas Health Committee hearings in 2012, to see what evidence there is that might support the Supreme Court decision. They will find none.
We would also remind them that the World Health Organisation consistently places Ireland in the top five countries for women’s safety in pregnancy.
We would urge members of the Oireachtas respectfully, but robustly, to vote against the proposed legislation.
Dr Ann Barry, GP, Dublin
Dr Anne Kennedy, GP, Co Mayo
Dr Anne Ryan, GP, Co Kildare
Dr Anne-Marie Leech, GP, Co Wexford
Dr Bridget O’Brien, GP, Co Kerry
Dr Cliodhna Donnelly Palliative Care, Galway
Dr Cristina Bordinc, GP, Wexford
Dr Daniel Purcell, GP, Co Kildare
Prof David Ryan
Maxillo-Facial Surgeon, Dublin
Dr Deirdre Gleeson
Occupational Health Physician/GP, Co Kildare
Prof Eamonn O’Dwyer
Obstetrician Gynaecologist, Co Galway
Dr Eileen Reilly
Obstetrician Gynaecologist, Galway
Dr Eoghan De Faoite, NCHD, Dublin
Dr Felim T Donnelly, GP, Galway
Dr George Fuller, GP, Cork
Dr Helen T O’Brien, GP, Dublin
Mr James Sheehan
Orthopaedic Surgeon, Galway
Dr Janina Lyons, GP, Dublin
Dr John C Kehoe, GP, Co Kildare
Dr John Kehoe SNR, GP, Co Kildare
Dr John Monaghan
Obstetrician Gynaecologist, Co Galway
Dr Jonathan Jacob, GP, Co Carlow
Dr Jude McSharry, GP, Co Sligo
Dr Maire Mirium Duggan
Obstetrician Gynaecologist, Dublin
Dr Maire Nic Ghearailt, GP, Co Wicklow
Dr Mairead MacConnaill, GP, Cork
Dr Marie Therese McKenna, GP, Donegal
Dr Marie Twomey, Palliative Care, Dublin
Dr Mary P Carroll, Radiologist, Donegal
Dr Maureen Brennan, GP, Dublin
Dr Maurice Fahy, GP, Co Kerry
Dr Michael Salter, GP, Co Wicklow
Dr Mirium Hogan, GP, Co Kilkenny
Dr Murrogh Birmingham, GP, Co Donegal
Dr Myles Monaghan
Anaesthetics Trainee, Dublin
Dr Olive Pierse, GP, Co Kerry
Dr Orla Halpenny, GP, Dublin
Dr Paschal O’Dea, GP, Co Carlow
Dr Patricia O’Toole, GP, Carlow
Dr Patrick Kelly, GP trainee, Co Waterford
Dr Patrick McSharry, GP, Co Sligo
Dr Pauline Burke, Public Health, Co Limerick
Dr Pauline Kane, GP, Dublin
Dr Peter Quinn, GP, Cork
Dr Phil Boyle, Fertility Specialist, Galway
Dr Phillip Aherne, GP, Co Kildare
Dr Ravi Kumar, GP, Wexford
Dr Rita O’Connor, General Medicine, Clare
Dr Seamus Kennedy, GP, Co Mayo
Dr Sean O Domhnaill, Psychiatrist, Kildare
Dr Sinead Kelly, Palliative Care, Dublin
Dr Trevor Hayes
Obstetrician Gynaecologist, Co Kilkenny
Dr Ursula Nusgen, Microbiologist, Dublin
Dr William P Fox, GP, Co Westmeath
Dr William Purcell, GP, Co Kildare
* There is still some talk that the Government will try to bring in a banking inquiry to look at the events surrounding September 2008.
Why should we, as a State, waste so much of taxpayers’ hard-earned money when the dogs in the street know who is responsible for the sorry state our country is in. The answer – no one!
Paul Doran
Clondalkin, Dublin 22
* Two harrowing letters appeared in your paper in the last week or so with regard to the terror of corporal punishment in Irish schools during the 1950s and 1960s.
One, entitled ‘School of Terror’, from Paddy O’Brien, of Balbriggan, Co Dublin, says in those days school masters/mistresses/priests/brothers assaulted children who weren’t able to keep up with their lessons by slapping them on the hands with a cane supplied by the State.
The other, entitled ‘School Misery’, name and address with editor, says sadistic punishments were administered on a daily basis in a small sleepy village during the 1950s and 1960s.
This of course was physical abuse, and the one thing to remember is that any kind of childhood abuse, be it sexual or otherwise, remains with the child for the rest of their lives and makes it much more difficult to survive in life afterwards.
I went to a private school in Dublin in the 1960s. Physical and mental abuse was rampant. Fear was the chief motivator from dawn to dusk, and permeated the walls, the classrooms and study hall. One priest at the time was a tyrant who ruled with fear and a leather strap. We got a reasonable education but at a very high price. Afterwards it was extremely difficult to survive outside the walls. God forgive us all in this country for accepting any kind of abuse in any of our schools.
Just like the industrial schools and Magdalene Laundries, this is also part of our shameful history we should never forget.
Name and address with editor
Irish Independent


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