At home

At home 2nd June 2013

I trot round the park today and listen to the Navy lark. I Oh dear, oh dear
Pertwee is in trouble again a hundred and twenty navy blankets have mysteriously gone missing. Has he done a deal with the local draper? Priceless.
A quiet day off out to the post office a nice day but we are both very tired.
We watch Genevieve s a wonderful old film
I win at Scrabble today, just and gets just under 400, Mary might get her revenge tomorrow, I hope.


Leonard ‘Rover’ Reynolds
Leonard ‘Rover’ Reynolds, who has died aged 89, served during the war in Motor Gunboat 658 in the Mediterranean, and later became a headmaster.

Leonard ‘Rover’ Reynolds 
6:37PM BST 30 May 2013
Reynolds joined the Royal Navy in 1942 and was commissioned into the RNVR, serving in MGB 658 for the rest of the war, first as navigating officer, then as first-lieutenant before being given command at the early age of 21.
On June 2 1943, MGB 658 arrived in Malta as the Allies were preparing to invade Sicily. Reynolds and his inexperienced crew carried out 14 patrols in 19 days, and during the landings in July blockaded the Messina Strait to prevent attack by German E-boats.
Later, in 1944, as the Allied advance slowed to a near halt in the bitter fighting between Naples and Rome, MGB 658 conducted dummy landings near Civita-Vecchia to distract the enemy, and also escorted to Elba the Free French landing forces under General Latte de Tassigny.
Then, while on patrol in heavy rain and low visibility in the Piombino Channel on the night of July 18 1944, MGB 658 was surprised by an Italian destroyer . MGB 658 was last in a line of five boats as the destroyer appeared out of the darkness and tried to ram. Reynolds was in the gunnery control position as a salvo ripped into the gunboat’s bridge; the seaman behind him was hit by a shell . When Reynolds looked around he saw the captain and two ratings sitting or lying on deck, either wounded or dead, and the steering wheel entangled with wires from the fallen mast. Also, one of the gunners had been killed and two others seriously wounded.
Reynolds assumed command and single-handedly cleared the wreckage around the steering wheel; removed a corpse which was in the way; and made the wounded as comfortable as possible, while steering MTB 658 into Bastia in Corsica.
Later, from a base at the island of Vis in the Adriatic, Reynolds took part in clandestine operations among enemy-occupied islands, seeing many friends and their boats blown up by mines.
In three years of war, MGB 658 sank or damaged more than 26 enemy craft. Reynolds was awarded a DSC, and her crew of three officers and 30 ratings were between them awarded four more DSCs, five DSMs and were mentioned in despatches eight times.
Leonard Charles Reynolds was born on June 29 1923, the son of a London policeman, and grew up at Wallington, Surrey, being educated at the local grammar school. On the outbreak of war he joined Sun Life Insurance, which was evacuated to Wrest Park in Bedfordshire .
After the war he gained a teaching certificate and returned to his old school while studying at night for a degree at Birkbeck College, London. After a spell at Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School in Ramsgate, in 1960 he was appointed headmaster of Kendal Grammar School. From 1965 to 1981 he was head of Maidenhead Grammar School (later Desborough comprehensive). He served as chairman of the Berkshire Association of Secondary Heads.
Reynolds was also a JP; an active Rotary member; and a keen supporter of Maidenhead Arts Council. He was a Deputy Lieutenant of Berkshire from 1978.
For more than 30 years Reynolds was on the Admiralty Interview Board, which vets potential officers, thus helping to shape the Royal Navy and Royal Marines officer corps .
Reynolds lived life by the Scout law which he had learned as a boy, and was a scout master of four troops. In 1980 he was awarded the Silver Wolf (the Scout Association’s highest award), and in 1981 was appointed OBE for services to the movement. His nickname “Rover” was coined when he attended a meeting of Deep Sea Scouts in wartime Malta.
He was the author of Motor Gunboat 658: the Small Boat War in the Mediterranean, which has not been out of print since 1955, and in retirement wrote three books which form the definitive history of coastal forces in the Second World War.
He married, in 1946, Win Darbyshire, who survives him with their son and daughter.
Leonard “Rover” Reynolds, born June 29 1923, died April 18 2013


Jay Rayner was aware that he was opening himself up to criticism (“Why worrying about food miles is missing the point”, Magazine). I welcome his support of the notion that the sustainability debate is often over-simplified and narrowly considered, but he himself misses the point, in dismissing the influence of food miles on sustainability, by framing the argument around New Zealand lamb. The UN is just one of many international bodies that claims the only way to feed the world sustainably is to move to a meat-free diet.
Just as the vast majority of commentators have been guilty of ignoring this point of view, Rayner is arguing over details at the wrong end of the debate. Excluding meat from, or at the very least drastically reducing the amount of meat in, our diets is the one simple thing we can be quite sure would have a dramatic impact on food security and sustainability.
When will this be discussed in the food sections of our newspapers?
Anthony Powis
Milton Keynes
Jay Rayner cites nitrogen fertilisers and heated greenhouses as reasons why local food is not always better. Both of these examples are just as reliant on petrochemicals as transportation; however, neither of these is necessarily part of a sustainable, local food system.
Last year, Organiclea, a workers’ co-op based in north-east London, grew more than a tonne of salad leaves outdoors and in an unheated greenhouse. As a perishable crop, there are huge benefits in taste, nutrition and reduced wastage to producing salad within the city limits. For our veg box scheme and market stalls, we support other organic farmers outside London by buying their potatoes.
Rayner raises a good point – that neither local nor organic is automatically the most sustainable option in isolation to each other – but fails to develop it or offer any solutions.
More food can be grown locally in the UK and good farming practices can, through carbon sequestration in the soil, be genuinely carbon neutral without resorting to buying offsetting credits as most “carbon neutral” businesses do.
Jo Clarke
London E4
I wonder how many people live near places where food is produced? Where food production is local, buyers can see where it comes from and how it is grown, maybe get to know farmers personally, and money spent stays and circulates in the locality. The big operators take their profits away to headquarters, maybe a tax haven, and the only money left locally is staff wages.
Robin Minney
Support for better food supplies should be the focus for improved food security. Such supplies must be affordable, available, sufficient and sustainable. They must not dig up, chop down, pollute or overheat the planet, nor must they open the way for other human activities to do so; the potential benefits of more food with less impact could sadly still be outweighed elsewhere by the impact of providing western lifestyles for a growing human population.
The good news is that there are many improvements in food supplies including hi-tech approaches and simple ideas, such as less waste. The bad news is that nobody, especially in the wealthy west, wants the bill, the job or to have their consumer choice affected.
Iain Climie
Thank you for publishing Jay Rayner’s article “Death in the afternoon”. I’m a daughter and granddaughter of butchers and, as such, a vegetarian. Reading the piece, feeling weary during a tea break, gave me the determination to finish my shift in the busy Quorn packing hall where, thankfully, unlike Jay, I did not have to regulate my breathing to deal with the sensory overload.
Fiona Smeaton Papiez
North Yorkshire

If the economic answer to developing better performing businesses is skilled and capable women working alongside equally talented men, then it is time that these women stand up and be counted; that they take some responsibility for the issue of the under-representation of women at the top of corporate Britain.
Everyone has been looking to chairmen, chief executives, politicians and head hunters to ensure that more talented women reach the top levels. Until now, there has been no push on what we, the women, can do to support and address this serious issue.
The Two Percent Club, “the voice of corporate women”, resolves to support companies, their leaders and their aspiring female talent to achieve better-balanced businesses. We believe that the problem is threefold:
• The issue lies not in the boardroom, but the talent pipeline.
• This is a business issue, not just a FTSE 100 issue.
• Women are not blameless in this.
As skilled, capable and successful women, we pledge to work together to create sustainable progress for better balanced business.
Heather Jackson, founder; Linda Pollard, national chair; Liz Bingham, Ernst & Young; Judith Moreton, Little Blue Private Jets; Helen Ridge, Pinsent Masons; Helen Cook,
Karen Caddick, Senior HR Professional
Natalie Ceeney, CEO, Financial Ombudsman
Pat Chapman-Pincher, Chairman, The Cavell Group
Carrie Hindmarsh, CEO, M&C Saatchi
Julie Nerney, Portfolio Career
Helen Rosethorn, CEO, Bernard Hodes Group UK
Carla Stent, Partner & COO, Virgin Management
Caroline Rainbird, Director of Corporate Services, RBS
Jayne Hussey, Partner, Pinsent Masons
Fiona Penhallurick, Managing Director, Covanta Energy
Andrew Harrison, Managing Director, Midlands & East of England, RBS
Joëlle Warren, Deputy Chair of The Two Percent Club, North West and Executive Chairman, Warren Partners
Catherine Fairhurst, Partner, Ernst & Young
Vanda Murray OBE, Portfolio Career
Caroline Shaw, CEO, Christie NHS Foundation
Angela Spindler, CEO, The Original Factory Shop
Richard Topliss, MD, Corporate & Institutional Banking, RBS
Norma Corlette, Director, Communities Online
Caroline Donaldson, Director, Kynesis Coaching
Susan Forrester, Audit Partner, Deloitte
Angela Mitchell, Lead Partner for the Scottish Public Sector, Deloitte
Charles McGarry, Director, Warren Partners
Blame poverty for extremism
The root of the current reasons why young adults are turning to extremist opinions is not related to geography, ethnicity or religion (“What made two gang members turn to jihad on London street”, News). There is polarisation, but the root cause of that polarisation is a growing sense among young adults in deprived areas of social injustice – a lack of meaningful employment; a lack of understanding of their cultural identity; a perception of unjust policing, reinforced by an unjust criminal justice system; an unstable home environment and a lack a positive male role models reinforcing a sense of personal isolation. It’s the combination of these issues that results in a lack of self-worth and a lack of connection to the people around them.
People who are vulnerable due to cultural, social or emotional isolation are those who can be exploited the most by people who use social injustice as the tool to exert their will.
Jonathon Toy
Head of community safety
Southwark Council, London SE1
What makes hacks so special?
In his latest attack on Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations for effective and independent press regulation, Peter Preston argues that because the press does not like the Leveson package, it should not be implemented (“Let the courts decide on Leveson? That will make things even slower”, Business). This despite the recommendations – with a few concessions to the industry – being set out in a royal charter agreed by all the parties and supported by the victims of press abuse.
His argument is that “a regime nobody [among the regulated] accepts is no regime at all”. Would he apply this to any other industry? To the banks, the police, the security services? If the special pleading and self-serving distortion occurred in any other area, the press would be up in arms.
Dr Evan Harris
Associate editor, Hacked Off
London SW1
Age has no bearing on bigotry
Catherine Bennett (“Don’t older people often say the funniest things?”, Comment) is surely too hard on septuagenarians. I’m nearly 70, but I don’t recognise myself or my contemporaries in her account. Bigotry can be found in all age groups – for example, the BNP and the EDL, whose membership is, I believe, much younger. I worked for Lord Tebbit as a civil servant in the 80s and, though he took a forceful and uncompromising stance that not everyone agreed with, there was no bigotry then. Now, the accolade of CBE (Certified Bigot Extraordinary) might well suit, though there are younger people who equally deserve it.
John Mallinson
Oxted, Surrey
No plum jobs for Britons
It makes me more than a little cross when I read sentences such as: “Finding employees locally is difficult because British workers are not interested in fruit picking” (“Squeeze on migrant jobs alarms UK fruit farmers”, News). My husband’s parents came to England from Ukraine and Italy respectively, and I am not, and never will be, a Ukip voter, but this article failed to explore the question of farmers and migrant workers.
My son would have loved to have found work picking fruit during his summer vacation, but found it impossible to do so. Such jobs are rarely advertised locally, but seem to be handed over to eastern European recruitment agents on the assumption that UK workers don’t want them. In fact, when I approached a strawberry-farming acquaintance on his behalf, I was told: “We don’t employ English.”
Jo Turkas
Canterbury, Kent
School rules? It does not
“Scared of the school gate?” (In focus). Definitely yes, and I was a schools inspector.
Professor Colin Richards
Spark Bridge



Philip Hoare laments the decline in British wildlife, but the cause of this Armageddon is not cars running over squirrels or boys stamping on beetles (“Every creature’s needless death diminishes us all”, 26 May). Rather, it is our shopping habits and farming practices. Browse the rows of products containing palm oil and other problematic ingredients in your local supermarket; admire the chemically treated produce packed in miles of cellophane; and wonder at the customers with trolleys piled so high that you know that much of it will land in the rubbish bin.
Consumer demand dictates that we spray tanker-loads of chemicals and engage in hedge-free monoculture, and that we keep cattle in inhumane production units rather than turning them out on to fallow fields. Such practices destroy habitats and kill insects at the foot of many food chains. Moreover, bee death seriously threatens plant reproduction. It couldn’t be more serious, but we Western consumers don’t seem to draw the conclusions we should.
On top of explaining things to small boys, maybe Hoare should go into oversized supermarkets, take over the Tannoy and give the shoppers a few home truths.
Alan Mitcham
Cologne, Germany
Recalling her visit to the Faroe Islands, Juliet Rix did not mention a particularly barbaric annual event (“High drama in the North Atlantic”, 26 May). In the “grind”, pilot whales are lured into a bay by men in motor boats and stabbed to death. Children have a day off school to witness this vile carnage. The meat from these slaughtered whales is often left to rot. So far this year, 1,115 pilot whales have been slaughtered in the Faroes, the largest kill of any whale species in the world. Whole families and social groups are wiped out, depleting the species’ gene pool and threatening genetic biodiversity.
Susan Smith
Crispin Black is astounded by Western governments’ support for jihadism in Libya and Syria (“Did we learn so little about jihadism from 7/7…?”, 26 May). That violent Islamist ideologies are inimical to the interests of Western elites is an assumption that too many commentators have bought into. The West has long appreciated what the religious right can deliver, in terms of control and social and economic conservatism. From the initial grooming of the al-Saud and Wahhabi dynasty as a bulwark against the Ottomans, to the creation of an international mujahideen (producing the Taliban and al-Qa’ida) as a bulwark against Communism, the West and Islamism have a long history of mutual interest. It is not just Libya and Syria that are the most recent manifestations of this; the intervention in Iraq was also designed to replace a secular dictator and a strong state with Islamist hegemony and a deeply damaged state. The occasional “blowback” affects only small people, be they London commuters, New York workers or Mumbai pedestrians.
Peter McKenna
In his report on the communal conflict in Burma, Peter Popham repeats the conventional view that “Muslims and Christians have been at each other’s throats for 1,300 years” (“Killing with kindness…”, 26 May). There is no historical basis for positing such a conflict. Until recently, in areas where both faiths were practised side by side, communities coexisted without conflict. As for the Crusades, so often cited as the example of Muslim/Christian religious enmity, no religious principle was involved; like all wars in the Levant over the millennia until today, they were fought for territory, as, it seems, is the conflict in Arakan.
Maurice Vassie
Deighton, York
Limiting GP visits would only increase the demands on A&E departments (“Cap on number of GP visits being considered by Tories”, 26 May). But an A&E visit costs more than a GP visit and a cap would add to the very pressures on A&E that the Health Secretary has criticised.
Dr Mohsin Khan
Capping GP visits puts illness on a proper commercial footing. To take full advantage, we should be able to trade our visit allocations. So, if I have unused visits I could sell them to the highest bidder. And if I have been particularly unwell I can purchase additional visits. What a fine idea this is.
Ashley Herbert
Huddersfield, West Yorkshire


A lesson in teamwork for Gove and teachers
HEAD TEACHERS always want to do the best for their students but the ever-changing vision and the inconsistent quality  of inspectors create a challenging and stressful working environment (“Schools chief orders heads  to stop whining”, News,  last week).
If Michael Gove worked with head teachers rather than dictating to them, I’m sure  we would all be happier and more successful. Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector  of schools, seems to forget that while we have to strive to improve, this has to be balanced with the wellbeing  of our staff.
Peter Fowler, Via email 

Bad attitude
When it comes to aspiring for excellence, can teachers really take comfort knowing that almost 20% of children leave school without the reading skills required to be productive members of society? The equivalent figure for Shanghai is 4%. A million people in London alone are unable to read.
In the light of these appalling figures, might it  not be more appropriate for leaders in the teaching profession to concentrate on putting matters right rather than pillorying Gove and threatening industrial action?
Richard Wilson, Emeritus Professor, Loughborough University

School bully
Wilshaw is an arrogant bully who has forgotten his days as a head. His measures seem to have been successful in one school in Hackney. To dictate that all schools should be run in a similar way is naive and doomed to failure. One style does not suit all, Mr Wilshaw.
Richard Jones, Solihull, West Midlands

Pressure point
The heads and teachers we talk to often struggle with staff shortages due to stress-related absence, low morale, the increasing pace of change and frequently poor management practice driven by a climate of fear instead of collaboration. Stressful work environments (and the mental health consequences that often occur as a result) is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Julian Stanley, Teacher Support Network

Age concern
I’m still looking for a teaching post 17 months after graduating, so Sian Griffiths’s article “Fanfare for excellence” (Festival of Education supplement, last week)  did not make me feel optimistic. She tells us that Wilshaw says twentysomethings can be excellent heads: “If you’re good enough, you’re  old enough.”
As a 57-year-old I need a  new soundbite. How about:  “If you’re good enough, you’re young enough?”
Tim Parkinson, Colchester, Essex

Damage limitation
Is Gove jockeying for the Conservative leadership? I really do not think that we need another Scottish prime minister after the damage done by the past two.
Ken Stephenson, Via email

Spelling it out
Head teachers are known to be key in the success of a school but their views are often ignored or dismissed by  Ofsted and the government.  Is there any truth in the rumour that a new qualification for heads is to include a module on spelling words such as subservience, acquiescence, deference and submissiveness?
John Cutland, Wilton, Wiltshire

Ticked off
I find it astonishing that  head teachers are being reprimanded for jeering Gove, as apparently this type of behaviour sets a poor example to children. I have a one-word answer to this: parliament.
Michael Reid, Prescot, Merseyside

A life-affirming display of courage in the face of Woolwich murderers
THE humanity and courage of Ingrid Loyau-Kennett in tackling head-on the savagery of the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby is an inspiration (“The enemy within”, Focus, and “The murderous vanity of man punctured by three quiet women”, Comment, last week).
Not for her crossing to the other side, or  the safety of the shadows. Her actions demonstrated the innate goodness of the human spirit.
Frank Greaney, Liverpool

Rogue males
As Dominic Lawson rightly stated, nothing has changed since 356BC so maybe testosterone might be the problem after all.
Craig Brown, Leicester

Gender roles
The insightful article by Lawson, treated on an emotive level elsewhere, compellingly presented the role of male egotism and female empathy, and the Saudi approach was an eye-opener for me.
Sean Weaver, London N10

Tipping point
Anthony Glees (“Pushed to the edge by preachers of hatred”, Focus, last week) is right that the vast majority of Muslims in Britain want nothing to do with this form of Islam and are as horrified as everyone else by the murder of Drummer Rigby, but he is also correct in saying that the patience of the public could so easily turn to anger and hatred.
R Howard, Blackpool, Lancashire

Staffing boost can cure NHS ills
THE difficulties faced by the NHS are entirely due to a total failure in manpower planning (Camilla Cavendish, “Exit Stalin. Now let the little people rescue the NHS”, Comment, last week).
In 1996 it became evident that 60% of students in some medical schools were female, and with their inevitable and entirely reasonable need to work part-time during their child-bearing years we would need a lot more doctors.
The majority of doctors of retirement age were male at that time and when a couple of years later the announcement was first made about the European Working Time Directive, it became clear we’d have to train two doctors for every one that retired.
More recently there has been an increase in part-time working by male doctors — job sharing with their GP wives.  It was said doctors only married nurses or barmaids because they had no time  to meet anyone else. How things change.
The situation was made worse in 2004 by the decision to relieve GPs of their responsibility for out-of-hours cover. As has been indicated in the media at some length, this change has put unreasonable pressure on accident and emergency departments. The increase in population, plus a significant increase in the elderly and in medical advances, has emphasised the need for more staff.
Every attempt at reorganisation of the NHS has produced further difficulties for frontline staff and more enthusiasm for retirement or emigration.
The solution is more doctors, more nurses and more hospital beds, and until the government takes this firmly on board, the current chaos will continue.
John Crosby, Taunton, Somerset

Cash injection
The NHS will improve when the money follows the patient and we will only be able to afford it when access to services is linked to National Insurance contributions. There will, of course, need to be debate as to what that means.  I worked in the NHS for five years and left despondent. 
Stewart Ramsay, London W7

Exam boards failing duty to pupils
LAST summer there was a national outcry when thousands of pupils failed to receive the grades they were expecting in GCSE English. Our colleagues in the maintained sector took legal action that led to the conclusion that, although what had happened was unfair, it was not unlawful.
As heads of leading independent schools, we believe we have a duty to make the public aware at this time that problems in the marking and grading of public exams do not affect only one subject, or one level of exam, or schools belonging to a particular sector.
For several years we have been worried about the robustness of the “examinations industry” in England. We have concerns about erratic examiners and unexplained swings in results. There are also concerns that it is easier to get top grades with some boards than others.
Every year our staff oversee the submission of appeals against inaccurate marking. Sometimes as many as 100 papers from a single school are upgraded on appeal. This indicates an unacceptable level of inaccuracy. Sometimes faults with the exam system have cost able pupils their university place.
As the exam season starts, we want to make it clear on behalf of all those taking public examinations that we are not convinced that the problems that affect the exam system have been addressed with sufficient speed, let alone resolved.

Andrew Grant, St Albans School
Louise Simpson, Bromley High School
Tony Little, Eton College
Emma McKendrick, Downe House School 
Tim Hands, Magdalen College School
Jonathan Leigh, Marlborough College
Christopher Ray, The Manchester Grammar School
Felicia Kirk, St Mary’s Calne
Bernard Trafford, Royal Grammar School Newcastle 
Kenneth Durham, University College School 
Richard Harman, Uppingham School
Cynthia Hall, Wycombe Abbey School
Anthony Seldon, Wellington College


Accounting error
AA Gill’s cavalier claim about Harrods’ profitability (or his assumption about the lack of it) is wide of the mark (“Disney Café at Harrods”, Table Talk, Magazine, last week). Harrods continues to exceed expectations in terms of turnover and profitability this year, not least as a result of its owners committing record capital expenditure to the group.
Katharine Witty, Harrods Group Director, Corporate Affairs

Band practice
The picture of Nigel Farage accompanying the article  “I must be big — I now need bodyguards” (News, last week) showed him smoking a cigar with a band on it. Any Englishman with pretensions of being civilised would know that cigar bands should be removed before smoking. It’s only ill-informed Americans who do not do so. On the  other hand, Farage has done wonders for the name Nigel.
Nigel Bolitho, Cambridge

Art transplant
Aart van Kruiselbergen (“Total eclipse of the art”, Letters, last week) was disappointed  with a recent visit to Tate  St Ives. The current size of  the exhibition spaces and constraints in art handling facilities mean the gallery has to close three times a year to change and rehang the displays. To address this we are about to embark on a refurbishment that will provide 100% more gallery space and extensive new collection care facilities by 2016. It will mean visitors will be able to enjoy exhibitions throughout the year.
Mark Osterfield, Executive Director, Tate St Ives, Cornwall

Aid for disabled people
The announcement by Lynne Featherstone, the international development minister, that her department is seeking advice from charities on how to target aid to benefit disabled people comes not a moment too soon for deafblind people in developing countries (“UK aid charities ‘forget’ disabled”, News, last week). People  with disabilities have for a long time been ignored in international development. The current millennium development goals that end  in 2015 do not have any meaningful mention of disabled people and overlook 1bn of the world’s population. We support deafblind people in Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Peru, Romania and Uganda. Deafblind children in these countries need to receive education and healthcare. Without this, many will lead short, lonely lives.
James Thornberry, Director, Sense International

Two sides to every story
Although India Knight makes a vitriolic case for the shallowness of every male on the planet, the column would have been more readable if it had been less broad brush (“The merest buttering-up and stale men think they’re sexy wolves”, Comment, last week). Not every relationship teeters on the simplistic weakness  she portrays. My wife of 14 years upped and left her two young children and myself. Her responsibilities obviously  were too much of an impediment to her  rainbow-chasing aspirations.
Name withheld, Bristol

Corrections and clarifications
Complaints about inaccuracies in all sections of The Sunday Times, including online, should be addressed to or The Editor, The Sunday Times, 3 Thomas More Square, London E98 1ST. In addition, the Press Complaints Commission ( or 020 7831 0022) examines formal complaints about the editorial content of UK newspapers and magazines (and their websites)

Keith Allen, actor, 60; Dominic Cooper, actor, 35; Heather Couper, astronomer, 64; Sir Mark Elder, conductor, 66; Tony Hadley, singer, 53; Lasse Hallstrom, film director, 67; Mark Lawrenson, football pundit, 56; Helen Oxenbury, children’s illustrator, 75; Tim Rice-Oxley, musician in Keane, 37; Charlie Watts, drummer, 72; Mark and Steve Waugh, cricketers, 48

1780 anti-Catholic march to parliament becomes first No Popery riot; 1840 birth of Thomas Hardy, novelist; 1857 birth of Edward Elgar, composer; 1896 Guglielmo Marconi applies for first radio patent; 1919 anarchists set off bombs in seven American cities, killing two; 1953 coronation of Queen at Westminster Abbey; 1994 RAF Chinook crashes on Mull of Kintyre, killing 27


SIR – While celebrating the opening of the Mary Rose museum and the achievements of the people who raised and preserved her (Features, May 30), one man without whom she would undoubtedly still lie undiscovered seems to have been largely forgotten.
Alexander McKee, a slightly eccentric amateur diver and military historian, spent years researching the wreck. With a team of weekend helpers, and largely derided by professional archaeologists, he eventually found “McKee’s ghost ship” by digging trenches in the sea bed 50ft deep. Only then did the professionals move in.
However, personality clashes arose and McKee was soon out of the picture. There should be a bust of him in the museum foyer to recognise that, without him, there would be no Mary Rose, and no museum.
Henry Yelf
Andover, Hampshire

SIR – We have written to the Prime Minister jointly as leaders of Britain’s major faiths, representing many millions of people. We strongly oppose the Same Sex Marriage Bill which if enacted will affect all those of faith and those with none.
We are disappointed that the Government has failed to engage in meaningful debate with the many different faith communities in Britain. It has wrongly assumed that opposition to the redefinition of marriage is confined to a small number of Christians. In particular during the Committee stage of the Bill, faith leaders from other religions, races and creeds were not consulted.
We are deeply concerned that this legislation is being rushed through Parliament with wholly inadequate scrutiny. We can see no objective reason for haste. The shortened parliamentary timetable, whilst legal, goes against the traditional British spirit of fairness. It seems to have been designed to curtail debate and prevent amendments.
The haste with which this legislation is being driven through Parliament and the failure to talk to all religions will mean that the problems which we have repeatedly highlighted will be written into law with serious and harmful consequences for the health of society, family life, and human rights such as freedom of religion and of speech.
We are unconvinced by the safeguards upon which the Government has placed such emphasis. Some of Britain’s most eminent scholars and lawyers emphatically say that these are legally unsustainable. Moreover they are seriously limited in their scope. They do not protect or apply to those who work in either the public or private sectors. They will not protect the teacher or the parent who, for religious, or philosophical reasons, supports the current definition of marriage. Already we have seen cases of those who back traditional marriage being sacked or demoted. These consequences of the proposed legislation are clearly unacceptable.
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We understand that the Government has invested significant political capital in seeking to get this legislation onto the statute book despite its absence from its manifestos. However, it is surely clear that there are significant problems with this legislation which require further scrutiny and probably amendment. We therefore urge the Government to pause so that this may take place.
Because of its serious flaws we will continue to resist this proposed legislation and to highlight its injustice and unfairness. It creates a two-tier form of marriage in one of which the importance of consummation, procreation and the welfare of children, as well as issues such as adultery have been ignored, and devalues the meaning of marriage itself.
Marriage between a man and a woman is the fundamental building block of human society. These proposals would radically undermine the nature and place of the family in our society. We cannot believe that this is what you intend and therefore ask the Government to pause before taking such a damaging step.
Bishop Doye Agama, Presiding Bishop, Apostolic Pastoral Congress
Mr Omar Ali, President of Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS)
Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop, Coptic Orthodox Church, UK
Mr John Beard, Buddhist
Mr James Bogle QC, Vice-Chairman of the Catholic Union
Mr Ashraf Chowdery, Chairman, Association of Muslim Governors
Dr Khurshid Drabu CBE, Chairman, Medina Mosque Trust
Dr Ahmed Al Dubyan, Islamic Culture Centre & Regent’s Park Mosque
Rev Canon Ben Enwuchola Anglican Chaplain to the Nigerian Community
Mrs Sarah Finch, Member of General Synod
Shaykh Suliman Gani, Imam, Tooting Islamic Centre
Dr Lee Gatiss, Director, Church Society
Rev John Glass, General Superintendant, Elim Pentecostal Churches
Bishop Creswell Green, Chair Joint Council of Anglo-Caribbean Churches, General Overseer of the Latter-Rain Outpouring Revival Ministries
Shaykh Dr. Haitham al-Haddad, Founder and Executive Director, MRDF
Dr Omer El-Hamdoon, President of the Muslim Association of Britain
Rev George Hargreaves, Founder of the Christian Party
Bishop Paul Hendricks, Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark & Co-Chairman of the Christian Muslim Forum
Bishop Michael Hill, Anglican Bishop of Bristol
Maulana Shamsul Hoque, Chair, Council of Mosques Tower Hamlet
Rev James Hunt Rector, Bishops Waltham
Mrs Rebecca Hunt, Barrister
Shaykh Dr Musharraf Hussain, Chief Imam, Karimia Institute
Dr Hussein Jiwa, President of the Council of European Jamaats
Pastor Jean Bosco Kanyemesha, Congolese Pastorship UK
Dr A.Majid Katme, Islamic Medical Association
Mr Dilowar Khan, President, Islamic Forum of Europe
Seyed Yousif Al Khoei, Director, Al Khoei Foundation
The Venerable Michael Lawson, Former Archdeacon of Hampstead
Mrs Susie Leafe, Member of General Synod
Rabbi Natan Levy
Archbishop Bernard Longley, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham
Bishop Patrick Lynch, Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark
Apostle Caleb Mackintosh, General Overseer, Bibleway Churches (UK)
Maulana Sarfraz Madni, Chairman Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB)
Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Co-Chairman of the Christian Muslim Forum
Shaykh Shams Adduha Muhammad, Principal Ebrahim College
Farooq Murad, Secretary General, The Muslim Council of Britain
Dr Mohammed Naseem, Chairman, Birmingham Central Mosque
Bishop Michael Nazir Ali, Former Bishop of Rochester
Mr Ade Omooba, Christian Concern
Archbishop F.N.Onyuku-Opokiri, Born Again Christ Healing Church International
Yusuf Patel, SRE Islamic
Pastor Pete Pennant, Lighthouse Church, Birmingham
Rev Paul Perkin, Chairman, Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, UK and Ireland
Shaykh Abdul Qayum, Senior Imam, East London Mosque
Mr Munawer Rattansey, Vice-President of the World Federation of Kmisc Shia Ithnari
Maulana Shahid Raza, Chief Imam Leicester Central Mosque
Mr Giles Rowe, Catholic Forum
Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Chairman, Al-Risalah Trust
Mr John Smeaton, National Director, SPUC
Bishop Keith Sinclair, Anglican Bishop of Birkenhead
Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha’
Archbishop Peter Smith, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Southwark
Archbishop George Stack, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff
Rev John Stevens, Director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches
Canon Dr Chris Sugden, Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream
Prebendary Rod Thomas, Chairman of Reform
Rev Dr Simon Vibert, Wycliffe Hall, Oxford
Bishop Alfred Williams General Overseer Christ faith Tabernacle International Churches
SIR – I was deeply saddened to learn of Bishop Holtam’s letter (May 30). Bishop Holtam is a well-intentioned churchman who has done much for deprived communities in London during his career.
However, his apparent attempt to place those Christians who seek to uphold traditional marriage in the same category as those who defended Apartheid and slavery is deeply unhelpful. It will be particularly offensive to those in black majority churches who do not share his view.
If the Bishop reflects on his visit to the thriving St Paul’s congregation in Salisbury, or the recent Prayer Market event involving eight churches at which I spoke, he would understand that these growing congregations object to gay marriage not because they object to homosexuals, but because they believe marriage should follow the biblical pattern affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 19.
To redefine the institution of marriage will not remove prejudice, but instead risk legal ambiguities and unnecessarily provoke a sense of resentment and isolation among very many Christians.
If today’s church leaders follow Bishop Nicholas, and allow public opinion to define what they preach, I fear the decline in some parts of the Church of England will be terminal.
John Glen MP (Con)
Member of Parliament for Salisbury
London SW1

SIR – The forthcoming spending round will bring reductions in Government spending and we are gravely concerned that any cuts to the science budget could cause severe and lasting damage to the country’s research environment.
We are 42 medical research organisations and 130 scientists. With medical research charities and their supporters together funding more than £1 billion of vital medical research in 2011, we have made a huge contribution to improving the health of the British population through scientific advances.
For many of us, the impact and extent of our research funding would not have been possible were it not for the partnership working with the Government, including through the existence of the Charity Research Support Fund.
All of us rely on the support of this fund, which helps cover the indirect costs of research such as heating and lighting laboratories in universities, allowing charities to pay for the scientists and materials needed to understand disease and find cures. For example, for the Breast Cancer Campaign losing this income could be the equivalent of the charity losing around a quarter of its annual £5 million research fund, which would have direct consequences for breast cancer patients.
With this fund only protected until 2014-15 and with extra pressure to cut budgets, we must ensure that the Government maintains its commitment to protect both the Charity Research Support Fund and the amount available through it, as well as ring-fencing the science budget so that we can continue to save and improve lives now and in the future.
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Lord Willis of Knaresborough, Chair, Association of Medical Research Charities
Sue Millman, CEO, Ataxia UK
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Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive, British Heart Foundation
Andrew Langford, Chief Executive, British Liver Trust
Mike Kimmons, Chief Executive Officer, British Orthopaedic Association
Dr Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive, Cancer Research UK
David Clarke, Chief Executive, Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland
Pippa Gough, General Manager, Children with Cancer UK
Catherine Arkley, Chief Executive, Children’s Liver Disease Foundation
Anne Faulkner, Honorary Director, CFS Foundation
Ed Owen, Chief Executive, Cystic Fibrosis Trust
Sarah Bone, Chief Executive, Diabetes & Wellness Foundation
Baroness Young, Chief Executive, Diabetes UK
Karen Addington, Chief Executive, JDRF
Peter Storey, Director of Marketing, Kidney Research UK
Dr Teresa Tate, Medical Advisor, Marie Curie Cancer Care
Chris Head, CEO, Meningitis Research Foundation
Sally Light, Chief Executive, Motor Neurone Disease Association
Roger Evans, Secretary, Neurosciences Research Foundation
Bill Pollack, Chairman, Northern Ireland Leukaemia Research Fund
Gilda Witte, Chief Executive, Ovarian Cancer Action
Dr Kieran Breen, Director of Research and Innovation, Parkinson’s UK
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Professor Anthony Smith, Chair, Pharmacy Research UK
Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research, Prostate Cancer UK
Michael Constant, Chairman, Restore Burn and Wound Research
David Head, Chief Executive, RP Fighting Blindness
Dr Mark Dockrell, Scientific Advisor, South West Thames Kidney Fund
John Shanley, CEO, Sparks
Annwen Jones, Chief Executive, Target Ovarian Cancer
Sarah Lindsell, Chief Executive, The Brain Tumour Charity
Dr Susan Walsh, Head of Research and Specialist Services, The CGD Society
Anne Faulkner, Honorary Director of the Research Foundation, The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Wendy Thomas, Chief Executive, The Migraine Trust
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Dr Aga Gambus, Principal Investigator, School of Cancer Sciences, University of Birmingham
Prof Alan Ashworth, Chief Executive, Institute of Cancer Research
Dr Alexander Garvin, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, School of Cancer Sciences, University of Birmingham
Prof Alison Banham, Professor of Haemato-oncology, Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford
Alun Passey, Post-graduate student, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London
Dr Alyson Huntley, Research Associate, Centre of Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol
Amanda Harvey, Biosciences, Brunel University
Dr Ana M Schor, Reader emeritus, Bio-Engineering Unit, University of Dundee
Dr Ana P. Costa-Pereira, Group Leader and Senior Lecturer in Cell Signalling, Faculty of Medicine – Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London
Dr Andrea Waylen, Lecturer in Psychology, School of Oral and Dental Sciences, University of Bristol
Dr Andrew Macdonald, Associate Professor in Viral Oncology, School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds
Prof Andy Sewell, Distinguished Research Professor, Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator and Research Director, Institute of Infection and Immunity, Cardiff University
Prof Angela Cox, Institute for Cancer Studies, University of Sheffield
Dr Anna Campbell, Lecturer in Clinical Exercise Science, Institute of Sport and Exercise, University of Dundee
Dr Anna Collinson, Sectional Laboratory Manager, Division of Cancer, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London
Prof Annie S Anderson, Centre for Research into Cancer Prevention and Screening, University of Dundee
Prof Anthony Howell, Professor of Medical Oncology, Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, University of Manchester
Dr Anthony Kong, Breakthrough Clinician Scientist and Honorary NHS Consultant in Clinical Oncology, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford
Barry Furr, Chairman Llangarth Ltd
Prof Bharat Jasani, Head of Pathology, Institute of Cancer & Genetics, Cardiff University
Caroline Sproat, PhD Student, Centre for Tumour Biology, Barts Cancer Institute,Queen Mary University of London
Dr Charles Birts, Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Cancer Sciences Unit, University of Southampton
Prof Christine J Watson, Professor of Cell and Cancer Biology, Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge
Dr Claire M Wells, Lecturer, Division of Cancer Studies, King’s College London
Dr Claire Perks, Senior Research Fellow, University of Bristol
Dr Colin McCowan, Robertson Centre for Biostatistics, University of Glasgow
Dr Cornelia H de Moor, Lecturer in RNA Biology, School of Pharmacy, Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, University of Nottingham
Prof David Cameron, Professor of Oncology & Clinical Director, Edinburgh University Cancer Research Centre & Director of Cancer Services NHS Lothian
Prof David J Waugh, Director, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology & Professor of Molecular Oncology and Therapeutics, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queen’s University, Belfast
Dr David Mann, Reader in Cell Cycle Control, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London
Dr Deborah Fenlon, Senior Lecturer Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton
Demin Li, Principal Investigator, Radcliffe Department of Medicine University of Oxford
Prof Diana Eccles, Professor of Cancer Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, Academic Unit of Cancer Sciences, University of Southampton
Prof Diana Harcourt, Co-Director, Centre for Appearance Research, University of the West of England
Diana Romero, Research Associate Department Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London
Prof Doug Easton, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, Centre for Cancer Genetic Epidemiology, University of Cambridge
Dr Duncan Sproul, Medical Research Council, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh
Edmund Gore, Masters Student, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London
Dr Edward Tate, Reader in Chemical Biology, Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London
Dr Elinor Sawyer, BRC Clinical Research Consultant in Clinical Oncology, Guy’s ‘and St Thomas’ Hospital / Kings College London
Elisabete Carapuca, PhD Student, Centre for Tumour Biology, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary, University of London
Dr Ellen Copson, Senior Lecturer in Medical Oncology, University of Southampton
Dr Endre Kiss-Toth, Reader in Cell Signalling, Department of Cardiovascular Science, University of Sheffield
Prof Eric W-F Lam, Professor of Molecular Oncology, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London
Dr Fedor Berditchevski, School of Cancer Sciences, University of Birmingham
Dr Florian Markowetz, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge
Dr Frank Dudbridge, Reader in Statistical Genetics, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Gavin Alan Dorman Metcalf, Postgraduate Researcher (Molecular Cancer Medicine), Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London
George Elia, Senior Scientific Officer and Tissue Bank assistant, Centre for Tumour Biology, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London
Dr Georgios Giamas, Team Leader, Division of Cancer, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London
Dr Gill Hubbard, Reader and co-director, Cancer Care Research Centre, School of Nursing, midwifery and health, University of Stirling
Prof Gillian Murphy, Deputy Head, Dept of Oncology, University of Cambridge
Prof Gillian Tozer, Department of Oncology, University of Sheffield
Glynn Donovan, Higher Specialist Biomedical Scientist, David Evans Medical Research Centre, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
Graham A Geddes, Seconded Clinical Teaching Fellow, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, University of Stirling
Prof Gwyn T. Williams, Professor of Biochemistry, Keele University
Prof Harry Mellor, School of Biochemistry, University of Bristol
Helen Stone, PhD student, School of Cancer Sciences, University of Birmingham
Prof Ian Kunkler, Edinburgh Cancer Centre, University of Edinburgh
Dr Ingunn Holen, Reader in Bone Oncology, Academic Unit of Clinical Oncology, University of Sheffield
Jacqui Gath, Patient and Lay Advocate, Independent Cancer Patient Voices and Sheffield CRP
Dr James Flanagan, Breast Cancer Campaign Scientific Fellow, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London
Dr Jane M. Robertson, Researcher, Cancer Care Research Centre, University of Stirling
Dr Jason S. Carroll, Senior Group Leader, Cancer Research UK and University of Cambridge
Dr Jean-Christophe Bourdon, Head of cancer research laboratory and Reader, University of Dundee
Prof Jeff Holly, Professor of Clinical Science, School of Clinical Science, University of Bristol
Jenny Gomm, Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Centre for Tumour Biology, Queen Mary, University of London
Dr Jeremy Blaydes, Reader in Cancer Cell Biology Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton
Dr Jo Armes, Kings College London
Dr Jo Morris, Reader in Cancer Genetics, School of Cancer Genetics, University of Birmingham
Dr John Maher, Senior Lecturer in Immunology, NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London Research Oncology
Dr John Marshall Reader, Centre for Tumour Biology, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London
Dr Jonathan Morris, Senior Lecturer, Cancer Studies, King’s College London
Prof Joy Burchell, Professor of Glyco-oncology, Research Oncology, King’s College London
Dr Julia MW Gee, Breast Cancer Campaign Fellow & Senior Research Fellow, Cardiff School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cardiff University
Prof Jürgen Müller, Associate Professor, Warwick Medical School University of Warwick
Prof Justin Stebbing, Professor of Cancer Medicine and Medical Oncology, Imperial College
Dr Kate Moore, Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Centre for Tumour Biology, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London
Prof Kay Marshall, Head of the School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Medical & Human Sciences, University of Manchester
Prof Kaye Williams, Chair of Experimental Therapeutics and Imaging, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Manchester
Keith Brennan, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester
Prof Kevin M. Prise, Centre for Cancer Research & Cell Biology, Queen’s University Belfast
Dr Laura Smith, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Leeds Institute of Cancer Studies and Pathology, St James’s University Hospital
Prof Lawrence S. Young, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research (Life Sciences and Medicine) and Capital Development, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick
Dr Linda Haywood, Research Assistant, Centre for Tumour Biology, Queen Mary, University of London
Dr Lodewijk Dekker, Associate Professor, The School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham
Dr Luca Magnani, JRF Fellow, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London
Maggie Wilcox, Patient Advocate, Independent Cancer patient Voices
Dr Mark Petronczki, Team leader, London Research Institute, Cancer Research UK
Prof Matteo Zanda, Personal Chair in Medical Technologies, Kosterlitz Centre for Therapeutics, University of Aberdeen
Dr Matthew J Smalley, Senior Lecturer, European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, Cardiff University
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Dr Michael Allen, Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Centre for Tumour Biology, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary, University of London
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Dr Niamh O’Brien, Breast Cancer Campaign Scientific Fellow, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queens University Belfast
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Prof Nicola Brown, Department of Oncology, University of Sheffield
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Olivia Fletcher, Senior Staff Scientist, Division of Breast Cancer Research, The Institute of Cancer Research
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Prof Paul Haggarty, Head of Lifelong Health, Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen
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Prof Peter Schmid, Chair in Cancer Medicine, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex
Dr Rachael Natrajan, Group Leader, Breast Cancer Campaign Research Fellow, The Institute of Cancer Research
Dr Rebecca Jones, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Cancer Sciences, University of Birmingham
Dr Rhys Morgan, Post-Doctoral Research Scientist, School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Bristol
Dr Richard Grose, Senior Lecturer, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary, University of London
Prof Richard Kennedy, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queen’s University of Belfast
Prof Richard Kennedy, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queen’s University of Belfast
Prof Robert Brown, Head of Division of Cancer, Department Surgery & Cancer, Imperial College London
Dr Roger Grand, Reader in Cancer Sciences, School of Cancer Sciences, University of Birmingham
Dr Rosemary Bass, Senior Lecturer, Department of Applied Sciences, Northumbria University
Emeritus Professor Rosemary Walker, Dept of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine, University of Leicester
Dr Sarah Blair-Reid Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Cancer Sciences, University of Birmingham
Prof Sarah E Pinder, Professor of Breast Pathology & Head of Section of Research Oncology, Division of Cancer Studies, King’s College London
Sarah Lewis, Senior Lecturer, University of Bristol
Prof Seth L Schor, Bio-Engineering Unit, University of Dundee
Dr Simon Langdon, Senior Lecturer, Division of Pathology, University of Edinburgh
Dr Stefan Roberts, Reader in Cancer Biology, School of Cellular & Molecular Medicine, University of Bristol
Dr Stephan Feller, Biological Systems Architecture Group, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Department of Oncology, University of Oxford
Dr Stephanie Kermorgant, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Tumour Biology, Queen Mary, University of London
Prof Stewart Martin, Associate Professor and Reader in Cancer and Radiation Biology, Department of Clinical Oncology, University of Nottingham
Dr Stuart McDonald, Principle investigator and Lecturer, Centre for Tumour Biology, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary, University of London
Dr Sue Astley, Reader in Imaging Sciences, Institute of Population Health, University of Manchester
Dr Suzanne A Eccles, Team Leader, The Institute of Cancer Research
Prof Thomas Hughes, Associate Professor of Cancer Biology, Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Leeds
Prof Tracy Robson, School of Pharmacy, Queen’s University Belfast
Dr V Budhram-Mahadeo, Lecturer, Medical Molecular Biology Unit, University College London
Dr Valerie Jenkins, Deputy Director, Sussex Health Outcomes Research & Education in Cancer, University of Sussex
Dr Veronika Jenei, Senior Research Fellow, Cancer Sciences Unit, University of Southampton
plex surgery is often performed on patients with many other serious medical problems. Good quality care requires not only skilled technical performance in the operating theatre but diligent, informed aftercare by experienced surgical and medical personnel.
For a variety of reasons explored in the British Medical Journal study (“Death risk lottery of NHS surgery”, report, May 29), this may not be available at weekends.
One of the major stumbling blocks to providing that quality care for patients is the enforcement of regulations demanding no more than a 48-hour working week, which affects availability of staff, handovers and training. It is not surprising, therefore, that surgical outcomes at weekends have been less than satisfactory.
The Royal College of Surgeons has been highlighting for some time the risks of adherence to the European Working Time Regulations when applied to surgeons, but in spite of rhetoric there has been little action to change these rules.
It appears, sadly, that the chickens have come home to roost.
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Richard Collins
Former Vice-President, Royal College of Surgeons
Canterbury, Kent
SIR – Has anyone asked why we need more doctors (“We need thousands more
A & E doctors, says Hunt”, report, May 28)? Between 1960 and 2011 the population rose from approximately 52.4 million to 62.6 million: an increase of approximately 20 per cent. Over the same period, medical school intake rose by more than 70 per cent.
Between 1999 and 2010 the number of consultants alone increased from 21,410 to 35,781, an increase of some 65 per cent, and between 1999 and 2009 the number of NHS managers increased by 82 per cent.
There have been many reports of increased waiting times and imminent failures of A & E departments but in view of the actual figures none of the explanations make much sense. The increase in doctors, consultants and managers far outpaces the increase in the population.
Technological advances have made outpatient investigation easier and much faster. If these statistics were transferred to any other organisation the obvious conclusion would be an increase in inefficiency. Would this degree of incompetence be tolerated in any structure other than the NHS?
L S Illis
Emeritus consultant neurologist
Lymington, Hampshire
SIR – Dr Steve Allder’s approach to organisational improvement (“My cure for the NHS”, Comment, May 30) needs to be propagated throughout the NHS. Patients, medical staff and taxpayers would all benefit. There can be no good reasons why it’s not happening now.
Stephen Gledhill
Evesham, Worcestershire
HS2 will not improve Britain’s economic future
SIR – Sir Albert Bore (Letters, May 29) says that increasing capacity on the rail network is critical to our economic future.
Before Lord Beeching took his axe to our rail network, many firms, such as the Marconi Company in Chelmsford, had railway lines leading into their premises so that their products could be loaded directly from the factory into goods wagons for transport to the docks.
How many firms today plan to connect their factories to the high-speed rail link? What percentage of trains on the high-speed rail link will consist of goods wagons? And into which docks and airports will these high-speed trains run?
In each case, I fear the answer is “not a lot”. The truth is that HS2 is simply one of those elusive and unquantifiable EU benefits we could well do without.
It is designed largely for the businessmen who will travel on it.
Richard Shaw
Dunstable, Bedfordshire
SIR – Sir Albert Bore must be aware that high-speed rail does not increase the prosperity of cities outside the capital – one need only look to Lille in France, with HS1, for an example.
It is quite right that Sir Albert put his city of Birmingham ahead of the national interest; but is this just misguided self-interest?
He is right to say that we in Britain are failing to upgrade our infrastructure. This is why we need to abandon HS2 immediately and spend the equivalent capital funds on existing rail and road infrastructure for the benefit of the whole nation, not just a few cities.
Economic regeneration is vital for our nation, but engaging in a massive vanity project such as HS2, which is now shown to have no proven economic basis whatsoever and fails even the Government business criteria, is surely a massive folly.
Paul Fullagar
London SE1

Irish Times:

The word criminals conjures all sorts of stereotypes of what that means. Closer to reality is that many people in jail should not be there, and many more outside should. It is a strange island where, if you do not pay your television licence, you can and do go to jail. Yet, many who are inherently corrupt rarely are called to account. It matters not what justice is, morally and much less legally, here. I suspect we are not all in this together or ever were.
Also in this section
Our children deserve a lot better than this
A moving poem that every parent should read
Nobody listening as families drown in debt
It is a strange island too that you can go to jail for stealing food just to stay alive.
There were 430,000 people in ‘food poverty’ in 2012, according to the Department Of Social Protection, facing those risks.
One unlucky man who did, a 57-year-old out of work actor, was caught stealing food for his children.
He was convicted, branded with a criminal record that classes him a thief. This conviction could prevent him from finding work in the future.
The vicious cycle goes on.
Yet, if you were a former Taoiseach – one Charles J Haughey – of this country, who ‘under-declared’ his taxes by over €2,000,000 after a tax assessment by the Revenue Commissioners for the cash gifts he received, and then had it reduced to zero by an independent appeals commissioner, then you’d know we are not all in this together.
Barry Clifford
Oughterard, Galway
* I am not a member of any organisation but I am a person of conscience. That is why I am writing to you to air my views on abortion. The National Vigil for Life is an non-denominational group who are organising a Vigil for Life on June 8, in Merrion Square, Dublin, and this brought the whole issue of abortion to the fore for me.
As the National Vigil for Life says, the Government plans to legalise abortion in July in Ireland.
I just know in my heart of hearts that the Government is going down the wrong path.
Some people say give women the right to choose. But I ask the question: is it right to give a person the right to take a life?
Who, reading this letter, wished they never had a life – no matter how hard – with all its ups and downs?
Well, we would say, thank God for this life. Of course, as human beings, we can have empathy with the women who want to have an abortion. They are in a dark place, especially if suicidal. But the solution is not abortion. It is to care for these women.
Then they can decide if they don’t want the baby and they can adopt and give joy to others who can’t have a baby. I believe the gift of life is sacred.
Josephine McEvoy
Address with editor
* Labour councillor Nuala Nolan is right but unfortunately people will continue to vote for parties, including hers, who don’t understand the basics of real economics.
Money is useless unless you can afford what you really need in life.
Low rents and house values make great economic sense, not the other way around.
This means pressure on wages are reduced and Ireland becomes a competitive and advanced economy.
As shelter costs are generally a person’s greatest expense, this also is great for the local economy. Add to that tax breaks for local investment, and a supportive and tax-free environment for Irish start-up businesses, we could get this country moving again.
Who in Ireland wouldn’t love to give it a go rather than languish on the dole? We reset the Irish economy once with the land commission, sadly we go not seem to have the leadership to do so again.
Pauline Bleach
Wolli Creek, Australia
* With regard to the terror of corporal punishment in Irish schools during the 1950s and 1960s, two letters appeared in your paper.
One, entitled ‘School of Terror’, from Paddy O’Brien, of Balbriggan, Co Dublin, said that in those days schoolchildren who weren’t able to keep up with their lessons were assaulted with a cane supplied by the State.
The other, entitled ‘School Misery’, said sadistic punishments were administered on a daily basis during the ’50s and ’60s.
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.
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 of our shameful history we should never forget.
Brian McDevitt
Glenties, Co Donegal
* According to an article in the Irish Independent, the Taoiseach is “planning to set up a high-powered Dail committee to specifically scrutinise legislation after the Seanad is scrapped”.
Government sources were alleged to be “kicking around” the idea that this legislative committee would be composed of TDs and outside experts appointed by the Government, and would operate as a “mini-Seanad” which would “make recommendations and go through . . . legislation line by line” because the “Dail doesn’t do a good enough job scrutinising legislation”.
Is the Government serious? How can it accept that the Dail doesn’t do a good enough job scrutinising legislation but that the Seanad should be replaced by a “mini-Seanad” composed of TDs and non-elected experts? Surely TDs should scrutinise legislation in the Dail like they were elected to?
Also, how can the Government credibly satisfy the public’s desire for more accountability in public life by replacing the upper house with a committee composed of unelected experts with absolutely no democratic mandate similar to the existing Taoiseach’s nominees?
The obvious comment on the Government’s kite-flying exercise, for that is surely what this article is, is that it shows an acceptance that there is a value for a second chamber in the scrutinising of legislation.
Why then not give people a vote for those who sit in that chamber?
Why not open it up rather than close it?
Darren Lehane BL
Suzanne Egan, Lecturer in Law
Co-Chairs of Lawyers for Seanad Reform
* The early childhood education payment initially given to every family helped enormously to provide for our children.
The Government then thought it wiser to give our children’s money to childcare providers. The Government giveth and the Government taketh away. Add to that the deductions to child benefit, and families are indeed feeling a big pinch financially.
As parents we resisted the free pre-school year, tempting as it was. As a full-time mother with 18 years’ experience, I can confidently say that home is a great place for children.
Is it too much to ask policymakers to stop taking from parents and leave us decide how we want to raise our children?
Mary Moriarty
Rathmines, Dublin 6

Irish Independent:

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