23 June 2013 Printer

Off around the park listening to the Navy Lark, Pertwee has the wonderful idea of selling surplus pajamas that have accidentally come back from the laundrette. Priceless.
Another quiet day I am off to pick up some Dr Who cds and I get a printer as the young lady whp was to have picked it up did not turn up!
We watch The Pallaisers the last episode Cora dies
Mary wins at scrabble and gets under 400 perhaps I can have my revenge tomorrow.


Professor David West
Professor David West, who has died aged 86, was a leading classical scholar and author who, as Professor of Latin at Newcastle University, oversaw a resurgence of interest in the ancient world.

Professor David West 
6:57PM BST 19 Jun 2013
From the 1960s onwards, despite declining numbers taking Latin at school, Latin literary studies experienced something of a renaissance. Summer schools and courses in translation were making the classics newly accessible to students who had not previously studied Latin and Greek. At the same time, the rise of New Criticism in classical scholarship encouraged close readings of the texts. West’s intensely literary approach put him at the forefront of the emerging movement, concerned with bringing out the richness and variety of the language.
In him the classical Roman poets, Lucretius, Horace and Virgil, found a most accomplished interpreter and translator. His translation of Virgil’s Aeneid (Penguin Books, 1990) is remarkably true to the Latin, and has brought Virgil’s epic to life for a generation of modern English readers.
Unlike his immediate predecessors Robert Fitzgerald and CH Sisson, West believed that prose suited his task better than verse, since “I know of nobody at the end of our century who reads long narrative poems in English, and I want the Aeneid to be read.” In order not to interrupt the flow, he avoided using footnotes or a glossary . Scholarly “furniture”, he felt, would only distract the eye and diminish the vitality of the text.
This vitality extended to West’s three-volume edition of Horace’s Odes (published between 1995 and 2002), perhaps the most accessible guide to Horace’s poems now in print. In rendering such dense and lyrical Latin into English verse, West aimed to create a translation that could appeal both to non-classicists and to students. He followed each ode with a commentary describing how the Latin worked, with close attention to rhythm and sound.
David Alexander West was born in Aberdeen on November 22 1926 and educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and Aberdeen University, and then, after National Service, at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where he took a first in the Classical Tripos. He began doctoral work on the Greek comic poet Aristophanes. While doing research on manuscripts in Rome, during a stay at the British School, he met his future wife, whom he married in 1953.
Having held lectureships at Sheffield University and Edinburgh, David West was appointed to the Newcastle chair in 1969 . That same year he published The Imagery and Poetry of Lucretius. During his tenure at Newcastle University the Classics department was described as a “powerhouse of classical learning where they still know how to tell it like it is”, and he became a prominent voice in the classical community nationwide, most notably through his work with the British Classical Association .
Later he co-edited, with Tony Woodman, two collections of essays, Quality and Pleasure in Latin Poetry (1974) and Creative Imitation and Latin Literature (1979).
Following his retirement in 1992 he continued to teach for nearly a decade, and worked not only on his Horace commentary, but also on English poetry. His “exaugural” lecture was on George Herbert, and he then published a detailed commentary on Shakespeare’s sonnets. More recently, combining Classics, English literature and his own Scottish roots, he was working on an edition of part of Gavin Douglas’s great Scots translation of the Aeneid.
He was President of the Classical Association in 1995, and a Vice-President of the Association for Latin Teaching.
Like the Epicurean poets whose work he expounded, David West found delight in friendship, family, the countryside , wine (strong, red, Italian), music, the cultivation and enjoyment of home-grown vegetables, and perhaps above all, wide-ranging conversation, in which rationality and imagination were combined in equal measure.
He married, in 1953, Pamela Murray, who predeceased him in September 1995. He is survived by two daughters and three sons.
David West born November 22 1926, died May 13 2013


The recent debate around defence and aid spending is a false dichotomy. Both are critical to the UK’s national interests. In fragile or failing states, security is a precondition for the effective spread of governance, the rule of law and economic and human development. In some situations, the military plays a vital role in disarming and demobilising combatants, training police forces or enabling the delivery of humanitarian aid into war zones. Yet the military is rarely decisive on its own; a holistic approach is needed to address the root causes of conflict. Focused and accountable development spending is essential to achieve this.
If Britain is to punch its weight on the international stage, it is essential both to fund defence properly and to maintain our internationally respected pledge to spend 0.7% of national income on aid to help the world’s poorest people. The combination of hard and soft power is one the UK’s greatest strategic assets; while some countries have bigger military budgets, and others have bigger development budgets, few combine excellence in both fields in the way the UK does.
Defence and development deal with matters of life and death. We must not allow the discussion around them to be driven by soundbites and political expediency. Instead, we should be guided by a properly thought-out national strategy to protect the UK’s interests and shape the world for the better.
Admiral Sir Alan West; Air Chief Marshal the Lord Stirrup; Lieutenant General Sir John Panton Kiszely; General Sir Michael Jackson; Lieutenant General Sir Paul Raymond Newton; Major General David Shouesmith; Major General Timothy Cross
Rebuild pride in our cities
The loss of our public realm, which Will Hutton rightly deplores (“Give us back our public spaces so we can have access to all areas”, Comment), is one consequence of the buccaneering form of capitalism that Britain and the US have practised. It is time economists appreciated that by investing in our “common wealth” of public spaces and buildings, we would not only rebuild pride in our towns and cities, but also achieve the boost to our flagging economy that most other European countries have experienced over the last three decades.
The key, as the Local Government Association recognises in its plea to stop further cuts, is freeing our cities from central government domination.
Dr Nicholas Falk
Director, London Office
URBED (Urbanism Environment Design)
An MP’s tricky balancing act
It was cheering to read the interview with the upbeat MP Sarah Wollaston (“I was elected to speak my mind. So why does Cameron keep ignoring me?”, News popularity in the constituency where I live should mean she holds on to her safe seat. I fear, however, that the “real person” has yet to learn the harsh reality that effecting change in any large organisation requires a tricky balancing act between challenging the status quo while seeming to endorse the corporate message. While we would all wish her well in her health campaigns, her constituents need to believe also that she has influence in the corridors of power.
Stephanie Bromley
South Brent, Devon
Ex-offenders need support
Yvonne Roberts is right to highlight the effect prison has on vulnerable women (“Why are such vulnerable women still being jailed?”, News). It is crucial we also consider the effect it has on 18,000 innocent children who are separated by prison from their mothers each year; and the critical need to reunite them to prevent reoffending and intergenerational offending. Finding suitable housing and having access to support is vital. Housing for Women’s Re-Unite project provides family accommodation that brings together ex-offenders and their children, cutting reoffending to just 2.5% from the national average of 54%.
Jakki Moxham
Chief executive, Housing for Women
London SW9
Look and learn, Mr Gove
At last, a valid suggestion for a modern school curriculum. Professor Sugata Mitra outlines a proposal that could transform pupils’ learning. It would need “polishing” to include those disaffected by schooling, and for those whose barriers to learning are based in specific conditions, such as autism or dyslexia, but would be a step forward. Your article (“Advent of Google means we must rethink our approach to education”, Focus serves to show how far wide of the mark Michael Gove and his cohorts are with their 1950s, rote learning of facts. Looking back, as a person educated in the 1950s, I envied the “lower streams” doing gardening, or building canoes, far more than I hankered after more history, maths or geography!
Les Vivian
Can’t wait for her memoirs
In her interview (News), Anne Hidalgo, candidate to become mayor of Paris, said that she came to Paris at the age of 24 so she could “meet Sartre”. As Hidalgo was born in 1960, this would have been 1984. Sartre died four years earlier. I hope Parisian voters can trust her judgment (and her memory).
Simon Newton
Gilling East, North Yorkshire

I’ve lived in rural Suffolk for the whole of my 70 years and Uckfield is simply an extreme example of what is happening to rural southern England as a whole. (“Rural towns with no young people? Under 45s can’t afford to live there”).
London salaries and house prices, which bear no relation to those outside the M25, mean that most houses priced above the very basic tiny boxes in those towns where building is permitted are snapped up by commuters.
Our smaller villages have become retirement communities for metropolitan pensioners to live out their idea of a rural idyll. True rural life, which can be vibrant and productive, is smothered by a Conservative local government hegemony pandering to all the misguided prejudices of the newly created nimby majority. They don’t want wind turbines, they don’t want solar farms. In fact, they don’t want anything that’s going to bring real life back to these areas.
Rural high-speed broadband is desperately needed to boost businesses of all sizes but yesterday’s local daily paper had reports that the local CPRE (that’s the campaign for the protection of a rural England that never existed) is planning a campaign against “unsightly telephone cabinets and cabling that providing such a service would bring”. I despair.
David Mitchell
Not everyone is a pensioner in Uckfield, as your report intimated. Friday and Saturday nights, at least in one spot, are like weekends anywhere when young people have had too much to drink – and some of the lingerie in window displays is certainly not for the average grey top. In fact, of the five towns in Wealden district, Uckfield has the most young people.
But your reporter is right about the lack of affordable housing. Young adults are staying with their parents because they simply cannot afford to buy locally. This is obviously of social concern in the longer term.
One thousand new dwellings are to be built to the west of the town (on a green field site) and of these somewhere in the region of 35% are earmarked for social housing. But when will these affordable houses actually be built? Construction companies do not like building them because they make less profit than they do for four- or five-bedroom houses. And, wow, are there a lot of those in Uckfield.
Young people born in the town cannot find houses they can afford and there is a waiting list for social housing, most of which has yet to be built
Councillor Alan Whittaker
Liberal Democrats
Uckfield town council
It’s about time that nimbys realised that by preventing necessary building of affordable homes in the countryside, they are consigning their communities and their children to an urban exodus. With the number of over-65s in rural areas rising “2.5 times faster than in towns and cities”, it is totally unsustainable and flies in the face of the government’s own national planning policy framework, which, allegedly, is all about the creation of sustainable communities.
Vibrant villages – complete with pub, shop and school – that so many love to visit are rapidly becoming a sepia caricature of themselves. More affordable homes for needy local people are required, otherwise our villages will continue down the path of becoming glorified old people’s homes. Furthermore, “lack of housing means that more people want to rent, pushing up demand and prices”, but with student debt typically running to more than £50,000 after graduation, rural house-buying is out of the question for many young people.
James Derounian
Principal lecturer, community engagement and governance
University of Gloucestershire



The closure of Greek national television and silencing of the public radio stations on 12 June echoes the days of the military junta. This act, which violates democracy, plunged Greece into the most dangerous kind of fascism. It has no precedent in any civilised country, and not only attacks the fundamental right to information but also damages irreparably artistic production. ERT archives, which are of unique value and which preserve the memories of our post-war period, are in danger of being lost for ever.
We, the undersigned Greek playwrights and sympathisers, call for the immediate retraction of this anti-constitutional act and the reopening of ERT, and welcome acts of solidarity on the part of our European colleagues.
Nina Rapi
Edward Bond
Jane Birkin and 82 others
Via email
In future, when I pick up my Independent on Sunday or sister titles, and have to pick them out from piles of other papers displaying the bodies of young women, I will remember that their efforts are helping to pay the wages of the unfortunate journalists engaged by these papers (D J Taylor, 16 June).
Sex per se is a wonderful thing – none of us would be here without it – but one can feel only pity for those buying or selling it, in whatever form. What children seeing these pictures think, as they buy sweets on the way to school, is another thing.
Mary Hodgson
Well done, D J Taylor, for questioning the point of those “vox pop interviews in the wake of some government proposal or other” (16 June). I’d rather wait and listen to those who genuinely have something to say about the issue concerned.
Tim Mickleburgh
Grimsby, Lincolnshire
Robert Fisk is correct to claim that the schism that split Islam started with the death of the Prophet Mohamed (“Iran will send 4,000 troops to aid Assad”, 16 June). But he has not emphasised the fact that the schism centred on Muslims who believed tradition matters and ones who believed bloodlines matter. This issue arose only because Mohamed had no surviving sons.
Sunnis believe in tradition (the word derives from the Arabic word sunna, meaning tradition) and so favoured Mohamed’s father-in-law. Shias believe bloodline matters – the word means partisan. They favoured his son-in-law.
Kartar Uppal
West Bromwich, West Midlands
The extract from John Rentoul’s “afterword” to his biography of Tony Blair majors on the build-up to the Iraq invasion (“Poster boy or cartoon villain?”, 16 June). He rightly mentions the arithmetic of the parliamentary vote on 18 March 2003. It would have taken just one extra sentence to mention that every Liberal Democrat MP was present at that key vote, and all voted against invasion. It is important to record that one party was united against the war – and that its judgement was proved vividly correct by subsequent events.
Michael Meadowcroft
An aspect of GM technology that Tony Juniper ignores is that it could be used for non-profit ventures (“GM crops: It’s business, as usual”, 16 June). Universities have, languishing in refrigerators and growth rooms, thousands of solutions that could help the poor. These include solutions for higher nutrition, drought, salt, resistance to pests, and high yields. But the cost of commercialisation is massive and it takes a long time. Only big corporations can undertake it, and only with crops such as corn, canola, soy and cotton, because tomatoes or strawberries will not yield enough to cover the research and development. If smaller companies could compete, new technology could help those who need it most.
Kevin Folta
Posted online
The G8 leaders should have had the faces of your eight children from around the world before them at every meeting (“The view from the world’s eight-year-olds”, 16 June). Their clear-eyed vision for a better future – enough food for all, safer streets, and sanitation – was so devastatingly simple that any other sort of talk sounds like self-aggrandising waffle.
Margaret Carter


Show some gratitude to the baby-boomers
IT IS time we baby-boomers defended ourselves (“Are the baby-boomers guilty as charged?”, Focus, last week). We have worked hard, paid our taxes, improved our circumstances and provided a host of educational opportunities for the next generation. Perhaps it is time for the young (who I suspect have had too much handed to them on a plate) to take up the baton, stop moaning and say thank you to all who spent their lives grafting.
Sheila Parker, Brockenhurst, Hampshire
I was born in 1964 and when I left school in 1981 there was a recession, so I went on to further education, only to face another recession and more difficulty finding employment. The debts the government must confront are not on account of my generation’s pockets being unfairly lined.
Martin Joarder-White, Crowhurst, East Sussex
Paying for the privilege
I remember mortgage rates of 15% and having second-hand carpets in my first home. If young people today don’t get a £25,000 wedding and a long- haul honeymoon they feel deprived. I am lucky but, hey, I pay my taxes and will do till I die, so leave me alone.
Lynn Marsay, Middlesbrough
Boom and bust
Some baby-boomers are having to work longer, but this is within the context of a much increased life expectancy. They are bequeathing an economy that is far less competitive than the one they inherited, with trillions of pounds of debt that will have to be repaid by their successors. I cannot agree that “the balance tilts in favour of the boomers”, as you state.
Tom Bulford, Oxford
Spent out
Ros Altmann, the former director-general of Saga, says: “Fuel prices, council tax and other amenities are increasing above inflation and this is what pensioners spend their income on.” This is yet another blinkered view on the hardships facing pensioners. Do the “other amenities” include the rising cost of coach tours and toasted teacakes?
James Bamber, Tiverton, Devon
Hitting the jackpot
Bryan Appleyard’s article made no mention of what might happen to the wealth that the baby-boomers have diligently and selfishly accumulated over the years. One assumes that the bulk of it will go to their heirs, the “whining generation”, who stand to inherit the greatest jackpot of unearned wealth in history.
David Milburn, Dereham, Norfolk
Dear prudence
Thank goodness someone has spoken up for the demonised postwar generations who built up Britain from a state of bankruptcy to an era of relative educational equality and prosperity. The culture of greed that developed from the mid-1980s was driven by the government’s free market ethos.
Baby-boomers were part of the consumerist cannon fodder, but not all succumbed to the spend, spend, spend ethos. Without their prudence there would be a lot less available to some of the young now, and no “grey” consumers to help the economy as it bumps along the bottom.
Veronica Coath, Sevenoaks, Kent
All work, no play
The fabulousness of living the baby-boomer dream as a result of pillaging all the fruits of postwar Britain must be a London and southeast England phenomenon. No one in South Yorkshire expected driving lessons, a car, foreign travel, a university education and a house, which their poor, deprived offspring seem to take for granted. Now some of us are enjoying the fruits of graft, we are resented.
Julia Kinsey, Rotherham

Young men need protection from pornography as much as children
YOUR campaign to protect children against porn is laudable, but adults need protection too (“Generation porn”, News Review, and “Protect children from the power of porn”, Editorial, last week). The level of porn addiction among adult males is horrendous, and young men in particular have had their brains wrecked by the tide of pornographic images.
I recently met a group of well-educated twentysomething women who complained that men of their generation had been “pornalised” — their word — which meant they were incapable of relating to women in anything other than the most exploitatively sexual terms. The women complained that the men seemed to think that’s what was expected.
Robert Kelsey, Author, What’s Stopping You Being More Confident?
Parental guidance Besides installing search filters, parents must speak to their children frankly about what love actually is. Even if the culture minister is successful in getting the behemoths to provide extra safeguards to online searches, it will be ineffective if parents do not step up to their role.
James Paton, Billericay, Essex
Easy remedy
It is easy enough to block children having access to porn, but most parents are just too lazy to find out how, so they pass on the responsibility to government, which will incur a cost to all citizens — including those without kids.
Mike Reys, By email
Split decisions
You mention that this is not an argument about censorship, and that what adults want to watch in private is up to them. However, the issue is more complicated. Some porn shows violence against women. There is also the question of women and children illegally trafficked and coerced into making pornographic films.
Porn is no longer just a child protection issue. Evidence from marriage counselling organisations suggests that it is now a more common reason for relationship break-ups.
Karin Cooke, Director, Porn Scars, Hereford
Too much too young
My teenage son told me that a fellow pupil had bragged about masturbating over photos of five and seven-year-old girls. The boy is an avid viewer of porn and his peers who aren’t are considered “gay”. I reported the incident, and the boy admitted what he had done, but I feel schools have little knowledge of how to deal with such a problem.
Name and address withheld
Home and away
I block porn on our computer but how do I monitor my children when they are at their friends’ homes?
Jean Hare, By email

Unhappy brush with Royal Academy
ALL credit for the article “The RA’s Summer Exhibition may be dotty and commercial, but Matt Rudd definitely prefers it to the Hayward Gallery’s weird outsider art” (Culture, last week), though it would have been nice if somebody could also point out what a cynical venture this whole charade is. The Royal Academy stood to potentially pocket thousands of pounds with its £25 handling fee for each submission on almost 12,000 entrants — a nice little earner off us poor deluded artists before the powers that be even begin to tot up the proceeds from commissions.
Added to this smack in the face was a pretty poor standard from the porters, some of whom seemed to have as much idea of handling works of art as some new G4S recruits at the Olympics knew how to get out of bed. And before anyone even suggests that my complaint is sour grapes for not being selected, can I just say that it is sour grapes. None of us really believes art is selected for this lottery on merit.
I’ve had work accepted elsewhere on a similar selection process — the selectors allow an average of 12 seconds per image, and probably less at the RA — so why doesn’t the academy take the same risk as the artist and reduce its fee? As a person of limited financial means I have to take a punt and gamble — like everyone else who hikes into London by train, car or taxi, all at their own expense. Not all of us can afford to nip into a well-known hotel just down the road for tea afterwards.
Nick Coley, Driffield, East Yorkshire
Drawing conclusions
The recently discovered pencil drawings of two women by LS Lowry reveal great talent (“Myth of ‘amateur’ Lowry laid to rest”, News, last week). I wonder if Tracey Emin, professor of drawing at the RA and of rumpled bed fame, can produce similar evidence of her sketching skills.
Douglas Kedge, Sonning Common, Oxfordshire
Collaboration key to aiding schools
IT IS good to see Ofsted highlighting the poor performance of children in coastal areas and calling for new policies to close this gap (“Poor white children do worst at school”, News, last week). The problem was evident to me during my two years as schools commissioner.
The solution lies in a focus on primaries, in engaging parents and in school-to- school support — the last of these having been successful in the inner cities. There are green shoots to build upon, with both private and state schools taking up the baton, including the successful collaboration between Tonbridge School, Folkestone School for Girls and the Marsh Academy.
Dr Elizabeth Sidwell, London E11
Making a meal of it
The story about Gary Lynn and his son’s school refusing the boy a free lunch is typical of the sanctimonious blame culture surrounding parents versus schools (“You can go hungry, sonny, your dad owes us £1.75 dinner money”, My Week, last week). The parents knew the system but allowed their account to fall into the red. The school phoned the wife, who passed the message to her husband, who writes: “I was going to pay that evening.” Does he offer the same deal to his solicitor, his dentist and Marks & Spencer?
Angie Konrad, Brighton

Armed response
A no vote in parliament to send arms to Syria appears eminently sensible in view of the fact that not one but many groups are fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime and for very different reasons (“Cameron faces defeat over Syria”, News, last week). The weapons will be used against us, as we know from our interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Libya is becoming a hypermarket for arms. Today’s media inform us better than when Tony Blair misled us into war. Let us not forget that the issues in Syria are not ours, and even if they were, history shows us that we will not win. Better to focus on solving our own problems rather than causing more.
Scott Annan, By email
In the firing line
Who is trying to supply arms to the al-Qaeda-led opposition in Syria? Abu Hamza or Abu Qatada? No, it’s David Cameron and William Hague. Politics has left satire struggling to catch up.
Simon Gladdish, Swansea
Wedding bills
India Knight’s article on Tamara Ecclestone’s wedding refers to her sister Petra’s big day costing an alleged £12m (“For better, for worse, for richer, for . . . remind me, Daddy, what’s poorer?”, Comment, last week). Why should anybody, apart from the Ecclestone family, be in the least bit interested in the cost of the wedding? Her father is a billionaire, which at most puts the bill for the event at 1.2% of his wealth. The average wedding in Britain costs £22,000 — about 83% of the average annual earnings of full-time workers. Nobody should have the smugness to lecture people on the way they use their funds.
Brian McBeth, Oxford
Heel thyself
While stilettos may indeed terrify men (“Stiletto-wearers have me quaking in my boots”, Magazine, last week), their sheer sexiness is a major turn-on for many males. According to an American sex counsellor, “If there is such a thing as an aphrodisiac, it is probably the stiletto heel.”
Michael Galligan, Coolock, Dublin 5
Nuclear transparency
The election of a reformist to the presidency of Iran is a welcome step on the road towards normality (“Voters deliver new Iran revolution”, World News, last week). But there is one factor — that of national pride — that remains to be resolved in the matter of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. For 50 years Israel has been allowed to hide behind the shield of “nuclear ambiguity” — neither admitting nor denying it has a considerable nuclear arsenal. This ambiguity has been upheld by many members of the United Nations. An admission by Israel is vital to clear the air and persuade
Iran — and possibly others — that the best policy is openness and honesty. Such an admission would change nothing on the ground.
Geoff Taylor, Pouzols-Minervois, France

Corrections and clarifications
Max Hastings, in his review of Rana Mitter’s book China’s War with Japan 1937-1945 (“Roots of an enduring hatred”, Culture, last week), wrote that the author was wrong to state that Chinese troops captured Myitkyina in Burma ahead of the Chindits in 1944. Max Hastings accepts that was an error on his own part and apologises to the author for maligning his accuracy.
Richard Bach, writer, 77; Duffy, singer, 29; Joel Edgerton, actor, 39; Sir Alan Haselhurst, Conservative MP, 76; Robert Hunter, singer with the Grateful Dead, 72; Lord Irvine, former lord chancellor, 73; Frances McDormand, actress, 56; Colin Montgomerie, golfer, 50; Lord Rees, astronomer royal, 71; KT Tunstall, singer, 38; Patrick Vieira, footballer, 37; Zinedine Zidane, footballer, 41
1314 Battle of Bannockburn begins; 1951 Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, two of the Cambridge Five ring of spies, defect to the Soviet Union; 1985 bomb planted by Sikh extremists kills 329 when it explodes off the Irish coast on an Air India flight from Canada to Heathrow; 1991 Sonic the Hedgehog video game released; 1992 New York crime boss John Gotti, “the Teflon Don”, sentenced to life in jail without parole

SIR – I use an old-fashioned potato peeler with a sharp point, which leaves a neat strawberry – easy.
Jane Watson
Peldon, Essex
SIR – Use a plastic drinking straw. Take the stalk and tiny leaves off and insert the straw, pushing it right through to the end of the strawberry. The hull will be removed neatly.
Irene O’Connell
Blackfield, Hampshire
SIR – The perfect way to hull strawberries is to use a small pair of sugar tongs.
Related Articles
Problem of Care Quality Commission sharing a paymaster with the NHS
22 Jun 2013
Ellie Halsall
Chipping, Lancashire
SIR – I have often seen TV cooks simply slicing off the stalk end of a strawberry, throwing away a not insignificant piece. I wonder how much jam could have been made from the discarded ends?
Actually, when my son copies this method I usually nibble the succulent ends as a little treat.
Denise Hilton
Guildford, Surrey
SIR – The answer is to grow your own, with a variety such as Royal Sovereign. This “old fashioned” variety not only leaves the core on the plant when the ripe fruit is picked – but even better, it actually tastes like a strawberry.
John Newbury
Warminster, Wiltshire
SIR – Sheila Mortimer’s temporary loss of her metal strawberry huller to the compost heap (Letters, June 21) struck a chord with us. I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve hunted through the heap trying to find a misplaced potato-peeler.
Other than the obvious advice of “be more careful”, I wonder how others keep tabs on their kitchen implements.
Andrew Gould
Bradfield, Devon

SIR – Should we be surprised by the current scandal? A monopoly provider (National Health Service) is inspected by a regulatory regime (Care Quality Commission), with the same paymasters for both (central government).
Imagine the uproar if we had one supermarket chain, and its owner was responsible for food safety inspection.
Steve Willis
Olney, Buckinghamshire
SIR – The revelations about the CQC
cover-up will surprise no one working in health and social care. The root of much CQC incompetence lies with the inspectors.
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How to say goodbye to strawberry-hull hell
22 Jun 2013
As care-home managers can vouch, most inspectors have no statutory professional qualifications (as a nurse or doctor) and often only limited management experience of the activities they are to inspect.
This includes the highest echelons of the current CQC management.
Dr Mike Cooper
Stoke Prior, Worcestershire
SIR – In my evidence to the public inquiry chaired by Robert Francis into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, I raised concerns about the roles of both Cynthia Bower and Sir David Nicholson. It is not a matter of “scapegoats”, but a matter of responsibility and accountability.
Against initial opposition from almost every quarter, including successive secretaries of state, I had fought for and (with the help of Cure the NHS) eventually succeeded in obtaining a public inquiry with the full powers of the Inquiries Act 2005. This was the only means of getting to the root of what had gone tragically wrong, affecting the whole health service.
The Francis report was published as long ago as February 6. I have repeatedly called (as recently as Wednesday) for a full debate on the report, in Government time and on the floor of the House. Astonishingly it has still not taken place.
Bill Cash
MP (Con) for Stone, Staffordshire
London SW1
SIR – In July 2012 the Secretary of State for Health requested that the Care Quality Commission investigate the practice of doctors pre-signing abortion consent forms.
This quango found that 14 NHS abortion clinics were breaking the law and doctors were committing perjury. Abortion is a crime if the procedure laid down by Parliament is not followed.
Since then absolutely nothing has happened.
This quango is utterly toothless. It does not guarantee “care”, but has guaranteed huge salaries for its senior management.
Michael Willis
SIR – I recall David Cameron, on entering office as Prime Minister, promising a “bonfire of the quangos”.
The CQC was then under review. Who lost the matches?
William Heath
Caistor, Lincolnshire
GM is not enough
SIR – Philip Johnston cites a lack of progress in productivity by British agriculture (“We should reap the rewards of GM crops”, Comment, June 19). But however we tackle the challenge of increasing yields, we need at the same time to address the poor state of another great national asset: our farmland wildlife.
Like it or not, many of our most cherished species, such as yellowhammers, song thrushes and grey partridges, depend on agricultural land for their living as well.
We at the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust have made improved productivity for wildlife and crops alike a high priority since the Sixties.
But the challenge remains: growing more food has to go hand in hand with improving breeding success for wild species. Both are vital.
Teresa Dent
Chief Executive, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust
Fordingbridge, Hampshire
SIR – Anson Allen (Letters, June 21) is scaremongering. GM crops have never killed anyone whereas “organic” crops have. As the distinguished Indian plant biologist C S Prakash put it: “Organic farming is sustainable. It sustains poverty and malnutrition.”
Rev Philip Foster
Hemingford Abbots, Huntingdonshire
Aid in Syria
SIR – David Cameron is right to acknowledge that we’re in it for the long haul on Syria, which has prompted the largest single funding commitment ever made by Britain in response to a humanitarian disaster (“G8 leaders agree on seven objectives for Syria”, report, June 18).
But the urgent focus needs to be on the many Syrians who are simply unable to access humanitarian aid in any form.
Doctors of the World runs health-care centres in Lebanon and Jordan, however we are often powerless to help many Syrians because cross-border assistance is prohibited for opposition-controlled areas. Assistance to these areas is sometimes allowed via Damascus, but this can often be dangerous and logistically nonsensical due to geography and the quagmire of checkpoints and bureaucracy.
Yes, Syrians need aid, but we must ensure it’s not just those in government-controlled areas who can benefit from it.
Leigh Daynes
Executive Director, Doctors of the World
London E14
SIR – After the illegal invasion of Iraq, we now have David Cameron telling us that he is not bound to seek the agreement of Parliament to supply arms to the Syrian rebels (report, June 20).
Even if Mr Cameron’s objective of a “democratic government” in Syria is achievable, there is a glaring inconsistency in his then ignoring democracy in his own country in order to promote it.
And let him not give us the Blairite line that our national security is at stake, when it is not. At least Tony Blair had a UN mandate to support his case in Iraq.
Mr Cameron has none.
Terry Lloyd
Darley Abbey, Derbyshire
Diminishing returns
SIR – I agree with Laura Thompson (Comment, June 21) about women’s tennis. How one longs for some artistry. Watching two players screaming at every shot is painful. As for equal pay, I suggest they play five sets, as the men do – though I wouldn’t enjoy it much.
Patricia Whittle
Darwen, Lancashire
Councillors’ pay
SIR – Terry Duncan (Letters, June 21) suggests that it is time to examine the salaries of councillors. I represent Sprowston East on Broadland District Council in Norfolk. As well as attending monthly council meetings, I serve on seven committees and one outside body (a drainage board).
Part of most days is spent reading reports, dealing with council emails etc.
I am not paid a salary but receive a net monthly allowance of £228.30 plus a gross annual IT allowance of £321. The only expenses I have ever claimed are for travel to the drainage board meetings which are held at a rather remote venue. It may not be “nowt”, in Mr Duncan’s terms, but it is hardly a king’s ransom.
Paul Findlay
Norwich, Norfolk
EU arrest warrant
SIR – The assertion by Dominic Raab, the Tory MP, that the Liberal Democrats are willing to sell out basic standards of British justice (“Britain likely to sign back up to ‘reformed’ European Arrest Warrant”, report, June 20) could not be further from the truth.
My aim in 14 years in the European Parliament has, on the contrary, been to champion British leadership on policing and legal matters – exemplified by the fact that Europol has a British director – and to export British standards of justice.
Liberal Democrats have been working and campaigning to stop miscarriages of justice through the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for many years. The credibility we have on this is demonstrated by my appointment to produce a report on EAW reform; it is inconceivable fellow MEPs would appoint a Conservative.
Lib Dems have also been at the forefront in pressing for safeguards for people arrested or extradited abroad, such as rights to interpretation and legal advice.
Eurosceptic sniping not only undermines the task of catching criminals and keeping British people safe, it also weakens our hand in improving criminal justice and fair trial standards throughout Europe.
Baroness Ludford MEP (Lib Dem)
London N1
Basingstoke bypass
SIR – Martin Robinson (Letters, June 18) asks how his friend should spend her enforced waiting time at Basingstoke station. The answer: don’t bother, drive.
Robert Warner
West Woodhay, Berkshire
Dipping into a never-ending story of country folk
SIR – I lived overseas for 10 years, and on returning to Britain I turned The Archers on, only to find out I hadn’t missed anything.
But I still find it sad about Grace.
Tony Hutton
Burnham, Buckinghamshire
SIR – Chris Middleton (Letters, June 18) comments that the removal of The Archers would mark the end of civilisation. The recent radio play Letter of Last Resort informed the listener that crew members of Britain’s Trident submarines, often hiding in deep ocean trenches, scan the radio waves for broadcasts from home. The absence of The Archers being broadcast would be proof that Britain had been destroyed by an enemy power.
Fiona Phillips
Naburn, North Yorkshire

Irish Times:

Sir, – The Hippocratic Oath was written in the pre-Christian era, more than 400 years before Christ’s time on earth. Hippocrates stated, “I will show the utmost respect for every human life from fertilisation to natural death and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life”.
As medical practitioners, on qualifying we all subscribed to the beliefs contained in the oath. The Catholic Church for over 2,000 years has upheld the Hippocratic Principles. I commend it for doing so. – Yours, etc,
Director Blackrock and
Galway Clinics,
Cross Avenue,
Co Dublin.
A chara, – James Reilly just introduced the controversial Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill to the Dáil. The consequences of passing any legislation are ultimately determined by what is, or is not, actually in the legislation, not by what is said or done during the debate around it. How it will be interpreted and practised is also crucial.
With this in mind I would like to highlight some of what is, and is not, in the proposed abortion Bill. It makes abortion legal as a treatment for suicide risk, in spite of expert evidence that this is not medically or legally necessary. Shockingly, the Bill explicitly makes it legal to “intentionally destroy unborn human life” (Section 22) in some situations. How can this ever protect a mother better than terminating her pregnancy while making every effort to protect the child’s life, which is already standard medical practice in Ireland?
The Bill’s requirements on keeping records and making reports are ludicrously weak, and very unlikely to deter doctors who wish to certify abortion based on choice rather than clinical judgment. It is clear that doctors do this on a large scale in other countries where the law allows abortion on subjective mental health grounds, and there are no credible reasons to expect Ireland to be different.
Finally, the Bill includes no time limits to specifically protect unborn children who may be viable outside the womb, from either intentional destruction or very early delivery with risks of serious disability or death. A number of TDs and senators have looked at what is in this unjust and dangerous Bill and called for it to be stopped. It’s not too late for others to follow their courageous, responsible and compassionate lead. – Is mise,
St John’s Wood West,
Dublin 22.
Sir, – When President Kennedy arrived in Ireland (June 27th, 1963) he said: “I am deeply honoured to be your guest in the free parliament of a free Ireland”.
Sadly, that legacy, for the cause of which the Irish nation struggled and suffered, is being undermined. The Taoiseach of our nation – and others in government – stubbornly refuse to allow members of Dáil Éireann to vote according to their consciences on the crucial issue of abortion.
The dogged insistence by Enda Kenny that “there will be no free vote on this issue” is obscene. The threat of applying “the party whip” to TDs who will not toe the Government’s abortionist line, grotesque as it is, must nevertheless be faced by TDs concerned for the protection of human life in the womb.

A chara, – Nigel Bannister’s anger (June 18th) over the events at St Mary’s National School in Enfield last week, is misdirected. His anger should be directed at the management of a Catholic school which extended an invitation to a champion of abortion, rathar than  at protesters who upheld Catholic teaching on abortion.
Mr Bannister points out that it was the event’s organisers who arranged to have the Taoiseach’s visit at the children’s home-time. Clearly it was not the fault of the protesters that their opportunity to protest at the Taoiseach’s intention to legislate for abortion, coincided with home-time. That is an issue Mr Bannister should raise with school management.
While I was not at the protest myself, I am aware that the protest organiser asked that abortion pictures not be used at the school gate. However, it is not always possible to dictate to others that they not confront the public with the complete horrific truth of what abortion really is. I understand that any chanting was solely directed at An Taoiseach, stopping when the children emerged to sing their celebratory songs. Furthermore, the only commercial media (I know) to have had a reporter at the event, the Meath Topic, described the protest as appropriate and peaceful. – Is mise,

Sir, – Instead of getting a week of blanket coverage of the Obamas’ visit to the G8 and the island of Ireland, the Irish people would be better served by one hour or page a week discussing Irish support for US foreign policy.
US troops and aircraft continue to transit through Shannon Airport, and yet we don’t have any discussion about Ireland’s support for US military and CIA operations around the globe. This support breaches Irish neutrality, it has implicated us in hundreds of thousands of deaths, it ignores international law, and it makes a mockery of our proud record of peacekeeping and respect for human rights. – Yours, etc,
Co Limerick.
A chara, – Clare Daly’s attack on the Obamas was way over the top and inappropriate (Home News, June 20th). Ireland has always had a strong welcome for visitors, of which we are proud. That does not mean that we agree with everything that they do, nor should we be afraid to voice our concerns. However, we should always be hospitable and courteous and in that regard, Deputy Daly’s choice of language was wrong.
She also had an objection to Michelle Obama going to Dalkey to have “lunch with Mr Tax Exile himself”. I presume Deputy Daly, given her concerns, wouldn’t have lunch or any contact then with fellow Independent, Mick Wallace, given his tax difficulties. – Is mise,
The Chase,
Gorey, Co Wexford.
Sir, – Clare Daly’s accusation of slobbering over the Obamas is countered by Miriam Lord’s report that they “poured” over historical documents in Trinity College (Front page, June 18th). Where will this tit-for-tat end?
Haddington Park,
Glenageary, Co Dublin.
A chara, – I note the Obama family visit here will cost the taxpayer between €3m and €4m in security costs alone (Home News, June 10th). Meanwhile we read elsewhere in your newspaper that support hours for children with special needs are being reduced by 10 per cent due to an increase in demand – a dreadful state of affairs and a situation which worsens every year.
So what does Taoiseach Enda Kenny get visibly upset and annoyed about in the Dáil? He gets upset because a TD dares to take him and his sycophantic, grovelling, forelock-tugging pals to task for their attitude to the Obama family’s private visit here. That says it all, really. – Is mise,
Whitehall Road,

A chara, – Why is medical insurance voluntary in this country? If motor insurance is compulsory, why not medical insurance? Of course, people on proven minimal income or assets would be exempt. The type of cover should be left to each person. The last thing Minister for Health James Reilly should be doing, is discouraging medical insurance (Front page, June 15th). So why is he doing it? – Is mise,

Sir, – The Minister for Local Government Phil Hogan is to ask Dubliners to vote next year on whether they want a directly elected lord mayor or a continuation of the current cosy cartel system (Home News, June 17th). Perhaps Mr Hogan should first ask the people if they want, or need, a lord mayor, elected or otherwise? – Yours, etc,
Delaford Lawn,
Sir, – Eamon Ryan’s article about cycling tourism in Ireland (On Your Bike, June 20th) hits the nail on the head. Perhaps your readers would like to hear about an Asian cycling utopia.
South Korea has invested heavily in bike roads, in and around cities and along prominent rivers. Its centrepiece is a 600km route linking Seoul in the north (of the country) to Busan in the south.
Another novel idea used in a new purpose-built city called Sejong was to build a cycle road in the middle of the motorway linking Sejong and Daejeon. It comes with a roof over part of it.
People are using these bike roads as a method of commuting, as they are free of traffic; and a morning cycle to work along a river is enjoyable, as opposed to the gridlocked roads. At weekends the bike roads are filled with people using them for recreation.
As both our countries are of the same size and both are full of natural beauty, surely this is the no-brainer we can get behind to attract tourists into the country. – Yours, etc,

Irish Independent:

It came out of the clear blue sky, the hollow feeling, a glance at the TV, no explanation, without warning, grim headlines scrolling across the 24-hour news, thoughts drawn to mourning. It was the death of James Gandolfini.
Also in this section
Five-star clinics pushing up health premiums
We are a nation in denial about the Famine
World events overtake Noonan and troika
What we knew and saw was a character, a depiction by a professional actor, not exactly a total stranger, not even close, but to be honest a strange kind of role model for me and most other guys not quite 30 but avid ‘Sopranos’ viewers throughout puberty and to current man-boyhood. Although it’s unlikely many of us followed “T’s” footsteps into the . . . uhh . . . yeah. . . waste management business, no matter how much we wish we could hang out at a strip club all day.
Nevertheless Tony Soprano had our complete attention for an hour a week, it was a scramble to get a seat in the living room as soon as I heard that cool theme tune, and for the best part of a decade during what most clinical psychologists agree are the formative adolescent years.
Entertaining millions across the globe for the best part of a decade was not the only accomplishment. It was the most influential show ever on television, 21st-century Shakespeare; a testament to the genius of the main protagonist as portrayed by James Gandolfini. It really didn’t poison my mind no matter how many people got ‘whacked’, how I poisoned my mind is another matter. The bottom line is Tony took care of his family no matter what and that’s the lasting influence and personal impact of a brilliant actor that lives on through an immortal character.
Michael Coffey
Harold’s Cross, Dublin
* The craft of acting is not to think it is acting which makes James Gandolfini one of the greatest actors of them all.
May he rest in peace.
Barry Clifford
Oughterard, Galway
* Your excellent JFK supplement, Part 2, brought it all flooding back – thank you! I was a young man in my 30s when President Kennedy visited this country in 1963 and I well remember the excitement and euphoria which we all enjoyed on that great occasion.
However, having read: ‘Flag of our Fathers’ on page 21 I feel somewhat deflated. Also very much surprised that the president, with a reported interest in history – American history – could be guilty of the inaccuracies reported by your contributor, Fiach Kelly. And to be so badly let down by his researchers and expert speech writers!
Confusing Fredericksburg, Virginia (December 13, 1862) and Frederick, Maryland (where Barbara Frietchie defied Stonewall Jackson and his “famished rebel horde” in September, 1862), was decidedly bad enough and unworthy of even a high school student. These represented major happenings in the course of that terrible civil war.
But there were several other clangers revealed in Mr Kelly’s account of the speech, as the president cited the battle honours of the Fighting 69th and the Irish Brigade: Gaines’ Mill (not Hill), White Oak Ridge (not Bridge), Malvern Hill (not Hills) and Bristoe (not Bristoe’s) Station.
Baffling! Apparently there is a large chasm between learning history and making it! But, by God, we did enjoy his visit!
Harry Shaw
Bray, Co Wicklow
* I refer to your report that the planned GPO museum exhibition will “honour 1916 but will not cause offence” (News, June 19).
The exhibition space will be within the GPO – the headquarters of the leadership of the pivotal event in our history. As such the statement that the museum is “likely to mark the Easter Rising centenary” takes some beating when it comes to revising the important history of our people’s struggle for independence.
Less than 100 metres from this iconic building is the 1916 National Monument in Moore Street/Moore Lane. Abandoned by its owners since its designation as a 1916 National Monument in 2007 and ignored by successive administrations since, it is now in a state of decay.
Concerned relatives of those this monument purports to honour find this a matter of grave offence. Regrettably this does not seem to be of immediate concern to those charged in our name with its preservation – the elected members of both Houses of the Oireachtas.
Perhaps the sensitivity being applied to the plans for the GPO will now be mirrored with concern for Moore Street and its lanes of history – the location of the last stand of the Irish Volunteers. They are to be honoured by the 1916/1921 club tomorrow with a centenary salute in drama and music in the Pillar room, The Rotunda, at 8pm. All citizens are welcome to attend.
As creative producer/director of this tribute, I trust it will not cause offence.
James Connolly Heron
Ranelagh, Dublin
* How are our young families going to cope with unemployment and mounting debt, with no help from the Government or the banks, except to increase their debt?
The Government is increasing their debt with the property tax, bin charges and water charges and allowing AIB (which the taxpayers own) to increase their mortgage rates even though AIB’s rates from the ECB have been decreasing every year.
My son’s mortgage was €1,100 per month in 2007, it has increased to €1,500 per month. Finance Minister Michael Noonan’s attitude is the bank are there to make money, he obviously doesn’t have a mortgage so he is not under pressure like most young families.
My son-in-law was put on a month’s notice this week, they have a large mortgage and two small children, they cannot sell their house as they are in negative equity, if they did sell, they would have no home and a large mortgage to pay, how are they going to cope?
What kind of society have we become with no one caring for our young families, our future. I am 70 this year, your home was once not your biggest expense and you knew one day you would own it, unfortunately young people today will never own their homes.
Name and address with editor
* Since Enda Kenny has claimed he is not a Catholic Taoiseach, will he in future hold Fine Gael churchgate collections outside all the church gates of churches of all the other religious denominations in this country?
Christy Kelly
Templeglantine, Co Limerick
* Regarding Simon Griffin’s letter (Letters to the Editor, June 19) about history being taught in schools, I’m afraid it is already too late. Mr Griffin says “we will develop a generation for whom the names Charles Stewart Parnell, Padraig Pearse and Michael Collins will become alien words”.
Having just completed my Leaving Cert, including an exam in history, and thus 12 years of state schooling, I can say that I’ve never come into contact with knowledge of Parnell.
The Leaving Cert course doesn’t make even brief mention of him, nor did six years of a primary school curriculum. If this is the state of things regarding the teaching of history now, we can but imagine the results in a future where history is an optional subject.
James McGovern
Drumcondra, Dublin 9

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