Hospital Satuday

30June 2013 Saturday Hospital

Off around the park listening to the Navy Lark, All the other ships of the fleet have gone off on a goodwill trip around the world leaving Troutbridge all alone. Priceless.
Mary still in hospital for a tests I hope all will be well.
I watch The Invasion its not bad
No Scrabble no Mary


James Martin
James Martin, the pioneering computer scientist who has died aged 79, was hailed “The Guru of the Information Age” for his books on the impact of computer technology; in 2005 he became the largest individual benefactor to Oxford University in its 900-year history, donating $150 million towards a new research school.

James Martin Photo: REX
6:46PM BST 27 Jun 2013
His vast fortune stemmed from a career that spanned four decades and produced some of the most influential textbooks in the information technology industry. He also led the field of Computer Aided Software Engineering , which uses computers themselves to help in the creation of new programs , effectively automating much of the process.
Martin’s writings during the 1960s and 1970s were eerily precognisant, anticipating trends decades before their realisation. Future Developments in Telecommunications (1977) predicted the rise of online shopping and rolling 24-hour news. The Wired Society (1978) was written in the era before the mobile telephone; yet it declared that “the phone of the future will be more mobile, do a host of different tasks and be part of a complex, far-reaching information network”.
In 2005 he offered Oxford University $100 million for the launch of a new centre — the James Martin 21st Century School — aimed at conducting research in healthcare; energy and the environment; technology, and politics and governance. Another $50 million followed five years later. For ideas he drew upon his business contacts, consulting Bill Gates and George Soros. Soros later pledged $5 million towards a programme of research into economic theory. Rechristened the Oxford Martin School, the centre today encompasses 30 different disciplines.
Martin outlined his vision in The Meaning of the 21st Century: A Vital Blueprint for Ensuring Our Future (2006). It painted a dramatic picture of a forthcoming “age of extremes”, governed by scientific advances and increasingly radical ideologies. In order to adapt, Martin argued, society would need to educate the next generation as never before. “Revolutionary change is essential,” he wrote, “and today’s young people will make it happen.”
James Martin was born on October 19 1933 at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicester, and attended the local grammar school before winning a scholarship to Keble College, Oxford, where he read Physics. After National Service he joined IBM in 1959.
The company had produced the first commercially-available computer, the IBM 701, seven years previously, and Martin was set to work on the first model to use a hard disk drive, the 305 RAMAC. The size of a room, it could complete 50 operations per second (today, computers produced by IBM are capable of 1,000 trillion operations in the same length of time).
He wrote his first book, Programming Real-Time Computer Systems, in 1963, and the following year he worked on BOAC’s first worldwide computer network, which handled passenger reservations, flight planning and crew scheduling. Eventually incorporating 200 terminals in 70 countries, it was then one of the most complicated and expensive projects of its kind.
He left IBM in 1978 and founded various consultancy companies during the 1980s. Between 1977 and 2000 he delivered a series of five-day “World Seminars” on complex computer systems, which often commanded ticket prices of several thousand dollars a head.
He was an honorary fellow of Keble College and of the Royal British Institution.
At the end of the 1990s he purchased the private Agar’s Island in Bermuda and built himself a colonial-style house there. The design incorporated parts of a 19th-century gunpowder store and an old limekiln, with vaulted chambers where he would entertain guests such as Michael Douglas and Rudy Giuliani. Martin was found drowned in the waters off the island.
James Martin is survived by his third wife, Lilian, and by a daughter of his first marriage.
James Martin, born October 19 1933, died June 24 2013


Austerity: the elderly can be part of the solution to this economic mess
One way is working out how to recycle the massive amount of equity in houses

The Observer,

Liquid assets: ‘a re-elected Tory government will undoubtedly look to rich older people for the next cuts.’ Photograph: Novastock/Rex Features
Will Hutton is rightly appalled by the stupidity of George Osborne and the coalition’s economic policies, which even Vince Cable and the Lib Dems are now beginning to realise are taking us in an accelerating downward spiral (“Blame austerity, not old people, for the plight of Britain’s young”, Comment).
But we old people must, somehow, be part of the solution, if only for self-preservation, since even Labour is now saying it will cut universal benefits such as winter fuel allowance. A re-elected Tory government will undoubtedly look to rich older people for the next cuts, as they continue deepening the hole they are creating, blighting the lives of all of the next generation.
Most older people who have been buying houses over their lives, will now be sitting on a major asset. So the question is: how do we recycle this massive amount of equity? Gordon Brown was attacked when he mentioned the possibility of increasing inheritance tax, but this is, truly, dead money for many of us, who have reasonable pensions and kids who are independent already.
I would certainly like to do something with the paper fortune I am sitting on, but I don’t want to wait for George Osborne or his successor to get it when I die, I’d like to find a viable use for some of it now. Any ideas out there?
David Reed
London NW3
Many hundreds of thousands of pensioners, including my wife and me, have seen the value of their pensions fall substantially in the past five years. Those whose pensions are based on “income drawdown” have suffered because the government changed the drawdown rules retrospectively.
This change has now been reversed but the income lost cannot be recovered. More significantly, pension funds plummeted in value after the banking crisis and annuity rates have declined steeply. At the same time, the government has pumped money into various schemes intended to stimulate lending to businesses and house purchasers, with calamitous reductions in interest rates for savers.
Traditionally, pensioners have relied on income from savings to boost their pensions. Not only are we not “prospering”, we are actually funding in large part Mr Osborne’s “debt reduction plan” because the return on most investments is failing to keep up with inflation with the inevitable result that the real value of capital is being eroded.
Colin Boylett
I am 76 and it is my generation, and the generation that we spawned, who have allowed, over the past 30 years or so, a political ethos to flourish that has largely followed the mantra of “I, me, myself, we are my favourite people” and which has led to the present mess. Right now politicians of all hues have come to realise that universal pensioner benefits cannot continue and pensioners are up in arms.
My income from all sources amounts to roughly average earnings. My house is debt free. That doesn’t make me rich but I am certainly not poor. The free bus pass, free TV licence, free prescriptions, free eye test, winter fuel allowance etc are welcome but I do not need them. The one thing that can really impoverish me would be residential care, and three cheers if all this other stuff was cut off and that issue was properly dealt with.
Of course pensioners struggling on the basic pension and/or not in an acceptable state of good health need additional financial support. Are universal benefits really the way to do this?
Finally, I’m fed up with my contemporaries whining on about “… we worked hard and paid in all our lives” etc. Yeah. Me too. And were we not unbelievably lucky to be able to do that? Fat chance our grandchildren having that luck, poor devils. My first house purchase in 1959 cost about two and a half times my then salary of about average earnings. Today the same house would be closer to 10 times average earnings and it wasn’t austerity that did that.
Mike Turner
Lytham St Annes

Eva Wiseman (Up Front, Magazine) proposes that “the ability to articulate … should be consciously and seriously taught to everybody”, recognising that “something is lost when only those who speak well are heard”. The decision by the exam regulator, Ofqual, to remove the assessment of speaking and listening skills as an element of the GCSE English examination will exacerbate a situation in which the most privileged children, attending the best-resourced schools, reproduce the verbal confidence of a cultural elite, while the expressive competence of the majority of children is neglected. Political democracy, if it is to reflect a broad and inclusive range of voices, should be actively committed to ensuring that all citizens can speak without fear in any public situation and listen to others without dismissing them because they’re not “one of us”.
Stephen Coleman
Professor of political communication
University of Leeds
Mothers don’t breastfeed naked
I welcomed your coverage of the decline of breastfeeding (“Breastfeeding figures fall as NHS budget is cut”, News), but if the media really wants more people to breastfeed it should get some decent pictures of breastfeeding.
I am tired of close-ups of totally naked breasts, totally naked babies and totally naked other bits of body. These look pretty but the message they give out is off-putting and inaccurate.
Breastfeeding is associated in the media with the need to be nude, or to wear a soft silk blouse wide open to show a naked bosom. What normal person wants to spend months doing this in public? How many voyeurs might watch and how much offence and embarrassment might they cause?
Breastfeeding needs to be built into everyday life if it is to be successful, and this usually means doing it with clothes on and other people present. Images convey powerful subliminal messages, and ones that turn a normal human activity into an abnormal one are not helpful.
Sarah Allen
Melton Mowbray
Spaced out in Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf may not be to Will Hutton’s taste (“Give us back our public spaces so we can have access to all areas”, Comment) but it is important to remember that in the 1980s the area was behind locked gates, as the once thriving West India Docks had degenerated into a privately owned derelict wasteland.
The work of Canary Wharf Group was instrumental in transforming this vast site into a thriving commercial and shopping district – where 100,000 people work and around 30,000 visit every day. Canary Wharf is not only the fastest growing business district in Europe but the surrounding area is also seeing its residential population expand at one of the quickest rates in the UK.  
Will claims that developers “want to reduce public space as much as they can”. In the case of Canary Wharf, this is not true. More than 20% of Canary Wharf is landscaped parks, plazas and walkways, with more than 1,000 trees and 88 floral species; each year 70,000 seasonal plants are planted. In the past year we have added two new parks at Wood Wharf and Heron Quays.
Will is welcome to enjoy our free coverage of Wimbledon on big screens in Canada Square Park, or our free performances by UK and international dance companies in our Dancing City programme. There’s free parking at weekends, so Will should have no excuse.
Howard Dawber
Strategic adviser
Canary Wharf Group
Royally wrong about privilege
Katharine Whitehorn (“Patriot gains”, Magazine) may be right that there’s a lot to be said for having a token family to watch that does not involve a film star, a footballer or Homer Simpson; but that’s not the whole story.
Would she not join those of us who wish at least to be able to vote for a head of state? The Irish do not seem to have done too badly with that.
From all the articles I have seen from Katharine Whitehorn over 50 years I had been sure that she was fed up with our class system, aristocracy, titles, and all the prejudices, privileges and ridiculous sycophancy associated with our hereditary system.
Peter Bruggen
London NW3
Do calm down, Alan, dear
Alan Titchmarsh (Upfront, Magazine) thinks that the brevity of women’s broadcasting careers is acceptable because of their early days “disporting themselves on sports cars”. I think he may be confusing serious journalists with glamour models. I don’t remember Moira Stewart, Anna Ford, Miriam O’Reilly et al doing any such disporting. So, which is it, Alan – age-related memory-loss, ingrained sexism, or just a glimpse into your innermost fantasies?
Elizabeth Jones
So I turned round and I said…
Perhaps young actors who mumble inaudibly (News, last week) should take lessons from those commuters who have no difficulty in conveying their intimate mobile phone conversations to an entire railway carriage.
Peter Morris



Ian Birrell’s analysis of the National Health Service was for the most part deadly accurate and hard-hitting (“Worshipping the NHS costs lives”, 23 June). It was a shame therefore, that he called for more of the infection as the only cure.
Those of us who grew up after the war remember what the NHS was like when it lived up to its own ideals. Nurses’ primary job was to care, GPs provided all-year-round cover with home visits when required without handing the out-of-hours job to a group of hired carpetbaggers. Mangers were few, meddling little, and the suppurating tumour of the Private Finance Initiative had never been conceived.
It all changed after Thatcher. Birrell is right to castigate the last Labour government. But everything that has gone wrong with the NHS is down to the rush by all major parties over the past two decades to introduce the market, private greed and business models.
To move beyond “sterile debates” and force feed the patient with more privatisation is the equivalent of putting someone with lung cancer on a course of 100 cigarettes a day.
Steve Edwards
Haywards Heath, West Sussex
John Rentoul says that Labour would keep free schools, “which are legally the same as academies… Labour’s idea in the first place” (23 June). But schools earmarked for Labour’s academy scheme were seen as failing and in need of extra funding, whereas the coalition’s version is designed to take schools out of the state system. In essence, this is the privatisation of the state system by stealth.
Eddie Dougall
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
John Rentoul asks why vote Labour if it continues to drop policies that differentiate it from the Government. This underlines the democratic deficit, wherein all the main parties agree on most policy issues but do not have the support of many electors for them – fertile ground for new political forces, as in Greece and Italy, as well as for Ukip, continuing to make unpleasant mischief on the right.
Keith Flett
London N17
I’m not surprised that only 10 or so people have taken up the Green Deal launched in January, if my experience is typical (“Government’s green deal branded a failure”, 23 June). Step one was to get a Green Deal assessment done by an accredited adviser. I got this on 19 February. Despite persistent efforts, I have been unable to get to the next step – namely, to find a Green Deal provider who can give me quotes for insulation for the heat-losing solid walls in my house. I wrote to my MP and after a month got a reply from Energy Secretary Ed Davey who assured me on 19 April that things were moving. Since then, despite emails to and from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and numerous phone calls, there has been no progress. I can only imagine that the big energy companies are exerting some kind of pressure as the Green Deal is not in their interest. I am now at the point of giving up on the whole thing.
Tim Williamson
Baroness Warsi is right to call for recognition of Empire troops during the First World War centenary commemorations (“Tommies and Tariqs fought side by side”, 23 June). I hope this is not used to hide the exploitation of civilians from across the Empire who were paid a pittance to work on the Western Front. They were subject to harsh conditions, Chinese labourers being shot by the British army for protesting against their treatment. We should never forget the inequity of the British relationship with its empire.
Ian McKenzie
You refer in your piece about Ernest Hemingway’s unpublished material to “socialite” Donald Ogden Stewart (“Hemingway’s last word…”, 23 June). Is this the same Donald Ogden Stewart who was one of the highest-paid screenwriters in Hollywood, who had a string of hits and won an Oscar in 1940 for The Philadelphia Story, later remade as High Society? A victim of the McCarthy witch-hunt, he fled to England. I met him in 1965 when he was writing an eventually unused screenplay for a film about Gandhi for my father, Motilal Kothari. It was dated, but he was an outstanding writer.
Raj Kothari
Bridport, Dorset

Take scalpel to endemic NHS cover-up culture

IF anyone thinks the culture of cover-ups exposed at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is peculiar to that body, they are sadly mistaken (“Minister tried to gag NHS whistleblower”, News, and “Justice for Joshua”, Focus, last week). I advised on organisational change at the NHS before retiring after 34 years’ service.
My experience was of many managers and clinicians being intolerant of a challenge. A leadership that does not inspire confidence, closed cultures and a resistance to criticism are rife in the NHS and need to be rooted out.
Gerald Hope, Former Organisational Development Adviser, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
Action plan
The evolution of the CQC into the Care Cover-up Commission is human nature in action. Three of its predecessors were abolished; the priority of senior managers became survival.
The CQC’s latest plan is bigger and better inspections. It desperately needs to add a firefighting force that can respond to the first hint of things going wrong rather than waiting until patients are dying unnecessarily.
Roger Goss, Co-Director, Patient Concern, London SW5
Repeat prescription
Volunteering as I have in the NHS, and working with health service organisations in relation to research and ethics, I fear the manner in which the CQC whistleblower Kay Sheldon has been treated is an experience a lot of people have faced when challenging the ingrained “infallibility” of some bureaucrats.
Gerry Freedman, Edinburgh
Give it a break
Since moving from America six years ago I have read countless articles about NHS dysfunction (“Deaths, incompetence, cover-ups: this was the NHS’s Hillsborough”, Comment, last week), yet nothing really seems to get done, except the forming of new investigative committees and the commissioning of more studies.
I think this country needs to contemplate breaking up the NHS into smaller units, state-funded but locally managed and accountable. Until it has local oversight by physicians, the system is broken, period.
Thomas Crowley, East Linton, East Lothian
Positive feedback
Why doesn’t the NHS establish its own equivalent of TripAdvisor for patients’ and relatives’ feedback, with the CQC doing spot checks to ensure — as far as possible — that the input being made is from genuine patients and relatives? I can’t imagine I am the first to suggest this.
Nick Barton, London EC4
Finger of blame
The truth is that the “no blame” culture is endemic throughout the NHS and it is fanned by the perception of the health service as a national treasure that can do no wrong.
I was involved in the installation of the systems for the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) at its inception. At its core is the national reporting and learning system (NRLS), which collects details of adverse incidents and analyses and reports on them. This is valuable, but a glance at the NPSA’s website shows that no blame can be attached to any such incidents.
Incidentally, the NRLS has a public portal that can be used by individuals to report clinical incidents of care that they believe fail to meet the expected standard, but few people are aware of this.
David Hancorn, Woodley, Berkshire
Healthy option
Yes, the NHS has its failings, but we don’t see people losing their homes or going bankrupt because of an accident or if they need a major operation, as happens in countries without universal healthcare.
Christopher Burns, Torpoint, Cornwall

Mobility tsar’s impoverished thinking
ALAN MILBURN, head of the government’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, complains that David Cameron is not listening to him (“Cameron cold- shoulders social mobility tsar as poverty worsens”, News, last week).
I hope it’s true. Milburn claimed in a 2009 report that “birth, not worth” determines life chances, and described Britain as “a closed-shop society”, and in 2011 he told the BBC Today programme: “We live in a country where, invariably, if you’re born poor, you die poor.” But 81% of men raised in poor households escape poverty as adults.
Now Milburn states it is “not remotely possible” for a child born on a council estate today to emulate his achievement in rising to be a cabinet minister. What an inspiring message to send to the nation’s youth.
Peter Saunders, Professorial Research Fellow, Civitas, and author of Social Mobility Myths, Hastings, East Sussex
Out of credit
Milburn complains about firms paying “the least they can get away with” to workers so that “the state is forced to step in”. But it is precisely because tax credits exist that employers can get away with paying low wages. The government of which he was a member has encouraged it.
Lesley Woodfield, York
Part-time solution
Milburn insists on spreading the myth that mothers work part-time because of the lack of “affordable childcare”. But in a Netmums survey of 4,000 mothers 62% who worked part-time said it was an “ideal solution for combining work and home life”. A further 33% said they would rather be a full-time mum but needed the money.
Of the full-time stay-at-home mums surveyed, just 7% said they would like to work but could not because of the cost of childcare.
However, Milburn is right to call for a living wage, which, together with a fairer tax system, would help more struggling families do what every survey says they want to do: care for their children themselves. All three main political parties continue to ignore this reality.
Laura Perrins, Mothers at Home Matter, London SE22

Food for thought on GM alternatives
THE backing by Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, of GM crop technology is surprisingly getting opposition from many farmers and consumers (“Be honest, minister: GM’s not about food. It’s about money”, Comment, last week).
Charles Clover is right in saying greater food production is more likely with steps such as gene sequencing. But other methods like green mulching with cover crops are shown to have long-term benefits that transcend those from using GM seeds. Research into how these can be best used has hardly begun here but is gaining traction in America.
Mike Donovan, Editor, Practical Farm Ideas, Whitland, Carmarthenshire
Bumper crop
There has been production and consumption of approved GM crops for 17 years in America, China, India, Canada, Australia and South America (most of the world, in population terms) without the emergence of a scrap of evidence of damage to human health and to other crops. We should be celebrating the further potential to alleviate food shortages, particularly in the developing world.
Christopher Donald, Hexham, Northumberland
Open policy
The Environmental Policy Forum urges the government to encourage research into GM crops and promote an open dialogue between regulators, agribusiness, environmental scientists and ecologists.
Professor William Pope, Vice-President, Institution of Environmental Sciences
To see the full letter and list of signatories, go to

Chindits history lesson
AS you clarified last week, Max Hastings was mistaken in claiming that the Chindits were the first to reach Myitkyina in 1944 (“Roots of an enduring hatred”, Culture, June 16). This honour fell to their American equivalent, Merrill’s Marauders, who liberated the Burmese town, supported by Chinese allies. The Chindits, also known as the 77th Indian Infantry Brigade, were 50 miles west, defeating the Japanese at Mogaung.
Hastings was correct, however, to state that the Chindits were not given the credit they deserved in Burma. The BBC erroneously stated that a Chinese-American force had seized Mogaung, prompting the Chindit commander Mike Calvert to send a signal to allied headquarters exclaiming: “The Chinese having taken Mogaung, 77 Brigade is proceeding to take Umbrage.”
Gavin Mortimer, Author, Merrill’s Marauders, Cuckfield, West Sussex
Visitors’ unfair penalty
IF ONLY the government monitored visitors leaving the UK, it wouldn’t need a £3,000 deposit (“Asians and Africans must pay £3,000 to enter Britain”, News, last week). The sum of £3,000 will not deter those who want to cheat the system but will massively penalise normal visitors and hugely inconvenience businessmen. This policy is not being proposed for its effectiveness, just to win votes.
Vibhaker Baxi, London NW4
Return ticket
I wonder if the proposal would make it easier or harder for Palestinians to visit. Unlike their Israeli neighbours — sometimes just inches away — West Bank Palestinians need a visa to visit the UK.
All too frequently when an application is refused, the reason given — as in the case of the two Gazan writers recently prevented from coming to speak at an arts festival — is they might not return to whence they came.
In response to a freedom of information request the Home Office divulged that in the 15 months between January 2004 and April 2005 only six people were returned to Palestine.
Elizabeth Morley, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

Older law graduates out in cold
THE scandalously high ratio of law graduates to training contracts available is not new and is not, as your article suggests, a problem for young people only (“Glut of graduates threatens hope of career in law”, News, last week).
In 2004 I wrote an editorial for the Law Society Gazette highlighting the reluctance of law firms to consider applications from anyone over 30. As far back as 1998 and 2002 the Bar Council published studies showing that the big losers in pupillages were students over 30. Yet the College of Law welcomed me, and my £6,000 fee, aged 40.
Law schools have continued to open and expand with no regard to the availability of training contracts. That is because they are profitable businesses that bestow academic degrees but not legal qualifications and the right to practise law (as in America and many other countries).
Joyce Glasser, London NW3
Legal aid
The Law Society caused the glut of law graduates years ago by demanding two years’ formal training in a law firm and encouraging law schools to expand too fast. During the 1990s recession, my daughter graduated from Leicester’s De Montfort University and made 250 unsuccessful applications to law firms.
She secured a low-paid but demanding housing association legal post, moved to a second role at a district council and persuaded her new employer to fast-track her as its first trainee solicitor. She is now a senior legal manager at a London council.
The Law Society should copy the leading accountancy firms and revert to training bright 18-year-old school-leavers “on the job”, combining work experience and study, so that aspiring lawyers do not incur large debts.
Lynne Faulkner, Bedford

Arrested development
If the homeowning baby- boomers wish to feel more loved they could start by not opposing every development near them (“Are the baby- boomers guilty as charged?”, Focus, June 16). If baby- boomers’ parents had been as vociferously opposed to change, I doubt Milton Keynes or the garden cities of Letchworth or Welwyn would have been built.
Richard Holloway, London SW1
Country life
I am sure God can cope with being removed from the Girl Guides’ “promise” (“Guides go self-service”, Comment, last week) but to replace the promise to serve one’s country with “community” is a disaster. Communities matter, but to promise to serve one’s country places into a wider context all the networks that make up human life. It seems to me that the Guides movement is not being best served by its leadership — something it clearly shares with the NHS.
David Ackerman, London W10

Corrections and Clarifications
Keeping whales and dolphins in captivity in the UK is not illegal (“Stress drives captive whales to kill trainers”, News, June 16). However, strict controls regulating the import of live cetaceans into the EU mean none have been kept in this country since the early 1990s.
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)

Cheryl Cole, singer, 30; John Fortune, actor, 74; Rupert Graves, actor, 50; Tony Hatch, songwriter, 74; James Loughran, conductor, 82; Lord McConnell, former first minister of Scotland, 53; Gary Pallister, footballer, 48; Michael Phelps, swimmer, 28; Andy Scott, guitarist with Sweet, 64; Ralf Schumacher, racing driver, 38; Mark Waters, film director, 49; Leonard Whiting, actor, 63

1837 pillory abolished as form of punishment; 1859 Charles Blondin becomes first person to walk a tightrope across Niagara Gorge; 1894 Tower Bridge opens; 1905 Einstein expounds theory of special relativity; 1908 Tunguska event: asteroid explodes above Siberia with the force of 185 Hiroshima bombs; 1934 Night of the Long Knives begins: Hitler’s Nazi regime executes scores of opponents; 1937 world’s first emergency call service, 999, begins in London


SIR – Her family connections make Jane Austen an ideal person to be depicted on a banknote at the present time (report, June 26). Her brother Henry was a banker – until his bank failed and he was declared bankrupt in 1816.
Gordon Le Pard
SIR – I fear the Bank of England is gravely misled if it thinks Jane Austen can replace Elizabeth Fry. The familiar portrait in your Business pages has zero authenticity, being merely a concept of what she looked like.
There is no portrait of Miss Austen, except a sketch from behind showing only a bit of one cheek. You reported on its authentication some time ago.
So Miss Austen can only appear as a fiction, which, upon reflection may be exactly apt. Banking is, after all, mostly a sorry tale.

SIR – Dozens of twitchers burn fossil fuel quite unnecessarily by travelling to the Isle of Harris to see a rare Siberian swift blown off course (report, June 28), only to see the poor bird killed by a wind turbine.
And this was on the day that the Chancellor announced continuing subsidies amounting to twice or three times the market rate for electricity to be paid to onshore and offshore turbine developers respectively.
This morning, I heard that voices had been raised from the eco-lobby arguing that fracking shale gas would “industrialise the countryside”. Do the Greens have no sense of irony?
Trevor Jones
Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway
SIR – A few days ago my sister told me her beautiful white and tortoiseshell cat had been run over and killed. I felt a great sadness, as I was always welcomed by it whenever I visited.
Related Articles
Jane Austen’s dubious banking connections
29 Jun 2013
I also felt sad to read of a rare swift on the Isle of Harris killed by a wind turbine. But I felt anger, too.
While the one could be considered to have been an unfortunate accident, I consider the other to have been totally unnecessary.
David R Taylor
Everton, Hampshire
SIR – The RSPB recognises that wind farms harm birds. Spanish ones alone kill six to eight million birds and bats annually. Yet the RSPB supports the erection of wind farms because, it says, they will ameliorate a supposed dangerous planetary overheating.
I have written on five occasions asking the RSPB to justify its belief in catastrophic global warming, or to enter into a debate with me about it.
The RSPB supposedly exists only to protect birds. It has neither the remit nor the ability to control the earth’s climate, nor to save the world, just to protect birds.
I have asked what the going rate is for dead birds nowadays. Is it say, 50 MW/hrs for a dead nightjar and 100 MW/hrs for a hen harrier? The RSPB does not reply.
Bob Valentine Trueman
Welshpool, Montgomeryshire
SIR – Would it not be better to spend £40 billion-plus on a couple of gas-fired power stations, rather than on HS2?
Avoiding massive disruption from power cuts over the next few years (Leading article, June 28) surely offers a more tangible business case than all of the vain attempts to justify HS2.
Roger J Arthur
Pulborough, West Sussex
SIR – The prospect of domestic power cuts this coming winter is indeed grim. We can only hope that these will not spoil our enjoyment of the traditional Christmas illuminations, which of course begin in late November.
Professor Gareth Williams
Rockhampton, Gloucestershire
Filling Wimbledon
SIR – There seems to be a misapprehension among those who think that an empty seat during a Wimbledon match indicates a problem that needs solving (Letters, June 28).
When I obtain a ticket – whether ground entry on the day or, more rarely, a show court ticket in the public ballot – I do not spent eight hours sitting watching tennis on one court.
Half my time is spent strolling the grounds, spending perhaps 20 minutes each at different matches on the outside courts, just a few feet away from the world’s best players. I particularly enjoy some of the doubles, the junior singles, and the veterans too. During a day in mid-summer, I also like to eat and drink.
However, I’d happily support a system that allowed show court seats to be shared during the day, rather than simply re-sold in the evening.
Edward Vale
London SW19
SIR – Premium unoccupied seats at a Basho in Japan don’t exist. The immensely popular sumo tournaments are over-subscribed, but the failure of corporate spectators to turn up until the most exciting bouts begin doesn’t prevent fans from getting their fill.
I queued before 6am for an entry ticket for that day. My ticket gave me a place in the gods, but I didn’t start there. According to standard practice, I occupied a ringside position until the rightful ticket holder turned up, when I moved to another empty place a little further away. Hours later, after enjoying the action close at hand, I arrived in my final slot up in the roof. I had a great day.
It seems a shame that seats at the best matches at Wimbledon are wasted.
Roger Ellis
Surbiton, Surrey
Patently unfair
SIR – As well as patents being infringed by multinationals (Letters, June 27), the protection they offer to inventors is very limited.
An inventor has to pay for patent filing, issue and maintenance for the 20 years that a patent will last, whether it has been a commercial success or not.
A European patent covers Europe, but additional patents would have to be taken out (and maintained) for other countries. Imagine the cost of getting world-wide patent protection. Although there is an international Patent Cooperation Treaty, not all countries are signatory to it.
Compare this with the copyright system for writers or musicians. Copyright typically lasts for 70 years after the composer’s or writer’s death and there are no fees to maintain it.
Jeff Strike
Millom, Cumbria
Flying teapot lid
SIR – Steve Hutchinson’s ingenious method of avoiding the loss of the kitchen peeler (Letters, June 26) brought back memories of student life in a shared hovel in the early Seventies.
We finally solved the problem of constantly mislaying the teapot lid by suspending it from the ceiling on a long piece of string at the perfect height to nestle on to the teapot without falling off when tea was being poured.
At all other times it hung above the centre of the table, occupying a small amount of unused airspace, thereby allowing us in idle moments to indulge in a teapot-lid swingathon.
The takeaway latte-drinking students of today have no idea what they’re missing.
C Mundy
Orpington, Kent
Benefits of English
SIR – It is difficult to discern the Chancellor’s motive in introducing English lessons for overseas benefit claimants.
Having worked in Jobcentres for many years I can confirm that most overseas claimants want to learn English, and see it as a key for work, here and worldwide.
I cannot think of a better incentive than George Osborne’s to encourage more immigration. It will be viewed as an expenses-paid course of study. But Jobcentres rely on local authorities to provide these courses, and Mr Osborne announced that local government spending will be cut further.
Jo Sant
Rochdale, Lancashire
SIR – My bus pass allows me to leave my car at home. My heating payment allows me to make continuous improvements to the insulation of my house. So both are environmentally friendly.
As Don Edwards suggests (Letters, June 28), I have examined my conscience, and am perfectly content with the result.
Pam Maybury
Bath, Somerset
SIR – The Government has no need to take away my bus pass. The local council has taken away my bus.
Kathleen Richards
Ipswich, Suffolk
Darby and Darby
SIR – If the traditional meaning of husband and wife is to be abolished by this Government (report, June 28) it makes one wonder what else is changing in Cameron’s New Dictionary for modern Britain.
Sarah Green
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Waterloo sunrise
SIR – I congratulate George Osborne on his move to ensure that the £1 million grant to the Belgians will go ahead, despite mutterings by some who seem to think that moves to restore the Waterloo battlefield sites will upset the French.
I have just returned from the 2013 remembrance and re-enactment. We camped at the garden of Hougoumont where so many British fell, and it is in a sorry state for such an important site.
There were many French taking part and spectating. None were in the least upset that plans for 2015 were well on the way. Their numbers will be in the thousands.
Hugh Martyr
Pershore, Worcestershire
Babies with three parents become dehumanised
SIR – The Government hopes that, subject to public consultation and parliamentary approval, “the world’s first ‘three-parent baby’ ” could be born on the NHS in Britain “by 2015” (report, June 28).
Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England, has “compared the process to changing a faulty battery in a car”.
However, using a donated egg will ensure that the baby inherits mitochondria from some woman other than his or her mother. So this “minor repair” will be passed on to future generations. And, despite attempts to restrict the process to serious inherited disease, it will undoubtedly, in time, be applied to less serious disabilities.
Much as manufacturers would rejoice, the process has not yet been invented by which cars can replicate themselves with just a little extra tinkering. However, manufacturing human beings like cars may put us on the conveyor belt to destruction, for in the quest for perfection we are in danger of forgetting what makes a human being.
Ann Farmer
Woodford Green, Essex
SIR – In-vitro fertilisation involving three parties (if deemed necessary) is wrong. This is eugenics.
The go-ahead for it stems from a misguided approach to disability. A disability is a difference that we must recognise and cherish, not eliminate.
Today is a very sad day for the disabled people of the United Kingdom.
Daniel McNamara
Twickenham, Middlesex
SIR – Why is genetic modification acceptable in people but not in rice?
Dr John Doherty
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

Irish Times:

Sir, – I thought Anglo, etc, had just cost us billions of euro, from which we would eventually recover. The taped conversations and the understandable international reaction to it bring to mind Iago’s words in Othello:
“Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing; ’Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands; But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed.” – Yours etc,
Glasnevin Hill, Dublin 9.
Sir, – The release of the contemptible Anglo tapes just as the EU is giving consideration to retrospective funding of failed banks seems more than mere coincidence. One has to ask who would benefit from these tapes contributing to a refusal from the EU to compensate the Irish State for pouring taxpayers’ funds into Anglo, AIB, etc? The obvious answer is private business interests which would make huge “moolah” by buying at a discount from the strapped State AIB and Bank of Ireland just as they are returning to profitability. I find it frustrating that our standing army of public commentators and columnists are making nothing of this very basic question. Is there a wider conspiracy? – Yours, etc,

A chara, – Sam Quirke (June 28th) is right in noting that if one looked to our national broadcaster and print media one would have thought that no commemoration of Wolfe Tone took place and that he was forgotten.
Last weekend, however, I spoke at a commemoration, attended by hundreds of Irishmen and Irishwomen, in Bodenstown, to commemorate the founder of Irish republicanism, Wolfe Tone. In my speech I noted: “In the Ireland of 2013, the message of Tone is more relevant than ever. Now more than ever, this country needs republican politics. We owe it not just to the generations who have gone before us but most importantly the generation growing up in the Ireland of 2013 and the generations yet to come. Let’s make Tone’s Republic a reality.” Such sentiments are not shared by many in positions of influence in our country, North and South, and I am sure they are glad to have them secreted away from each generation. – Yours, etc,

Irish Independent:
The Irish Independent must be commended for exposing the contempt for authority demonstrated by the invincible, omnipotent leadership at Anglo Irish Bank up to 2008.
Also in this section
Hats off to rigorous pursuit of the truth
Punish the offenders – but not an inquiry
With Anglo having picked a figure of €7bn “out of my arse”, it is abundantly clear that the authorities were grossly misled in this sham as the bad debts of the bank were approaching €30bn at the time – almost 20pc of the nation’s GDP.
The citizens of Ireland are reeling as a consequence, with no recourse to pick anything out of their arses.
The Finance Minister claims he did not know that these tapes existed despite the recording of bank telephone calls being standard operating practice.
The only inquiry that is needed with respect to this shameful, weasel-like treacherous debacle, which has made a laughing stock of the nation across the globe, is for due judicial process to assert itself quickly and decisively – as would be the case in most other able-to-cope jurisdictions.
Also, will garda intelligence ascertain whether there is anything of public interest in the recorded telephone calls at the other covered institutions or are Irish citizens totally dependent on the astute journalists at Independent Newspapers to put the record straight about the capacity and behaviour of our banking aristocracy?
Myles Duffy
Bellevue Avenue, Glenageary, Co Dublin
With all the news coming out of your excellent paper regarding the Anglo meltdown, it would be fair to say that the nation is at a new low ebb. But it is at the moments of greatest adversity that a nation finds its true strength.
What I suggest is that we harness this international interest and announce that we are going to open a whole new range of Capitalist Universities that can operate under a collective educational authority.
We can roll out a series of “Ipi Ooma” (I Picked It Out Of My Arse) State Universities. We could offer Ipi Ooma degrees with modules in deconstruction of all inherent constitutional law, up to and including evictions; and budgets, using the “whatever you’re having yourself” principle;
I feel that now is the time to advertise such a string of universities now that the world and its mother knows that ‘Ipi Ooma’ generated “moolah” of €30bn.
Dermot Ryan
Co Galway
During the 19th Century and the time of the Famine, landlords lived in luxury while the tenants struggled to survive. Has anything really changed in the 21st Century?
Greedy bankers, incompetent politicians, not to mention Patrick Neary, have all been well-rewarded for there failures while the rest struggle to survive.
This country must be the laughing stock of Europe.
Tommy Deenihan
Blackrock, Cork
John Brophy, loving father of a boy with Down syndrome, is right to complain that the word “fatal” was not included in the relevant headline (‘Fatal Omission’, Letters, June 21).
However, I would respectfully suggest to Mr Brophy and to others that if Ireland was ever to accept, in law, the abortion of children who happened to have “fatal” foetal abnormalities, the legalisation of the abortion of children who happened to have other foetal abnormalities such as, for example, Down syndrome, would surely soon follow.
Allowing for the concept of aborting certain children in the womb, simply on the basis of an abnormality that may result in them dying not long after birth (even though there have been cases of such children surviving for some years after birth), makes children with other debilitating conditions, such as Down syndrome, less safe, and indeed, next on the list.
If we were to state, as a matter of public policy, that children with “fatal” foetal abnormalities are less worthy of life, we would be sending the message that all disabled children could be less worthy of life and, therefore, legitimate candidates for extermination in the womb.
This would put us on the road to eugenics, and must be opposed.
It would be a shame, as the 10th anniversary of our successful hosting of the Special Olympics is marked, to think that our culture might have changed to the point where some children (those who, for example, would retain their right to life in the womb under a new cultural consensus) would be, to paraphrase George Orwell, considered ‘more equal than others’.
John B Reid,
Monkstown, Co Dublin
I am sick and tired of hearing Bono-bashing across Ireland. He should shut up, he should pay his taxes, blah bloody blah.
Bono and his bandmates do indeed use an offshore haven for a portion of their tax affairs but at the same time they contribute millions to the Irish exchequer and are currently giving thousands of Irish children access to musical instruments at no or little cost to the State or families.
D McAllister
It was very interesting to read the full JFK speech on June 28, 1963 to the joint houses of the Oireachtas, published in your supplement (Irish Independent, June 17) despite Ted Sorensen’s errors, as highlighted by your own writer Brian Murphy.
The gift of the flag was suggested to an aide of the president by Monsignor Patrick O’Flaherty, chaplain to the Fighting 69th. Patrick, who was descended from a family of Dublin bricklayers, published the history of the regiment for his PhD from Fordham University in 1963.
Pity he was not consulted about the details of the speech.
Fergus Clancy
Lynn Meagher’s sense of grievance about reduced pay scales for newly qualified teachers (‘I gave up a €150k IT job to be a primary teacher, Irish Independent, May 22) is justifiable.
But her assertion that the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) is responsible is factually incorrect. Successive governments cut pay for newly qualified teachers and are, therefore, exclusively to blame.
At all stages the INTO opposed those cuts, lobbied against them and has adopted a policy to see them reversed. That process has begun with the acceptance of the Haddington Road Agreement by INTO members recently.
As a result, teachers like Lynn who graduated in 2011 will be on an improved pay-scale, a first step in reversing a government-designed injustice.
Sheila Nunan
General Secretary, Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, 35 Parnell Square, Dublin 1
Protested, to overturn apartheid.
Prisoner, prepared to serve a life sentence for his convictions.
Peace Prize winner of the Nobel.
President of post-apartheid South Africa, age 75.
Peoples’ worldwide symbol for justice.
Persistent courage and selflessness in the face of adversity
Persons, no, just one person, that is Mandela.
Kevin Devitte
Mill Street, Westport, Co Mayo
Irish Independent


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