Sunday hospital

1 July 2013 Sunday Hospital

Off around the park listening to the Navy Lark, Back from leave and Leslie is on a unicycle, well it started off as a bicyvvke but bits kept falling off along the way. 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


Richard Marlow
Richard Marlow, who has died aged 73, was one of the few choral directors of modern times also to pursue a full academic career; he served as director of music at Trinity College, Cambridge, for almost 40 years, and was a pioneer in bringing women’s voices to the fore in cloistered choirs.

Richard Marlow Photo: GERALD PLACE
6:11PM BST 30 Jun 2013
As a composer and arranger, notably of settings for the psalms and descants, Marlow was a great talent; among his best known works are Veni Creator Spiritus, a motet for Whitsun, and a popular Evensong setting.
Although Trinity has a choral tradition dating back several centuries, it was not until 1982 that female voices were heard regularly there. The mixed-voice ensemble proved to be a success for Marlow, and over the next 24 years he released more than 30 discs with the Choir of Trinity College as well taking them on many overseas tours.
His style of direction was clear and incisive, drawing a clean, beautiful and vibrato-free sound from his singers, regardless of sex, and putting paid to the belief that sacred music is the exclusive preserve of the male voice.
Marlow also established Trinity College’s annual Singing on the River concert, which takes place on the Cam in early June and involves the Trinity choir singing madrigals and other works – including his own arrangement of John Brown’s Body – from five punts tied together in front of the Wren Library. Mercifully they sank only once — and, in true Titanic style, Marlow and the choir sang on.
Richard Kenneth Marlow was born at Banstead, Surrey, on July 26 1939, the son of an electricity board worker. He failed his 11-plus, but judicious lobbying by his father won him a place at St Olave’s School, Orpington.
While a choirboy at Southwark Cathedral he sang for the Coronation in 1953, after which the boys were invited for tea at the Lords. Marlow recalled how he and another boy ended up in the wrong reception and, while trying to find their correct group, came across an unattended Royal carriage and climbed into it.
He won an organ scholarship to Selwyn College, Cambridge, where, after taking a First in his finals, he was awarded a research fellowship.
Under Thurston Dart, the early music pioneer, he completed a doctoral dissertation on the music of Giles Farnaby, the 17th-century composer, whose music he later edited.
After three years lecturing at Southampton University, Marlow was appointed to Trinity College in succession to Raymond Leppard, and soon set up the Cambridge University Chamber Choir. However, he disbanded the group in 1989 to concentrate on the mixed-voice Trinity ensemble.
After one concert of 15th-century music in 1990 a critic noted how Marlow “shaped each piece with loving care”. On several occasions he was invited by Benjamin Britten to conduct one of the Bach Passions at Aldeburgh, with Peter Pears singing the Evangelist.
From 1998 Marlow made an annual visit to Portland, Oregon, where he was the co-founder of the William Byrd Festival, a gathering dedicated to the music of the 16th-century English composer.
Such a busy schedule was only made possible thanks to his remarkable skills of organisation and a series of complex charts, known as “Marlowgrams”. Yet he always had time for his undergraduates, consoling the composer of many a calamitous canon with a cold, dry sherry.
Although he retired in 2006 – to be succeeded by Stephen Layton – Marlow remained a fellow of Trinity and continued to teach there.
Marlow had a passion for steam trains, volunteering on heritage railways. His Hornby model railway, laid out in the loft of his home in Cambridge, ran to more than a mile of track. In later life he learnt to swim, eventually covering a mile a day.
Richard Marlow is survived by his wife, Annette, whom he married in 1964, and by their two sons.
Richard Marlow, born July 26 1939, died June 16 2013


One of the justifications for the coalition’s cuts is the pretence that they are needed to pay for more infrastructure projects (Editorial, 27 June). Yet the emphasis on new roads and HS2 will be cost-escalating and take money away from the kind of local infrastructure spending that would result in economic activity nationwide. This in turn could be fairly taxed and so get rid of the need for cuts, while helping rescue our flagging economy.
Tens of billions spent on low-carbon infrastructure and affordable housing would generate jobs, business and investment opportunities in every city, town, village and hamlet in the UK. Making every building in the UK energy-efficient and repairing, maintaining and improving the public transport system could prioritise the use of UK manufacturers. A crackdown on tax dodgers would make billions available to pump prime such an initiative. The result would be a reduction in public debt through a programme that improves society, the environment and the economy – the very opposite of the present cuts.
Colin Hines
Convener, Green New Deal Group
•  The enterprise minister, Michael Fallon, announcing £10bn of state guarantees for the nuclear power industry, explains: “This is big-scale financing, not available in the markets” (Report, 28 June). Bit of a turnaround from when public private partnerships were introduced in the 90s with the justification that only the market had access to that scale of funding. On the other hand it’s consistent with the G4S/Olympics fiasco.
RE Cooper
Woodbridge, Suffolk
•  The British Geological Survey reports that the north of England could have up to 13 trillion cubic feet of shale gas underground (Report, 28 June). This government has stated that local communities could benefit by “sharing in this wealth”, but no drilling permit should be issued without a cast-iron guarantee that the revenue is predominantly invested in the north on infrastructure, industry, especially manufacturing, and education. This potential bonanza must not be diverted to the south-east, nor, as North Sea oil revenue was, squandered on keeping million on the dole.
Alan Quinn
Prestwich, Manchester
•  Having cut millions in public spending, the government has awarded the £1.4bn contract for building the rolling stock for the cross-London Thameslink rail route to Siemens, a German company, instead of keeping the work, the jobs and the money in this country (Report, 28 June). Is this a failure of joined-up thinking or is it economic, political and social suicide?
David Hurry
Hurstpierpoint, Sussex
•  By announcing a £50bn capital investment programme for 2015-16, the government has recognised that an effective and efficient transport infrastructure is key to economic growth. While big ticket projects are important, modernisation and maintenance programmes can have a more immediate impact on the economy through the creation and retention of essential jobs. During London 2012, Thales UK, in partnership with London Underground, upgraded the Jubilee line. We urge Transport for London to press ahead with the modernisation of the rest of the network. It is critical that we see a real pipeline of projects announced to put confidence back in the sector and provide investors with reassurance that “shovel-ready” schemes are going ahead.
Alistair McPhee
Vice-president, Thales UK Ground Transportation Systems
• You report figures showing the growing risk of cycling on Britain’s roads (Call for urgent action after rise in cycle deaths, 28 June). Yet that very day the Treasury announced £28bn of spending on the road network, without earmarking a single penny for cycling. The parliamentary Get Britain Cycling inquiry called for annual spending of at least £10 per person on cycling, noting that London’s spending plans equate to £12.50 per person, while the Dutch spend £24. Outside London, England’s spending levels still average below £2 per person. Yet cycling is good for our streets and communities, our local and global environments, our wallets and our waistlines. Can the same really be said of yet more road-building?
Roger Geffen
Campaigns & policy director, CTC, the national cycling charity
•  The announcement that the government will be committing £100bn to UK infrastructure projects is certainly a much-needed long-term boost for the construction industry. But it will not benefit the industry for at least two years. The sector needs growth now. ONS figures and the Construction Industry Training Board’s own labour market intelligence report show that the UK output fell 9% last year and is unlikely, without help, to attain 2007 levels until 2022; 60,000 construction jobs were lost in 2012 with 45,000 expected to go this year. “Shovel-ready” projects in the repair and maintenance sector should be receiving similar investment. Every £100m invested in repair and maintenance takes 3,200 workers off the dole. Yes, funds are tight but better to invest for growth than spend £8.1bn maintaining these same people out of work.
Judy Lowe
Deputy chairman, CITB
• Expenditure on infrastructure is welcome (Capital catch-up, 28 June) but there needs to be productive activity at the ends of the roads and railways. Support of innovation in advanced industries is also welcome but the country also needs basic industries that employ people with good skills .
Mass production of textiles is the easiest industry for a country that needs to redevelop its manufacturing base. With wages rising in China, increasing transport costs, and benefits from production close to the fashion markets, textile production in the UK can be competitive again. Not only would this reduce imports but it could also exploit the talents of the UK’s creative textile designers in an export market.
John Hearle
Emeritus professor of textile technology, University of Manchester

Power cuts in 2015 would be a lot less likely had the coalition not slashed support for crowd-sourced energy and future technologies. For two years the roof above my head has fed electricity to the national grid and generated almost as much as my family consumes annually; solar-power installation has halved in cost meanwhile, but the drive for clean energy has gone. Rather than admit it cocked up, this government does it again by looking to the third world: backup diesel generators for hospital and businesses (Report, 29 June).
Mark Lewinski
Swaffham Prior, Cambridgeshire
• To be fair to the Guardian, the final of the Cardiff Singer of the World was reviewed in Tuesday’s Review page (Letters, 28 June). But I agree with the general point about the way the media covers classical music. For, despite the fact that your Friday edition of G2 purports to be a review of music and films, the term music seems to refer here mainly to pop.
Marie Paterson
Nuneaton, Warwickshire
• With all the Glastonbury hype, we decided to tape the Stones and have an early night. Didn’t take into account a combined bladder age of 118 that found us watching them at 5.30 in the morning.
Andrew and Nicola Platman
Beckenham, Kent
• Were men banned from Glastonbury this year? None were pictured in the Guardian, or any other national newspaper.
David Harding

Like many people, we have been shocked and saddened by the deaths of mothers and babies at Morecambe Bay hospital. We have also been horrified by the coverage of the alleged cover-up at the Care Quality Commission. Like other commentators, none of us were in the room during the contested meeting. However, as friends and colleagues who have known Cynthia Bower throughout her career, some of us over 30 years, we are appalled at the way her motives and character have been questioned, and guilt assumed (Report, 25 June).
We know her to be a woman of integrity who is committed to public service, who has a long and honourable record of challenging poor care and working to improve services. Unlike many other political and business leaders, it is typical of Cynthia that she would take responsibility as chief executive, acknowledging that the buck stops with her. It is also typical that she would be honest and open about any failings. The picture painted this week is not one that any of us recognise.
Patricia McCabe, Jane Slowey, Lynne Howells, Marianne Skelcher, Sue Fallon, Terry Potter, Sue Roberts, Delphine Bower, Ann Shabbaz, Billy Foreman, Victoria Robertson, Lesley Wollaston, Jackie Turner, Elissa Renouf, George Smalling, Jackie M Atkin, Sally Cherry, Diane Coburn, Claire Frodsham, Wendy Bourton, Christine Rogers
• Are we going to be told the names of the firm and individuals who gave the CQC executive the wrong legal advice – or is that something else that will be covered up?
Peter Critchley
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

In 1986, Lord Fraser of Carmyllie was still Peter Fraser MP. As solicitor general for Scotland he was a largely silent member of the standing committee on the Thatcher government’s public order bill. I was then adviser to Gerald Kaufman, shadow home secretary, and assisting Labour’s team to scrutinise (and delay) the bill and I enjoyed watching him.
Occasionally, his eyebrows would elevate minutely when some member of the standing committee was talking drivel: these eyebrows responded impartially to opposition and government speakers. At every break in proceedings, he enjoyed a cigarette in the corridor. Finally came his big moment, when he had to respond to an ingenious Labour amendment to apply Scottish public order law in its entirety to Great Britain. He murmured a delicate speech showing why Scottish law was really too good for us English.

In equal societies, the role of woman is esteemed and breasts are for feeding infants. In patriarchal capitalist societies men “own” women, along with their breasts. The role of woman is not esteemed, she doubts her role, and is therefore a perfect target for big business (“After Nestlé, now breast milk scandal strikes Aptamil manufacturer”, 29 June).
In the 1930s baby formula companies persuaded us that, while nature had perfectly arranged the pre-natal stage, it had, unbelievably, not done the same for the post-natal infant. Infants were to be fed at strict four-hourly intervals, and not on demand like all other mammals. Babies cried in between breast feeds, proving that formula was the answer, because the mother had “insufficient” milk.
Once breast feeding is relinquished, the breast is “returned to the woman, and therefore the man who owns her”. (One theory suggests that successful breast-feeding mothers have partners willing and able to “share” their woman with the new baby.)
Baby formula was based on cows’ milk, which is designed to create fast-growing bovine strength, entirely opposite to human milk designed to create sensitive brain growth. Until very recently the progress of babies was erroneously measured against the growth rate of cow formula-fed babies. So thousands of infants, wrongly considered to be “underweight” have unnecessarily been switched to formula feeding.
Until women are confident in their reproductive role, big, patriarchal business in the form of Nestlé and Danone will always prevail.
Diana Baur
Llanarmon DC, Wrexham
Radon peril from fracking must be taken seriously
Your reports on the Government’s panglossian support for fracking rightly explore the concerns of residents living in areas ripe for fracking exploitation.
One aspect of fracking that has received no press coverage is the prospective human health hazard to gas consumers of using fracked shale gas.
Heath minister Anna Soubry told Labour MP Paul Flynn in a written answer in May that Public Health England (formerly the Health Protection Agency) “is preparing a report identifying potential public health issues and concerns, including radon (release/emissions) that might be associated with aspects of hydraulic fracturing, also referred to as fracking. The report is due out for public consultation in the summer” (Hansard, 20 May: Column 570W).
PHE is concerned to evaluate the potential risks of radon gas being pumped into citizens’ homes as part of the shale gas stream. Unless the gas is stored for several days to allow the radon’s radioactivity to reduce naturally, this is potentially very dangerous.
Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Initially radon released from its virtually sealed underground locations will be in monatomic suspension, but then it accretes on to dust particles, pipework, etc, and some of it may remain suspended in the gas and come out in our cookers.
The current concern about how much radon is likely to be piped into people’s kitchens was spurred by a report last year by Dr Marvin Resnikoff of Radioactive Waste Management Associates, who has over 50 years’ experience in radiological risk analysis.
Dr Resnikoff estimated radon levels from the Marcellus gas field – the nearest one being exploited to New York – as up to 70 times the average.
I am all for creating new  jobs in the energy sector, as long as they are sustainable. The public surely will demand the unadulterated facts on fracking. Public Health England’s forthcoming report is eagerly awaited.
Environmental policy and research consultant
Stoneleigh,  Surrey
Any licences for shale gas exploration should include the rider that it is the responsibility of fracking companies to prove at any subsidence and damage to properties wasn’t caused by drilling, rather than put the onus on the claimant.
Brad Mottis
Winkfield,  Bracknell
Silence protects bad surgeons
I fear we are barking up the wrong surgical tree (“Still no reason to keep surgeons’ mortality rates secret”, 30 June). The practice of surgery is far too subtle to allow “marks” to have any sensible meaning: and if they did, a “good person” can always have a “bad” day. The issue is not to give every surgeon “marks”; the issue is to outlaw the persistently bad.
And a scoring system is a very clumsy way of doing this, for the relevant information lies elsewhere – in the observation-based knowledge of other doctors, and nurses too. The insiders know who the bad apples are long before the public will ever know, and long before the statistics will give a clue.
But while there is an evil conspiracy of “professional” silence, those who know will  not declare. That’s the problem to solve.
Dennis Sherwood
Exton,  Rutland
Hospitals are suffering from the belief of the previous government that central control is best. There used to be organisations whose members were local volunteers with a salaried secretary called Community Health Councils.
These organisations kept an eye on what was happening and had the ear of the patients. They were in contact with the District Health Authorities who were able to address problems at a local level.
This quietly effective system was replaced by a quango at a national level. Members of the quango are paid employees with an interest in keeping their positions, thus allowing whistleblowers to be bullied because they now have something to lose.
John Henderson
Ways to control payday lenders
A simple 1-2-3 will solve the payday loan problem.
1. Cap all APR at 60 per cent. That’s three times the rate of a credit card and high enough for any legitimate lender to make a good living. But it’s low enough to force all payday lenders to be more responsible about who they lend to, or they’ll go broke.
2. Beef up the credit unions. There are sources of alternative credit out there, but the sector is small and can’t compete for access with the likes of Wonga. Sometimes it’s just a question of having the right software. Check out London Mutual Credit Union, where you can get a payday loan at 26.8 per cent APR. A little competition will go a long way.
3.Financial literacy. Teach everyone about money and how the money system works. It’s not taught in schools, but it is taught to the members of the financial elite at their fathers’ knees. Make the whole country financially savvy.
Surely that would be good for the national economy (though not for the elite) It would also produce better politicians, as they’d no longer get away with ignorance and waffle. They’d have to act or lose their jobs.
Mike Wolstencroft
Financial Inclusion  Officer, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing
Get off that  world stage
I must concur with other contributors to your letters page: Britain’s standing in the world is far less important than our politicians wish it to be. 
David Cameron grandstands on the world stage, spending billions on overseas aid and costly interference in other countries’ affairs. Meanwhile the standard of living in Britain is dropping and now there is a likelihood of power cuts due to the lack of investment in our own country.
David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair all appeared to be more concerned with the rest of the world than with the people who elected them. Our politicians should realise that we can no longer afford to be the world’s policeman or the world’s benefactor.
We are one of the richest countries in the developed world but are near the bottom of the league when it comes to wellbeing. Let us first look after ourselves and then pay regard to the rest of the world.
S Silgram
Blackburn,  Lancashire
The men who would be Caesar
Considering film portrayals of Cleopatra (29 June), Geoffrey Macnab says Claude Rains was “strangely cast as Caesar” in the 1945 Caesar and Cleopatra. He may actually have been the most accurate screen actor to handle the role. 
Ideas of what constitutes short in stature have changed over 2000 years, but records suggest that Julius Caesar does seem to have been physically unimposing, but an extremely powerful presence, in which case Rains was ideal casting.
The role of Julius Caesar has been frequently cast strangely with tall actors: Warren William, Louis Calhern, John Gavin, Rex Harrison. Even the more recent TV series Rome went with Ciaran Hinds.
Nuclear stand-off
Like Peter Popham (World View, 28 June) I can see the advantage of all small states having sufficient nuclear weapons to wipe out an American task force heading in their direction with aggressive intent. But it is also dangerous to have such a massive arsenal that humanity can be wiped off the earth. It is hard to find a compromise. The only sensible insurance policy is to “ban the bomb” now. 
R F Stearn
Old Newton, Suffolk
Future in the past
For the record, unlike Dr James Martin (Obituary, 29 June), who apparently predicted the arrival of the internet in 1978, my American friend and I predicted the arrival of the internet in 1975. I also predicted the arrival of the tablet-computer in 1976. Unfortunately, I didn’t write any books about my futuristic revelations.
Ray J Howes
Weymouth, Dorset
Cute slogans
Your piece on cute phrasing on product packages (Trending, 24 June) attributed its introduction to Innocent drinks (founded 1999). In the UK, possibly. It was, however, commonplace among trendy US products in the 1980s, Tom’s toothpaste (1975) being one of the earliest examples.
Steve Jackson
London N7
False step
The excellent Simon Calder (Travel, 29 June) tells us that Moscow’s main aviation hub now has at least three taverns dispensing “faux bonhomie”. No, no: what they dispense is fausse bonhomie.
Chris Bolger


1AM, July 1 2013

We are contemplating sanctions for misbehaviour in the healthcare and banking sectors; why not in the energy policy sector?
Sir, The prospect of power cuts within a few years (report, June 28) should focus us all on simple measures which could alleviate the problems during the peak 4pm to 8pm window.
First the adoption of Central European Time would delay the onset of evening in the peak period without increasing the morning peak. For safety we might need to revert to GMT in December and January. While that might slightly inconvenience people, given the numbers that travel abroad for weekends it wouldn’t be a big problem.
Secondly, during the peak period manufacturing businesses which are high energy users should move to a variable time basis with a third of them in any area closing at 3pm for one week in three and working an extra hour for the other two weeks.
Finally, shopping malls which do so well on weekends should close — again on a rolling basis — for one day per normal weekday during the peak demand period. Properly advertised this should not cause major problems.
Obviously we need more capacity, but the application of a bit of goodwill and common sense should get us through and, perish the thought, help keep bills down.
Colin Fuller
Bishop’s Cleeve, Glos
Sir, If we have rolling blackouts in the grid in the coming winters, where does the responsibility lie? Real engineers know that infrastructure projects take a decade to deliver. Our preoccupation with alternative energies that do not generate electricity for weeks on end in dark winters originates with the drafters of the Climate Change Bill, who should have taken heed of engineers. A lack of electricity on demand is characteristic of Third World countries, and our country has been betrayed that this should happen to us. We are contemplating sanctions for misbehaviour in the healthcare and banking sectors; why not in the energy policy sector?
Professor Michael J. Kelly
Prince Philip Professor of Technology, University of Cambridge
Sir, With British coal reserves that would last 1,000 years, it is time to stop importing ruinously expensive wind turbines that will never meet our electricity requirements and open up the mines. A new generation of carbon-capture coal-fired power stations would ensure that the lights do not go out in two years’ time.
Michael Cole
Laxfield, Suffolk
Sir, The forthcoming power crisis surely demonstrates that we cannot expect companies which are motivated by profit to necessarily act in the national interest. It is vital that our Government takes control of its own destiny. Some industries are so important that they need to be under state control. We must also ignore EU legislation which requires us to close down large power stations which, until we build replacement facilities, we can ill afford to lose.
Barry Richardson
Isham, Northants
Sir, It is timely to ask why Didcot A, a relatively modern and productive coal-fired power station, was recently closed down and now lies dead. Its CO2 output was insignificant in a world where countries from China to Germany are building many additional coal-fired stations, yet its output of electricity was of real significance to our national economy. Self-harm hardly makes sense as a national economic policy.
Bruce Coleman

If the UK secedes from the European Union, we shall have brought about the very result which for a century and a half, the UK sought to avoid
Sir, I do not doubt the patriotism of UKIP and the Tory MPs who hanker after its support. But were they to succeed in getting the United Kingdom to secede from the European Union, they would have brought about a result which, for the last 400 years, British foreign policy has sought to avoid: a Continent dominated by a single European power. Earlier on, that power was Spain and then France. After Germany’s unification in the 19th century until 1945 that power was Germany. Throughout that period fear of German domination of the Continent exercised the minds of British statesmen.
If the UK secedes from the European Union, we shall have brought about the very result which for a century and a half, the UK sought to avoid; and, in so doing, we would have done something very damaging to both this country and to our European neighbours. In saying this, I am not expressing an anti-German opinion: I recognise the huge efforts made by the Federal Republic of Germany since 1945 to be a model, good European, democratic State. I believe that in fact the German “establishment” would agree with me that UK secession from the EU would be most undesirable, in part precisely because it would remove an historically stable, democratic anchor that helps to ensure that Europe will not again fall into the hands of very unpleasant extremist parties, including “bad” Germans.
It is, at every level, of immense importance to the UK that the Continent, of which we are off-shore islands, should remain firmly anchored to decent, democratic principles. If we secede, we do not do a good turn to the “good” European Germans by absenting ourselves from the inner counsels of the EU.
Sir Jeremy Lever, QC
All Souls College, Oxford

Like it or not, the majority of workers live a hand-to-mouth existence whereby their wages are largely gone the day after pay day
Sir, It is hard to credit the Chancellor’s total lack of understanding when it comes to those who lose their jobs. His decision to stop the newly unemployed from signing on straightaway so that they should concentrate on getting another job simply beggars belief. Unless you are in the privileged position of having savings, then something, even the wretchedly small amount of Jobseeker’s Allowance, is better than nothing.
Like it or not, the majority of workers live a hand-to-mouth existence whereby their wages are largely gone the day after pay day. Mr Osborne’s initiative may play well to his more ignorant party members but will be a disaster for the working poor should the worst happen.
Andrew Harrison
Holmfirth, W Yorks

Shale gas development will complement rather than replace other gas supplies from continental Europe and liquefied natural gas
Sir, Reports of further shale gas deposits in the UK (June 27) are good news and it is highly likely that shale gas will play an important role in meeting the UK’s future energy requirements. However, we should be cautious of industry claims that the shale gas revolution in the UK will replicate that in the US.
To develop shale gas to the scale mentioned in the article would require thousands of gas wells to be drilled across the countryside. Leaving aside the visual impact, the heavy engineering equipment required would result in significant environmental damage. It seems implausible that shale gas development on this scale could occur in small and highly populated Britain, particularly given the community opposition to wind turbines.
Shale gas development will complement, rather than replace, other gas supplies from continental Europe, the North Sea and liquefied natural gas, and even small-scale development will require strong regulation and community engagement.
Scott Flavell PA
Consulting Group London SW1

A reader’s experience shows that you should always check the currency as well as the denomination to avoid tipping over-generously
Sir, Joe Joseph on the dilemmas of tipping (report, June 29) omitted the need to check the currency.
In Warsaw in 1972 with the Australian Olympic team, I handed an old man operating a barrel organ a handful of zloty — worth pence rather than pounds. He glanced at the gift, smiled hugely, and the barrel organ burst into newly energised action.
Later I found that I had actually given him a substantial number of US dollars, doing some damage to my pocket money for the day.
Murray Hedgcock
London SW14

Like it or not, the majority of workers live a hand-to-mouth existence whereby their wages are largely gone the day after pay day
Sir, It is hard to credit the Chancellor’s total lack of understanding when it comes to those who lose their jobs. His decision to stop the newly unemployed from signing on straightaway so that they should concentrate on getting another job simply beggars belief. Unless you are in the privileged position of having savings, then something, even the wretchedly small amount of Jobseeker’s Allowance, is better than nothing.
Like it or not, the majority of workers live a hand-to-mouth existence whereby their wages are largely gone the day after pay day. Mr Osborne’s initiative may play well to his more ignorant party members but will be a disaster for the working poor should the worst happen.
Andrew Harrison
Holmfirth, W Yorks

SIR – I was relieved to hear this week that the Government will be contributing to the cost of celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.
I had previously read that the culture minister, Ed Vaizey, had disapproved of the idea in case we upset the French!
Since over the last six centuries we have beaten all the other major European nations, it is not surprising that the education secretary, Michael Gove, is having difficulty setting a history syllabus for use in secondary schools if people like Ed Vaizey think we must not upset our neighbours with such “triumphalism”.
Is patriotism becoming a thing of the past?
Roy Crawford
Chislehurst, Kent
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SIR – You report that Michael Gove is proposing to remove eminent Victorian figures such as William Gladstone from the history curriculum of our schools (June 23).
I am currently re-reading Gladstone’s Midlothian speeches of 1879 in which he observes to the good burghers of Edinburgh that “we have, by the most wanton invasion of Afghanistan, broken that country into pieces, made it a miserable ruin, destroyed whatever there was in it of peace and order, caused it to be added to the anarchies of the Eastern world…under circumstances where the application of military power…is attended at every foot with enormous difficulties”.
In light of recent developments in the same country might I suggest that the education secretary reconsider his decision and make Mr Gladstone’s speeches compulsory reading for all our schoolchildren.
Stephen Palmer
London SW15

SIR – I find it difficult to believe that the letter (June 23) from the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change was really from Ed Davey. Was it a hoax? The generation of electricity by wind is totally reliant on expensive gas for back-up when the wind is not blowing at the right speed.
I am not sure who is paying less for their energy, as he claims, but it is not me. Mr Davey states the challenge is to keep the lights on and energy affordable while switching from dirty to clean energy. As far as I know, the only new electrical power sources built in the last few years have been wind turbines (which produce a trivial amount of energy), a few solar panels and gas turbines, which back the others up.
I do not regard gas as being clean. If nuclear were used, all the spent fuel would be relatively easily stored and a potential source of future energy. Follow France for cheap, reliable, less polluting and safer electricity: in a word, nuclear.
Clive Dray
Castle Grove, Berkshire
SIR – Ed Davey claims that today’s householders already pay £64 less for their gas and electricity bills as a result of the policies the Government is pursuing (Letters, June 23).
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Our past three quarters bills have increased 33 per cent, 25 cent and 60 cent respectively above the previous year.
What on earth is Mr Davey talking about?
Bob Stebbings
Chorleywood, Hertfordshire
SIR – Ed Davey says we pay £64 less for our gas and electricity, but then says that bills are rising due to rising global gas prices!
He really went to a “double Dutch” school of economics!
Bernard Greenberg
SIR – All attempts I have made at trying to enlighten the Department for Energy and Climate Change (and thereby help poor Mr Davey) have proved futile: the DECC is clearly staffed by the scientifically challenged.
Rev Philip Foster
Hemingford Abbots, Huntingdonshire
SIR – No matter how you look at it, the spread of wind farms in Britain is offensive, damaging and useless.
When you add to the mix the fact that China is commissioning one new coal-fired power station every week, the carbon benefits of the British Government’s policies have a minuscule effect on global CO2 emissions. Given this, British energy policy should primarily address the issue of energy security.
Fracking may provide a bridge to the future but is fraught with misinformation and scare-mongering. Some claim that the gases released in the process get into the water supply, but methane (the main gas recovered by fracking) is insoluble in water, and in any case water is delivered to homes after the water authorities have purified it. So reports of American householders suffering medical problems seem somewhat opportunistic.
If fracking can buy us some breathing space to introduce a clean energy supply industry, we should not look to wind or solar, which are intermittent, but invest in wave and tidal sources, both of which are reliably available around the shores of Britain.
John Cook
Stillingfleet, East Yorkshire
SIR – Wind and other forms of non-fossil fuel energy will help our balance of payments and keep us going when fossil fuels run out, but they will not prevent climate change.
They would only do that if they led to fossil fuels staying in the ground, but this will not happen. Consumption of fossil fuels would need to be falling now, but it has not even stabilised. It continues to increase, largely due to soaring demand from China and India.
How do we prevent global temperatures from reaching levels that will mean drought, famine, mass human migration and mass animal and plant extinctions?
The solution is to invest in a combination of technologies: carbon capture and storage, to prevent most emissions from power stations entering the atmosphere; carbon scrubbing to reduce existing carbon dioxide levels; and geoengineering to cool the planet artificially.
Richard Mountford
Hildenborough, Kent
SIR – Regarding Maitland Mackie’s letter (June 23); the wind and sun may not send out invoices, but owners of wind turbines certainly do and they are relatively large invoices for small amounts of electricity.
David Willis
SIR – I read in your report (June 23) that proposed ground-mounted solar power farms could cover as much as 75,000 acres of land. Apart from the technical limitations in connecting such power to the grid, it appears to be folly to use valuable farm land for such purposes. With the length of renewable contracts proposed, such land is effectively taken out of production for a generation.
We are already seeing prime agricultural land given over to such projects. At a time when debates rage about our ability to produce sufficient food, this should not even merit consideration.
By all means build solar farms if the connection problems can be overcome, but use the many acres of roofs on retail and distribution sheds around the country.
Ken Himsworth
Saxilby, Lincolnshire
SIR – The only way we can secure a small amount of wind-generated electrical power is to make our fossil-fuel-powered stations operate less efficiently; just as the only way we can give the Lib Dems a little power is to make the Tories govern less efficiently.
Lib Dems, like wind turbines, are just a very expensive folly.
Brian Christley
Abergele, Denbighshire
Our brightest children are future leaders
SIR – While one can appreciate Yugo Kovach’s view (Letters, June 23) that the less academic should get precedence for reasonable schooling, as they form a majority, I would suggest that the logical priority should be given to the needs of our country. We need to prioritise the quality of education for our brightest children, no matter what their social background.
This country needs more properly educated and motivated leaders in business, industry, innovation, the public sector (including health, education and the police) and politics to replace those who in my opinion are poorly motivated, poorly educated and incompetent.
Malcolm Tucker
Chippenham, Wiltshire
SIR – Regarding James Adam Paton’s letter (June 23), as far as my brother and I were concerned, we couldn’t have come from a more “humble” family, yet money had nothing to do with our education.
The grammar school system failed us very badly but we both got to university and ended up with two degrees each, one a first and another a doctorate. On the other hand, Mr Kovach was spot on. We did as he said and “looked after ourselves”.
It seems such a pity these days that the state has been given much of this role and teachers blamed for many children’s educational “failures”.
Brian Lawrence
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
SIR – In response to Yugo Kovach’s claim that the brightest children can look after themselves, it is a myth that if a child is “gifted”, he will do well no matter what educational environment he ends up in.
If there was a child with a particular talent for football, cricket or athletics and it was argued that that child did not require any sort of coaching in order to develop his talent, I suspect that there would be some sort of protest.
Peter Davey
Bournemouth, Dorset
SIR – If Margaret Thatcher thought that grammar schools (Letters, June 23), were needed for children from her background to compete with children from privileged homes, why did she not reinstate them during her 11 years in power?
Wendy Royce
Gotham, Nottinghamshire
Girl Guides’ oath
SIR – Regarding the Girl Guides’ decision to drop their religious oath (News Review, June 23), it seems to me that if Christians (or other faiths) no longer have the option to include God in their oath, this throws the baby out with the bathwater. Atheists are asking for God to be removed from a movement which was founded upon the Christian faith.
The equivalent would be for Christians to demand an oath to God as part of any oath taken upon joining an atheist movement – ridiculous, I know.
Whatever happened to equality and diversity? It works both ways.
Dr Paul Shaw
Leader, Fiery Dragons Explorer Scout Unit
Business farce
SIR – Outraged is a polite way of saying how I feel about the revelation of the doubling of claims for business-class flights taken by MPs during the last year (report, June 23).
In the future, I hope none of them has the cheek to comment adversely on the cost of travel for members of the Royal family.
P M Kennett
Bognor Regis, West Sussex
SIR – These “secret documents” that ministers are working on in business class cannot be that secret if the information is then circulated to shadow ministers.
And if they really are secret, should ministers be working on them while travelling on public transport anyway?
Ron Kirby
Dorchester, Dorset
Inadequate equipment on the battlefield
SIR – Christopher Booker (Opinion, June 23) mentions the recent Supreme Court decision to allow the Ministry of Defence to be sued because soldiers were put in harm’s way due to inadequate equipment.
Let us consider that in 1940 HMS Glowworm, a destroyer of 1,350 tons, engaged the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper, which displaced 14,500 tons. She rammed her opponent but was inevitably sunk. Would the Admiralty have been liable for the loss of life (118 out of 149) as clearly HMS Glowworm was unfit to engage her opponent?
No doubt the law has changed in the intervening 70 years but what has not changed is the need for leadership, courage and the acceptance of risk to life and limb on the battlefield.
Capt J G Ferrie RN (Retd)
Batheaston, Somerset
Stolen vocabulary
SIR – Regarding Peter Myers’ letter (June 23) on the omission of “chorred”, or stolen, from the glossary Hobson-Jobson: I served in the Indian army and can attest to two other gems of Hindi derivation: tandapani chowkidars for Coldstream Guards (literally “cold water’s guardians”) and chhotabodekho, for Little Bo Peep (“small bo look”).
John R Marr
Woodham, Surrey
SIR – “Chorring” is a Romani (Gypsy) word, meaning stealing, and is pretty well universal where Traveller children have gone to school, or settled.
“Chorrer”, a thief, is the same in Hindi (chora), confirming the Indian origin of the Romani people who set out from the sub-continent around 700 years ago and spread around the world.
Bill Kerswell
Picklescott, Shropshire
Strawberry smiles
SIR – It was delightful to see the picture of the fresh and healthy offering of English strawberries (report, June 23) accompanied by two fresh and healthy-looking Eastern European ladies. This brought a warming smile to my miserable summer face, which on turning the page to read “Tens of thousands fit for work left on benefit for a decade”, rapidly turned into a wry one.
Chris Dawson
Emneth, Norfolk

Irish Times:
Sir, – Arthur Henry (June 27th) is opposed to ending mortgage interest relief on tracker mortgages, “especially to ease the burden on banks, whose staggering incompetence got us into this mess in the first place”.
I wholeheartedly agree that the banks’ incompetence was a large part of the original problem. However, another major contributing factor was the government’s facilitation of the property bubble. Prices can effectively never become inflated beyond what buyers can pay, so all of the factors that enabled buyers to pay more for property are collectively to blame for the bubble. That includes lax lending standards, low interest rates and tax concessions.
To the best of my knowledge, mortgage interest relief on the primary place of residence is unique to Ireland. There is no objective reason why this concession should exist at all, as it means taxpayers are helping individual home buyers to pay their mortgages, or to put it another way, subsidising the purchase of privately-held assets.
The other point that Mr Henry seems to have missed is that “easing the burden on the banks” now means exactly the same thing as “easing the burden on taxpayers”. – Yours, etc,

Sir, – I am delighted that Dr Maurice Manning has opened a debate on academic freedom in Bahrain and on the roles and responsibilities of the NUI and its affiliate colleges abroad. I am further delighted that he, as chancellor of NUI, visited Bahrain to “see conditions at first hand” (Education, June 11th). There my delight ends.
Dr Manning’s comment that there “has been a normalisation of relations” in that country suggests he did not meet any of those who suffered and continue to suffer under one of the most brutally oppressive regimes on the planet; a regime which has inflicted most repugnant and deplorable physical and psychological wounds on the citizenry.
Did Chancellor Manning meet the detained and tortured RCSI alumni and staff? Did he meet any of the detained and tortured teachers in Bahrain or any of the detained and tortured lawyers or students or journalists? Did he meet the family of Dr Ali AlEkri, the Irish trained surgeon who remains incarcerated? What was Dr Manning’s function in Bahrain if not to satisfy himself that academic freedom had been restored to the satisfaction of NUI? And what exactly does the chancellor mean when he suggests that “If countries adopt [human rights] principles which others don’t adopt they may be at a competitive disadvantage”?
Dr Manning should know that NUI , as an organ of the state, and its affiliate colleges, including RCSI, are obliged under the European Convention on Human Rights Act, 2003, Section 3 (1) to “perform its functions in a manner compatible with the State’s obligations under the Convention provisions”.
RCSI’s silence during the months of torture of its alumni and staff in Bahrain have caused it significant international reputational damage. That reputational damage is contagious and NUI now need to clarify its position. I would recommend that all alumni carefully read the NUI’s Human Rights Principles and Code of Conduct, written in conjunction with RCSI and publicly voice their opinion as to its probity and practicality. – Yours, etc,

Sir, – Phil Hogan proposes to ask the people of Dublin whether or not they want a directly elected mayor (Home News, June 17th). Why are none of the inhabitants in the other cities asked whether or not they want directly-elected mayors?
Or better yet, why not ask the people living outside the cities if they would prefer to elect their chief executive rather than have the Dublin-based Department of Local Government appoint one for people living up to 200 kilometres away?
Is it that only the “enlightened” people living in the Pale can be trusted to elect their own regional leaders? – Yours, etc,

Sir, – Eamon Ryan’s support for the idea of a greenway running from east to west (On your bike, June 20th) and expansion of the network of greenways summarised the avalanche of opinion in favour of utilising long-abandoned rail lines as greenways. The Great Western Greenway is cited as a success, as if this idea is something new and marvellous. It’s not. We are merely playing catch-up with the rest of Europe.
In the northwest we had welcome news this week of funding to investigate a greenway on the old Sligo north Leitrim rail line which will run from Collooney Co Sligo into Co Leitrim and on to Co Cavan.
If this greenway is put in place, then surely we can realise the only good use for the Western Rail Corridor route from Collooney in Sligo down to Athenry in Co Galway is to convert it to a greenway that will connect with the Great Western Greenway and the east-west cross-country greenway?
Mayo County Council recently received hundreds of public submissions on the new county plan asking for this old railway to be converted to a greenway. Public opinion has changed. There simply isn’t the money nor the political will to re-open a railway from Athenry to Sligo; in particular when the train line opened from Ennis to Athenry is carrying an average of eight passengers a train.
Why can’t these facts now be faced. We simply don’t need a Western Rail Corridor. A greenway on this route will deliver thousands of tired hungry tourists for a fraction of a cost. Why can’t this nettle be grasped? – Yours, etc,

Sir, – Plans to remove history and geography from the New Junior Certificate demonstrates that this is a Government that does not know where it came from nor knows where it is going. – Yours, etc,

Irish Independent:
Madam – During the Easter of 2007 we had a wonderful sunny spell so I decided to treat myself to a day trip to the Beara peninsula to enjoy its wonderful scenery.

On the pier in Castletownbere I fell into conversation with the Irish skipper of a large trawler which was preparing to go to sea. Listening to the accents of the crew I asked if any of them were Irish.
He said no, that all of his Irish crew had left in the late Nineties to go building, where they would make much more money.
“But here’s an interesting thing,” he said. “They’re all phoning me since last Christmas (2006) looking for jobs back on the boats.”
Now if a fisherman on the quay in Castletownbere knew the score at Christmas 2006, how come it took the crowd in Dublin until September 2008 to realise the national house-of-cards was collapsing?
Conor O’Leary,
Clonakilty, Co Cork
Irish Independent

Madam – Reading John Waters’s article (Sunday Independent, June 23, 2013) would make anyone with progressive views sick to their stomach. It consists of attack after attack on women, with arguments that we are emotionally manipulative and selfish combined with the insult that suicidality during pregnancy is a theoretical idea. But it warrants a response because it exposes the reality that the pro-life position is inherently a suicidal woman having an abortion with a suicidal man murdering his partner. As one commentator has already mentioned, this comparison is not only disgusting, but makes no sense. The fact that he is happy to equate the life of a woman to a clump of cells is truly mind-blowing. Not to mention the fact that the man has the option of leaving his partner while the suicidal woman has no other option but to have a termination.
In the mind of John Waters, women have long since manipulated men in Ireland, claiming victim status so we can get to kill babies. In reality, women in Ireland have faced huge inequality and sexism throughout the 20th Century, compared to those in other European countries.
The exclusion of women from the workforce, lower wages, the ban on contraception, divorce, abortion and deficient public services (like childcare) have had a massive negative impact on women’s lives.
The notion that the risk of suicide during pregnancy is a theoretical idea is also disgusting. I really wish he could have said that to the 14-year-old at the centre of the X Case in 1992, who was pregnant from rape and felt that she would rather take her own life than give birth to the baby.
The anti-women sentiment of John Waters has exposed the true nature of the anti-abortion lobby. The argument is not about life, but about living women, and the need of the Catholic Church and the capitalist system to control us.
Thankfully, the vast majority of young people in Ireland support a woman’s right to choose and more than 80 per cent of the population support X Case legislation.
Unfortunately, the Catholic Church has come back from its grave with dusty old men, backed by US funding, attempting to stop legislation to save women’s lives. The legislation proposed by the Government does not come close to what is needed. The 14-year jail sentence for procuring or helping to procure an abortion is a reminder of the dark past and must be removed.
Luckily, young women and men are daily leaving behind this barbarism, whilst standing tall against those who wish to limit and control them.
Madeleine Johansson,
Dublin 8
Irish Independent

Madam – I am writing to complain about the use of the ‘F’ word in last Sunday’s paper. It is the first time in my life I have seen this filth in print – in a reputable paper like the Sunday Independent – and was shocked.
Also in this section
Fishermen first to know
An anti-women article
Praise be to Bertie
It is frankly offensive and not acceptable to your educated readers. Surely good journalism must lead by example.
We are already growing up with a delinquent society in this country, filthy language, crime, assaults, lawlessness on a daily basis in our cities and towns. with no respect for the law or authority. I won’t mention the pestering drunks and drug addicts on our streets in Dublin. What must our visitors think?
Yes, it appears the average Paddy or Irish citizen in this country cannot string a sentence together without using the filthy ‘F’ word. It is part of their vocabulary. Just listen to the Anglo-Irish tapes, for example. An absolute disgrace. Yes, and this coming from so called professional, educated bankers! It is shocking.
You would rarely hear the use of the filthy ‘F’ word in the UK, on the street or in conversation, and well brought up schoolchildrenMadam – I am writing to complain about the use of the ‘F’ word in last Sunday’s paper. It is the first time in my life I have seen this filth in print – in a reputable paper like the Sunday Independent – and was shocked.
It is frankly offensive and not acceptable to your educated readers. Surely good journalism must lead by example.
We are already growing up with a delinquent society in this country, filthy language, crime, assaults, lawlessness on a daily basis in our cities and towns. with no respect for the law or authority. I won’t mention the pestering drunks and drug addicts on our streets in Dublin. What must our visitors think?
Yes, it appears the average Paddy or Irish citizen in this country cannot string a sentence together without using the filthy ‘F’ word. It is part of their vocabulary. Just listen to the Anglo-Irish tapes, for example. An absolute disgrace. Yes, and this coming from so called professional, educated bankers! It is shocking.
You would rarely hear the use of the filthy ‘F’ word in the UK, on the street or in conversation, and well brought up schoolchildren would never use it in public. It is offensive and insulting.
But, sadly, in this country schoolchildren use this filth all the time in the course of conversation.
What is wrong with this country? Is there no respect for adults anymore?
I met a South African lady recently who used to visit her daughter living here and she too was shocked by the filthy language she heard everywhere in this country. Her daughter has relocated to Australia.
Please do not allow such filthy language to be used in your newspaper again.
S Nic Gearailt,
Madam – I find the cartoon under the heading of Soapbox in last week’s Sunday Independent grossly offensive and insulting.
It is a new low for your newspaper.
Pat Drury,
Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan
would never use it in public. It is offensive and insulting.
But, sadly, in this country schoolchildren use this filth all the time in the course of conversation.
What is wrong with this country? Is there no respect for adults anymore?
I met a South African lady recently who used to visit her daughter living here and she too was shocked by the filthy language she heard everywhere in this country. Her daughter has relocated to Australia.
Please do not allow such filthy language to be used in your newspaper again.
S Nic Gearailt,
Madam – I find the cartoon under the heading of Soapbox in last week’s Sunday Independent grossly offensive and insulting.
It is a new low for your newspaper.
Pat Drury,
Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan

Madam – Having read Nicky Larkin (Sunday Independent, June 23, 2013) and especially the closing comment in relation to the work of Linda and Brian Ervine, I could not help recalling President Obama’s address to the audience in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. The closing part of the article was: “I felt that maybe if people like Linda and Brian are allowed to be heard above the cacophony of shaven-headed, tattooed cartoon characters we see in the news, a new day might be just around the corner after all these years of blood and tears.”
Also in this section
Fishermen first to know
An anti-women article
Filthy language reflects society
There was also a picture of a mural with the words: ‘Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.’
Travelling through some of the towns and villages in Down and Armagh last Sunday and looking at the display of union flags and Ulster flags, it occurred to me how little has changed. These flags were not put up by the young morons with the shaved head but by the so-called elder brigade who continue to influence and encourage violence to somehow justify a connection to the United Kingdom.
I wonder what visitors or business people think when they journey through the North of Ireland, especially in the coming marching season. It’s not the drums that should be banged, but heads. We still have a long way to go.
William F Scott,
Clondalkin, Dublin 22
Madam – It was with some surprise that I read Stephen Donnelly’s article in support of retaining the Seanad (Sunday Independent, June 23, 2013). On top of giving us some hairy old analogy about life jackets and sinking boats in his support of the Seanad (how come Irish politicians always describe issues in terms of boats as either all rising or sinking, none apparently ever sailing?), he further gives us that spurious old mantra about the Seanad “bringing crucial expertise” to the business of scrutinising legislation. He names six of these so-called experts. What about the other 54? And what kind of experts does the deputy think suitable, a banker perhaps, or maybe a developer, maybe even an auctioneer (he/she could offer expertise in how to flog off State assets).
Another of his reasons for retaining a useless Seanad appears to be to have it act as a prop to an equally useless Dail! Which (to use an analogy, sorry) would be like two drunks, with their arms around each other for mutual support, trying to remain upright as they stumble down the road, probably in the wrong direction.
As for the five examples he offers up of countries with a bicameral system, three – Canada, Australia and Switzerland – are federal states, so there is an obvious reason why they would have a bicameral system, plus the entire electorate can participate in the elections to their upper houses whereas, in Ireland, over 95 per cent of the electorate is barred from participating in Seanad elections. As for the other two countries he describes as bicameral, the Netherlands elects its upper house in a similarly undemocratic way as we do. And I believe Norway’s is a unicameral system, not bicameral.
He describes some of what goes on in the Dail as Father Ted stuff, I wouldn’t disagree there. However, that’s hardly grounds either for retaining a Seanad that has no mandate from over 95 per cent of us, the Irish electorate, and where most of its members would rather be someplace else.
Patrick Pidgeon,
Blessington, Co Wicklow
Madam – Everything Brendan O’Connor states (Sunday Independent, June 23, 2013) is absolutely 100 per cent correct. People with intellectual disabilities have been treated, and will always be treated, as second-class citizens. They have no rights as such and as a nation we should be ashamed of ignoring these fundamental rights that they are entitled to.
Our motto for them is “Roll them out for the Special Olympics” and after that bid them “adieu”. Don’t worry, God has not forgotten them and they will get their reward in heaven.
Tim Horan,
Renmore, Galway
Madam –I was interested to read the two sides to the argument on the whip system last Sunday. As someone who once “lost the whip”, as a member of Dublin City Council, I understand fully the need for party discipline in ensuring the smooth running of our democracy and political structures. Those who advocate otherwise are usually commentators and not practitioners or in the case of the article against the whip last Sunday, a TD who has decided to be an Independent and not work through the party system.
I broke the whip – which to this day I do not regret – and took the consequences. This took the form of serving as an Independent member of the council for 18 months. During that time I was free to take any position I wanted on any issue – and did. It was also the case, however, that I could no longer automatically assume the support of my party colleagues on issues of key importance to me and my constituents. It was, in that respect, the most enjoyable, but least productive, time I have spent as an elected councillor.
The whip exists for all the reasons outlined by Leo Varadkar. It provides for stronger leadership and decision-making. It is a freely decided decision to seek a party nomination and accept the whip – after that if you join the game you obey the rules. And even after losing the whip, all is not lost. Ten years after doing so, I became leader of the group that I was once thrown out of. I am, of course, not encouraging any of my present colleagues to follow that lead.
Cllr Dermot Lacey,
Leader Labour Group,
Dublin City Council
Madam – Your columnist Shane Ross exhibits a capacity for the recycling of material that would gladden the heart of a member of the Green Party.
Take last Sunday’s piece on the chairperson of CIE, Vivienne Jupp. His unfounded attack was personalised. His attempted character assassination of Ms Jupp, crowned by the awarding of the title Quango Queen, a title he also bestowed on myself in 2011, may be Mr Ross’s evolving modus operandi, but it surely falls below the standard required of Ireland’s largest selling Sunday newspaper.
What I object to most is the snide, unsubstantiated, cynical form of attack that is not based on what one does, but on what one is: in this case, an unassuming but very professional and successful woman. I have served alongside Vivienne Jupp on a State board and I found her to be thorough in her review of all materials in advance of board meetings. She fully participated in the dialogue at the table and challenged the content presented by the management team in an independent manner. She was, without fail, an authoritative and informed voice at those meetings and I, for one, have no reason to doubt that she brings that same competency and integrity to the board of CIE.
Mary Davis
Sutton, Dublin 13
Madam – Having read Eoghan Harris’s paean for General Sean MacEoin and his humanity and compassion, I wonder did he ever hear of the late Private Adamson, 17, a Free State soldier shot dead by MacEoin. Private Adamson was on sentry duty at the gate of Custume Barracks, Athlone, and after nearly 24 hours’ duty, he nodded off.
General Sean MacEoin came on the scene and shot him dead. This was wilful murder, and under martial or military law, or whatever one likes to call it, General MacEoin got away with it. Mr Harris, the next time you pass Athlone, say a prayer at the gate of Custume Barracks, and if you don’t pray, spare a thought for the late Private Adamson.
Martin Aherne,
Loughrea, Co Galway
Eoghan Harris writes: Mr Ahern may be unknowingly recycling republican folklore as fact. Col Padraic O’Farrell, former CO of Mullingar Barracks, lists all the dead of the Civil War in his definitive book, Who’s Who in the Irish War of Independence and Civil War 1997. He lists no Private Adamson shot by any side. But he does list a Brigadier George P Adamson of the Free State Army shot by the Irregular IRA in Athlone on April 25, 1922, which date marks the start of the Civil War. To blame Gen McEoin for the shooting of a fellow Free State Officer, who was actually shot by their common enemy, is such a reversal of the facts as to merit the title of black propaganda.
Irish Independent


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