hot hot hot

7July 2013 hot hot hot

Off around the park listening to the Navy Lark, Troutbridge is fitted with a new navigation devide but Leslie manages to wreck it but it saves all their jobs Priceless.
Hoy weather we are book too tired to do anything Sharland pops round
We watch Laughter in Paradise its not bad, magic
No Scrabble we are just too tired.


Witold Glinski
Witold Glinski, who has died aged 86, claimed to have taken part in the so-called “Long Walk”, in which a group of prisoners was said to have escaped from a Second World War Siberian gulag and trekked 4,000 miles to freedom in British India.

Witold Glinski with his wife in 2009 Photo: JOHN DYSON
5:59PM BST 03 Jul 2013
Whether The Long Walk ever happened at all is disputed, not to mention Glinski’s participation. In 1955 a book of that name, written by a former Polish cavalry officer called Slawomir Rawicz, became an international bestseller; it later inspired Peter Weir’s 2010 film The Way Back. Rawicz, who died in 2004, claimed to have been one of the escapees, but in 2006 a BBC Radio Four documentary exposed Rawicz’s story as fiction.
Two key pieces of evidence, researched by the American writer Linda Willis, undermined the truth of Rawicz’s story. First, according to the Russian human rights organisation Memorial, there was an amnesty document showing that Rawicz had been freed in 1942 (he claimed to have made his escape in 1941); and secondly, Rawicz had written in his own hand that he had been freed and went to Persia, not India.
Despite this, in 2009 Witold Glinski, a Polish war veteran living in a bungalow in Cornwall, announced publicly that he was the last survivor of The Long Walk, telling John Dyson for an interview in Reader’s Digest how he had made the epic journey.
Glinski claimed that he and six other men — a mysterious American called “Smith”, a Ukrainian wanted for murder called Batko, a Yugoslav café owner and three Polish soldiers — had broken out of the gulag near Yakutsk in February 1941. They had traversed the frozen wastes of Siberia, struggled through the heat of the Gobi desert and passed over the Himalayas. The three Polish soldiers died en route, but the remaining four — after a journey lasting 11 months — arrived safely in India, to be met by Gurkhas with a jug of tea and a plate of cucumber sandwiches.
Glinski further described how they had lived off the land, fishing and trapping animals. “We walked in the dark, and sheltered from the sun under our ragged clothes propped on sticks,” he said. “Wolves and jackals would circle around us. For water, we sucked frost from stones in the early morning, then turned them over and found moisture below. We got so thirsty we even sipped our own perspiration, and some drank their urine.”
Glinski speculated that Rawicz had based The Long Walk on his (Glinski’s) account of the escape in official papers lodged in the Polish Embassy in London. But quite why Glinski waited some 60 years to tell his extraordinary story is a good question.
He claimed that he wanted to forget the war and concentrate on his new life. He also claimed that he had kept silent because he was afraid of one of his fellow escapees, Batko.
Glinski asserted that he had met the wanted murderer in England after the war; when Batko threatened him, Glinski reported him to the British police, who arrested the Ukrainian. As a result Glinski had been concerned that Batko would seek revenge. When The Long Walk was published, Glinski feared that Rawicz was Batko’s nom de plume.
His account was immediately questioned by a Polish-born resident in Britain, Leszek Gliniecki, who said that as a boy during the Second World War he had been exiled to Archangelsk province in northern Russia, where he attended a special school alongside Glinski until September 1941 — seven months after the supposed escape from the gulag. Gliniecki also identified other discrepancies in Glinski’s story; while BBC Radio’s Hugh Levinson, who researched the story of The Long Walk extensively, said in 2010: “Was it possible that Glinski was the real hero and that Rawicz had stolen his story? Perhaps. We could find no evidence to corroborate Glinski’s vivid account of his escape and trek.”
Witold Glinski was born in Poland on November 22 1926. His father owned a bus and taxi business, and Witold went to school locally before he and his family were arrested by the invading Russians. He later said that he had been sentenced to 25 years’ hard labour in Siberia.
To make his escape, he said he tunnelled under the wire surrounding the gulag at midnight during a blizzard, and found himself followed by six other would-be escapees. “The weather was too bad for patrols to operate, no animal or human would stick a nose out of the door, so this was our only chance,” he said. “Our immediate aim was to get out of Russia. The border was 1,600 miles away. I pointed south – ‘That way!’”
After reaching India, he was sent to South Africa and then to Britain, where he joined the Polish 1st Armoured Division, serving in Normandy after D-Day and later helping to relocate Polish troops who wanted to make a new life in North America.
Post-war, he had various jobs, as a farmworker, caretaker and road construction worker helping to build the M5 and M50 motorways.
Witold Glinski married, in 1949, Joyce Gartside, who survives him with their three sons.
Witold Glinski, born November 22 1926, died April 16 2013

That food is wasted in hospitals is undoubtedly true (“Hospitals are wasting 82,000 meals a day”) but not mainly for the reasons given.
Much waste is not to do with the quality of food but due to the varying degrees of patients’ illnesses – and thus appetite – and to do with the fact that food is chosen by the patient some time before it actually arrives.
In the hospital I know best, trolleys are not loaded up with similar sized portions and served regardless. Rather, there is a choice of main and pudding (three of each), the size of which can be requested by the patient and served within minutes.
Size of portion can be requested by the patient. Special diets are meticulously catered for. Protected meal times are aspired to but too often interrupted by staff who have other duties. Some hospitals have volunteer feeders who help and encourage those with flagging appetites and/or fractured limbs.
Patients who criticise hospital food most readily are usually those who are most ill and praise comes very frequently from others.
Why food should be completely free in hospitals remains a mystery. Would it be too much to suggest that those patients who indignantly complain most should ask their relatives to supply what they want? Or would that generate another unseemly row?
David J Handley
That so many hospital meals are being thrown away is symptomatic of the way the British regard food (disposable, cheap, carb-heavy, fast). It’s a practice readily adopted by hospitals, whose captive audiences are fed a poor quality diet of unimaginative, bland, heavy, cut-rate food; this is accepted as the norm not only by the majority of patients but also, disgracefully, by hospital staff, including doctors.
Recently, I talked to a student doctor who dismissed the idea of learning about appropriate, nutritious food intake for patients; it was, he said, “not our remit, not a necessary part of our training”. Surely it is way past time to introduce proper, healthy, energy-giving meals that transfer well from kitchen to ward and help patients recover more quickly.
Without doubt, doctors themselves need lessons in healthy food, which would then filter down to staff and patients. Throwing away far less is the really healthy way forward in this saga of waste and hospital malnutrition. And hospitals should employ proper cooks rather than outside caterers who simply cut corners and costs to their shareholders’ advantage. Quality over quantity is the way forward.
Carol Godsmark
West Sussex
I was interested to read in your article on wasted hospital meals that in Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust 29% of meals were left uneaten. Recently, I was a patient for more than two weeks in Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire hospital and I struggled to get enough to eat, despite ticking the “large” portion box. Is three Brussels sprouts really a large portion, or 17 peas? A large portion of minted potatoes containing just two small ones left me wondering how many a small portion would contain and, looking at other patients’ meals, it seems that whatever size of portion you requested you still received what looks like one ice-cream scoop of mashed potato.
When I mentioned that my wife was bringing me sandwiches to supplement my meagre meals, the ward sister contacted catering. My next meal was exactly the same size as before, but I received two bowls of rice pudding!
John Malcomson

I wonder if the kind of good scientific evidence Paul Nurse talks about (“Enough rhetoric. It’s evidence that should shape key public decisions”, Comment) ever has been or ever will be available before major decisions have to be taken? Normally, the downside could not have been predicted and only becomes apparent afterwards.
For instance, almost every drug that has had to be withdrawn because of serious side-effects had mountains of scientific evidence supporting its use before doctors were allowed to prescribe it.
Tiles fall off spacecraft, aircraft batteries overheat and burst into flames, pesticides affect the eggs of seabirds, nuclear power stations explode for one reason or another and tyres burst on racing cars, none of which would have happened if there had been good evidence of such dangers at the time decisions were made to introduce them.
What we really need is proper pilot projects before any technology is introduced widely and careful monitoring afterwards to pick up any unintended consequences. This would require a revolution in public policy because both of them are deeply unpopular with politicians. They don’t want to fight for resources to do the monitoring or to risk any such procedure proving that they were to blame if it goes wrong.
Dr Richard Turner
North Yorkshire
Don’t grow old on your own
The article “Will my ‘have-it-all’ generation really be so lucky in the end?” (Comment) raises the spectre of “a future when 4 million people could be facing loneliness”. I read this with a growing feeling that marriage and coupledom have to carry far too heavy a responsibility for people’s wellbeing into old age. Our forebears, on the whole, didn’t live long enough to test marriage to destruction after the kids were raised. Life is different as we live longer and reaching out to others is a necessary adjustment.
Having spent my weekend working with two would-be co-housing groups in London for people who are over 50, single, divorced and widowed, and who are working hard to form new collaborative relationships, I wonder why alternatives are not more widely recognised. Combining downsizing with outreach to new, friendly and supportive potential neighbours, co-housing communities offer one possible remedy to isolation in old age.
Maria Brenton
London SW6
It’s all in a good cause
Your article “‘Big society’ network given £1m grant despite failures” (News, last week) misled your readers by claiming that other organisations were not offered the opportunity to bid for the lottery good cause funding.
The Society Network Foundation was one of a number of organisations that approached the fund after a call for ideas was made in September 2012 to support the legacy of the Olympics. Four organisations with developed ideas were invited to submit applications, which were fully, independently and rigorously assessed. All four have now been funded subject to stringent conditions and monitoring.
The Big Lottery Fund has since made a further £8m available for organisations to apply for to help keep the spirit of 2012 alive for communities across the UK.
This funding has been awarded in advance of the launch of the £40m Spirit of 2012 Trust, part of the Big Lottery Fund’s investment to continue to inspire a generation and build on the legacy of the London Games.
We make 12,000 grants a year to good causes across the UK. In doing so, we take very seriously our duties to act responsibly with public money, to maintain our independent decision-making and to make a real difference to communities and the lives of people most in need.
Peter Ainsworth
Chair, Big Lottery Fund, London EC4
‘Health tourists’? How absurd
Jeremy Hunt has decided to go after “health tourists” to save £33m of taxpayers’ money (“Hunt tells GPs to crack down on the use of NHS by ‘health tourists'”, News).
I have been in medicine for more than 40 years, both in hospitals and as a GP. I have seen many rare and exotic diseases, but I have never seen a “health tourist”. Neither my former practice nor, as far as I know, any of the adjoining practices ever encountered a member of this exotic species.
To be fair to Mr Hunt, the previous government also banged on about “health tourists” stealing our money. However, the actions now being proposed have been in place for at least 10 years. Already, all GP practices have to ensure that anyone seeking to register for permanent or temporary care provides documentary evidence of their eligibility.
It does seem rather daft that a government that has spent more than £2bn rendering the NHS less efficient, more bureaucratic and less fair is making such a fuss about a species that may not exist, and even if it does, costs only £30m. And where does this figure come from?
Dr PG Estcourt
South Chailey, East Sussex
Wayne Madsen
Regarding the Observer’s correction of 5 July 2013 [see For the Record], in which you said it was wrong to connect [me with] the article “Revealed: Secret deals with Europeans…”, I wish to inform your readers that I provided your reporter, on his request after he contacted me, with the two documents on which the article was based.
Wayne Madsen


Trying to regulate the payday loans industry is to miss the point. It is the need that feeds these vultures that should be addressed, not the means by which they operate (Special report, 30 June).
Desperate people are not interested in the small print, and the brutal truth is that, without the help of relatives or friends, there is currently nowhere else to turn.
Low pay, lack of jobs, rising costs and the new threat of benefit restrictions produce a steady increase in the need for some sort of micro-finance alternative, that enables essentially decent people to survive with dignity and repay on reasonable terms.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s resolution to encourage credit unions is very welcome, but there is no time to waste, as the dramatic rise in the use of food banks demonstrates.
Sierra Hutton-Wilson
Evercreech, Somerset
Am I being naive to suggest that the Government could simply cap the rate of interest chargeable to a fixed and reasonable rate above bank rate (say 10 per cent)? This could be done tomorrow and then the much-vaunted “market forces” would sort out those companies that provide a useful short-term loan service from the blatant usurers who prey on the lower paid.
Patrick Cleary
Honiton, Devon
If the first responsibility of a prime minister is the defence of the realm, the first responsibility of an education secretary is the provision of sufficient school places. Gove is failing on that score. He should resign (“Revealed: the real shortage of school places”, 30 June).
Professor Colin Richards
Spark Bridge, Cumbria
In seeking to send his child to a voluntary aided school, perhaps Nicholas Barber might have considered the following (“I believe in education”, 30 June). He was depriving a child from a religious family of a place.
Religious denominations that are involved in voluntary aided schools pay a contribution. Voluntary aided schools exist by an Act of Parliament as a consequence of this country being a constitutional democracy.
Fr Ulick Loring
Twickenham, Middlesex
Charles Darwent misunderstands the ethos of Lowry’s painting (Critics, 30 June). Lowry was an original and his style was never derivative. The “flat-capped mob” may be always on the move but they knew where they were going; look at the chimneys belching smoke in The Football Match.
They were fired by a mob working hard to create the wealth on which the South of England was built. Lowry represented this with originality and candour. This is even more relevant today as the North tries to come to terms with the loss of industry and attempts to find a new role.
Peter Brookes
Wakefield, West Yorkshire
To claim that grandparents’ understanding of nutrition is deficient because of their age infantilises older people (“Grandma doesn’t always know best”, 30 June). If this prejudiced flannel was based on gender or race it would be actionable.
Michael Dempsey
London E1
Matthew Bell says I have hounded Professor Susan Greenfield over her claims that the internet is changing children’s brains, and that I claim she has no evidence (Interview, 30 June).
This is untrue. I make one simple criticism: when a professor of science makes a frightening scientific claim about a matter of potentially huge public health importance, they should ideally do so by presenting their theory in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. In this way, the claims can be stated clearly, without the ambiguity or apparent inconsistency that has been seen around Professor Greenfield’s claims. The evidence and arguments can then be subjected to rigorous scrutiny, by academics familiar with the field. This is the normal process of science.
Dr Ben goldacre
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Now that President Obama has been to Robben Island, will he be visiting Shaker Aamer in Guantanamo?
Sally Griffin
Brighton, East Sussex

Cut red tape to give UK business a fair chance
THE article by Eleanor Mills “She for one knows we need engineers” (News Review, last week) raised an issue that has blighted British business in its quest to maintain competitiveness.
As director-general of the CBI and then as minister of state for trade and investment, I came across many examples of red tape draining the entrepreneurial will out of small businesses in particular. One instance was the small fortune spent by a company in the West Midlands to ensure the water being put down the drain was of a quality compliant with EU regulations that rival businesses in other countries were ignoring.
There are, depressingly, hundreds — nay, thousands — of such cases. This is Asia’s century and we either tool up and get real, or stick our heads in the sand of box-ticking, egged on by single-issue pressure groups. Our ability to earn enough to fund schools and hospitals, now and in the future, depends on a sea change in how rules and regulations are implemented. Lord Digby Jones,Temple Grafton, Warwickshire
Joint venture
At last our profession is being recognised for the contribution we make. My eldest son, following in the tradition of his father — and grandfather, who designed and installed the lifts on the Queen Mary in the 1930s — is an engineer.
While working for Zimmer (which does not make walking frames but artificial joints and implants) my son had an idea that was patented and forms the basis of a new generation of such replacement joints.
The patent agent who wrote up his invention was paid six times what my son received. Indeed, far too many people still link engineers and engineering with mechanics, fitters and technicians.
Mike Blamey, Macclesfield, Cheshire
Material gain
David Payne’s experience is yet another example of the UK’s failure to support and exploit home-grown talent and innovation in technical fields. Sadly there are many more examples of this failure.
Take the case of graphene — a form of carbon — which was discovered in this country and earned its pioneers a Nobel prize. As of early 2013, Britain had 54 patents relating to the material whereas China and America had 2,204 and 1,754 respectively. South Korea had 1,160. The UK is determined to be an also-ran in the exploitation of graphene.
Derek Shaw, Cottingham, East Yorkshire
Investing in the future
Synthetic biology, a new and exciting field of engineering, is likely to have a significant impact on the UK economy. In a speech last November, George Osborne stated that the value of the global synthetic biology market is predicted to grow to £11bn by 2016.
This week we are hosting an international conference where 800 academic and industrial leaders in the field will discuss how synthetic biology can be applied to healthcare, energy, biological computers and new materials.
Professor Richard Kitney, Imperial College London
Country code
I disagree with Mills that planning permission should be granted for building on “grotty bits of green belt”. The government has removed most of the safeguards with its presumption in favour of development policy, and what is “grotty” to one person may be precious countryside to another.
We can be sure that the developers will find a considerable amount of green belt countryside “grotty”.
Joseph Hand, Old Malden, London

Perilous to allow contact with abusive fathers
THE assertion by Penelope Leach that she doesn’t “know of any circumstances in which children should be out of contact with either parent” is misguided (“Don’t wipe abusive fathers from their kids’ lives”, News, last week).
Leach’s idea of a child’s right to have contact with an abusive parent is dangerous. As experts working with those affected by domestic violence, we regularly see children who want no contact with abusive parents and cases where even cards or letters would extend the trauma of children and their mothers. Leach’s denial of this reality in favour of a vague “desperate need” for a father perpetuates myths that make it harder for women and children to escape from abusers.
Further, the family courts simply do not systematically “wipe” fathers from their children’s lives. In 2010 only 0.3% of applications for contact (most of which were made by fathers) were denied by the courts. Victims of domestic violence are struggling to get the legal aid they are entitled to. Large numbers of women who have extensive evidence of abuse struggle to meet the extraordinarily high burden of proof. As restrictions on legal aid are tightened, women and children are being left at serious risk in the courtroom and after proceedings.
Many who have experienced domestic violence want their child to have a relationship with the father, putting themselves at risk to facilitate that relationship, but in all cases the child’s safety must be our overriding concern.
Polly Neate, Women’s Aid,
Emma Scott, Rights of Women,
Anthony Wills, Standing Together Against Domestic Violence,
Ann Haigh, Nagalro Council,
Davina James-Hanman, AVA (Against Violence & Abuse)

Bovine TB ground rules
I LIVE in Wales in the middle of the high bovine TB area that has been selected to control the disease. Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a national disaster — poorly identified, poorly managed and with the control measures poorly directed (“Thousands of TB cows sold as food”, News, last week).
The disease in cattle sometimes has a prolonged incubation period, such that an infected cow can carry the disease through several cycles of testing or, unspotted by veterinary inspection, even pass to slaughter absolutely riddled with the disease.
It is well recognised that bTB can also infect rats, cats, bats, deer and dogs as well as the beleaguered badger, but nothing is known of bTB levels among farmers, their wives and children, cattlemen, market attendees, veterinary practitioners and feedstock advisers, or indeed how many farm animals are sampled and tested. Residual infection could reside in any of these groups.
For cattlemen going about their normal daily life, there is no requirement for on-site protective clothing. Work is in hand to improve the testing of cattle but it is apparent that a great deal of additional information is needed about the cattle-farming community, their pets and other livestock.
Dr Mike Snow, Crymych, Pembrokeshire

Legal services sector not suffering graduate glut

DESPITE the economic downturn the legal services sector is the third-largest source of employment in the City with one of the highest salary profiles, and the number of jobs has risen by 6.3% in the past 12 months (“Glut of graduates threatens hope of career in law”, News, June 23, and “Older law graduates out in cold”, Letters, last week). We are seeing more international law firms, particularly from America, enter the City marketplace, driving up employment opportunities and delivering more fee income.
Globally the legal services market is forecast to increase to $751bn (£499bn) in 2015, an annual average growth of 5%. The ratio of students sitting the legal practice course (LPC) exam for solicitors compared with available law firm training contracts in 2012 was less than 1.3 to 1, which doesn’t sound like a significant oversupply of graduates, and 89% of our LPC graduates in 2012 were in legal work just a few months after graduating.
Professor Nigel Savage, The University of Law

NHS’s foreign legions
In most countries it is taken for granted that non-residents should pay for healthcare (“Immigrants to be charged for visits to GP”, News, last week) so billing them for medical treatment is an excellent measure that enables Britain to catch up with the rest of the world. The amount of money that remains uncollected from non-residents using the NHS is likely to be much larger than the figures in your article.
Denis Harding, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
Health costs
Immigrants could fund medical treatment by insurance, credit card and loans from family, friends or financial institutions. This sounds a bit harsh, but we are not the world’s health service.
Nick Gooblar, By email
On song
My wife and I enjoyed AA Gill’s review of the Cardiff Singer of the World (Television, Culture, last week) so much we were cheering our agreement. It therefore seems churlish to correct him on one point: Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau is our national anthem sung on the final night, not Cwm Rhondda. See, we’ve got two great anthems.
Steve Jenkins, Cardiff
Boomer town
Your correspondent Richard Holloway (“Arrested development”, Letters, last week) made the point that if the parents of baby-boomers had been as vociferously opposed to change, then Milton Keynes might never have been built. Yes, it is rather a pity they weren’t.
Charles Garth, Ampthill, Bedfordshire

Corrections and clarifications
A comment article (“Deaths, incompetence, cover-ups: this was the NHS’s Hillsborough”, Comment, June 23) about the failings of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in investigating the Mid Staffordshire and Morecambe Bay NHS trusts stated that all the CQC senior management at the time had been replaced. Although the article did not mention him by name, we are happy to make it clear that John Lappin, director of finance at the CQC, had no involvement in CQC regulatory decisions and is leaving his position through retirement at the end of this month.
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)

Bérénice Bejo, actress, 37; Mahendra Singh Dhoni, cricketer, 32; Shelley Duvall, actress, 64; Jeremy Guscott, rugby player, 48; Tony Jacklin, golfer, 69; Bill Oddie, ornithologist, 72; Ringo Starr, drummer, 73; Erik Zabel, cyclist, 43

1307 death of Edward I; 1928 sliced bread first sold; 1930 death of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; 1954 Elvis Presley’s radio debut; 1985 Boris Becker is youngest man to win Wimbledon, at 17; 2005 bombers kill 52 and injure more than 700 in London

SIR – The Empire flying boat had a huge romantic appeal, and it is tempting to imagine similar aircraft flying in and out of the Thames Estuary without the need for elaborate infrastructure (Letters, July 2).
Sadly, there are practical reasons why flying boats are seldom used for passenger services except on specialised routes, such as those involving small islands.
A flexible service would require the use of amphibious aircraft able to operate from conventional runways as well as water, which adds to weight, complexity and operating costs. Most large amphibious aircraft are built for specialised applications such as fighting forest fires.
Having said that, at least one such aircraft, the Beriev Be-200, is available as a passenger variant. A business opportunity for someone, perhaps?
Roger Yates
Ludlow, Shropshire

Irish Times:

Sir, – The news that the Government has received a request by the US government to arrest Edward Snowden, the fugitive intelligence analyst, if he transits through Shannon on his way to Cuba, should not give the man many sleepless nights (Front page, July 5th).
For the past 10 years there has been compelling evidence that many planes, mainly military transports, have stopped at Shannon for refuelling while holding passengers for rendition and the Garda Síochána has done nothing about it. I suppose the US ambassador could follow the advice of the former taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and present himself at Shannon Garda station when a suspect plane arrives and demand that they search it. – Yours, etc,
Naas, Co Kildare.
Sir, – Does Mr Snowden have a grandparent who was born in Ireland? – Yours, etc,
Shandon Crescent,
Dublin 7.
Sir, – Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Reprehensible though the muscle flexing of the United States may be in its attempts to get its hands on Edward Snowden, we might well contemplate what the world might have been like had Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union ever achieved a comparable degree of omnipotence. – Yours, etc,
Kilcolman Court,
Co Dublin.
Sir, – Niall Ginty’s assessment (July 4th) is that we should be thankful that our democratically elected European leaders (and, perhaps, more opaque but nonetheless democratically approved European institutions) with “autocratic ambitions” have an eye kept on them by the United States, our benevolent global policeman.
Contrast that assessment with David Fitzgerald’s critique of the behaviour of “sovereign states” (also July 4th) and, given that as Europeans we have no input into the American democratic process, Mr Ginty’s policeman begins look a lot like a “benevolent” global autocrat. – Yours, etc,
Dalcassian Downs,
Dublin 11.
Sir, – Earlier this week, the plane carrying Venezuelan president Evo Morales was apparently refused permission to over-fly certain European countries, and was diverted to Austria, allegedly in case it had US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden on board.
Surely all President Morales needed to say was that his plane was engaged in “extraordinary rendition”? He would then have had a clear passage through European airspace, and would certainly have escaped any possibility of his aircraft being searched. – Yours, etc,
Co Cork.
A chara, – The arrest warrant for Edward Snowden US authorities handed our Government, on the off-chance his plane stops at Shannon, presents it with quite a dilemma. If it ignores it, who knows what action the US might take? Why it might even refuse to allow their “first family” to drop by on vacation ever again. But if they serve it, then they must deal with Mr Snowden’s asylum request. Which, of course, by current standards should take at least five years to process. Any less, and it will be accused of giving him special treatment just because he’s a US citizen.
All in all, I rather hope he does land at Shannon. – Is mise,
Sir, – The Corporate Relations Director of Diageo Ireland is puzzled that pints of Guinness could be associated with Ireland’s boozy image (July 5th).
Has he ever been in a pub?
He further maintains that champagne would not be similarly stigmatised – omitting to mention that the French government prohibits alcohol sponsorship of sport. – Yours, etc,

Sir, – I wish to respond to the claim by the Marine Institute that the effect of sea lice on migrating salmon smolts is negligible (Home News, July 3rd).
This study looked at the returns of hundreds of thousands of salmon smolts over a period of years and from a number of locations in Ireland. Half were treated against the effects of sea lice and the other half not treated. All were tagged so that comparisons could be made.
The result was that 5 per cent of the treated smolts returned as mature adult salmon whereas 4 per cent of the untreated smolts returned as mature adults. The study concluded that this represented a 1 per cent effect by sea lice and was therefore negligible.
Let’s apply this in practice. The Corrib river needs approximately 7,500 mature salmon to maintain conservation levels. If we could treat all of the migrating smolts against sea lice, we would need 150,000 smolts to migrate and 5 per cent to return as mature adults. However, since this is impossible for all sorts of reasons, we would need 187,500 smolts to migrate so that 4 per cent would return and maintain minimum stocks. Finding an extra 37,500 healthy smolts to offset the effects of sea lice is not a negligible outcome.
The study by the Marine Institute to exonerate sea lice from harming migrating salmon should not give comfort to Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney in the question of super salmon farms in Galway Bay.
The Marine Institute also concludes that the apparent recovery of salmon stocks in some rivers proves that sea lice are not a problem! Surely the recovery would be greater if the stocks were only dealing with background levels of sea lice? – Yours, etc,

Sir, – DNA is retained not only unto (Eric Conway, June 3rd) but after death, as most cadavers can silently testify.
A case of fides contra rationem? – Yours, etc,
Glendale Park, Dublin 12.
Sir, – As a member of a family that has been actively involved with the Fine Gael party from its origins, I never thought I would see the day that people would be expelled from the party for being pro-life. It is bitterly disappointing that this has now come to pass.
This would truly be a fortunate country if all of our legislators had the courage and principles of the four honourable Fine Gael TDs who voted against the government’s abortion legislation. I sincerely hope that many of their colleagues will stand up for Fine Gael values and join them at report stage. – Yours, etc,

Sir, – In “A rural scene that’s dead and gone” accompanying a 1983 photograph of a manual turf-cutter, Arminta Wallace summarises the current impasse on boglands as: “The thing is, it’s not wrong to cut all bogs: just protected bogs. It’s also wrong to stop people from cutting bogs they’ve cut for generations, without appropriate consultation or compensation” (Magazine, June 29th). She’s right, but both machine-cutting of turf and bog conservation measures go back more than a generation.
Some 35 years ago, a bog purchased by An Taisce at Ahascragh for conservation was damaged by adjacent development, and Bord na Móna agreed to substitute another prime site, Mongan Bog near Clonmacnoise, for conservation. In 1982 a packed public meeting chaired by Prof Frank Mitchell led to the formation of the Irish Peatland Conservation Council. Around the same time Bord na Móna offered a number of bogs owned by it to the nation for conservation.
The environmental protection measures concerning bogs in the Single European Act were explained at a 1986 conference in Tullamore, not yesterday. Very few bogs are now in good condition, but since there is twice as much peatland in Ireland as there are forests, provision of alternative sites for cutting should not be a problem. Last Saturday’s day of action, in which “volunteers” machine-dug turf on protected’ bogs, will have inflicted permanent damage to a lot of sites.
So why has this situation been allowed to fester for more than a generation, and provide an opening for political opportunism? – Yours, etc,

Sir, – Inexcusable lapses in taste in the print media are nothing new and there seems to be a rush to the lowest common denominator in crudity, vulgarity and coarseness where some journalists are concerned. A pity that The Irish Times is not an exception as Gerry Thornley’s article (Sports Thursday, July 4th), proves: “Ballsy call to drop O’Driscoll just doesn’t sit right”, with “ballsy selection” further into the article.
Yes, we all know what’s meant and indeed such language may well be part of much of everyday discourse in Ireland. But are journalists so bereft of a descriptive vocabulary that they have to resort to a vulgarity commonly associated with male genitalia?
Imagine what the reaction would be were they to use a vulgarity associated with female genitalia in an article. Recent correspondence in your paper has centred on adjectives that should be dropped. Among other terms of vulgarity, I suggest the above is one that we could gladly do without when we open our paper. This has nothing to do with political correctness as I am a constant critic of where much of that has got us. On the other hand, maybe I’m just old? – Yours, etc,

Irish Independent:

* IT was deeply demoralising to hear government ministers expressing displeasure at the leaking of the Anglo Tapes, and their intention to go after the person who passed on their explosive contents to your paper.
Also in this section
All brawn and no Brian a crass decision
Gatland’s lack of vision is a great shame
Cowen helpless to stop impending disaster
One recalls Jack Nicholson’s disdainful courtroom dismissal in the film ‘A Few Good Men’: “The truth? You can’t handle the truth.”
We are not respected enough to be trusted with the dark secrets that lay behind our downfall, yet we have been made to pay for the consequences.
This is the lesson of the past few years, and it belies a contemptuous and utterly dismissive attitude to the ordinary people of this country who got burned by the vainglorious bankers, even as the bondholders sailed away into the sunset for drinks.
There is a precedent for shooting the messenger: one recalls the prosecution of a journalist for lifting the lid on the Beef Tribunal, another dark stain on our public “conscience”.
Might I remind our leaders that “integrity is telling myself the truth, and honesty is telling the truth to other people”.
Now is the time to show some true courage and character. Give us the full facts on the financial disaster, however tawdry and shameful.
The Anglo Tapes needed to be aired to release the first noxious vapours of the greed that ruined our country. We are living the truism that if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.
Call off this witch-hunt now and let the authorities go after the real culprits.
TG Gavin
Dalkey, Co Dublin
* Is it not concerning that, in so-called times of transparency, we have the governments in America and Ireland concentrating all their efforts on capturing whistle-blowers who have highlighted the truth of what has been going on behind the scenes instead of dealing with the issues involved head on?
While they may say “Is feidir linn”, we now know it is just all Blarney.
Nick Crawford
Newcastle, Co Wicklow
* Lucinda Creighton is fast becoming a Thomas More for our time.
Rather than bend her convictions and principles to suit what are essentially her best political interests and those of others, she seems to be standing firm, trying instead to bend her politics to suit her convictions and principles – something all politicians should do as a matter of basic conscientiousness. And all this in the face of the extreme pressure being exerted on her to simply “go with the flow”.
Lucinda should know that, after this abortion legislation has passed – which it will, even with a free vote for the members of the main government party – she will be able to hold her head high, having not sold herself out for some cheap political points.
Killian Foley-Walsh
* The speed with which the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill is being propelled through the Dail is in sharp contrast to the snail’s pace at which legislation normally proceeds through the Oireachtas.
The Legal Services Regulation Bill was introduced by Justice Minister Alan Shatter in October 2011.
It reached committee stage on March 21, 2012, wherein it languishes.
No such fate, however, for a bill that may condemn countless unborn infants to death. Why such unholy haste to condemn voiceless innocents?
A Kehoe
Castleknock, Dublin
* UK statistics for 2011 inform us that there were 189,931 abortions in England and Wales, of which 185,973 (96.44pc) had the cited reason “Risk to maternal or mental health” Ground ‘C’.
Given that Ground ‘A’ cited “Risk to maternal life” and Ground ‘B’ is “Grave maternal risk”, the conclusion is that the cited reason for the 96.44pc of abortions is the mental health ‘handle’.
The Irish proposal, according to the UK experience, is frightening.
TW Kilgarriff
* In reference to the letter from Manus O’Toole (Irish Independent, July 4), maybe the magpies and squirrels would prefer it if you were culled as your leafy Herbert Park was theirs before you and the rest of the humans arrived.
Manus, go eat your sandwich somewhere else – swiftly.
R Boyle
Dublin 4
* The Egyptian army has overthrown a leader elected in a democratic vote, but who then clamped down on the democratic process and ignored election promises. Now I finally understand why our Government has closed so many garda and army barracks.
Conan Doyle
* Does the Egyptian army do nixers?
Robert Sullivan
Bantry, Co Cork
* In his article, ‘History will ask how we could be so docile in face of such betrayal’ (Irish Independent, July 1), Prof Diarmaid Ferriter wonders how the Irish, faced with the contemptible actions of bankers and the related loss of sovereignty, could be so docile and compliant, in contrast to mass protests in other countries.
Many Irish people are too embarrassed and ashamed of their own decisions during the boom to contemplate protest. Very many borrowed too much money, either to build or buy oversized dwellings, or to buy investment properties. A significant number voted Fianna Fail again and again, despite the party’s very obvious record of corruption.
It is hard for the average Irish person to condemn bankers for lending too much when that person was often content to borrow too much, and for the same person to condemn Fianna Fail for being corrupt when it was long known that they were little else, while voting for them anyway.
Thomas Ryan
Thurles, Co Tipperary
* Diarmaid Ferriter notes that the ‘New York Times’ once declared that the “light hand” of corporate regulation made Dublin “the Wild West of European finance”.
The Wild West not only has a whiff of sulphur about it, but also of freedom and fantasy. I feel we need a more apt metaphor.
Wikipedia describes a halting site as “. . . a facility for the accommodation of nomadic groups. They are maintained by local authorities, and include spaces to park vehicles. Halting sites are often controversial due to opposition from local residents and a belief that such settlements will harbour anti-social activity such as inter-clan violence, illegal dumping and general crime”.
Given that the masterplan of Irish governments has been to attract and seek to accommodate nomadic companies, which are then maintained by the local authorities and given plenty of space to park their (special-purpose) vehicles, and given that such settlements have been shown to engender anti-social activity and inter-clan disagreements with our European partners, would it also be fair to say that Ireland is “the halting site of the corporate world”?
Rob Sadlier
Rathfarnham, Dublin


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