Still hot hot hot

8 July 2013 Still hot hot hot

Off around the park listening to the Navy Lark, Troutbridge is to test a new navigation device, again. Will Lelsie be able to work it?. Priceless.
Hot hot hot all day too hot to garden or almost even read, Mary waters the flowers
We watch Belles of St Trinians its not bad, magic
Scrabble Mary wins but gets under 400 I might get my revenge tomorrow.

Obituary:

Deric Longden
Deric Longden, who has died aged 76, wrote books that brought a gentle and life-enhancing humour to the problems of living with disability.

Deric Longden 
7:24PM BST 04 Jul 2013
His first book, Diana’s Story (1989), was a moving account of his life with his first wife, whom he had married in 1957 and who later developed a mysterious illness which was eventually diagnosed as a virulent and painful form of ME. Longden cared for her devotedly for 15 years until her death in 1985.
His book became an immediate bestseller and was later adapted into a BBC drama, Wide-Eyed And Legless (1994). Longden co-wrote the screenplay with Jack Rosenthal, while Julie Walters played Diana and Jim Broadbent took the part of Longden himself.
Diana’s Story was followed by Lost for Words (1991), describing life with his elderly mother as she gradually lost her memory. This too was successfully adapted for the small screen by Longden, with Pete Postlethwaite as the dutiful son to Thora Hird’s portrayal of the eccentric and courageous Annie Longden.
Longden once observed: “I really feel the best humour comes out of despair.” Lost For Words opens with Deric asking: “Do you want to be buried Mum, or shall we have you cremated?” Annie Longden: “Oh, I don’t know, luv. Surprise me.” In another scene, Thora Hird is in hospital when a woman winces with pain as she is pushed past in a wheelchair. “Renal colic,” she says to Thora by way of explanation. “Annie Longden,” replies Thora. “Pleased to meet you.” Thora Hird then whispers to Postlethwaite: “She must be French with a name like that.”
Lost For Words, screened in January 1999, won the Emmy for best foreign drama and a Bafta for Thora Hird as best actress.
Longden was inspired to write his first books by the historical novelist Aileen Armitage, a divorcee with four children who became his second wife in 1990. They had first met in 1984 at a writers’ conference, and he did not realise she was blind (she had lost her sight in the 1960s) until she stubbed out her cigarette in a sugar bowl.
At the conference they discussed writing a television script together about disability, with Diana at the heart of the story. Aileen and Diana became devoted friends, notwithstanding the evident attraction Longden and Aileen felt for one another; indeed, Diana hoped that they would marry after her death.
Deric Longden was born at Chesterfield on November 29 1936. His father died when his son was in infancy, and Deric was brought up by his mother, Annie. Having failed the 11-plus and his O-levels, he worked as a clerk in a colliery at Bolsover.
Thinking he could compete with Janet Reger, Longden then ran a small women’s lingerie factory at Matlock, Derbyshire. In 1974 he decided to enter a BBC Radio Derby 500-word short story competition, under the name “Biro”. He won, and the following year entered under the nom de plume “Papermate”, winning again. When the next year he went for the hat-trick, the producer telephoned him and asked: “Are you by chance ‘Parker 51’?” Longden agreed that he was, and was offered a job. He broadcast on BBC Radio Derby, and also supplied jokes for Les Dawson and the Two Ronnies.
Diana’s progressive illness eventually forced him to sell the lingerie factory, in 1984, and thereafter he concentrated on his writing and broadcasting career. He wrote regularly for programmes such as Does He Take Sugar? (which addressed the issues surrounding disability) and Woman’s Hour.
Following the success of Diana’s Story and Lost for Words, Longden published a series of books describing his life with Aileen Armitage and their cats, among them The Cat Who Came in from the Cold; I’m a Stranger Here Myself; Enough to Make a Cat Laugh; and Paws in the Proceedings.
Deric Longden, who had been suffering from cancer, is survived by Aileen Armitage, by a daughter and son of his marriage to Diana, and by four stepchildren.
Deric Longden, born November 29 1936, died June 23 2013

Guardian:

David Hookes (Letters, 2 July) argues that roughly 5% leakage would make methane leaking from fracking wells into a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide from coal burning. Is it possible to maintain leakage very much below 5%? A suitable target would be 0.5%. The proponents of fracking argue from existing technology that a company that leaked 5% of its methane would be in court. Although gas wells under the North Sea are not leak-free, leak detection of methane bubbling up from a high-volume underwater well is far easier than from an array of distributed fracking wells on land. The problem with fracking is that the production from any one borehole is much smaller than from a conventional North Sea well. However, there will be vast numbers of boreholes, only some of which will be commercially productive, but all with potential to leak. And leakage will matter whether during or after production, indeed for many decades into the future.
Dr Peter Harbour
Abingdon, Oxfordshire
• David Cameron cuts the ribbon on the biggest windfarm in the world (Report, 5 July) while his chancellor gives tax breaks to the fossil fuel companies preparing to extract Britain’s shale gas. Any carbon saved by our new windfarm will be exported elsewhere and burnt anyway. The fossil fuel corporations have no plans to limit their production, and their known reserves are enough to fry the Earth five times over. Unless we manage to force the corporations to curtail production and leave 80% of their reserves in the ground, nothing will save us from disaster.
Ewa Barker
Manchester

While Mohamed ElBaradei’s nomination as prime minister of Egypt is currently uncertain, he has often been referred to as the “logical choice”. Back in January 2012, ElBaradei, reflecting on his decision not to run for presidential elections, stated: “My conscience will not allow me to nominate myself to the presidency or any formal position without the presence of a real democratic framework that uses the essence of democracy, not just its image.” At the time, however, it was widely acknowledged that an increasing lack of popular support was the real reason behind this sophism. A few months later, ElBaradei boycotted the first parliamentary elections, declaring: “I will not be part of an act of deception.” Other opportunities to engage in dialogue during Mohamed Morsi’s tenure as president were shunned by ElBaradei.
While undoubtedly a skilled diplomat and a respected politician, his failure to place democratic interests before individual ambitions, his intransigence vis-à-vis nascent, democratic processes, and current outright Islamist opposition to his candidacy (compounded by his support for a nationwide crackdown on senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders) – at a time when efforts must be focused on bringing Islamists back into the political spectrum – would render ElBaradei the most illogical choice. In the interest of national reconciliation at this critical juncture in Egypt’s history, ElBaradei would be wise to step aside.
Sander van Niekerk
The Hague, the Netherlands
• Democratic majority rule becomes profoundly undemocratic when priests and their puppet political leaders are able to control the way their religious adherents vote. Northern Ireland’s democracy had to be suspended and replaced by direct rule from London enforced by the army on the streets. Unionists had previously governed for decades in the interests of the Protestant religious community. Democracy could only be restored by changing the constitution to replace majority rule by power-sharing. The same principles apply in Egypt. A new secular constitution is needed that forbids the imposition of religiously motivated laws, followed by free elections in which the Muslim Brotherhood, like all other parties, should be allowed to participate so long as they respect the constitution.
Roger Titcombe
Ulverston, Cumbria
• Jonathan Freedland (The failure of this experiment poses a danger beyond Egypt, 6 July) appears to believe that support for the Egyptian “non-coup” implies an anti-Muslim bias. This ignores the fact that there are other “democratic” countries beside Egypt and Turkey where religious coups have occurred and continue: Ireland and Malta in the EU, and other predominantly Roman Catholic countries. It isn’t Islam and democracy which are incompatible – it’s religion and democracy. If God is in charge of government, clearly the opposition is blasphemous.
David Lewin
Oxford
• Simon Jenkins (Comment, 4 July) refers to those demonstrating in Egypt in recent days as a “mob” in a turn of phrase first popularised by Edmund Burke. I prefer the term used by the greatest historian of revolts, George Rudé, namely, the “crowd”. The crowd has achieved much in history, and the last few days in Cairo and elsewhere suggest that it is still doing so.
Dr Keith Flett
London Socialist Historians Group
• There is a lesson for us to take from Egypt about the nature of consent. Morsi could have made it work by avoiding partisan policies. Many of us lived through and admired the postwar consensus period of British politics, and were rudely shocked by Thatcher’s arrogation of the right to drive through radical policies on less than a majority of the national vote. But other civil society checks and balances stopped her from going too far in the end. Now, as our society becomes more atomised, these checks and balances are losing their force. We need a debate about this before the old jibe of “elective dictatorship” becomes a reality, and prime ministers start to think that if they win an election they can push through any madcap idea that comes into their minds.
Mark O’Sullivan
Bath

As a seasoned political reporter, Nicholas Watt should know that last Friday’s Commons vote on the holding of an EU referendum was far from unanimous (Unanimous backing for referendum on EU as most Labour MPs abstain, 6 July). A unanimous vote would mean all MPs present voting in favour. They did not. Friday’s motion was passed nem con. I haven’t been a minutes secretary for nothing.
Tim Ottevanger
Lutterworth, Leicestershire
• Dale Irby is remarkable for his maintenance of identical clothing and almost identical appearance over 40 years (Eyewitness: Texas, 4 July). He has kept the same exact hairstyle and moustache for 40 years. However, I count eight or nine pairs of different glasses on Irby’s nose. I have had two pairs since about 1972 and the current pair perched on my nose have been there since 1980.
Nicholas Gough
Swindon, Wiltshire
• Can we have a spoiler alert with Simon Hoggart’s column (Durrell and Corfu – fact or fiction, 6 July)? Thanks to him, a little bit of my childhood has died as well.
Ingrid marsh
Newton Abbot, Devon
• Most letters leave me groaning, but the one about the Origami Society folding creased me up (Letters, 5 July).
David Barker
Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire
• Has anyone else noticed the number of landmark votes and rulings around at the moment (Letters, 6 July)?
John Preston
Birmingham

Citizens Advice bureaux across the UK are preparing to help implement the new universal credit when it is introduced in October. We will be on hand, ready to help people to make the transition and ensure the new system has a positive impact on their lives. Our report, published in the Guardian today, shows nine out of 10 people set to receive universal credit say they will need help to move on to it. Universal credit has the potential to transform lives, but many of our clients will need help dealing with the changes. It is not only the most vulnerable who will need support, but a wide cross-section of our clients. We ask ministers to confirm what the new support structure will look like and how recipients of the new benefit will get the help they need.
Emma Cook Birmingham CAB, Tony Molloy North Dorset CAB, Jackie Blackwell Ynys Môn CAB

Independent:
Mark Steel’s column “You’re not unemployed – you lack self-reliance” (5 July) is a masterclass in misinformation and sanctimonious fury.
If I’d read Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, he says, I’d scream: “Why are some idiots giving the unemployed a box of fruit. That’s only teaching them to be reliant.”
Perhaps if Steel spent a day in my Rochdale constituency seeing what we do, he wouldn’t be making wisecracks.
We work with some of the most desperate people. Fighting terrible Atos rulings, helping reinstate people’s benefits after they’ve wrongly been suspended, getting payday-loan companies to stop taking money out of people’s accounts after debts have long been paid, and housing people who are destitute.
At least once a month I sit with someone who breaks down in tears.
Many politicians are grappling with these problems and staring hard into the face of destitution and desperation. That I recognise that state support can’t always solve everything and politicians have a responsibility to promote hard work makes the futile leftists that Clem Attlee warned about positively apoplectic.
They need to realise that the Labour Party of social security is also the party of social empowerment. We shouldn’t just battle the bosses for better rights but also encourage people to become their own boss. I don’t believe in patronising poor people and I’ve no truck with champagne socialists who salve their conscience by leaving people trapped on benefits.
Most people don’t want to be on benefits. They want to be free from the state and they need confidence and encouragement. Self-reliance. “To find yourself, think for yourself,” said Socrates,
Steel wondered if I’d read Steinbeck. I have, thanks. But has he read Tom Wolfe’s The New Journalism? Wolfe’s target is the literary gentlemen with a seat in the grandstand. Essayists, he said, should come down from the grandstand and listen to people.
When Steel descends from his lofty perch, what he hears might shake his world of militant dogma. People want opportunity not facile opposition. The stakes have never been higher for politicians, and the challenges are huge.
It’s time for Steel to stop grandstanding and get real.
Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale
 
Yes, you can judge a child  by their name
In the wake of Katie Hopkins being branded an “insufferable snob” for her attitude on children’s names, I would like to say that I have been a secondary school teacher for over 20 years and there is no doubt in my mind that there are certain names that are associated with challenging behaviour and attitudes. 
If I see a Kial/Kyle on the register, I know he is likely (not definitely) to be a child who presents a less-than-positive attitude.
Is this prejudice? No. Because of the two dozen boys named Kial/Kyle whom I have taught, only one presented anything approaching a positive, cooperative mindset; the vast majority were difficult and often overtly insolent and calculatedly disruptive.
Other warning signs are common names that do not have the traditional spelling or children named after what I can only assume to be the place where they were conceived.
Of course, children are predominantly a product of the environment in which they are raised, It is not a self-fulfilling prophecy that a child with a certain name turns out to be difficult; their behaviour is merely a manifestation of the values they have absorbed  from parents who gave them  that name.
Having said all that, I was touched recently when a particularly difficult Kyle, now grown up and working in a supermarket, ran up to me when I went to shop there and made a sincere apology for his attitude and behaviour, saying that he now regrets it and realises that I was a good teacher just trying to do my job.
In teaching, the rewards are not always immediate.
Name and address supplied
 
Kids are hi-tech  – get over it
Those who complain about people using portable phones in their presence do not appreciate our ability and desire to fill our lives interestingly.
If my grandchildren, while visiting and photographing me for their future autobiographies, did not text their friends, watch TV, read a recently downloaded ebook, listen to music on headphones, have a meal and plan their next activity, I should be disappointed that they were not up to date with recent technologies and getting lazy. I adjust to them.
GD Morris, Port Talbot
 
The critique of boorish mobile phone users has so far focused on individual rudeness, without considering the roots of this in a selfishly atomised, profit-obsessed social climate that affects corporate behaviour as much as it does personal.
It’s this that underlies the tedious – for many, quite unpleasant – artificial exchange that paying at a supermarket till has become, geared as it is to suit the corporation, in that the essential aim, hidden beneath the autocued speech and confected politeness, is usually to get to track customers’ purchases.
Perhaps the best response lies simply in raising awareness. When nagged about a “loyalty” card for the n-hundredth time, it’s no use being rude back – much better a friendly smile along with a simple “I leave data gathering to GCHQ”.
Michael Ayton, Durham
 
Isn’t it sad that the human being in front of you takes second place to a ringtone?
Angela Elliott, Hundleby, Lincolnshire
 
Not just bad law but racism too
Against the advice of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Theresa May is going to make khat an illegal drug.
Khat is used, almost exclusively, by Somalian, Eritrean and Yemeni communities in the UK, the majority of whom are Muslim. Their religion forbids the use of alcohol, and they choose to use khat, which has been proved scientifically to be less harmful than alcohol, with no link to the aggression associated with the latter. Now they are going to be punished if they continue to do so.
Our drug laws not only ignore science but now target particular races. Isn’t that illegal?
Hope Humphreys, Creech St Michael, Somerset
 
Maybe the world needs more porn
Hannah Pool and Sara Neill (letter, 5 July) appear to believe that all of the iniquitous treatment that women suffer is caused by pornography.
The countries of the Middle East, central and sub-contintental Asia, and east Africa are home to some of the most vile abuse and oppression of women: women may not drive, may not leave their home without a male relative as chaperone, are subject to acid attacks for spurning male advances, have their genitals mutilated in childhood, and are shot for attempting to get an education. And in all these places, access to pornography is proscribed or very difficult.
If Hannah Pool and Sara Neill are correct, these porn-free lands should be beacons of female emancipation. Perhaps what these countries need is more, not less, pornography. Maybe a liberal attitude to the naked human (both genders) goes hand in hand with a more progressive attitude to equality.
Barry Richards, Cardiff
 
In the 1970s I used to buy Playgirl, which had a centrefold of a naked man, for the women who worked in my hair salon.
We kept it in the staff room so as not to offend customers. On one occasion it got out into the salon and we had to watch horrified as an elderly, unmarried lady, sitting under a hairdryer, began unfolding the centre page. She held it in front of her for a moment then carefully folded it up again, unaware we had all been watching.
It would seem that pictures of naked men don’t have the same effect on women that pictures of naked women have on men.
Penny Joseph, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex
 
As a female friend once said to me: “A naked woman is sexy; a naked man is funny.”
David Ridge, London N19
 
Women players deserve better
You published three articles on 5 July covering the women’s Wimbledon semi-finals. Nick Bollettieri, a non-journalist, wrote about Flipkens the athlete.
Kevin Garside and James Lawton, providing the “real” journalism, introduced their articles with a breathtakingly casual sexism that patronised and condescended, even while pretending to do otherwise.
Please, skip the strange framing of the content (Lawton’s piece intros with how one could be condescending about women’s tennis, and Garside about Marion Bartoli’s being an “unlikely siren”) and get to coverage of the matches and the athletes.
The numerous pieces on the male tennis players start off where they should – with athletes and performance.
Rose-Marie Barbeau, Rothesay, Isle of Bute
 
Let women tennis players play five sets. This year’s Wimbledon women’s final was about nothing other than nerves. Lisicki reached rock bottom, she flicked the switch in her mind… and I have no doubt that we could have seen an epic five-set match. I feel robbed, and so should Bartoli and Lisicki. I firmly believe no one would have enjoyed it more than them. So come on. Give us the best tennis anyone has never seen.
Tania Payne, London W5
 
Ancient Stones
I could never see the attraction of the Rolling Stones. Not really rock’n’roll – more establishment.
Watching the almost-embalmed may give youngsters a weird idea of what was actually swinging in the much-hyped Sixties.
Just tell them the Stones were pre-colour TV, pre-computers, pre-mobiles and pre-CDs to give some idea of just how ancient they are – and that the Glastonbury revellers were contributing to Sir Mick’s pension fund.
Mary Hodgson, Coventry
 
Royal peacocks
It is a little hard of Alexander Fury (“The power dresser”, 6 July) to say the British monarchy has always been “far from the vagaries of style”. Charles II was as much a peacock as his contemporary Louis XIV. Edward VII popularised the dinner jacket and leaving the bottom button of his waistcoat undone – in a nod to his podginess. And Edward VIII was a fashion icon whom we have to thank for the Windsor knot.
Kevin Brown, London W3

Times:

Perhaps the political establishment should stop “reforming” the NHS and leave healthcare professionals alone to treat patients
Sir, As the NHS passes its 65th anniversary it faces grave challenges. Waiting times in A&E units are increasing. Growing numbers of operations are being cancelled at the last minute. And, crucially, general practice is falling apart at the seams, with many GPs now so overwhelmed with ballooning workloads that they can no longer guarantee safe patient care.
There are many causes of the calamity in our health service: our increasingly complex and diverse health needs, and the failure of the NHS budget to keep pace with the cost of provision. But at this juncture it is vital that we recognise that one pillar of the service holds the key to the future success or failure of the entire NHS — general practice.
If properly supported, general practice will be the health service’s salvation. If left to wither, as now, it could prompt the disintegration of the NHS, both in primary care and secondary care.
Such is the central role of general practice — 90 per cent of NHS contacts each year are conducted by GPs — that if it starts to fall apart the effects will cascade across the rest of the health service like a tidal wave.
However, even though general practice accounts for all but the smallest minority of NHS contacts, it receives only 9 per cent of NHS funding — and even this share is in decline. As a result, most family doctors now conduct between 40-60 patient consultations a day and it is becoming routine for GPs to work an 11-hour day.
General practice needs urgent new investment in order to shore up the whole of the health service. If general practice were given 10 per cent of the ring-fenced NHS budget, with an increase of 10,000 GPs, it would better be able to support the rest of the health service, by ensuring that — along with colleagues across primary care — more patients can be treated in the community and therefore kept out of hospital. Such a move would give the NHS the best possible chance of delivering excellent patient care for another 65 years.
Dr Clare Gerada
Chair of Council, Royal College of General Practitioners
Sir, As the practice manager of a GP surgery, may I ask the political establishment to stop “reforming” us and leave us alone to treat patients.
It seems to be a requirement of the job that every Health Secretary reinvents the wheel of NHS management. The routine stupidity of this is exemplified by one form (a Prem2 form) which I have to fill in on a bi-yearly basis.
In 2007 I sent it to the Contractor Services Agency. In 2009 this had been replaced, and I sent it to the Family Health Services Agency. In 2011 this had been replaced, and I sent it to the Primary Care Services Agency. In 2013 this too had been replaced, and I sent the form to NHS England.
Labour is already outlining plans to “reform” the NHS again should it get into power. Has no one correlated failings in NHS management with the fact that nobody does the same job for more than a couple of years?
The biggest favour any Health Secretary could do the NHS would be to set out a mandatory minimum time gap between “reforms” of ten years.
Philip Horsfield
Chester-le-Street, Co Durham

The Government’s arbitrary net-migration target does not make sense: disaggregate international students from net migration numbers
Sir, During their time in the UK international students contribute massively to the economy in fees and living expenses while taking very little from public services in return (“Secret letter calls for influx of foreign pupils”, July 4).
The Government has backed itself into a corner with its arbitrary net-migration target. The solution is simple: mirror the US and disaggregate international students from net migration numbers.
James Pitman
HE-UK and Europe Study Group
Brighton
Sir, Britain’s historic cultural and linguistic ties with India surely justify a special deal when it comes to visas (“Proposed visa changes mar business in India”, July 3), not least educational visas. Unfettered access — in both directions — to affordable and effective teaching and research training is absolutely vital to successful UK-India futures. Our universities need each other, now more than ever before. Only through sharing our national educational resources can we hope to tackle and tame the looming global challenges that increasingly threaten us all.
Professor Stephen Hillier
University of Edinburgh

The Euro is wrecking lives in the Mediterranean — no currency union has ever succeeded without the members becoming a single state
Sir, As a signatory to the historians’ letter (July 3), may I answer the criticisms of our arguments made by Roland Rudd (letter, July 5)?
First, the EU in the guise of the single currency is wrecking lives in the Mediterranean because it prevents the Mediterranean countries from solving their problems by devaluation.
Second, issues of democracy are involved because no currency union in history has been successful without the members converting themselves into a single state.
Professor Nigel Saul
Egham, Surrey

Local Tory associations are now largely an anachronism and do not — and will not — appeal to the next generation of voters
Sir, Matthew Parris (July 6) is right to call for a radical change in the way the Conservative Party organises itself. Local associations are now largely an anachronism and do not — and will not — appeal to the next generation. After a lifetime of membership I believe they are out of tune with Tory voters and should not be choosing candidates.
I hope someone at Central Office is listening. I suggest that if Mr Parris is not applying for the job to lead the change, then he should be co-opted onto the committee, where discussions about Bridge drives and sandwich fillings are banned.
Levin Dewey
Guildford, Surrey

Since President Morsi put himself above the law last year, there was a more visible strategy by his party of dictatorial State takeover
Sir, I found Amir Taheri’s Opinion on Egypt (July 5) one-sided. Having lived in Cairo for five years, I can say that since President Morsi put himself above the law in November 2012, there was a more visible strategy by his party, the Muslim Brotherhood, of dictatorial State takeover and rule. This was the root cause of his demise and it only exacerbated the economic plight of the Egyptian people.
Mr Taheri did not mention divisive actions by Mr Morsi’s government that led 22 million Egyptians to sign a protest against his leadership: the Ethiopian dam crisis, actions against NGO employees, poorly considered Syrian and Iranian foreign policies, failure to secure international economic support, fuel shortages and electricity blackouts.
His supporters were encouraged to harass the media. During his term in office at least three journalists died during protests and 29 citizens were charged with “insulting the office of the President of Egypt”.
Egypt’s new Constitution was widely criticised because its final drafting was hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood, making some of its chief legal rights subject to religious interpretation. Mr Morsi failed to see that Egyptians wanted accountable, transparent, effective and inclusive government, not replacement of one dictator by another.
Mr Taheri also attacks the Egyptian army. The army are very reluctant actors on the political stage in Egypt. The industrial activities that they control are primarily related to supplying the needs of the army, and their decisive actions probably prevented much greater bloodshed.
Mr Taheri should have referred to Iran, which has no interest in democracy. This was the direction in which Mr Morsi was taking Egypt and this is why the Egyptian people demonstrated to express their opposition, and why this “people’s coup” was protected by the army.
Stephen Murphy
London SW10

Telegraph:
SIR – Few would argue that women tennis players should play against men on equal terms, but in top tournaments they should surely play the best of five sets against each other (particularly as they demand equal prize money). A two-set win invariably seems an inadequate result.
Conversely, Martina Navratilova proposes that men’s tennis be changed to three sets, to reduce the excessive “punishment” of five-set grand slam matches.
This could be greatly ameliorated by abolishing the quite unnecessary second serve, which increases the duration of matches and gives an unfair advantage to the server, often at critical points in the match.
Players could still go for an ace, but would require more self-confidence to do so without the back-up chance of a second serve.
John Birkett
St. Andrews, Fife

SIR – Simon Briggs, describing Laura Robson’s ultimately victorious match against Marina Erakovic (Sport, June 30), notes that in the first set she played so badly that the “people on No 2 Court were as quiet as a Methodist congregation”.
Having observed Methodist congregations on both sides of the Atlantic, I can say that they share with the Trappist order a devotion to our Lord – but the similarity ends there.
Iain Innes Burgess
Hampton Wick, Middlesex
SIR – What do tennis line judges actually say when a ball is out?
Watching Wimbledon this afternoon I heard “arr, boar, cup, felp, foal, gaah, n’gee, oeuf, off, old, poah, whoa” – and, yes, on one occasion – “out”.
Keith Day
Coleraine, Co Londonderry

SIR – You are absolutely correct to say that “Britain can’t afford to throw money at wind power” (Leading article, June 30). What is needed from the Government is a full-hearted commitment to put Britain’s needs first. That means: halting the closure of older, but still serviceable, power stations, until suitable replacements come on stream; repealing the Climate Change Act; and abolishing all subsidies for inefficient wind and solar power, along with the Carbon Trading scheme.
Neither domestic nor commercial consumers ought to be made to bear the costs of green subsidies and taxation. The only feasible justification for them is to set an example to the rest of the world. That’s all well and good for politicians who are anxious to burnish their “green credentials”, but the rest of us have to live in the real world.
Nothing that Britain can do will make a significant difference to overall levels of global CO2 emissions, so what is the point of increasing fuel poverty among our most vulnerable citizens and loading extra costs on to our businesses?
John Waine
Nuneaton, Warwickshire
SIR – Our nation’s future prosperity depends on the regeneration of our electrical and engineering industries which our Government is still not addressing.
Related Articles
Should women play five sets of tennis, or men three?
07 Jul 2013
Youth unemployment will never be solved by solely backing the City or by borrowing billions of pounds from abroad in order to purchase foreign-made goods while ignoring British expertise.
Tighter discipline in education must ensure our schools reverse our decline in skill shortages and our descent down the international standards tables.
Our Government must ensure that British taxes support our industries, not subsidise foreign investors, if our nation is to become solvent.
John Riddington
Broadstone, Dorset
SIR – I am delighted to see the ongoing discussion about the ineffectual and outrageously wasteful development of offshore windmills for apparently “green” power. One issue that has not been aired is the appallingly bad carbon footprint of these supposed paragons of green energy. Not only do offshore windmills require very large supporting structures of either concrete or steel (both of which require huge amounts of energy to create) but they then need fuel-thirsty (heavy oil-powered) installation vessels and the ongoing deployment of a fleet of diesel-powered maintenance boats to keep them operational.
They also demand a very extensive power distribution network which also, in itself, represents a substantial carbon footprint. I believe the industry should submit itself to a proper carbon footprint audit by an independent assessor. The results would be instructive.
David Cooke
Mayford, Surrey
SIR – Don’t we live on an island where the tide goes in and out every single day?
Surely we can think of a way to tap that reliable, regular source of energy. We wouldn’t need hideous wind farms and dangerous fracking then.
Jean Wheeler
Bentley Heath, Warwickshire
SIR – Nowhere have I seen any reference to gas- or oil-bearing shale deposits beneath the continental shelf surrounding the British Isles. If significant extractable reserves exist there, why don’t we exploit them and save all the hassle about land-based environmental problems?
Roderick Taylor
Bourne End, Buckinghamshire
SIR – I live near the Fullabrook Down wind farm, currently the largest on-shore installation in Britain. When it is too windy, the turbines are switched off, and when there is no wind they don’t work.
Within view of these turbines is the Bristol Channel, which has one of the largest tidal flows in the world. But it is not being harnessed; an offshore array of 240 wind turbines between South Wales and North Devon has been proposed instead.
Linda Wellstead
Braunton, Devon
Foreign aid should be spent on British poor
SIR – It was interesting to read of David Cameron’s insistence on maintaining an increase of 0.7 per cent in our foreign aid budget (“The aid business must be transparent”, leading article, June 30), when a bishop on the radio the same day pointed out that in our own country we have 3.6 million children living in poverty.
Peter A Dion
Radcliffe on Trent, Nottinghamshire
SIR – Transparency needs to be at the heart of the aid industry, not only for public accountability, but for effectiveness too. Donors need to move beyond simple commitments to action by publishing their data.
Aid is still the largest international revenue flow to the 37 poorest countries, where it continues to play a vital role in supplementing governments’ own resources and promoting neglected priorities.
To accelerate progress on poverty, we must create a judicious mix of resources, and ensure that aid plays to its comparative advantage.
Harpinder Collacott
Development Initiatives
Bristol
Afghan history
SIR – In response to Stephen Palmer (Letters, June 30) on Gladstone’s view of military intervention in Afghanistan; as Karl Marx said, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce”. The current situation is certainly a tragedy for the Afghans and the occupying forces.
Having spent billions of pounds and sacrificed the lives of hundreds of servicemen and women (with many more wounded, maimed and traumatised) the outcome will be the Taliban forming the Afghan government. That truly is a farce.
Robert J Leslie
Wolterton, Norfolk
SIR – It is the schoolchildren at Westminster who should be taught the history of the Afghan Wars.
James Bishop
Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides
SIR – I prefer Disraeli to Gladstone but admit that the Midlothian speeches are still relevant today (Letters, June 30).
How about Flashman as a set book for the English curriculum? Not only an excellent read but a general I met told me that it was still relevant today.
And in the light of events a few years ago, would it not also be a good idea to teach pupils about the South Sea Bubble – in both history and economics?
Mark Taha
London SE26
Rake is wrong – we should leave the EU
SIR – I could not disagree more with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) president, Sir Mike Rake (Business, June 30) who says our continued membership of the EU is overwhelmingly in our economic and political interests.
The kind of utopian vision that he describes as “a massive Euro-American trade area” has to overcome many obstacles before it can become a reality. While we wait, Europe’s trading position in the global economy steadily declines as debt piles upon debt and unemployment figures rise.
David Rammell
Lymington, Hampshire
SIR – The new president of the CBI wants more free trade, more efficiency, more enterprise, and more protection for the City of London. No Eurosceptic would argue with any of these aims. But we are more likely to achieve them outside the EU.
Noticeably absent from his list of objectives were democracy, accountability, national sovereignty and an end to bureaucracy and corruption.
I fear he is from that tradition in the City which supported the Exchange Rate Mechanism and the euro and now ignores all the damage they caused us and still cause others. But then, so long as the bonuses and profit margins of particular companies are safeguarded, why worry about the poor, the unemployed and the disenfranchised majority? The EU benefits an international self-serving elite of politicians, bureaucrats and what used to be called robber barons. It does not benefit Britain or the British people.
Prof Alan Sked
London School of Economics
SIR – In calling for Britain to remain part of a reformed EU, the CBI appears to misunderstand both the public mood and the challenge Britain faces in trying to change this ever-more-complicated institution. The public and Ukip, the only party that is realistic on this issue, support the effective free trade area that Sir Mike Rake calls for. What they object to is the increasing politicisation of the EU, uncontrolled internal migration and the intolerable interference in the affairs of member states that has nothing to do with trade.
Jonathan Grant-Nicholas
Brassington, Derbyshire
SIR – The CBI and our politicians fail to understand the difference between an apolitical tariff-free trade association (for example, EFTA, which Britain co-founded, or NAFTA) and an introspective political customs union such as the EU, which does not and never has believed in mutually beneficial global free trade.
Barry M Jones
Beckley, East Sussex
Grammar schools
SIR – Wendy Royce (Letters, June 30) wonders why Margaret Thatcher did not reinstate grammar schools during her 11 years in power. While I greatly admire Lady Thatcher, it must be remembered that she was a party politician through and through and thus obsessed with votes.
The Conservative Party’s drift to the Left had begun under Ted Heath, when Lady Thatcher was education minister. Reinstating grammar schools would have seemed like a strident declaration of old Tory values to the wavering party members and potential converts among Labour voters.
Christopher Egerton-Thomas
Hove, East Sussex
Cutting rhetoric
SIR – The Coalition should ditch the rhetoric of “cuts” to the public sector and instead use the word “reform”. “Cutting” sounds like the Government is self-harming and worsening the economic situation, whereas “reforming” the state is positive, ambitious and visionary.
James Adam Paton
Billericay, Essex
Girl Guides’ oath
SIR – If the Chief Guide wants to make radical changes to the Girl Guides’ oath, may I suggest that she forms a separate organisation which does not trade on the name “Guides”. Those not wishing to take the religious oath can then join it.
Christianity is relentlessly persecuted in the present climate.
Mary McNulty
Brenchley, Kent
Raining cats and dogs
SIR – Having read “Pet cats put their owner at risk of TB” (report, June 30); cats seem to be blamed for nearly every disease around. I am surprised that they haven’t been blamed for the bad weather and climate change as well.
Jean Willis
Wigmore, Kent
Fresh off the plane
SIR – Diana Carney, wife of our new Canadian Governor of the Bank of England (report, June 30) abhors much-travelled items imported to Britain. Tesco’s fruit and vegetable range now includes swede portions grown in Canada that bear a label exhorting us to “eat fresh”.
W B Robertson
North Berwick, East Lothian

Irish Times:
Sir, – Pat Dignam’s letter (July 1st) on the issue of removing tax relief for tracker mortgages ignores one important issue.
The bulk of tracker mortgages were sold at the height of the property bubble, meaning the majority of these loans are now effectively in negative equity. Singling out this particularly vulnerable set of mortgage holders would be deeply unfair. It is also flawed in that it presumes this current period of low interest rates will continue into the future.
We know that the number of distressed mortgage holders is on the rise and the call to impose an additional tax on tracker mortgages; or the ending of tax relief would undoubtedly increase this number further.
Any such measures would penalise ordinary taxpayers – the young people, the young families and those who purchased their homes during the boom in particular. – Yours, etc,
JUSTIN SINNOTT,

A chara, – In response to Pearse Doherty TD’s reply (June 29th) to my original letter (June 28th): notwithstanding Mr Doherty’s genuine efforts in the recovery of this country and his calling of a spade a spade, when others are afraid to, I find it ironic if not tragic, that the party he represents has a history of a conflict that Tone strived throughout his life to avoid.
Tone used force to bring about a united Irish Republic; this force was directed at legitimate targets. This lamentably is a far cry from the tactics employed by the same group who make up a large proportion of the legacy of Mr Doherty’s party.
Indeed, it can be said that one striking similarity can be observed between members of Mr Doherty’s party and Tone; that is the vigour with which they both pursued their agenda while not distinguishing between “Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter”. – Is mise,
SAM QUIRKE,

Sir, – Judith Crosbie’s article (Weekend Review, June 29th) is timely. It should not be a surprise that immigrants are the targets of racism and discrimination during economic downturns. Irish emigrants, like all others in similar situations, have been experiencing similar discrimination during economic downturns for more than a century and a half.
Immigrants are lauded for their enterprise during economic booms and envied for their enterprise during economic austerity. However, what is distinct about European rising immigrant intolerance over the past two decades is that it is faceless. There is no Hitler, Stalin, communist or other high-profile enemy to direct anger at and be defined by. In such a vacuum people locate and find an enemy by which they define themselves. In the present situation immigrants are the enemy. But, what really exacerbates immigrant intolerance and racism is the use of immigrant issues during election campaigns by mainstream political parties to garner popularity in order to compete with anti-immigrant neo-fascistic parties. Europeans should keep in mind the horrors of intolerance from the recent past.
Irish people need to be reminded that immigrants need to be treated with the same respect in Ireland that is expected from others in countries where Irish emigrants make a living. Immigrants in Ireland are a reminder of who we are as a people and nation. – Yours, etc,
BOBBY GILMORE, SSC,

Sir, – In relation to the Anglo tapes, Michael Noonan say he does not want to see people “mucking about in Garda business” (Breaking News, July 4th). I agree with him: so why are his colleagues pressing forward with an inquiry? Give the Garda Síochána the wherewithall and funding to secure convictions. – Yours, etc,
CONAN DOYLE,
Pococke Lower, Kilkenny.
Sir, – Angela Merkel acknowledges that the banking culture revealed by the tapes is not confined to Ireland,but she appears not to grasp that is part and parcel of modern day finance capitalism (Breaking News, June 28th). The trade surpluses of Germany and China lent at low interest rates fuelled the housing bubbles in the US and Ireland and triggered the banking crises. But, as the problem is systemic, it will not be solved by banking inquiries or sending bankers to jail. – Yours, etc,
PATRICK BRADY
Sir, – I agree with Brendan Quinn (July 1st) when he says we need a lot more cycle trails and the few short stretches we have represent a derisory attempt to catch up with the rest of Europe.
Germany has 75,000km of dedicated cycleways; Ireland has less than 100km, spread over two locations in Mayo and Limerick. Over five million Germans take cycling holidays each year but few if any of them come here; why would they? We don’t have even one off-road cycle trail long enough to cater for a week or a fortnight-long holiday, and nobody is going to spend a week cycling up and down the Mayo Greenway like a demented hamster in a wheel.
However I don’t share Mr Quinn’s optimism that anything will be done to bring full-length cycle trails to the west any time soon. The key strip of publicly-owned land suitable for this kind of tourist and amenity development is the disused light railway from Claremorris to Collooney, but the chances of this being used for leisure purposes are nil to zero.
A power bloc of county councillors in western counties that comprises the “inter-county railway committee” has not only blocked any initiatives to develop this asset but has even vetoed discussion of uses other than rail for the route – a motion at the May meeting of Roscommon County Council to simply open a debate on this issue was roundly defeated.
A railway on this route was never planned by any government, not even the free-spending Fianna Fáil/Green coalition, and it is not in the plans of the current Government; it exists only in the minds of a small cabal of train enthusiasts with no real grasp of economics or reality.
However, the negative influence of these local politicians will mean that this part of Ireland will again be left behind while other places go after the fastest growing leisure business in Europe.
The west’s awake? Not the last time I looked, I’m afraid. – Yours, etc,
JOHN MULLIGAN,
Sir, – Prof Damian McCormack (July 1st ) refers to the National University of Ireland as an organ of the State. It is not. It is an independent statutory body and has been so since its foundation in 1908. It now comprises four constituent universities and other associated colleges.
Today, increased internationalisation in higher education is pursued as a sectoral policy objective by governments throughout the developed world. It is pursued by universities for its economic benefits and as a source of enrichment of teaching, learning and research and of general enhancement of academic quality. It is seen also as contributing significantly to human development in host countries.
Like other universities, the NUI member institutions seek actively to increase their impact internationally by forming partnerships with universities and higher education institutions in other countries and establishing campuses for the delivery of degree and other programmes in overseas locations. Political instability, civil unrest, conflict and reported human rights violations have been notable features of recent history in several countries where NUI institutions are involved in partnerships. These developments have pointed to the need for NUI and its institutions to have clear policies on human rights and strategies to enable them to respond appropriately in difficult situations and also to be ready publicly to justify their decisions.
Prof McCormack refers to the obligations of the NUI under the European Convention on Human Rights and has asked NUI to clarify its position. It is precisely because of our awareness of these obligations and wider UN obligations that in 2011, NUI asked the Irish Human Rights Commission to draft a set of principles and best practice to guide the NUI constituent universities and recognised colleges who wish to compete for the provision of educational services overseas.
The IHRC draft was presented to the NUI Senate where it was welcomed. NUI also consulted the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Education and Skills which responded positively. The document was then referred to all member institutions for debate and comment and was finalised by an expert committee of human rights lawyers and other specialists, drawn from the four NUI universities and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, before being adopted by the NUI Senate.
The document entitled Human Rights Principles and Code of Conduct for the National University of Ireland – and its Member Institutions is available at http://www.nui.ie. It is intended to provide a framework to guide all universities that wish to operate in challenging human rights environments and already a number of European national human rights institutions have expressed an interest in having similar codes of conduct adopted in their own countries. However, I should say that our document is a start and far from the last word on the subject and like Prof McCormack I would welcome comments and constructive suggestions. – Yours, etc,
MAURICE MANNING,

   
Sir, – Visitors to these shores could be forgiven for doing a double-take when reading recent news: Galway in the Leinster final, London in the Connaught final, and most bizzarely, anti-abortion campaigners who issue death-threats referred to as pro-life. – Yours, etc,
OISIN KIERNAN,
Reuben Avenue,

Irish Independent:
Madam – Your editorial ‘Kenny needs to find a better way’, (Sunday Independent, June 30, 2013), comes at an appropriate moment.
Also in this section
Let justice belatedly be done
No conflict with Mr Halligan’s job
Mac Eoin a hero
I love carefully crafted understatements, but your gentle suggestion that we are “entitled to aspire to being governed in a slightly better way than has gone before” could be interpreted as displaying an allergy to nettles – and the grasping thereof.
We need to find out what happened. However, if an inquiry is to have any value in terms of helping us to perform better in future, we must get its terms of reference, composition and modus operandi right. Not just ‘half-right’ (like ‘half-pregnant!’). As near appropriate as possible. This is not ‘back of cigarette pack’ territory.
Unfortunately, as you point out, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, aided and abetted by Cabinet colleagues who should know better, has made it very clear yet again that these people belong to a by-gone age. That this inquiry is to be about scoring points over Fianna Fail – and the ghosts of their erstwhile cannibalised allies. Not about correcting our shared mistakes.
Yet again they show that they are far behind the tens of thousands of us out here who have been trying desperately to grapple with the realities of life in Ireland in 2013. We want to make the quantum leap towards an entirely different form of politics. Not just what you call “a better way” but towards a redefinition of national ideals, aspirations, goals of common, shared endeavour.
Should we wait till the crunch comes? Hang on till Enda decides to go to the Park? Are we politically helpless?
We will have the opportunity in the Seanad referendum, (the proposal which is brutally demonstrative of Mr Kenny’s knee-jerk, populist notion of ‘reform’), to indicate that his kind of approach to the serious business of re-equipping and retraining ourselves is not acceptable.
Maurice O’Connell,
Tralee, Co Kerry
Irish Independent
Madam – I refer to your article headed ‘Enda’s answer to tapes is to give banks more power’, written by Independent TD Stephen Donnelly (Sunday Independent, June 30, 2013).
Also in this section
Quantum leap required
Let justice belatedly be done
No conflict with Mr Halligan’s job
The sad thing is that it is true. Taoiseach Enda Kenny has indeed handed more power to the banks at the same time that the country is seething with anger, directly as a result of the recent Anglo Tapes.
I agree with Stephen Donnelly when he said: “The Government needs to take a hands-on approach to the mortgage crisis and not stand idly by.”
However, what concerns me is that I really don’t know what it will take for this Government to wake up and smell the roses, the roses of truth, that are wilting and dying in the heart and soul of far too many Irish citizens. They, through no fault of their own, became victims as a direct result of the outrageous actions of those bankers.
I personally make a plea to Enda Kenny to please stop for a moment and listen to the most inner source of his being, and consider just for a moment how this beautiful country of ours would be if we were free from the burden of debts and unnecessary liability. . . liability to pay for the sins of others.
Derry-Ann Morgan,
Swords, Co Dublin
PLUS CA CHANGE… IN IRISH POLITICS
Madam – Jody Corcoran has a point when he labels the Taoiseach’s blaming of “FF and Anglo” for bankrupting the country as “simplistic and nakedly political” (Sunday Independent, June 30, 2013).
But Mr Corcoran fails to highlight that we in this country are paying for the fact that in the past the exercise of power by many powerful people, not just politicians, was invariably simplistic and nakedly political.
Holding the Taoiseach to account now for his simplistic and nakedly political attitude highlights the fact that similar attitudes of the powerful in the past were tolerated.
A Leavy,
Sutton, Dublin 13
CATHOLIC CHURCH CAN EXPRESS VIEWS
Madam – I am writing in relation to Madeleine Johansson’s letter in response to John Waters (Sunday Independent, June 30, 2013). Firstly I’d like to ask Ms Johansson and other pro-choicers, since when did a child become a choice? I can assure Ms Johansson and other pro-choicers that it is no ‘clump of cells’ in the womb as she refers to it. None of the scans I had throughout my nine months of pregnancy showed a ‘clump of cells’. The Catholic Church has every right to express its views in the abortion debate as much as everyone else. Also when you refer to the X Case, you seem to forget that the majority of abortions carried out are not on rape victims. I would also like to ask her and the younger generation whom she claims are ‘progressive’, what is so progressive about being ‘pro-choice’? Women deserve far better than to be told that abortion is an option if they find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy or they are suicidal. There are always other options, like fostering and adoption.
The suicide clause has been completely abused in every country it’s allowed in. But Enda Kenny just will not listen. There is no greater joy than the birth of your own child. It should not depend on the woman’s circumstances. No one should deny themselves of such a privilege. Women and men need to be guided in the right way. Choose life not death.
Emma Byrne,
Carlow
JOANNE O’RIORDAN BANG ON THE MONEY
Madam – That ‘out of this world’ wonder-girl-genius, Joanne O’Riordan, is so on the ball when she speaks (Sunday Independent, June 30, 2013). The bad, foul-mouthed corrupt bankers have God-given limbs and mobility and have used all they were given to destroy the country. Life is short and the reckoning day will come. God bless the just, honest and concise Joanne.
Kathleen Corrigan,
Cootehill, Co Cavan
LET COURTS DO JOB ON BANKERS
Madam – Dr Elaine Byrne, author of Political Corruption in Ireland, 1922-2010 and Irish corruption expert to the European Commission, did a clear analysis on Irish law enforcement of the financial sector (Sunday Independent, June 30, 2013). This shows a way forward after the publication of Anglo Irish Bank’s internal phone conversations in the lead-up to the State’s guarantee of the banks.
The US does these investigations and gets results quickly with some convictions on serious financial misconduct. Maybe the Irish courts can be let do their job and see what happens after that.
M Sullivan,
Cork
SUNDAY READING WASN’T RELAXED
Madam – I normally spend Sunday afternoon relaxed and being entertained with the Sunday Indo. Now, I am not so relaxed as I am reading well-written opinions etc, but suddenly the “F” word appears and upsets me. Also I notice the lady journalists resorting to less than good manners. It seems they are trying to ape some men’s language and ways. In the past you have had some wonderful lady journalists who I admired so much, even if not agreeing with their comments.
It is quite upsetting to suddenly come across a piece of writing and find unpleasant language when I am supposedly enjoying a relaxed afternoon.
Angela Joyce,
Co Galway
USING ‘F’ WORD TELLS IT LIKE IT WAS
Madam – Your correspondent, S Nic Gearailt, Wexford, (Sunday Independent, June 30, 2013), really went to town on the “F” word.
There is no doubt that we could do without a lot of the everyday vernacular, but this lady seems to have been reaching for the smelling salts having seen the “F” word in print for the first time.
I am in agreement with her general view on bad language but as long as there are such serious matters as the Anglo Tapes etc, I say print it on the front page – verbatim.
RJ Hanly,
Co Wexford
BRENDAN’S ARTICLE NEGATIVE FOR GAYS
Madam – Brendan O’Connor used the word “faggot” twice in his most recent article ‘Hoodwinked by a pair of ersatz Anglo frat boys’. He wrote, “. . .Bowe doesn’t want to seem like some kind of faggot or pussy for expressing concerns or doubts. The regulators are the faggots. . .” It’s really not nice to read your identity used in such a negative way, not least to see it equated with Ireland’s most hated.
Pride just happened; it was an amiable affair. We’re past such malicious/lazy insolence as quoted above. Perhaps Brendan O’Connor or indeed your editorial team could take time to avoid needlessly offending minorities/your readers?
Eoin O’Liathain,
Glasnevin, Dublin 11
FOUL LANGUAGE NOT FIT FOR BANK
Madam – During the Seventies, on entering commercial premises with my late father we heard members of staff uttering the “F” word like two adolescents. Turning to me, he said: “This is not a fit place to do business, we are leaving.”
Were he alive to hear the phone conversations of Anglo Irish Bank, awash with foul language, he would not be surprised at the disaster that bank brought upon us.
Tony Moriarty,
Dublin 6 W
Irish Independent

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