Very hot

9 July 2013 Very hot hot hot

Off around the park listening to the Navy Lark, Pertwee have been bugged by Nunkie but he turns the tables pretneding he is taking the lead off the admiral’s roof and calling the police. Priceless.
Hot hot hot all day too hot to garden or almost even read, Mary waters the flowers
We watch Blue Murder at St Trinians its not bad, magic
Scrabble Mary wins but gets over 400 I might get my revenge tomorrow.

Obituary:

Norman Atkinson
Norman Atkinson, who has died aged 90, was an old-school Marxist who antagonised the Labour leadership — and especially Denis Healey — for 23 years as MP for Tottenham. He was party treasurer for five years as the Left tightened its grip on the National Executive, his trade union contacts delivering the cash to fight the 1979 election and move Labour from Transport House to new headquarters at Walworth Road.

Norman Atkinson Photo: HULTON/GETTY
6:10PM BST 08 Jul 2013
A skilled parliamentary tactician, Atkinson led the Left’s drive to hold Harold Wilson’s 1974 government to its manifesto commitments, and spearheaded its criticism of Healey during the IMF crisis of 1976. He originated themes used by Tony Benn in his drive to capture the party, notably the need to subordinate Labour MPs to the party conference.
As an engineering shop steward in Manchester, Atkinson’s mentors were Fred Lee (Minister of Power when he entered Parliament) and Hugh Scanlon, president of the Amalgamated Engineering Union when he was party treasurer. Union votes gave him the treasurership when James Callaghan stood down on becoming Prime Minister .
Dark-haired and somewhat gloomy, Atkinson — a vice-president of the British-Soviet Friendship Society — opposed improved relations with China. The comment of the Chief of Defence Staff, Sir Neil Cameron, to the Chinese in 1978 that “we both have an enemy whose capital is Moscow” roused him to fury. Yet when a Tory MP called him a “Crypto-Communist”, he secured an apology from a newspaper that repeated the charge.
Atkinson was not the most patient of men. He once nearly came to blows with his veteran colleague Ness Edwards at a meeting on pay restraint.
But for the war, Atkinson might have made art, not politics, his career; it prevented his taking up a scholarship to art school. He painted in the style of John Bratby, modestly terming himself a “bucket and shovel merchant” and turning down “ridiculous” offers for paintings he exhibited.
Norman Atkinson was born in Manchester on March 25 1923, the son of a bus driver who died when Norman was five. Educated at elementary and technical schools, he was an apprentice at Metrovick, Trafford Park, worked at other engineering firms, became branch president of the AEU and, while working in Barrow, secretary/agent for the local Labour Party. In 1957 he became chief designer at Manchester University’s department of mechanical and nuclear engineering.
Atkinson was elected to Manchester city council in 1945, aged 22. He fought Wythenshawe in 1955, and Altrincham and Sale in 1959. In 1962 Tottenham Labour party preferred him to the better-known Leftist Ian Mikardo when it chose a new candidate after its sitting MP, Alan Brown, defected to the Conservatives. Atkinson increased Labour’s majority.
In Parliament, Atkinson was one of the core of Left-wingers who opposed Wilson over Vietnam, nuclear weapons, prices and incomes, the economy and the Common Market. He went on to urge a re-examination of the relationship between Labour MPs, the NEC, the party conference and the government — the very issue that would split the party after 1979.
Atkinson warned the leadership in 1968 that expelling rebels would “smash the party”. Calling his bluff, the parliamentary party suspended him. When Barbara Castle launched her In Place of Strife union reforms, he accused her of “setting fire to the grass roots of the Labour movement”.
After Labour’s defeat in 1970 Atkinson focused on Edward Heath’s Industrial Relations Bill, demanding an undertaking from Wilson that Labour would repeal it. The House was suspended when he and 40 colleagues staged a demonstration against the guillotining of debate on the Bill.
With Heath moving to take Britain into Europe, Atkinson, now chairman of the Tribune Group, sought a pledge that Labour would pull out, reckoning the leadership’s opposition to entry a sham.
Atkinson’s clashes with Healey began in 1975 as he urged the Cabinet to take up “the Socialist case for reflating the economy”. Otherwise, he warned, Mrs Thatcher would win “the greatest Tory majority for years”.
Succeeding Wilson in 1976, Callaghan offered Atkinson a ministerial job. He turned it down, preferring to go for party treasurer, and defeated Eric Varley, the Industry Secretary, to take the post — and a seat on the NEC .
As Healey began to tackle inflation with the help of the IMF, Atkinson pressed for higher spending and a return to free collective bargaining ; suggested that Britain charge less for its North Sea oil than the world price; and joined the Grunwick picket line.
But, faced with a financial crisis in the Labour Party, Atkinson did not adopt the policies he was urging on Healey. He wound up the loss-making Labour Party Properties and tried to halt the spending of £50,000 on pre-election opinion polls. He then persuaded the unions to cough up £3 million to put the party on a sound footing and finance the move to Walworth Road.
Atkinson kept up his criticism of the government as its relationship with the unions fell apart. He branded Healey’s five per cent pay limit “political masochism”, and demanded that the party rank and file determine the 1979 election manifesto.
After Labour’s defeat, Atkinson backed Benn’s 1981 campaign for the deputy leadership; Benn failed narrowly in the electoral college to oust Healey, and Atkinson was ousted as treasurer as his own union led a move back to moderation.
Before the 1983 election Atkinson defeated his Left-wing neighbour Reg Race for the enlarged Tottenham constituency. He was comfortably elected, but in 1985 lost the nomination to Bernie Grant, leader of Haringey council.
Atkinson left the Commons in 1987. He was the author of Sir Joseph Whitworth: the world’s best mechanician (1996), and of a play, Old Merrypebbles.
Norman Atkinson married, in 1948, Irene Parry, who survives him.
Norman Atkinson, born March 25 1923, died July 8 2013

Guardian:
John Harris (8 July) sees equivalence between the activities of “people once centrally involved with the New Labour regime” and those involved in Unite, in that they both sought to influence the selection of parliamentary candidates. Yet he fails to recognise that our national party officers have a clear duty to ensure that quality candidates are selected not only on the basis of local preference but also to find those best equipped to perform on a national stage and those who show leadership potential.
They have a further duty to manage the party brand and its key assets (its safest parliamentary seats). Such strategising is a necessarily centralised function and is certainly not the job of union affiliates or any individual party units.
Clause VII of our party constitution defines the role of officers and their statutory responsibilities to the Electoral Commission. In this, they are not only accountable for national activity but also for the activities of each party unit. Therefore there is nothing inherently “rotten” within our system. Any temporary procedural difficulties can best be resolved by a conformance to, and an enforcement of, these party rules. Not by knee-jerk changes.
Mike Allott
Eastleigh, Hampshire
• Len McCluskey is right when he says the trade unions don’t get all the rights they want from Labour governments – nor should they. The UK workforce is about 29 million, of which trade unionists number six million. Many trade unionists don’t vote Labour.
That doesn’t mean workers’ rights are not an important part of Labour’s agenda – they are and always have been. The involvement of trade unions in policy formation is very helpful but the financial link is getting in the way of electing a Labour government. It is also getting in the way of an agreed party funding method that stops the very large business and individual donations to the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
Lord Soley of Hammersmith
House of Lords
• Those of us who worked for Liverpool city council in the 1980s will be dumbfounded to learn that Neil Kinnock’s 1985 speech was “one of the greatest political speeches of the postwar period” (Miliband steps up war of words with Unite, 6 July). Liverpool’s workforce is now a fraction of what it was in the 1980s, yet this Labour leader reserved his venom not for those who implemented real mass local authority redundancies where people lost their livelihoods (the current round of cuts is dispensing with one-third of local authority workers nationally) but for councillors who refused to cut local services and jobs, and used “redundancy notices’ as an accounting device to do so. Not one worker was made redundant in Liverpool from 1983 to 1987. As for rhetoric, who on earth would an employer hand out redundancy notices to, other than “its own workers”?
Peter McKenna
Liverpool
•  David Cameron has inadvertently given Ed Miliband an opportunity to remind voters that he is a strong leader who understands their expectation that parties should work in the interests of the entire country. To win the next election, Labour must focus on the concerns and aspirations of ordinary people, rather than internal party machinations. To help achieve this, it should try opening its parliamentary selections to the wider community, through open primaries.
John Slinger
Former member of Labour’s national parliamentary panel
•  The incomes of both the working class and the squeezed middle have stagnated or fallen for years, while those of the richest have risen and risen. One main cause of wage stagnation is the decline in trade union membership. In Germany and Scandanavia, where unions are stronger, there is much less inequality.
John Launder
Winchester
• Whatever Eric Joyce implies (Comment, 6 July), Karie Murphy most definitely did get into front rooms to speak to party members. I am one such member who did not know her before, but, as a result of this meeting and subsequent conversations, know what a good MP she would have been for Falkirk.
Brian Capaloff
Falkirk

The “most dangerous man in the world” who allegedly conspired to carry out terrorist bombings, among other criminal activities, could not, apparently, be tried and convicted in a British court. So the government is vowing to change the human rights laws to make such deportations easier (As Abu Qatada leaves, May vows to change law, 8 July) Surely if such a dangerous criminal cannot be successfully prosecuted under our present, very comprehensive laws, it is they that need changing, not human rights legislation? I find it frightening, as Victoria Brittain points out (Comment, 8 July), that hysteria is whipped up, massive amounts of money and time is wasted on one man.
John Green
London
•  So “May reaps the rewards for getting her man” (8 July). But she is still set on leaving the European convention on human rights, because of the time it has taken to achieve this triumph. It has taken so long because successive home secretaries did not take seriously the commitment to human rights and, in particular, the right to the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial, even though these are also traditional British rights. Had any of them done so, they would have recognised that it would be wrong to deport Abu Qatada, who had not been convicted of any offence in the UK, to Jordan, where he had been convicted in his absence on the basis of evidence obtained under torture, without first obtaining bankable assurances from Jordan that, in a new trial, evidence obtained under torture would not be used. Had they done so, then they would have started the matter in the way in Mrs May eventually ended it, and no appeal to the European court of human rights or the UK courts would have succeeded.
David Roberts
Tollesbury, Essex
• Sorry to spoil the party, but there has been no deportation. The man left voluntarily following an inter-state treaty.
Colin J Yarnley
Southwell, Nottinghamshire

Lord Adonis defends his £50bn High Speed 2 rail project (Report, 4 July) but the figures we are offered are not the true cost. In Camden Town, the HS2-HS1 link will mean – HS2 Ltd’s schedules clearly set this out – years of demolishing and rebuilding bridges across key arterial routes, a decade of disruption that would bring any local economy to its knees.
But these “externalities” do not feature in HS2’s costings. HS2 Ltd’s solution – “we’ll do it all at the weekends” – is frighteningly oblivious to Camden’s 24/7 creative economy. Camden hosts 1% of UK GDP; if Camden catches a 10-year cold, the effects on UK plc may well be tangible.
Chris Naylor Cllr
Lib Dem, Camden Town with Primrose Hill
• Lord Mandelson says the cost/benefit figures for HS2 were “almost entirely speculative”. Lord Adonis says they were “robust and thorough”. HS2 Ltd has recently been forced to admit it underestimated the cost of the works at Euston by 40%. Game, set and match to Peter.
Frank Dobson MP
Lab, Holborn and St Pancras

The idea that degree-day ceremony tickets should be paid for by parents is just another example of a sector “gaming” its customers … That’s before they even get into the market of stands with T-shirts, photos and everything else that distinguishes a modern degree-day event (Letters, 4 July) . Charging people to attend such ceremonies looks mean – considering the costs attached to university study. In financial circumstances that are increasingly challenging, and where institutions are being invited to milk former students, requesting donations and endowments just got a bit more difficult.
Dr Paul Rennie
Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, University of the Arts
•  John Inverdale’s comment about the French Wimbledon champion was not a “gaffe”; it was an insult and ought to have been reported as such (BBC apologises for John Inverdale’s gaffe over Marion Bartoli, 6 July).
Gemma Hall
London
• Neither in your editorial (Andy Murray) nor in Great British successes (Sport, both 8 July) could you find a female champion worthy of mention – not a cyclist, swimmer, runner or rower; not a Paralympian, not a Wimbledon champion: old habits of thought die hard.
John Bailey
St Albans, Hertfordshire
•  In 1963 or 1964 I went to Ken Colyer’s jazz club with other members of High Wycombe YCND. A note on the door said that the usual Dixieland wouldn’t be playing: instead, “a young rhythm and blues band, the Rolling Stones” (Letters, 6 July). Not impressed, we spent the evening in the pub.
Jo Russell
Stoke-on-Trent
• I was at a mass in the west of Ireland recently, when a mobile phone rang during the service (Marina Hyde, 6 July). It was the priest’s phone – and he answered it. Give me strength.
Pauline Jackson
London
• My ambition of achieving black belt status in origami (Letters, 8 July) was cruelly thwarted when the stationary shop where I bought my supplies moved.
Jim Howland
Hornchurch, Essex

Michael Gove says: “This [new] curriculum is a foundation for learning the vital advanced skills that universities and businesses desperately need – skills such as essay writing, problem-solving, mathematical modelling and computer programming” (New curriculum to introduce fractions to five-year-olds, 8 July).
Does Gove really expect that, in 20 years, school leavers will be employed in these activities?
David Cameron says: “This revolution in education is critical for Britain’s prosperity in the decades to come.”
Don’t they realise that the Earth will be warmer, the climate more disastrous, energy resources running out, and the world militant with starving people? The “prosperity in the decades to come” of our children and grandchildren will depend upon the extent to which the UK has become self-sufficient in energy and food production, and its people supportive and caring of each other. That is what education should be preparing for.
Michael Bassey
Emeritus professor of education, Newark
•  Historical dates are indeed important. Take 15 February 1971, decimalisation day. At that point the evident need for learning multiples of 12 went out with 12 pennies to the shilling. Yet the secretary of state for education now wants young children to learn their 12 times table in a decimal society. Am I missing something?
Chris McDonnell, retired headteacher
Little Haywood, Staffordshire
•  Ministers and exam boards seem oblivious to the devastation they sometimes cause when tinkering with the curriculum. A topic on (say) the history curriculum will be described in a paragraph or two. Teachers will take that and develop it, over several years, into a mountain of resources and teaching plans. In a good school it will get better every year. Years ago, I wept when the Joint Matriculation Board told me I had to stop teaching bird biology to A-level students and replace it with freshwater ecology. I didn’t understood why. I still don’t. The flames from the pyre of resources could be seen for miles. The replacement course took hundreds of hours to prepare from scratch. Nothing was achieved. Curriculum development should be evolution, not revolution. Time for a permanent curriculum college?
Richard Clubley
Dronfield, Derbyshire
•  Studying fractions and writing computer programs in pupils’ first year of school? Both require the ability to think in an abstract (rather than a concrete) way, a skill that starts in most children between six and eight and is not fully developed until the teens. The plan seems to be that state school teachers are expected to waste their pupils’ time teaching topics that the children are incapable of understanding, presumably so they can be criticised for not reaching arbitrary targets that do not apply to other schools.
Michael Peel
London
•  Presumably, the history curriculum is being rewritten to include the new greatest living Briton, (Sir?) Andy Murray. I feel sure Mr Gove won’t miss an opportunity like this to jump on a bandwagon before it gets rolling.
George Thomson
Rotherfield, East Sussex

Wimbledon has fully accepted Andrew Murray – from state schools and ordinary parents – as its champion (Reports, 8 July). In 1934-36, it socially rejected the last British champion, Fred Perry, whose dad, Samuel, worked in a cotton factory. Today, Labour is dominated by those from privileged backgrounds and is biased against prospective MPs from working class backgrounds – like Samuel Perry who was a Labour MP in the 1920s. Sounds odd, but the Labour Party could learn from Wimbledon.
Bob Holman
Glasgow
• Murray has some way to go to match other British tennis players: Fred Perry won three consecutive Wimbledons (1934-36), Reggie Doherty four consecutive titles (1897-1900), and his brother, Laurie Doherty, five (1902-06).
Dr John Doherty (no relation)
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire
• Congratulations, Andy Murray, for winning, but also for giving Dunblane something better to be remembered for.
John Collins
Swansea
• ”Scottish, British, who cares?” (Esther Addley, 8 July). Actually, I do. The hidden agenda here seems to be the disappointment that he’s not English. What happened to the unifying pride of being British? I’m Welsh, by the way.
Ruth Pritchard
Rhyl, Denbighshire
• What time did he kiss that vase? Unless Murray’s winder is on the wrong side of his watch, it looks like 10.27.
(Fr) Alec Mitchell
Manchester

Independent:

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At this moment, all over the world, Brits are looking at foreigners and saying “Andy Murray” with pride. The conversation could be about the weather or what to have for lunch; it could be at an international conference on deep-sea fish; it doesn’t matter. Bring up any topic as a foreigner with a Brit today and he will simply look at you with smug superiority and say: “Andy Murray”.
Aliens could descend from the depths of space, land in Trafalgar Square, emerge with their ray-guns and demand our surrender, and we would do no more than look them squarely in the eye and say: “Andy Murray”.
For 77 years we’ve known that we’re better than the foreigners, and for 77 years the foreigners have refused to acknowledge that fact and lose in reasonable fashion. It was time to teach them a lesson, stop being gentlemen and win. Now we have demonstrated what we have always known: that we are, always have been and always will be the best.
Any day but today, I’d be an Englishman. Today I am British.
Pete Marchetto, Guilin, Guangxi Province, China
The Prime Minister said that Andy Murray deserved a knighthood. It shows that David Cameron was, like many of us, caught up in all the emotion of Sunday afternoon. Andy Murray is, however, right – a knighthood is for more than winning a Wimbledon title at the age of 26. A knighthood recognises a lifetime’s achievement. 
Lester May, London NW1
The honours system has become devalued. In the past the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin or David Lean had to wait decades and prove they weren’t flashes in the pan. Even sporting greats such as Roger Bannister and Bobby Charlton had to wait. Now you just have to win a single sporting event.
John Boylan, Hatfield, Hertfordshire
Andy Murray still has some way to go to match other British tennis players: Fred Perry won three consecutive Wimbledon Championships (1934-1936), Reggie Doherty four consecutive titles (1897-1900) and his brother, Laurie Doherty, five (1902-1906).
Dr John Doherty (no relation), Stratford-upon-Avon
1936, 1977, 2013. How can we make a British win at Wimbledon a rather more frequent occurrence?
Richard Walker, London W7
I wish to complain about the Monday 8 July issue of The Independent. It had 19 pages dedicated to the Andy Murray victory at Wimbledon. That wasn’t enough!
Dave Patchett, Birkenhead, Wirral
It is as I have always maintained: we would not win Wimbledon again until players returned to knee-length shorts.
Teresa Fisher, Bedford
Labour loses touch with the working class
Owen Jones (8 July) shows the clear and present danger surrounding the Labour Party. His article also makes it apparent that many of the Labour candidates are in it for one thing and one thing only – to benefit their own careers.
I live in Scotland, where, although Labour seem to be losing a hold on the Scottish parliament, the party has 41 out of 59 Westminster MPs, many of whom are getting a safe seat election after election. In addition, up and down the country many Blairites are getting in to Parliament who put themselves and their own greed before giving a voice to those in society  who would be unheard in the halls of Parliament.
Jones makes it evident that if the Labour Party ends its link with the unions its last connection with the working class will have been cut.
David Walker, Paisley
It is obvious that the Conservative Party is funded by big business and wealthy patrons who expect the party to legislate so that they may retain their wealth and grow richer. Equally obvious is that the Labour Party is funded by the unions, who expect Labour to legislate so that their members may become wealthier.  
The action by Unite to subvert a by-election is really a consequence of the fact that the Conservatives generally deliver on their promises to their donors whereas the Labour Party does not.
Chris Elshaw, Headley Down, Hampshire
According to Martin London, the country went bust because of New Labour (letter, 2 July). That’s a good example of how a myth takes hold – the reality is very different, as readers will find if they look at the report Labour’s Social Policy Record published by Professors John Hills and Ruth Lupton from LSE. The evidence is that until 2007 national debt levels were lower than when Labour took office.
Has Mr London forgotten that there was a crisis in the financial sector starting in 2008, originating in America with sub-prime mortgages given to people who couldn’t repay them? That started the crumbling of our financial system which was intimately tied up with those bad loans and other financial products that people selling them to us knew to be worthless. The crisis started in the private sector, and government debt rose as our government tried to bolster a financial sector that would otherwise have collapsed, with many of us ordinary people losing our savings and so on.
How and why does history get rewritten in such skewed ways?
Jan Hill, London E5
Prophets of  the internet
Jonathan Shirley (letter, 3 July) is right to point out that the internet was predicted far earlier than many think.
He himself is unaware of the astonishing work (involving more than predictions) of Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine, two lawyers from Brussels who, from the late 19th century until their deaths during the Second World War, laid the foundations of an envisaged global knowledge centre, and who can be regarded as the pioneers of the Web.
Otlet, a major figure in the history of bibliography and information science, in an essay on documentation (1934) introduced the concept of the virtual library, foreseeing “an electric telescope allowing people to read at home” pages from books from libraries around the world. The concepts of digitisation, search engines and Wikipedia were all anticipated by him, sometimes visualised in drawings.
From the beginning of the 20th century, he and La Fontaine had started an ambitious project, the Mundaneum, which today has been called “a paper Google”, “the web time forgot” and “networked knowledge, decades before Google”.
The Mundaneum moved from Brussels to Mons, where a museum was opened in 1998, not least thanks to the support of the city’s  mayor, Elio Di Rupo, now Belgium’s Prime Minister.
An exhibition entitled Renaissance 2.0: A journey through the origins of the Web, sponsored by Google, has been held there recently.
Otlet and La Fontaine were great internationalists who saw their project of instantaneous and free access to universal knowledge as promoting world peace. In 1913, La Fontaine received the Nobel Peace Prize, the last one before the First World War.
Dr Peter van den Dungen, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford
Arming rebels never works
Recent video footage showed one of the leaders of the Syrian rebels eating the heart of a fallen government soldier.
The UK has recently decided to arm these cannibals. I suggest we send them knives and forks.
Arming one side of a sectarian dispute is unlikely to bring peace. If the US government had bowed to domestic pressure and armed the IRA, we would not now be enjoying peace in Ulster. Arming the Taliban against Najibullah and his Soviet allies in the 1980s did not lead to a democratic, liberal Afghanistan.
Giving arms to unknown rebel groups is the coward’s way of fighting a proxy war. Either send professional soldiers or work towards a political solution.
Henry Lawrence, Kesgrave,  Suffolk
Schools where we need them
Matching school pupils to places is a black art. It requires a good grasp of national and local population statistics, economics and history, as well as a sound local knowledge of transport, special needs, disadvantage, independent schools and population movements.
A sound economic and political aim should be to establish a national system locally administered, with 5 per cent more places than pupils, in schools offering education suited to all ages, abilities and aptitudes (see the 1944 Education Act.)
Instead, Michael Gove is giving us a free-for-all with a Swedish academy next to Twickenham stadium and a Durand inner-city free school in the depths of the Sussex Downlands. No wonder the natives are getting restless!
George Low, Hampton Hill, Middlesex
So the education secretary, Michael Gove, plans to turn state schools into profitable private businesses. Maybe some public-school educated politician should explain why Eton, Rugby, Uppingham, Fettes, Harrow and Charterhouse are all charities?
Education is a very basic human right; it cannot be consumed. How has our political class declined so far as to accept such a blinkered, ignorant, dishonest, business-directed limitation of education as acceptable for state-educated children? We pay taxes for this?
John Nutt, West Buckland, Somerset
Qatada’s rights
Rather than the excess of due process in the Abu Qatada case (leading article, 8 July) being treated as grounds to applaud ourselves on how civilised we all are, the total absence of due process in the Hillsborough, Lawrence and other cases should be of a much greater concern. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the due process in the Qatada case owing to European human rights law?
Laurence Shields, Wingerworth, Derbyshire
Stones’ edge
I must register my amazement at Mary Hodgson’s lack of recognition of the brilliant visceral edge that the Rolling Stones held over any other band you might care to choose for comparison (letter, 8 July). Was she not there at their beginnings? As to pension funds, given the band members’ frantic, and extended, swivel-hipped activities, I can only commend them for ensuring adequate cover for their long-term care needs.
Charles Oglethorpe, Woking, Surrey

Times:

Most efforts to save for a pension have been nullified by the derisory interest rates available over the past few years
Sir, In your leading article “Paying for Pensions” (July 5) you say: “Looking further out we need to move closer to a funded system where people save for their own retirement, rather than relying on future generations of taxpayers.”
What do you think I was doing when I lost money in Equitable Life? What do you think I was doing when Gordon Brown diminished the value of my pension savings by his change to the dividend tax credit? What do you think I was doing when, while I was working in the US, I made voluntary national insurance contributions towards the state pension which commentators now begrudge me?
Because I knew my occupational pension would be meagre, I saved. Those savings now earn significantly less than inflation, gross, let alone net, and for this everyone is singing hallelujahs — “Shares soar after Carney promises low interest rate” (July 5).
Does anyone in the commentariat stop to think how pensioners react when they read this?
OK. We are where we are, but don’t rub my nose in it. My contemporaries and I paid NI contributions throughout our working lives, aware that we were funding the pensions of those already retired, and assuming that when we reached that age, we would be similarly supported.
I am a child of rationing, brought up only to buy what I could afford. I might have more sympathy with a younger generation if many of its members were not intent on the latest, must-have mobile gadget or zooming off to South America, India, Australia and the like. My generation’s travel ambitions were restricted by the £50 maximum you could take abroad before 1979.
The only reason pensioners need little add-ons such as the bus pass is the pitiful level of the state pension, which is low in comparison with other Western countries.
Elizabeth Balsom
London SW15
Sir, Having saved diligently throughout my working life and having tried to live within my means in order to augment the still inadequate state pension, I find that my efforts are nullified by the derisory interest rates available over the past few years and which will continue for the foreseeable future.
Comments about pensioners sharing more of the financial pain do not appear to recognise this situation and the problems of living on a vastly reduced fixed income and are voiced by people who have contributed very little to the communal pot.
Michael Charnock
Long Crendon, Bucks
Sir, Your editorial shows how out of touch the media are. The rate of inflation is far higher for pensioners than for any other section of society. We spend most of our small income on food and energy. In fact, pensioners have been hit disproportionally hard by the downturn.
Many pensioners left school at 14 and 15 years of age with no prospects of a university education and very few job opportunities other than working long hours in a factory. Many of the present-day pensioners served this country fighting in Korea and the jungles of Malaya for little financial reward. Those of us who have managed to save a small amount for retirement see it vanishing with interest rates well below inflation.
What this country cannot afford is individuals and companies not paying their dues to society.
J. W. Wall
Malvern, Worcs

Bullying behaviour is influenced by peer group, school and social cultures, and involves vulnerable children who both bully and are bullied
Sir, We are deeply concerned by the proposal to include bullying within the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill guidance, and the recent amendment to extend injunction powers to head teachers.
This is likely to lead to more children being unnecessarily drawn into the criminal justice system, and will have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable children. Seven out of 10 children breach their anti-social behaviour orders and 40 per cent of these cases result in imprisonment. Anti-social behaviour orders are regularly imposed on people with mental health problems and learning difficulties — some of those most vulnerable to bullying — but the Bill includes no provision to carry out a health and welfare assessment on children for whom these orders are imposed.
Instead of this legislative proposal we urge the Government to continue to invest in what works. Bullying behaviour is multi-faceted — often influenced by peer group, school and social cultures, and regularly involves vulnerable children who both bully and are bullied. We must not allow diminished local resources to be an excuse for neglecting children who need our protection; we must hold schools to account using existing laws when they fail in their duties; we must invest in anti-bullying programmes that bring about lasting change and we must challenge bullying behaviour wherever it occurs.
Ross Hendry & Lauren Seager-Smith, Anti-Bullying Alliance; Dr Hilary Emery, National Children’s Bureau; Anna Martinez, National Children’s Bureau; Claude Knights, Kidscape; Peter Wanless, NSPCC; Luke Tryl, Stonewall; Will Gardner, Childnet International; James Robinson, Mencap; Chris Keates, NASUWT; Alex Holmes, Diana Award; Tom Cunningham, Durham County Council

Sir William Howard Russell reported on the potato famine in Ireland, as well as being a celebrated war reporter for The Times
Sir, The meddlesome Irishman “Billy” Russell not only invented war reporting (“Salute to the first great battlefield reporter”, July 6) but also did the same for civilian suffering with his reports in The Times of the 1847 potato famine.
Looking back on his career, he wrote that in all his years “supping full of horrors in the tide of war, I never beheld sights so shocking as those which met my eyes in that Famine tour” in the West of Ireland.
Dr John Doherty
Gaoth Dobhair, Co Donegal

The residential streets where so many of us live are underused public spaces that can be shared more imaginatively
Sir, Professor Ashton’s warnings about the health crisis facing younger generations are stark (July 3) and he is right to focus on “places where we live that support healthy living”.
The residential streets where so many of us live are underused public spaces that can be shared more imaginatively. Local authorities such as Bristol and Hackney already have policies to support street play, giving children much needed chances for active play close to home, and allow residents to apply for temporary road closures.
The time is ripe to reconsider who and what our streets are for.
Naomi Fuller
Playing Out, Bristol

The content and services provided by libraries may have changed dramatically over the past few years, but the name remains the same
Sir, Your piece on the image of libraries and librarians (“Raised voices as librarians try to find a better word for themselves”, July 6) reflects the soul searching that has gone on for decades among librarians and others.
When I was librarian at the University of Salford in the 1980s we were the first university to merge library and computing services. The service was to be called Academic Information Services. I predicted, correctly, that everyone would still call it the library. The content of libraries, the range of services provided and the tasks of librarians have changed dramatically over the past two decades but everybody still understands library, though many need to be more informed about the changes in the services that libraries provide.
Dr Colin Harris
Emeritus Professor and former University Librarian, Manchester Metropolitan University

Telegraph:

SIR – The hay wain in Constable’s picture (report, June 30) is not in the act of crossing the river, but making its way to the ford further along that leads to the reapers in the distance.
The main reason for taking to the water was to cool the legs of the horses and to soak the wheels of the wagon. In hot, dry weather the wood shrinks, causing the metal band around the rim to loosen. By wetting the wheels, the metal band is kept in place.
Ron Moss
Oxford

SIR – If union members can be enrolled into the Labour Party without their knowledge, in order to provide sufficient numbers to elect a preferred parliamentary candidate, as has been alleged in Falkirk, then it is a small moral step to creating bogus Labour voters for general elections.
For this reason, postal votes in general elections should be banned, except for the Armed Forces overseas.
Terry Lloyd
Darley Abbey, Derbyshire
SIR – It is clear that the people who have the least say in the choice of the Labour Party candidate to represent Falkirk at the next election are the good people of Falkirk themselves.
Related Articles
Constable and the art of hay wain maintenance
08 Jul 2013
Don Hadfield
Cardiff
SIR – Why is Unite not feeling the full force of the law?
Are we really going back to the Seventies when union bosses felt themselves to be above the law and had political leaders at their beck and call?
Michael Edwards
Haslemere, Surrey
SIR – Labour complains that Unite is behaving like a trade union. The surprise is that anyone should be surprised.
All concerned should issue writs in the High Court. The outcome will depend on the facts and on scrutiny of the rules of the Labour Party and of the trade union.
A complaint has been made to the police, as a means, it seems, of asserting that Ed Miliband is an alpha male. Hundreds of hours of police time will result in nothing: this is a dispute for the civil courts.
The Chief Constable of Scotland could tell Mr Miliband that, if no criminal offence be found, consideration will be given to prosecuting him for wasting police time.
Peter R Douglas-Jones
Swansea
SIR – Labour should concentrate less on Falkirk, and consider how it was that union representatives voted Ed Miliband into the party leadership against the wishes of Labour MPs and those who vote for them.
B E Norton
Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire
SIR – Should Labour be elected, we now know we will be governed by the unions again. Welcome back to the Seventies.
Celia Gardiner
London SE26
SIR – Should Labour gain power at the next election, would they have time to govern?
Claire Bushby
East Horsley, Surrey
SIR – Schadenfreude is generally an unpleasant thing. But when it comes to in‑fighting between Labour and Unite, the word is inadequate to describe the joy and hope it gives those who wish neither well.
Charles Foster
Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire
Annus Murrabilis
SIR – For as long as I can remember, when I have been asked the year in which I was born, I could reply: “The last time we had a Wimbledon champion.”
What suitable answer should I now give?
Rev E Michael Peters
Southampton
SIR – A magnificent display of paar and eccrucy (with apologies to the late Dan Maskell).
Robert Quayle
West Drayton, Middlesex
SIR – The blatant partisanship of some of the centre court crowd was intolerable. Supporting your man is one thing. An audible sigh of relief when his opponent makes an error is quite another.
Alan Ashton
Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire
SIR – Tennis is a gentle game, so why has the clenched fist become a universal gesture for players and spectators alike?
Anthony Messenger
Windsor, Berkshire
SIR – I have no complaints about the BBC’s television coverage. My problem was with the constant switching from BBC1 to BBC2, and often back, during the same match.
Pity the disappointment of anyone who tried to set his recorder to capture the matches on returning from work.
Colin Piers
Chorleywood, Hertfordshire
Getting quite a buzz
SIR – I seem to remember reading in Walden that Thoreau, during his self-imposed isolation beside the pond, was visited by a swarm of wasps (Letters, July 6) that covered the walls of his little house to such an extent he could not see out of the windows.
They did not bother him, he said, so he left them alone and eventually one day they all flew away.
Leslie Rocker
Warminster, Wiltshire
Passive shopping
SIR – You report that “half an hour in shops is too long for men” (July 6). I have found that this is just about the right amount of time to stand in a corner of the shop and complete the Telegraph’s moderate sudoku. Now it is warm and dry, the nearest public bench outside is ideal.
Roger Godwin
Salisbury
SIR – When I want a product, I go to the shop with the widest range, then buy the item I least dislike.
My wife goes to all the shops in town seeking the item she most likes.
Nick Hawksley
Ilminster, Somerset
Mobile queue-jumpers
SIR – Unlike the Sainsbury’s check-out worker (report, July 2), I was once too nonplussed to react when the woman with whom I was in mid-conversation, in a professional capacity, accepted a mobile phone call and proceeded to carry out an animated personal conversation in front of me and the queue behind her.
The occasion was a secondary school parents’ evening and we were in the middle of discussing her daughter’s academic progress.
Neither I nor the queuing parents behind her said a thing. Should we have? What should we have said? And would we have been supported by management?
Margaret Kemp
Upminster, Essex
Part-time soldiers
SIR – I have served in both the regular Army and the Territorial Army. My territorial service was with an excellent unit attached to an equally excellent regular Army unit, where the training was taken in tandem.
But my employer did not like my being a part-time soldier, and I was given the option either to be a full-time soldier, or a full-time employee. Unfortunately I had to resign from the TA.
The letter on employing reservists (July 3) was from three leading chief executives of big organisations. Those working for small enterprises may find it very much more difficult to get the time for training and operational commitments.
Compensation of £500 a month for the loss of key staff for reserve commitments will not appease small entrepreneurs.
Dr John Black
Bristol
Pyramid broadcasting
SIR – Does the BBC really need to field Jim Naughtie as well as Jeremy Bowen and Quentin Somerville, each with their entourages, to cover the situation in Egypt? On Saturday’s Today, Jim Naughtie merely interviewed Jeremy Bowen for an update.
David Gray
Wimborne, Dorset
Sale of arson devices
SIR – As a livestock and woodland owner I have been aware for many years of the dangers of Chinese lanterns (Letters, July 5) and, yes, I am a “party-pooper”.
Last year, when out doing Christmas shopping, if the goods were being sold in the shop, I made a point of engaging the cashier in conversation, gently pointing out (after all they are not the people who purchase the goods) how dangerous they can be.
Most people just do not realise how lethal these beautiful looking things are.
Candy Haley
Cobham, Surrey
Abu Qatada’s family
SIR – Now that Abu Qatada has finally gone to Jordan, I am sure his family would like to be near him. So shouldn’t we offer to pay the air fare for them to join him, thus saving the taxpayer thousands of pounds in benefit payments? That is, providing it is not against their human rights.
Gillian Terry
Norwich
Beds in sheds produce a Middlesex shanty-town
SIR – The report on Ealing being blighted by an epidemic of “beds in sheds” (June 27) struck a chord in Hounslow. Views over gardens now resemble shanty towns, where once it was almost a rural scene.
Planning consent is no longer necessary for a building in the back garden if it is less than half the garden space. With many gardens here more than 30ft wide and 60ft long, that can make for a very big building.
In Hounslow we estimate that 20,000 gardens contain substantial brick structures or more ramshackle sheds with exits into back alleys or the front street. Owners say the purpose is for a “gym”, but neighbours observe many more residents than can fit in the standard three-bed semi emerging into the street in the early morning.
With 24 hours’ notice needed for an inspection, it’s easy to move out the beds and hire gym equipment for the day. Tenants are told not to speak to inspectors. It has been heart-breaking to see the conditions that some, often vulnerable, tenants live in: water dripping down walls, loose wiring, mould and the smell of leaky pipes. They’re too scared to complain.
To me, this is organised crime on a massive scale and needs an organised response. Yes, the Government has provided some funding to tackle the problem – in Hounslow’s case, £285,000 out of the £2.5 million total – but this is not enough. With only five or six officers taking on the task it will be many years before it is brought under control.
Hounslow loses out financially, too, on council tax, as HM Revenue and Customs does on landlords’ income tax. This would offset a 20 per cent increase in costs of services for the tenants (refuse collection, doctors’ surgeries and school places).
We need more powers for councils (scrapping the 24-hour notice at least). We need tighter planning controls, more frequent checks, better coordination with HMRC, the police, fire brigade and the Borders Agency, with the prosecution of rogue landlords, all in a blaze of publicity.
Cllr Sheila O’Reilly (Con)
London Borough of Hounslow
Osterley, Middlesex

Irish Times:

Sir, – There is no legal or constitutional obligation for Enda Kenny or any other politician to legislate for the deliberate killing of an unborn child and there is no medical evidence to support this radical change to how we treat our mothers and their children. His assertion that he has a duty and responsibility to legislate in respect of the people’s wishes is totally unfounded.
Legislation for abortion was never included in election manifestos, or Plan for Government of the Fine Gael and Labour Coalition partners. More significantly, the Irish people have already voted to maintain legal protection for the unborn child, in three referendums, as did Enda Kenny’s party Fine Gael, along with the Labour Party in 2002.
In rejecting the 2002 referendum, these parties voted to retain and protect the existing statutory law. Mr Kenny and other political leaders cannot choose to ignore or to abandon that statutory law which protects unborn life from the moment of its existence, the 1861 Offences Against the Person Acts 58 & 59 and again in the 1979 Health Act. While these same Dáil leaders, party members and Senators are now calling for the repeal of this long-standing “all Ireland” law, Attorney General for Northern Ireland John F Larkin QC states, “abortion in Northern Ireland is a matter regulated by the criminal law . . . abortion in Northern Ireland is a criminal offence”.
The taking of an innocent and defenceless human life can never be justified. Therefore, to decriminalise abortion is a contradiction of the most fundamental principle of the legal system; the principle that human life is to be safeguarded and defended at all times. The right to life is the foundation of all other human rights. The Government must respect the democratic and constitutional right of the people to have the final say on this matter by referendum. – Yours, etc,
DANA ROSEMARY
SCALLON,

Sir, – I have just finished reading the article by the German journalist Christian Zaschke first published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung and republished in the Weekend Review (July 6th). Catastrophic errors of judgment were made in the past. But the future is ours to remedy these. There are resources that surround our shores that can be used to fund the needs of the State.
As it stands we have everything to gain and not much left to lose. Let us follow Norway’s example. – Yours, etc,
MÁIRE O’ HAGAN,
Willow Park Avenue,
Dublin 11.
Sir, – Christian Zaschke incorrectly states a number of items regarding the offshore oil and gas report that the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture conducted and published in May 2012, which I chaired. The committee was made up of TDs and Senators from Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Independents.
Firstly, he says the committee was appointed by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte. This is incorrect. The committee was formed after the general election of 2011 and offshore oil and gas was the appropriate committee to produce a report on this policy field.
Mr Rabbitte had no hand or part to play in handpicking any Deputies and Senators to come together and produce this extensive report, supported by all political parties. Is the author suggesting Mr Rabbitte handpicked leading spokespersons from the opposition, namely TDs Éamon Ó Cuív, Martin Ferris, Michael Moynihan and Michael Colreavy?
Secondly, he incorrectly states the committee “came to the conclusion that it would be better to leave everything as it is”. Again, this is not the case. After numerous public hearings and sessions with relevant stakeholders, we recommended to the Minister to introduce a new fiscal licensing regime and greater public consultation on offshore oil and gas exploration.
The committee’s report explicitly stated that the overall tax take should, in the case of future licences, be amended from the existing policy to be increased, on a gradual scale over time to a minimum of 40 per cent, with a sliding scale up to 80 per cent for very large commercial discoveries.
The all-party report said a transparent system of public consultation should be fostered, including a statutory commitment that qualifying local communities be compensated financially through infrastructural and social development. It also said the Petroleum and Other Minerals Act 1960 should be reviewed to ensure a transparent fiscal licensing system, underpinned by clear law.
Furthermore, we recommended a forum be established, made up of third-level institutions, oil and gas companies, trade unions, government nominees and environmental and community representatives, and that ongoing contact be pursued with other countries, such as Norway and Portugal, to exchange ideas on best practice. – Yours, etc,
ANDREW DOYLE, TD
Leinster House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Sir, – Mr Zaschke writes: “The banks, above all Anglo Irish Bank, worked ceaselessly to pump fresh money into the already overheated property market”. He does not inform either his German or his Irish readers regarding the providers of this money that was ceaselessly and recklessly supplied to Anglo and the other Irish banks. — Yours, etc,
GERALD PALMER,
Viking Wharf,
Kinsale, Co Cork.
Sir, – Why are we so pathetically passive in the face of political corruption and incompetence? That is a question puzzling to many both inside and outside Ireland, and it’s about time we came up with some answers. – Yours, etc,
PAUL MAHER,
Sir, – A sailor in the Naval Service who grabbed a female colleague’s breasts without her consent, in front of witnesses, has the case against him dismissed (Home News, July 4th).
A note to parents: yet another “fact of life” with which to equip your daughters for the real world. – Yours, etc,
ARTHUR BRADY,
Sir, – Dr John Murray’s defence of his Iona Institute colleagues (“There is no evidence to suggest we should abandon traditional marriage as basis of our society”, Opinion & Analysis, July 3rd) was interesting, if baffling.
Dr Murray points out that there is a lack of research to date on how children raised by same-sex couples are faring. He goes on to say that “until sufficient good-quality research is conducted, we must withhold judgement and not even consider redefining marriage, which is so valuable as our most child-centred social institution”.
Presumably by this Dr Murray means children raised by same-sex partners are to be denied access to this “most child-centred social institution”, so we will never have good-quality comparable research and because we won’t have that we should never redefine marriage.
It makes me inclined to suggest that while we await the results of the Iona Institute’s research on which came first, the chicken or the egg, that the rest of us should move on with the discussion. – Yours, etc,
THOMAS O’CONNOR,

Sir, – Thomas Farrell’s statue of Dr William Dease in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland is well known to generations of doctors (“Pairs of sculptures now Dublin landmarks”, An Irishman’s Diary, Bryan MacMahon, July 5th).
Dr Dease, a founder of the RCSI and its first professor of surgery, died from a wound to the femoral artery, rumoured to have been self-inflicted.
Shortly after the installation of the statue in the front hall of the college, a crack appeared in the marble which traced the exact anatomical course of the femoral artery.
Passing medical students thus become unfailingly familiar with the topography of the inner thigh of their illustrious predecessor. – Yours, etc,
Dr JOHN DOHERTY,

A chara, – I’m glad that your your Editorial (July 5th) mentioned the notable success of the dual-education system in Germany, where apprenticeships are combined with education, thus helping young school-leavers to get employment. Why are we so slow to follow such a common-sense and winning system? – Is mise,
SEÁN Ó CUINN,
Sir, – In your Property supplement of July 4th there is not a single mention of an Aga. Is this a record? – Yours, etc,
BRENDAN CONWAY,

Irish Independent:
* The intensity of the migration of birds in Ireland is matched only by the seasonal stream of second-home owners who make their way to the four corners of Ireland. The birds are driven by instinct, the human migrants by wealth, and perhaps by the cuckoo instinct to inhabit seasonally the nests of other birds.
Also in this section
Quantum leap required
Let justice belatedly be done
No conflict with Mr Halligan’s job
The curse of the second home is a significant contributor to poverty in Ireland. The great tragedy of this sad tale is the insidious demolition of so many villages and townlands through the drift of those who already have more than their fair share of Ireland’s resources towards the acquisition of even more.
Families who for generations lived by fishing cannot afford to live in the fishing villages.
Charles Haughey set the standard for those who followed him. He was inspired by a misunderstanding of the Gospel idea that in God’s kingdom there are many mansions, so he sought to get his hands on as many as he could. How he paid for them still remains a divine mystery.
The east coast plantation by Dublin’s wealthy professionals devastated the ordinary lives of people. Brittas Bay became Leinster House-by-the-sea. Farms were bought by doctors and lawyers to become summer playgrounds. Great stretches of access to beaches were commandeered.
As one drives through Connemara, it is sad to see the number of empty houses awaiting the arrival of their seasonal occupants. These passing visitors usually bring their supplies with them, so the argument that second homes are a boon to the local economy is threadbare. Some time ago I asked the opinion of an elderly Irish-speaking gentleman in Carraroe. He replied: “Tugaimid seo an ionradh Bhaile Atha Cliath (We call this the Dublin invasion).” There was resignation in his voice.
By the way, my wife and I will shortly be spending four weeks in our second home. It is a tent.
Philip O’Neill
Oxford
FOR PEAT’S SAKE
* More thought and energy have been expended in Europe on preventing Irish turf-cutters from tending to their bogs than on miscreant bankers.
We can’t burn our turf, our bankers or our bondholders, but it is entirely permissible to allow our reputation to go up in flames.
CW Toal
Blackrock, Co Dublin
PUNISH THE MISCREANTS
* The non-disclosure up to now of the recently released Anglo Tapes is surely more damaging for our reputation abroad than the original banking collapse and the undemocratic bailout.
The last government is as responsible for not exposing these tapes. It is unbelievable that no records or minutes exist regarding what transpired on the night of the bank bailout in 2008. For that alone, those involved should face severe consequences.
We have had five years of heel-dragging over the whole banking catastrophe that has brought this country to its knees.
Christy Kelly
Limerick
GATLAND’S PETTY ACT
* The Lions won the series – fair play. But the casting aside of one of the best players to ever pull on a pair of boots gave a hollow sound to the pride’s roar.
Warren Gatland said he had a “difficult” week in the build-up to the game and was “shocked” by the criticism surrounding the omission of O’Driscoll.
Had he taken a measure of Brian and then looked again at his own decision, he might have been less shocked ed by the reaction to his petty and small-minded act.
JR O’Brien
Sandycove, Co Dublin
I’M SO SHATTERED
* I was already feeling disgruntled, then Justice Minister Alan Shatter added fat to the proverbial fire.
“If the aim is to have an extra hour of daylight in the evening, rather than the mornings, this could be achieved without legislation by getting up, going to work and finishing work an hour earlier,” he said.
Thanks to the Haddington Road Agreement, my working week increased by two hours on July 1. Somebody please tell the minister that we do not all have the luxury of reorganising our time to suit the daylight. I am grateful to have a job, now that permanent employment in the private sector has become a distant memory. So I am now forced to finish work at 6pm and my starting time is dictated by my daughter’s school hours.
Another chink of light was taken from life this week. The minister’s comment was not well-lit.
Catherine Byrne
Swords, Co Dublin
EGYPTIANS SHOW WAY
* It’s interesting to see some of the comments regarding Egypt in the media. The angle that irritates me most is that Mohamed Morsi was democratically elected, and so should be allowed to serve his term.
In saying this, our media are telling us that we can have our vote every four years or so, and then we should just sit back, shut up and allow the Government to do whatever it wants.
The Egyptian people have shown again that the vote is only the beginning of their participation in the political process. Governments are answerable to us. As Thomas Jefferson said: “When the people fear the government, there’s tyranny; when the government fears the people, there’s liberty.”
Arthur Anthony
Tooting, London
LISTEN TO LUCINDA
* Junior minister Lucinda Creighton stands staunchly for what is right. She does so regardless of the life change or career sacrifices it entails. Her action is for the noblest cause of all – saving defenceless human life.
It would be a heartless Taoiseach who would ignore her suggested amendments to the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill, which includes the X Case clause, without giving it serious consideration. To eliminate the threat of suicide as grounds for an abortion, she suggests providing a “multi-disciplinary care plan” and therapy for suicidal women seeking an abortion. If a similar advisory service on a national basis was put in place for women intending to travel for abortions, the numbers could be reduced considerably.
Lord David Steel, who implemented the 1967 law that set off abortion in Britain, recently said it would be a mistake for Ireland to introduce abortion on the grounds of suicide, adding that he never envisaged there would be so many abortions in Britain resulting from the law he introduced.
James Gleeson
Thurles, Co Tipperary
CLASS VERSUS CRASS
* What did we learn about the feline families and their leaders over the weekend? The Lions and their much-maligned boss are class. Kilkenny Cats and their written-off boss are still on track for an All-Ireland final. But the ‘kitten’ Lucinda may have FG whip problems. And her former boss Dukes didn’t bother to inform the various inquires of the Anglo Tapes. Why? Because nobody asked him.
Our sportsmen are class and our politicians are crass.
Sean Kelly
Tramore, Co Waterford
SAINTS AND SINNERS
* I wonder how many nominated for canonisation over the centuries will make the real list when the roll is called up yonder? Not too many, I expect, even from our sainted island.
Liam Power
Ballina, Co Mayo

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