Still sore throat

14 July 2013 Still sore throat

No Navy lark can’t go around the park too risky,
Warmer today just read Dr Who books and very slowly do some chores.
We watch Blith Spirit its not bad, magic
No Scrabble we are just too tired


Feiler moved to Cornwall in the early 1950s and became associated with the post-war modernists in St Ives through his friend Peter Lanyon. As an abstract expressionist, he began creating turbulent works in which the paint was applied in slabs; but his later works — elegant geometric patterns — had a much more refined and spiritual quality.
Though he found inspiration in the Cornish light, Feiler was never a typical St Ives painter, and his works owed more to the muscular continental influences of Mondrian, Cézanne and the Bauhaus. As he himself conceded: “I couldn’t become a ventriloquist and try to become someone else just to be a member of the scene. Gradually I withdrew from the scene and did my own thing.”
A visit to an exhibition of Feiler’s best-known geometrical works could have a disturbing visual effect, like a sudden shift of focus. His later paintings typically consist of a fine build-up of shallow, thin bands of colour which seem to pulse and oscillate between the impression of a disengaged grey mass and a recessive space in which shifting hues of natural light are sharply defined. The harmonies of colour are often so close that the eye needs time to adjust — as if stepping from daylight into the rich gloom of a shrine.
Indeed, there was a profound mystical quality to Feiler’s work, reflected in the titles he chose for series such as Sekos (a sacred enclosure) and Janicon (a combination of Janus and icon). His tonalities frequently derived from Orthodox iconography, and often included thin strands of gold or silver leaf, while his metaphysical approach to nature owed more to the German tradition of Caspar Friedrich than to British romanticism.
In the 1950s and ’60s there were many ties between British and American abstract artists. In 1958 Mark Rothko and his wife Mell paid a visit to Cornwall and, together with Peter Lanyon and Terry Frost, had tea with Feiler and his wife at their home in Kerris, near Penzance. The event became famous because of a much-reproduced photograph of the occasion, taken by Feiler, providing proof positive that the great American icon of abstract art once stood on Cornish soil.
Feiler’s own subtle juxtapositions of colour and his creation of deep enveloping space would offer a fascinating parallel to the work of his American contemporary. Rothko and other American modernists pursued abstraction for abstraction’s sake. But as John Steer, the most perceptive commentator on Feiler’s art observed, in Feiler’s work “the abstract and the absolute are, as it were, grounded in the real”.
Paul Feiler was born in Frankfurt am Main on April 30 1918 into a cultivated and cosmopolitan family whose members were doctors, lawyers and liberal politicians. His father was a professor of dentistry. His parents encouraged his youthful interest in art, and childhood experiences of climbing and skiing in the Alps at Ortisei and Garmisch Partenkirchen (where his grandmother had a house) would influence his later preoccupation with the elusive nature of space, perspective and light.
When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Paul was sent away to school by his parents, first to Zwolle in the Netherlands, then to Canford School in Dorset.
In 1936 his parents joined him in London, where his father set up a dental practice in Harley Street. Paul enrolled at the Slade, where fellow students included Patrick Heron, the Adrians Heath and Ryan, Bryan Wynter and Kenneth Armitage.
Although, as a result of his education, Feiler had become thoroughly anglicised by this time, on the outbreak of war in 1939 he was interned as an enemy alien, first on the Isle of Man, then, for a year, in Canada.
Returning to Britain in 1941, he became a teacher at Eastbourne College, which had been evacuated during the war to Oxford and combined with Radley College. Then, after the war ended, he joined the staff of the West of England College of Art in Bristol where, in 1960, he became head of painting.
In 1949 his work was included in an Arts Council “Young Contemporaries” exhibition in Bristol, and the following year in an exhibition of “Slade Contemporaries”, alongside works by Bryan Wynter, Robin Treffgarne, Adrian Ryan and Patrick Heron.
Feiler visited Cornwall for the first time in 1949 and was encouraged to move there permanently by Lanyon, at whose summer school in St Ives he would teach for several years. “The scene both in London and Cornwall was very lively,” he recalled. “You went into St Ives and there were all the great artists standing in the pub, having a good time.”
In 1953 he acquired a disused chapel in Kerris which he converted into his home, though he continued to live in Bristol for much of the time until his retirement from teaching. In 1975 he would take over Bryan Wynter’s studio, a converted barn near the Cornish village of Paul.
Feiler had his first solo exhibition at the Redfern Gallery in 1953. It was a sell-out, and he would have four further exhibitions at the gallery in the 1950s. In 1954, at the Obelisk Gallery in Washington, DC, he had the first of several solo exhibitions in America.
His early oils, with their thick earthy colours applied in slabs with a certain expressionist machismo, clearly relate to the work of Lanyon and Wynter; but as the 1950s wore on, his fascination with how light changes in landscape acquired a more abstract quality, with elements of the landscape — cliffs, tree trunks, boulders — floating in large expanses of creamy white space. Many of his works were given the titles of features on the Cornish coast.
The trajectory of his artistic development, however, was somewhat in advance of public taste, and in 1959, when Feiler exhibited his new and much more abstract painterly style at the Redfern, none of the works sold and the gallery ended the relationship.
Although he continued to show his work at solo exhibitions (in London at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1962 and 1965, and at the Archer Gallery in 1972), for the next 30 or so years he suffered somewhat from critical neglect. Yet they were years that saw his work reach its full maturity.
A turning point came in the late 1960s when a science writer showed him a girder he had picked up on the Apollo 11 launch site, and asked him to paint the Moon. So began a series of explorations of Space that led to the pared-down geometric abstractions which became his most characteristic approach — square paintings in which perpendicular and rectangular matrices frame often circular, sometimes square or striped inner spaces.
In 1993 the Redfern Gallery renewed its relationship, and Feiler had seven solo shows there between 1993 and 2010. The Tate, St Ives, mounted two large solo exhibitions of his paintings, in 1995 and 2005, and he continued to work in his studio every day until his death.
Examples of Feiler’s work are held in numerous British collections, including the Tate, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Kettle’s Yard and the Arts Council. International collections featuring his work include the Gallery of Modern Art in Washington, DC; the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris; and the Toronto Art Gallery in Canada.
In 1945 Paul Feiler married the painter June Miles, with whom he had a son and two daughters. The marriage was dissolved, and in 1970 he married the painter Catharine Armitage, with whom he had twin sons.
His wife and children survive him.
Paul Feiler, born April 30 1918, died July 8 2013


The Department for Education’s response to Daniel Boffey’s report about free schools (“Free schools set up in areas ‘with no need'”) is more misleading than most such rebuttals. “English schools have not been good enough for far too long.” Wrong. The Pearson/Economist Intelligence Unit report published late last year placed us sixth out of 40 countries overall and second for educational attainment.
“The evidence proves that new schools also encourage those which already exist to raise their game.” It’s far too early to draw such a sweeping conclusion, which is not in line with the international evidence about either free schools or the effects of competition between schools.
Michael Gove should ensure his department’s statements exemplify the rigour that he seeks to instil in the nation’s schoolchildren.
Ron Glatter, emeritus professor of educational administration and management
The Open University
Myth of Labour and the unionsThe myth of Labour and the unions
Your editorial on Labour and the trade unions (“We need unions. But not as Labour’s bankers”) inadvertently promotes the myth that all trade unions are affiliated to and finance the Labour party. In fact, many of the unions most active in opposition to the government have no such links. Teachers, lecturers, health professionals, police and civil servants and even tube drivers are all represented by unions without links to Labour.
And while the relationship between Labour and its affiliated unions needs to be revisited, let’s keep things in perspective. The average contribution through the political levy per member is some £4 a year.
Jeremy Beecham, Labour (chair, Labour NEC, 2005-06)
House of Lords
Role of shale gas overstated
It was disappointing that your article on fracking (“Will fracking these green hills solve Britain’s energy crisis?”, In Focus) attributed too much significance to the role of shale gas in cutting carbon dioxide emissions in the US in recent years.
A report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows that the rapid development of renewable energy and improvements in energy efficiency were also important factors in bringing about this decline in emissions. Between 2007 and 2012, energy use in the US fell by 6.4%, largely as a result of advances in energy efficiency and total installed capacity of renewable energy (excluding hydropower) almost doubled.
Your report also points out that the UK government is planning to offer significant subsidies to communities prepared to accept shale gas drilling. This is happening despite the International Energy Agency warning that subsidies to fossil fuels must be cut if we are to have any chance of limiting average global temperature increases to 2C.
Understating the contribution of renewables and energy efficiency improvements will not help us bring about the cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that are so urgently needed.
Gordon James
Time to reassess council tax
The article on the problems of Britain’s high streets, which highlighted Ashford in Kent, correctly concluded that business rates are one of the main issues (“High streets don’t have a chance as business rates soar”, Business). However, without a holistic look at the whole question of local government funding, this is unlikely to be addressed. Business rates are an important part of the income of local government, so to cut them without making up the resultant shortfall would only worsen the crisis in public services.
At Kent county council, the government’s attack on local government in the name of austerity means the budget will fall in real terms by 40% in the five years from 2010-11. KCC has unveiled a proposal to close 23 children’s centres and such announcements will become common across the country.
While business rates have increased, there has been a lot of emphasis on the supposedly vote-winning measure to freeze council tax. KCC, along with most councils, has not seen an increase in three years. While increasing council tax at the low end should not be contemplated, with the poor bearing far too much of the brunt of the government’s political experiment, a re-analysis of this tax is surely overdue. It is still based on 1996 valuations and sees the top bracket paying only twice as much as the lowest bracket. A rebalancing of business rates could then take place.
Martin Whybrow, Green party KCC councillor
Determining term time
As a former teacher and deputy headteacher in secondary education, I welcome the review of school holidays.Further factors need to be considered before final and local decisions are made – the most socially disadvantaged students lose most over a six-week holiday period; a four-week summer break would be more cognitively efficient.
Also, the Easter-dependent length of the spring term is the one when student and staff resilience is at a low point. A longer spring term break combined with an imaginative response from the travel industry and a fixed date for Easter should improve attendance rates of both students and staff and offer less excuse for term-time holidays.
BK Polachowski

Whether we (including Mr Blair) agree with him or not, President Morsi was elected by a majority with a mandate to make changes, more of a mandate it might be said than the coalition in Britain. But once in power he was denied the chance to rule effectively by a military that tied his hands and limited his powers, which in turn bred new discontent because he could not offer Blair-like “decisive” government. On the opposite page, Omar Ashour writes like a true democrat: also no supporter of Morsi, he highlights the danger of selecting who has the right to win an election and who doesn’t by making an analogy with Franco and the left in Spain.
What signal do apologists such as Blair send out to ordinary Muslims, who, having been told to use the ballot box, not bombs and bullets, see a coup condoned because its supporters are the “right sort of people”? Forget the contortions, Mr Blair, just shoot from the hip and don’t pretend to be a democrat.
Richard Woolley
North Yorkshire
You argue (“Egyptian army had no choice but to topple Morsi, says Blair”, News) that the uprising in Egypt against the Muslim Brotherhood is viewed by the region’s Muslim population “as an indefensible coup organised by the Egyptian military establishment”. Not only does this ignore the millions in Egypt who rose up against the Brotherhood, it ignores the millions across the region who do not want their lives dictated by hard-line Islamists with an anti-women, anti-freedom agenda and who want to live in a secular society based on tolerance and liberty.
The extraordinary accommodation of so many Europeans who style themselves “liberal” and “progressive” with reactionary Islamists is another story, but don’t insult those in the Middle East who are fighting this reaction.
Simon Jarrett
Greater London
Tony Blair applauds the Egyptian army’s “removal” of democratically elected President Morsi on the ground that the only alternative is “chaos”. By chaos, he means the “virtual disappearance” of law and order, “not properly functioning” public services and a “tanking” economy. And he recognises these problems of “efficacy” are compounded by “resentment at the ideology and intolerance of the Muslim Brotherhood”.
In fact, the instability and monthly casualties were greater during the interim military regime that preceded Morsi’s election. The inevitable backlash of mass protests by cheated Morsi supporters will ensure continued chaos, which the army, like Morsi, will be unable to prevent. Blair’s assertion that “there is probably a majority for an intrinsically secular approach to government in the region” is unsupported and implausible.
Since most Egyptians voted only a year ago for conservative, Islamist parties, it is difficult to see how new elections can produce a stable, non-Islamist government.
New democracies in many poor countries have faced and continue to face similar problems for decades. The Egyptian army should have given Morsi a lot longer than a year to create stability before staging a coup. Blair is misguided, morally and politically, to applaud it.
Joseph Palley
Democracy, as Winston Churchill said, is the worst form of government – except for all the others. Those most certainly include military coups. Mohamed Morsi was democratically elected. His policies may not have pleased everyone and there may indeed have been problems with law and order during his brief tenure of power. None of that excuses the army takeover or his imprisonment.
The army is now having the dumbfounding cheek to complain about people using force against them when they have unilaterally displaced a legitimate government. Tony Blair and other apologists for these strong-arm tactics should be ashamed of themselves.
Andrew McLuskey


I have been involved in the care of numerous patients on the Liverpool Care Pathway, (“Inquiry into policy that ‘kills off’ patients”, 7 July). In every case I have found it to provide a superior level of care than would previously have been the case, leading to a more calm and dignified death for the individual concerned and a significantly less distressing experience for their loved ones.
The pathway focuses the minds of all those caring for a dying patient on the specific needs of that person. Sadly, such care is often lacking in today’s NHS, and anything which promotes it, especially in someone’s final days, should be embraced.
Dr Dominic Horne
Clinical services director Worcester Walk-in Health Centre
An oil rig is a movable device typically used to drill wells. Piper Alpha, the 25th anniversary of whose destruction you reported (7 July), was an oil platform, a fixed structure built for oil production on an ongoing basis, which should have been designed and managed in a safe way.
What was so tragic about Piper was that this was supposedly a production facility, like a factory where people go to work on a daily basis, but one where the standards of operation and maintenance were woefully inadequate to the task of handling flammable liquids and gases. Drilling for oil and gas is dangerous because of its inherent uncertainties, its subsequent production should not be. The 167 men who died deserved better – it is a source of concern that no one has ever been held to account for the failings that led to the tragedy.
Niall Young
Montrose, Angus
I see a stark contrast between Scotland’s fawning, subservient treatment of multinational companies working in our waters to the United States government’s strident and critical reaction to shortcomings in US waters.
I cannot see the many US inquiries and prosecutions arising out of the Deepwater Horizon disaster (11 dead), coming up with conclusions similar to those about Piper Alpha (167 dead). Namely it was all down to a roustabout, now lying dead at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.
Tom Minogue
Dunfermline, Fife
The “Falkirk affair” (“MPs to Ed – two weeks to show you’re the boss”, 7 July) exposes fundamental issues for all parties.
I would suggest only individuals and no corporate organisations (companies, trade unions) should be allowed to donate to political parties (with a cap of, say, £5,000 a year) – to avoid any semblance of “vested interest”. I would also suggest any candidate standing for election must have been resident in the constituency (actually lived there) for a minimum of, say, three years prior to the election. This would avoid the “placing” of candidates in “safe” seats.
Malcolm Morrison
Via email
Jeremy Hunt’s decision to delay the introduction of plain cigarette packaging sets a radical precedent for this coalition government. Many teachers must wish Michael Gove had waited for the results of academic discussion, research and pilot studies before introducing free schools, a new national curriculum and examination system. Similarly NHS workers might regret the undue haste in Andrew Lansley’s reforms.
On the other hand the coalition has the habit of ignoring the findings of inquiries on such things as press regulation and restructuring of the banks. So even if the analysis of Australia’s introduction of plain packaging shows it does reduce the amount of young people taking up smoking, the tobacco industry need not worry. It will give their Tory stooges time to think of another ruse to put off what is in the interests of public health. It can rest assured that profit must come first.
Alan Millington
Beverley, East Yorkshire
What exactly does it take for a woman to get on your front page? Or even just on the front page of the Sport section? Because apparently winning Wimbledon doesn’t cut the mustard. Page 12 of the Sports pages? You have to be kidding.
Farah Mendlesohn
London N15
Editor’s comment: You make a good point. I will be more vigilant on balance in the future
Have your say

Tories are on the wrong track with wasteful HS2
DOMINIC LAWSON’S article will touch a raw nerve in the Conservative party (“HS2 was never meant to be real — someone pull the emergency brake”, Comment, and “Tory minister raises doubts over HS2 line”, News, last week).
There have been calls for the revival of Victorian entrepreneurs but they built railways at their own expense. The clamour in the Midlands is for HS2 to be provided by the taxpayer. If business wants HS2, it should pay for it.
The money could instead be spent on social housing (an area where underinvestment is a national scandal) and I say that with some feeling as I was a housing chairman in London in the 1980s.
Another infrastructure area in need of extra funding is drainage. Ask the recently flooded homeowners, businesses and farmers whether they would prefer a high-speed railway instead.
The principal impact of HS2 will be to make Birmingham a suburb of London, giving commuters the opportunity to acquire a larger property for the same money as in the southeast.
HS2 was always a poisoned chalice. It was designed to drive holes into Tory heartlands, and the prime minister and his coterie fell for it. There is evidence that anti-HS2 candidates will appear soon. They may not win, but the damage they could do to Tory seats will risk defeat in 2015. Despite my disaffection, another Labour government is an outcome I devoutly want to avoid.
David Deanshaw (Former Tory activist of 60 years), Coventry
Slow train
If you went to your GP with anaemia, you would not be impressed if his medication offered results only after 20 years. Yet this is the timescale of the claimed economic benefit from the billions that the government plans to spend on HS2.
Forget the concern of the inhabitants who will be affected; the real issue is the sloppy assessment of the possible benefits and the inevitable escalation of costs. There are a hundred quicker and more effective ways to help the anaemic economies of the Midlands and the north at a micro level within the construction industry.
Dr David Brancher, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
Liquid engineering
Lawson is right: the billions would be better spent on a national water grid for the secure supply of adequate drinking water. It could also be designed in such a way as to double as a flood relief system.
Malcolm Duffield, Barcelona, Spain
End of the line
Let’s hope HS2 never gets built. Why should middle and lower- income taxpayers be expected to fund a scheme that is aimed at wealthy business people? One unintended consequence of this venture is that it will enable the brightest and the most ambitious from the north to travel to the commercial hub that is London. The net beneficiaries will, of course, be employers in the capital — and these commuters.
Since when was this the stated aim of government policy? It is a travesty that this scheme — at a cost of as much as £2,000 per taxpayer — is even being considered. My view is that the next government will find a way of kicking it into the long grass, in the tradition of British ruling parties that aren’t quite sure what to do.
Gerry Congdon, Bracknell, Berkshire
Black hole
As a founder shareholder of the Channel tunnel project, I couldn’t agree more with Lawson. I recall some analyst stating that at some point the annual dividend would exceed the original share price.
I wish. At least I was the one who lost a few thousand pounds, and not the taxpayer. I held on to the shares for the one free trip I got each year. To my surprise, this ran out after 10 years.
Derrick Salmon, London NW8
Late arrival
HS2 should be completed just as London-to-Birmingham commuters no longer have to rely on trains. Inexpensive video technology will have replaced the need to travel to meet business colleagues face to face. The project will be a complete waste of taxpayers’ money — not for the first time.
Dennis Saunders,Tilford, Surrey
Runaway failure
Lawson’s thesis is proven by the Edinburgh tram project. That was promoted by the city’s now disgraced political establishment. The total cost is spiralling towards £1bn and not a single tram has run.
The question is, as David Cameron and co are already on the runaway HS2 train, how do they get off the accelerating disaster elegantly and without injury?
Name and address withheld
Causing a stink
As anyone who has studied basic chemistry is aware, H2S is an exceedingly foul-smelling misty gas. So is it a dyslexic or a cunning person who named the high-speed railway HS2?
Paul Miners, Lutry, Switzerland

Second-class degree is no bar to finishing first
MY TUTOR at Leeds University in the 1960s always told students never to get a first in civil engineering, as the employer would think you were perfect and you’d then get the dull job of checking everyone else’s work while the exciting design posts went to those with second or third-class degrees (“Got a 2:2? Like to get stoned? You’re hired!”, News, last week).
That is my excuse for a 2:2 and enjoying an exciting international career in water engineering. By the way, I also failed my 11-plus and English language GCE three times at school but now earn my living writing and editing technical material and lecturing to students.
Melvyn Kay, Rushden, Northamptonshire
Aspiring to mediocrity
It was disconcerting to read that certain employers have a prejudice against graduates with first-class degrees, especially the remarks of Rory Sutherland of the Ogilvy Group, who seems to regard university as nothing more than three years of hedonism.
Why would someone presume that a graduate who stumbles out with a 2:2 or worse has more to give, while someone who engages their brain and works long hours for a first is a spent force? That such shallow assumptions can prevail at the top of business is disheartening and symptomatic of the kind of mediocrity we see reported in public life.
Philip Constantine, Guildford, Surrey
Dimbleby lecture
Having a third-class degree does not detract from David Dimbleby being a first-class political commentator. He is the Walter Cronkite of the British media, in that he is quite rightly considered by many to be the most trusted man in the country.
Frank Greaney, Formby, Liverpool

Importance of fathers underplayed
I AGREE that children should be safeguarded from violent parents (“Perilous to allow contact with abusive fathers”, Letters, last week). However, many allegations regarding domestic violence turn out to be false.
Canadian research found that 85% of youths in prison, 71% of high school dropouts and 90% of homeless and runaway children were fatherless. We are fast marginalising men and their importance as fathers.
We have areas in Britain where children have hardly any male role models. When parental separation occurs, it is often extremely difficult for a father to maintain contact. We should be encouraging them to play an active role in their children’s lives.
Lady Lloyd Jones, Families Need Fathers Both, Parents Matter Cymru, Cardiff
Airbrushed dads
I feel Penelope Leach (“Don’t wipe abusive fathers from their kids’ lives”, News, July 7) and the writers of the letter “Perilous to allow contact with abusive fathers”, last week, have missed the point. Fathers are removed from their children’s lives by the courts, which take no action when orders are broken by mothers, thus continuing to allow these women to airbrush fathers from their children’s lives.
Until this scandal is put right, children will grow up without a father in their lives — which seems to have been going on for years.
Roland Craven, Medomsley, Co Durham

House doctor
Landlords will soon risk a £3,000 fine if they rent property to illegal immigrants (“Lenders clamp down on buy-to-let landlords”, Money, last week). However, doctors who treat so-called health tourists remain immune from sanction. If it were not the taxpayers’ money, they would soon check whether patients had the means to pay.
Sheridan Stevens, Slindon, West Sussex
Weight of numbers
The article by Daisy Goodwin (“A tale of two city hospitals”, News Review, last week) highlighted some important elements for good patient care. It did, however, fail to provide a comparison of staff/patient ratios and patient throughput. While leadership is undoubtedly important, we ignore the brutalising effects of low staffing levels and rapid throughput at our peril.
Dr Margaret Edwards, Croydon, London
AA Gill is right yet again (“In his tartan glad rags, Rod Stewart’s an odd fashion guru”, News Review, last week). What men lack these days is role models to inspire them sartorially, a position once filled by urbane aristocrats, then by debonair film stars such as Cary Grant and Fred Astaire. Now we have footballers or dotcom millionaires, hence the dismal state of dress in modern Britain. All is not lost, however. In Bacongo, in central Africa, the sapeurs — “persons of elegance” — dazzle with suits in pink or green candy stripes, worn with ties, cufflinks and polished shoes, despite the heat.
Nigel Rodgers, Author of The Dandy: Peacock or Enigma?, Salisbury
Wrong call
During my two tours of work in Saudi Arabia I would hear the Islamic call to prayer on television as a matter of course (“Prayer call on TV”, News Review, last week). I would never have expected to hear the same in my own country, and certainly not from a television channel that pays no court to the core religion of our nation. Channel 4 cannot even bring itself to broadcast the Queen’s annual Christmas address and chooses what it describes ostentatiously as “an alternative message”. This is a gimmick of the most politically correct and hypocritical kind.
Edward Thomas, Eastbourne
National service
AA Gill might find the following aide-mémoire useful in remembering the Welsh national anthem Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (“On song”, Letters, last week): my hen laid a haddock, I had it for tea (with apologies to Welsh readers).
Kay Bagon, Radlett, Hertfordshire
Lights out
It will be disappointing if no further action is taken after the massive fire in the West Midlands caused by a Chinese lantern. These mini hot-air balloons also have other hazards. We live and walk in the beautiful Peak District and are aware that livestock can become entangled in the lanterns’ wires. We have picked up plenty of what is left over once these things have burnt out.
Sheila Knight, Buxton, Derbyshire
Compensation beef
Am I missing something? We pay compensation to farmers for TB-infected cows, and then the government has the animals slaughtered and sells the carcasses anyway (“French get a taste of our TB rosbif”, News, last week). If the meat is safe to eat, and it is legal to export it, why are we compensating farmers?
Kate Liston, Uckfield, East Sussex
Chewing the fat
I find the vendetta against children who take a packed lunch extremely irritating (“Packed lunch makes your children fat”, News, last week). My children always had them (both are slim), and now my grandchildren do (they’re also slim). After a healthy school dinner many of the overweight children can be found at the nearest chip shop. It’s not what children eat at school that’s causing obesity — it’s what they eat outside school.
Mary Land, Lechlade, Gloucestershire
Corrections and clarifications
Complaints about inaccuracies in all sections of The Sunday Times, including online, should be addressed to or The Editor, The Sunday Times, 3 Thomas More Square, London E98 1ST. In addition, the Press Complaints Commission ( or 020 7831 0022) examines formal complaints about the editorial content of UK newspapers and magazines (and their websites)

Polly Bergen, actress, 83; Owen Coyle, football manager, 47; Tanya Donelly, singer-songwriter, 47; Matthew Fox, actor, 47; Geraint Jones, cricketer, 37; Joe Keenan, screenwriter and author, 55; Jane Lynch, actress, 53; David Mitchell, comedian, 39; Christopher Priest, novelist, 70; Harry Dean Stanton, actor, 87; Howard Webb, football referee, 42; Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, king of the Zulu nation, 65

1789 storming of the Bastille; 1865 Briton Edward Whymper becomes first to conquer the Matterhorn; 1867 first demonstration of dynamite by Alfred Nobel, in a Surrey quarry; 1881 Billy the Kid is shot dead by Sheriff Pat Garrett; 1933 Nazi party declared the only legal party in Germany; 1958 Faisal II, king of Iraq, assassinated in a military coup; 2002 failed attempt to assassinate President Jacques Chirac during Bastille Day parade


SIR – The English countryside is precious, inspirational and irreplaceable, but it is being eroded every day as a result of poorly planned development. There is a better way, which is why we are supporting the Campaign to Protect Rural England’s new charter to save our countryside.
CPRE’s Charter has three demands. First and most obviously we are saying: don’t sacrifice our countryside. Previously developed brownfield land should be reused to protect its beauty and to breathe new life into our towns and cities.
Secondly, we want a fair say for local communities, who are increasingly unable to stop the destruction of their towns and countryside. We need a democratic planning system that gives them a much stronger say in the future of their areas.
Thirdly, the country urgently needs more affordable homes for our rising population. But they must be sensitively located, with excellent environmental standards. Poorly designed developments sprawling into the countryside are no answer.
Clive Aslet
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Richard MabeSIR – The English countryside is precious, inspirational and irreplaceable, but it is being eroded every day as a result of poorly planned development. There is a better way, which is why we are supporting the Campaign to Protect Rural England’s new charter to save our countryside.
CPRE’s Charter has three demands. First and most obviously we are saying: don’t sacrifice our countryside. Previously developed brownfield land should be reused to protect its beauty and to breathe new life into our towns and cities.
Secondly, we want a fair say for local communities, who are increasingly unable to stop the destruction of their towns and countryside. We need a democratic planning system that gives them a much stronger say in the future of their areas.
Thirdly, the country urgently needs more affordable homes for our rising population. But they must be sensitively located, with excellent environmental standards. Poorly designed developments sprawling into the countryside are no answer.
Clive Aslet
Natalie Bennett
Clive Betts MP (Lab)
Jo Brand
Bill Bryson
Tony Burton
Caroline Cranbrook
Jonathan Dimbleby
Sir Terry Farrell
Tom Flood
Ben Goldsmith
Zac Goldsmith MP (Con)
Sir Max Hastings
Nick Herbert MP (Con)
Martin Horwood MP (Lib Dem)
Tony Juniper
Satish Kumar
Richard Mabey
Lord Marlesford
Virginia McKenna
Michael Morpurgo
John Julius Norwich
Jonathan Porritt
Sir Tony Robinson
Lord Rogers
Penny Vincenzi
Lord Marlesford
Virginia McKenna
Michael Morpurgo
John Julius Norwich
Jonathan Porritt
Sir Tony Robinson
Lord Rogers
Penny Vincenzi

SIR – We are dismayed that the Government has announced it will not introduce legislation ensuring that cigarettes are sold in standardised packaging. Abandoning this proposal is a tame surrender to lobbying by the tobacco industry and its well-funded front groups.
Smoking is an addiction that begins in childhood: more than 200,000 people under the age of 16 start to smoke every year. The tobacco industry needs these new smokers to replace its existing customers who quit, or more often become ill or die prematurely.
Tobacco companies have invested heavily to ensure that packaging is attractive to young people in particular. Given the lethal nature of the product, we believe that packaging should instead carry strong, prominent and unambiguous health messages that are not subverted by the remainder of the pack design.
Standard packaging is a policy that would be simple to implement and enforce. Australia has already introduced standard packaging, and Ireland is going ahead next year. The Scottish and Welsh Governments and the Northern Ireland health minister have stated their support.
Polls show that the public also supports standardised packaging, as do the overwhelming majority of those working to improve public health.
We have written to the Prime Minister to call on the Government to follow the precedent set by smoke-free public places legislation in 2006 and to allow Parliament a free vote. Let parliamentarians listen to the arguments and make up their own minds.
Dr Clare Gerada
Chair of Council, Royal College of General Practitioners
Dr Vivienne Nathanson
Director of Professional Activities, British Medical Association
Dr Hilary Emery
Chief Executive, National Children’s Bureau
Dr Hilary Cass
President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Simon Gillespie
Chief Executive, British Heart Foundation
Francine Bates
Chief Executive, The Lullaby Trust
Professor Cathy Warwick
Chief Executive, The Royal College of Midwives
Dr Janet Atherton
President, Association of Directors of Public Health
Dr Harpal Kumar
Chief Executive, Cancer Research UK
Leon Livermore
Chief Executive, Trading Standards Institute
Paul Lincoln
Chief Executive, UK Health Forum
Penny Woods
Chief Executive, British Lung Foundation
Paula Chadwick
Chief Executive, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
Graham Jukes
Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
Dr John Ashton
President, Faculty of Public Health
Deborah Arnott
Chief Executive, Action on Smoking and Health

SIR – Mohamed Morsi was indeed elected by a popular democratic vote (as Hitler was), but he tried to railroad through laws to give him and the Muslim Brotherhood dictatorial powers (Peter Oborne, “Britain betrays its values in its response to the Egyptian coup”, Comment, July 11). This attempt was rescinded last November, due to popular protest.
Mr Morsi put pressure on the judiciary, one of the few checks to his authority. He tried to nullify media opposition by attack, censorship or closure. Fifty chief editors on state-run newspapers were replaced with Islamist sympathisers. Islamist allies were appointed as regional governors.
Christians have seen a rise in violent attacks and a growing number of “blasphemy” cases, and many are fleeing the country, as has happened in all the countries affected by the “Arab Spring”.
Mr Morsi was democratically elected, but has since sought to limit democracy. After one year the Egyptian people have realised that the Muslim Brotherhood has not changed its spots.
Colin McGreevy

SIR – Peter Oborne explains the importance to America of avoiding reference to events in Egypt as a “coup”.
In the last century, the British government avoided reference to the conflict in Malaya as a “war”, as to do so would have nullified insurance cover on valuable rubber plantations and tin mines.
The chosen euphemism was “Emergency”, but those of us involved in the fighting (as, no doubt, is the case in Egypt) were sometimes hard pressed to spot the difference.
David Spark
Great Ayton, North Yorkshire
SIR – The Arab Spring shows that revolutions can be both contagious and addictive. Once a population loses its fear and realises that political change can be effected through mass mobilisation, it is much more likely to take to the streets to “defend the revolution”. In Egypt, 18 days of protest removed Hosni Mubarak from office in early 2011, and further protests in November forced Mohamed Hussein Tantawi to undertake to speed up the transition to civilian government.
An Egyptian activist told me then: “We now have a weapon. That weapon is called Tahrir Square.” It is a weapon the Egyptian people are clearly not afraid to use.
Stefan Simanowitz
London NW3
SIR – “Any society that hopes to be stable must surely yield its most passionate prejudices in the cause of getting law and order by the consent of the majority. The only alternative is to get a very tough form of law and order imposed by a powerful minority,” wrote Alistair Cooke in 1969. The Egyptians must learn this lesson.
Chuck Guest
Colyton, Devon
More Milibands
SIR – Since 1911, MPs have been paid, so that not just those with independent wealth may legislate.
Ed Miliband’s call for MPs to quit second jobs could lead to an exodus of those with real-world business experience, replaced by an influx of career politician clones, much like himself.
Nick Rose
Bournemouth, Dorset
Dividend in the post
SIR – When British Gas was privatised in 1986 I bought £100 worth of shares.
Subsequent amalgamations gave me free shares in Centrica and National Grid. The dividends I now receive from the three companies go a good way towards meeting my fuel bill.
If I buy a few shares in the Royal Mail will their dividends pay for my postal bill?
Duncan Rayner
Sunningdale, Berkshire
SIR – Will a Scottish vote for independence have a positive effect on the Royal Mail share price?
Mike Whitton
Stoke Fleming, Devon
SIR – I trust that the proposed privatisation of the Royal Mail would in no way affect my primary source of elastic bands.
Derek Freeman
Stubbington, Hampshire
Fire balloons
SIR – Chinese lanterns may not be such a new party idea in England (Letters, July 5).
This is an extract from our village parochial magazine, dated September 1888: “After tea they again ran off to their games… till the shades of evening began to gather. Then the scene was enlivened by the ascent of two large, coloured fire balloons which rose steadily to a great height and floated away on the gentle breeze.”
Wendy Graham
Finchampstead, Berkshire
Imaginary number
SIR – I recently wrote to a major retailer to complain that attempts to send them a message via their website failed because they insisted on having a mobile phone number for me (in spite of their having my home address and number, and my email address).
They replied that they preferred to respond to written queries by telephone and that if I did not have a mobile number I should invent one.
Brian Henderson
Caterham, Surrey

Irish Times:
Sir, – John Rainsford’s excellent article about bee losses (Sciene Today, July 11th) may have induced gloom and despondency in your readers, so I am writing to you in the hope of alleviating the situation somewhat. There are so many ways in which bees and other pollinators can be helped.
A bit of untidy gardening, for instance, with tolerance for some weeds, can provide splendid forage for honeybees and bumble bees. Encouraging young people to be interested in bees is a tremendous investment in the future. There is a great opportunity to find out more during the long vacation, when the Irish beekeepers hold their summer course in late July at Gormanston, Co Meath. There are talks about all sorts of unexpected topics, such as using beeswax for art or furniture polish, as well as beekeeping.
People are welcome to attend single lectures, or one day of the week-long course, very inexpensively. I hope this may help to brighten the picture which your article painted of our beloved bees. – Yours, etc,

Sir, – It would be unthinkable for schools, Garda stations, tax offices or workplace canteens to have a private bar available to staff on duty,  yet those who make laws that decide the fate of mothers and children and laws that restrict the sale and advertising of alcohol can do so while enjoying access to a late-night bar where alcoholic drinks are available at reduced prices, courtesy of the taxpayer.
What an earnest of their own sincerity members could give the nation in the campaign against the low-cost sale and excessive consumption of alcohol, if they replaced the Dáil bar with an “Austerity Cafe” providing tea, coffee, soft drinks, cakes and sandwiches.
Voices at the gates are, I am sure, saying, “Time, gentlemen (and ladies), please!” – Yours, etc,
Countess Grove,
Co Kerry.
Sir, – I wonder how much TD Tom Barry would be prepared to pay this morning if he could buy back Kipling’s “unforgiving minute”? – Yours, etc,
Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath.
Sir, – To have such tomfoolery at that hour of the morning has made a mockery of our parliament. Debates should not be allowed to continue through the night. Why does the Dáil need a bar anyway? – Yours, etc,
Grange Road ,
Sir, – So Micheál Martin finds working to 5am “shambolic and lamentable” (Home News, July 12th). As somebody subjected to 36-hour shifts every five days under his time as minister for health, I can sympathise with that 5am feeling of utter dejection, sheer exhaustion and mental emptiness. Happily, as a hospital doctor, I only had to deal with real life-and-death situations as opposed to the surely more arduous task of talking about them. – Yours, etc,
Beechwood Court,
Co Dublin.
Sir, – Tom Barry TD’s laptop lapse was lamentable. – Yours, etc,
The Demesne,

Sir, – “Lawyers for Seanad Reform” (July 11th) present the upcoming Seanad referendum as a “farcical” choice between “abolition or nothing” and argue for an alternative reform option.
Let us be clear: reform is only being discussed because of the threat of abolition. Should the outcome of the referendum be to retain the Seanad, there will be no reform.
The Government will have no interest wasting further political capital pursuing a lost cause, and the self-serving voices within and around the Seanad now shouting for reform will fall silent.
The stark choice offered to the people in the coming referendum is as it must be. – Yours, etc,

Irish Independent:

* In an overall societal sense, the Government crossed the line of decency a long time ago. However, I would imagine that James Reilly’s move to review medical cards for non-terminal cancer sufferers will enrage anybody who has ever witnessed a loved one receive a cancer diagnosis, deal with the psychological fallout of that news, suffer from the disease every day and fight to preserve their sense of self as they balance on the threshold.
Also in this section
Murder of brothers was a senseless act
Let’s all take care of mothers and their babies
Law should be there to protect women today
Yes, there are varying levels of “seriousness”, but that is not an acceptable rationale for starting discretionary medical card support at terminal stage. Being diagnosed with cancer is one of the most daunting things a person will ever have to face, and the least one could expect is that the State should have their back. It can be such a dehumanising experience.
If only these self-aggrandising politicians showed a similar level of disdain for bankers and toxic financial institutions. The message from the Irish Government is clear – if you are an arrogant, wealthy banking executive who left the people to foot a bailout costing billions, leading to the loss of our economic sovereignty, then you will be supported to the hilt. In fact, you will be retained in your job and given a nice bonus and a big pension.
However, if you are an ordinary citizen living with cancer, we just might have to remove our support.
The Government may have an electoral mandate, but it no longer has a moral authority to govern the country.
It supports bankers, persecutes cancer patients and then calls its actions “fiscal conservatism”, as if the use of such terminology somehow legitimises a philosophical perspective in which the social and economic marginalisation of ordinary people is central.
Darren O’Keeffe
* Abortion involves the taking of an innocent human life. But when taken to task over this issue, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has famously claimed that “the Constitution is my book”. At the Nuremberg Trials in 1946, defendants famously claimed that they were “only following orders”. This defence was not accepted by the judges who presided at those landmark trials.
Even if Mr Kenny believes that Bunreacht na hEireann says the taking of innocent human life is acceptable or even necessary (which it does not), the inevitable excuse of “I was only following the Constitution” will not wash with me as a voter, much as it would not have washed with those judges at Nuremberg.
John B Reid
Monkstown, Co Dublin
* Could not Lucinda Creighton have voted for the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill with “mental reservations”?
As Cardinal Connell helpfully explained, such reservations are useful in “trying to deal with extraordinarily difficult matters”.
Dr John Doherty
Gaoth Dobhair, Co Donegal
* After the passing of the abortion bill through the Dail, we should reflect on the TDs who showed consistency of conscience and those who didn’t.
I cannot say I support the stance of Lucinda Creighton on this issue, or many issues for that matter, but I can now say I have the utmost respect for her. This woman who could have been a future leader of Fine Gael and possibly Taoiseach relinquished all that in order to stand by her core beliefs. She was a member of a party that shared those beliefs before the general election, and should not be demonised for having the courage to live and die by a principled sword.
On the other hand, Michelle Mulherin has long been on her conservatively bent soapbox on a range of issues, including abortion. For that deputy to then support the abortion bill in question to remain within a party that was standing opposed to her personal beliefs is deplorable.
Ms Mulherin may seem in a better position within a popular and powerful party, but Ms Creighton can at least pride herself on the power and consistency of her core convictions.
Justin Kelly
Edenderry, Co Offaly
* Lucinda Creighton is a young, well-informed, articulate and courageous woman who was elected on her own merit – all too rare in the political life of our small, struggling country.
Alice Leahy
Rathmines, Dublin
* The incident in the Dail between Tom Barry and Aine Collins speaks volumes about attitudes towards women in the Oireachtas and within political parties, and goes a long way to explaining why politics so utterly fails to attract the sort of people we need to pursue political careers, leaving us with the bottom of the heap.
Not only was the Dail like some sort of spring break frat party with the bar open until 5am, but it is revealing that yet again it was a male Fine Gael deputy displaying unacceptable behaviour that in any other professional working environment in 2013 would be a formal disciplinary matter.
Of course, Ms Collins doesn’t want to make a fuss about it.
But it begs the question, if other people in Leinster House have experienced similar behaviour, do they feel the authorities would support them if they refused such advances?
It seems unlikely, which raises the question as to why this issue is left to political parties, and why there isn’t an HR department in the Oireachtas that covers all staff and members of the Oireachtas.
Desmond FitzGerald
Canary Wharf, London
* Joan Burton defended the cutting of her department’s budget by saying that people on welfare were the only people spending money in the economy at the moment.
Wow – another Irish rocket scientist!
K Nolan
Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim
* As leader of his church, Pope Francis was correct to express his “love-thy-neighbour” views about the refugees, migrants and asylum seekers pouring into Italy from Africa. I’m sure many of them will find solace and comfort from the generous welfare payments at the various Vatican City halting-sites.
Presumably food and clothing are provided at the transit village in St Peter’s Square.
Sean Kelly
Tramore, Co Waterford
* I last wrote to your newspaper, on May 21, about the disgrace of not being able to drink the water from the tap. I know from my own experience that the bottled water we buy has tripled in price. At a cost of €2 for a five-litre bottle, the weekly cost of drinking water is around €14 to €16, or around €750 a year.
There are only two people who live in my house. What would it cost a family of three or four?
During the winter, the Government paid a fuel allowance of €20 a week to those on certain benefits. One way the water problem can be sorted out is if the Government makes councils pay a water allowance to cover the cost for families who are already finding it very hard to pay the bills the Government is dishing out.
Water, after all, is a necessity, not a luxury.
Henry Hughes
Castleplunkett, Co Roscommon
Irish Independent


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