Tired

1August 2013 Tired

I go all the way around the park round the park listening to the Navy Lark Leslie I back with Heather but Troutbridge is to go out and investigate what the Russian fishing fleet are doing, with the Admiral Priceless
We are both tired all day and lie about the house
We watch Yes Minister quite good
Scrabble today I win but gets over 300. perhaps Mary might win tomorrow.

Obituary:

Dominique Venner
Dominique Venner, who has shot himself dead in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris aged 78, was a prize-winning historian and leading figure on the French far-Right; he called for the defence of the Europe from “Islamicisation” and the “boredom” of bourgeois liberal and socialist ideas.

Dominique Venner 
6:53PM BST 31 Jul 2013
Born on April 16 1935, the son of an ardent supporter of the fascist, anti-Semitic Parti Populaire Français , Venner became a member of the neo-fascist Jeune Nation and Jeune Europe groups during the 1950s, taking part in an attack on the headquarters of the French Communist Party in November 1956.
He had returned from two years’ service in the bloody Algerian war only the previous month, and in 1961 he joined the Organisation de l’Armée Secrète (OAS), a paramilitary group which launched a campaign of assassinations and bombings to prevent Algeria breaking free from French colonial rule. The campaign culminated in an assassination attempt on the French president General de Gaulle. As a result of his membership Venner spent 18 months in La Santé prison. By the time he was released in 1962, the war in Algeria was over.
The debacle of the French exit from Algeria and the subsequent expulsion of a million or so French settlers (the “Pieds Noirs”) from the newly independent country, marked a bitter turning point for the French far-Right. It led to the realisation that to survive as a political force, radical Right-wing ideology would have to move on from the nostalgia and religion which had inspired it in the interwar years.
On his release from prison, Venner wrote Pour une critique positive (“Towards a positive critique”), a sort of fascist equivalent of Lenin’s What is to be done? (written in response to the abortive Russian Revolution of 1905). He called for a “European” nationalism based on Leninist principles, with the creation of a single revolutionary and nationalist organisation which would be “monolithic and hierarchical” and composed of young “disciplined and devoted” militants.
In 1963, with Alain de Benoist, he founded a movement and magazine called Europe-Action, which he later led. Europe-Action presented itself as a think-tank to bring a new ideological vigour to Right-wing nationalist thinking. In the 1960s it was strong in Paris and in towns and cities in the south of France where many Pieds Noirs had settled, serving as an intellectual forum for a rag-bag of interests, including former members of Jeune Nation and the OAS, self-proclaimed fascists, residual Vichyites and anti-Semites.
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Describing themselves as militants of the “white nation”, the members of Europe-Action stressed the shared identity of “white peoples” and elaborated a pseudo-scientific racism which they used to vilify black and Arab immigrant workers in France and justify support for white minority regimes in Rhodesia and South Africa. Among other things, Venner founded the Comité France-Rhodesie to give support to the regime of Ian Smith. He also went on to found the publishing house Éditions Saint-Just, which operated in tandem with Europe-Action, and became involved in several other Right-wing groups including the ethno-nationalist Research and Study Group for European Civilisation, or GRECE.
In the 1970s, however, Venner appeared to turn his back on politics and embarked on a new career as a military historian. He went on to write some 40 books, about weaponry, hunting and military campaigns, winning a prize from the Academie Française for his Histoire de l’Armée Rouge (“History of the Red Army” 1981). He also created and edited the La Nouvelle Revue d’Histoire, a bimonthly history magazine, and in recent years wrote a blog.
But his critics maintained that Venner’s new career as a historian was little more than a way of promoting his political views by other means. While the Nouvelle Revue was not explicitly racist (generally it subscribed to de Benoist’s concept of keeping cultures and civilisations separate – as opposed to the American liberal ideal of a melting pot), the dangers of “contamination” of (white) European civilisation by outside influences was a constant theme.
In one editorial Venner commented that “The Japanese, the Jews, the Hindus and other peoples possess that treasure that has permitted them to confront the perils of history without disappearing. It is their misfortune that the majority of Europeans, and especially the French, are so impregnated with universalism that this treasure is lacking.” Yet despite his commitment to “European nationalism”, Venner rejected its central unifying force, Christianity, due to its universalist message.
In recent years Venner had become increasingly preoccupied by what he saw as the threat of Islam to French culture. In 2003 he observed that “the unthinkable, despite every expectation, could happen. As late as 1960 and even later, the unthinkable was the expulsion of the million French Pieds Noirs from Algeria … The unthinkable in the decades that followed was the arrival of several million Algerians in France. The unthinkable today is, for example, the repatriation of these Algerians and other African immigrants. Let us learn from the past that the unthinkable can, one day, become reality.”
Venner’s dramatic suicide, on the steps of the altar at Notre Dame, has been widely attributed to his opposition to same-sex marriage, which was legalised in France the previous week. In his final blog he lamented the failure of peaceful mass protests to prevent the passage of the new law.
But in the same post he quoted an Algerian blogger who had predicted that Islamists would rule France within 15 years and overturn the new law on same-sex marriage. That, Venner opined, would be “much more worrying and catastrophic” than the legislation on same-sex marriages itself.
Dominique Venner is survived by his wife and children.
Dominique Venner, born April 16 1935, died May 21 2013

Guardian:

We are grateful to Maurice Glasman (Join Welby’s Wonga war, 26 July) for registering London Citizens’ call for a re-introduction of anti-usury legislation as part of our Citizens’ Response to the Financial Crisis. This was launched at a Citizens assembly before 2,000 of our members, including Boris Johnson, Vince Cable MP, Greg Hands MP and senior representatives of the Corporation of London, in November 2009. London Citizens also called for 1% of the public money used to bail out the banks to be invested in strengthening and broadening the infrastructure of the credit union movement across the UK.
We also warmly welcome Justin Welby’s challenge to Wonga and other legal loan companies and the consequent publicity it has stimulated. However, we believe that a statutory cap on commercial lending (of about 20%) is the answer and would see off such loan companies. A statutory cap on interest seems to work well for every other country in Europe, particularly Germany, where the economy thrives, unemployment is low and there is no market for loan companies. This would then leave the church free to concentrate on strengthening civil society and correcting other injustices, rather than try to pick up the pieces created by the state’s reluctance to intervene and the market’s ability to find opportunities for making money whenever and wherever they occur.
Neil Jameson
Executive director, London Citizens
• I welcome the archbishop of Canterbury’s comments on Wonga and, as a member of South Manchester Credit Union, was pleased by his intention to aid their growth. I did feel, however, that parliament should urgently regulate payday loan companies as a whole and protect the public from exploitation. The archbishop should have called upon MPs to act in this way as the payday industry is much bigger than just Wonga.
His subsequent embarrassment related to the church’s pension fund investment in Wonga, however, came as no surprise to me. Few know where their pension fund money is invested. As a member of Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF), I have been concerned by its investments of £114m, on behalf of retired and current employees of the 10 Greater Manchester councils, in arms companies, including seven of the world’s 10 largest arms companies. A recent fund publication revealed that BAE Systems, the world’s sixth largest arms company, was the 11th largest holding in its portfolio at over £68m. Exports by arms companies can be misused to abuse human rights, sustain tensions in areas of division and hinder development by countries wasting money on arms. Furthermore, five arms companies, invested in by the fund, manufacture, modernise and maintain nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles. Profits from arms companies are wholly incompatible with the fundamental responsibility of local councils and their employees to aid their residents.
A recent appeal to the Leader of Tameside council, who chairs GMPF, the other Tameside and Greater Manchester councillors who also manage GMPF and to the remaining nine Greater Manchester council leaders to end these arms investments, produced no outrage, surprise or embarrassment. I admire Welby’s courage and leadership and would welcome such qualities on the issue of those responsible for the pension fund of thousands of people who have worked for or are still employees of Greater Manchester councils.
Mike Kavanagh
Campaign Against Arms Trade
• A further benefit of the archbishop’s intervention is a reduced risk of wonga wonga parties at Lambeth Palace.
Kevin Holland
Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

While it is refreshing to read William Beveridge quoted as an authority (We won’t need a PC World NHS if more go private, 30 July), Melissa Kite falls into the common trap of reading documents without understanding the context.
As a young soldier during the war I remember listening to Beveridge speaking about his recent report. While he was sincere, I feel that those who commissioned his report were not, because the war had barely ended when Winston Churchill said the country couldn’t afford it.
Fortunately, that apparently boring man Clement Attlee became prime minister and it was his government that were the true founders of the NHS. It was the late 1940s, and within a year or two of the end of a devastating and costly war. Despite what Kite writes, it was to be a truly National Health Service for all, not a “basic service which others could build on”. She won’t know about the long arguments as to whether private provision had any place within the incipient NHS.
The founders of the NHS knew that private healthcare would draw resources away from the service and enable those with money to jump the queue ahead of those in greater need. That is what those founders really intended should not happen.
And in those days there were very few who could afford “to set aside their hard-earned money to make provision for themselves”. Instead, all those at work would pay into national insurance, which we still have!
Frederick Beddow
Shrewsbury, Shropshire
• I read Ms Kite’s article encouraging people to move away from NHS treatment to private schemes with great interest. Any high school student with a few days’ study and discussion on this issue would instantly see the overriding flaw: an increase in private healthcare ultimately damages the NHS due to the migration of personnel and resources.
Every year the taxpayer spends millions training nurses, doctors and surgeons. The vast majority of us who do not use private healthcare are not “missing the point” – we ought to feel aggrieved, robbed and angry. The core principles of the NHS were laid out due to the fact that it was, and still is, widely believed that healthcare is a human right, regardless of one’s standing.
The gap between rich and poor widens further, and the NHS can be seen as a good barometer of this.
Cameron Hunt
London
• I congratulate Melissa Kite for her article. It is a point I have attempted to make to many individuals who were convinced that “going private” was morally wrong because it unfairly jumped the queue and therefore made it longer for NHS patients.
I am a retired consultant, worked in the NHS for 30-plus years and it really upsets me that individuals are so deluded, because they would actually be saving the country money and shortening waiting lists to the benefit of everyone. I hope the article is widely read and acted upon because everyone will gain.
Charles Rowbotham
Arnside, Cumbria
• I have used NHS 111 on one occasion. Last December my husband, who is 79, had worsening breathlessness over a weekend (Michele Hanson, A certain age, 30 July). When he started coughing up blood I was directed to phone 111. The call was answered immediately and after describing his symptoms I was told he needed an ambulance and that one had been ordered while we had been speaking. It was outside by the time the call had ended.
Due to this prompt and efficient call my husband was in A&E in less than 30 minutes. As a consequence of this and the following marvellous treatment he received in ICU at Watford general hospital and subsequently Hammersmith hospital he is still very much alive and kicking.
Thank you NHS 111 and all who work in our wonderful health service.
Maureen McTeare
St Albans, Hertfordshire
• At last! The government’s intentions for the NHS are declared (£1bn deal deepens NHS fears, 27 July). The Department of Health states that as long as the service remains free it does not matter who provides it. So we must say goodbye to the integrated, uniform, publicly provided, national service that we cherish and let the private providers, now convinced they can profit from our illnesses, take it over and break it up.
Until people wake up to what is happening to our NHS there will be no stopping this disastrous sell-off. The splendid book, still one of the Guardian’s bestsellers, edited by Jacky Davis and Ray Tallis, NHS SOS, tells us how we can save it. We must all act now. There is much that each one of us can do to save our NHS and to improve it, where needed, without privatisation.
Richard T Taylor
Co-leader, National Health Action party
• While saddened to read of his death, I noted that Mick Farren “returned to the UK for health reasons three years ago” (Obituaries, 29 July). After the coalition has implemented its reforms of the NHS to model it on American healthcare, where will we be able to return to? 
Mike Betts
London
• Lena Jager MP writing in the Guardian, 1964: “And sometimes he [the doctor] would shout at my mother for not having come before, like the time we had to wait for my sister’s sore throat to turn unmistakably into diphtheria before she was pushed off in a pram to his surgery. ‘Good God woman, why didn’t you bring this child days ago?’ And then even he read the silence as the half-crown came out. ‘Damn the money,’ he said, as he slipped it into his pocket.” (Health ministers reject doctors’ calls to charge for GP visits, 26 July).
Ruth Valentine
London

Hugh Muir is right to draw attention to government claims that at £1,200 fees for employment tribunal applications are “modest” (Diary, 31 July). It costs £1,000 to lodge an application in the supreme court and only another £600 for a hearing – chicken feed for, say, a Russian oligarch. But the fees for modest claims at £390 could easily outweigh the value of a claim, for example, for withheld holiday pay, and substantially exceed fees for comparable money claims in the civil courts. It’s another example of access to justice being deliberately obstructed. No wonder the government has abolished the independent administrative justice and tribunals council.
Jeremy Beecham
Shadow justice spokesman, House of Lords
• Barney Ronay meticulously dissects Stuart Broad’s cricketing statistics (Sport, 30 July) but curtly dismisses Broad’s refusal to “walk” when caught out as transgressing “a defunct moral code”. Is it then time to set aside our ethical objections to the policies of cabinet ministers so long as they entertain us?
Warwick Turnbull
Leeds
• Years ago, Flanders and Swann (in the Bedstead Men) noted the regular appearance of a “single laceless left-hand leather boot” – though left in rivers, rather than on motorways (Letters, 27 July). Luckily, the owner could be tracked down by the “alternating prints of boot and sock”.
Christine Secombe
London
• English singer-songwriter Wreckless Eric in his song Same also noticed this phenomenon and as a solution proposed the carrying of a card similar to a donor card, which reads: “In the event of an accident please take my shoes with me.”
Ian Stephens
Bristol
• Surely Caligula’s alleged intention to make his horse consul (G2, 30 July) is evidence not of his madness but of an admirable desire for stable government.
Martin Drury
Watford, Hertfordshire
• Poets such as Robert Graves got it right (Letters, 31 July): Gove “is a universal migraine / A bright stain on the vision Blotting out reason”.
Professor Colin Richards

It may well be good news that GDP growth has returned (Report, 25 July), but not much can be concluded about the impact of that on economic wellbeing for the masses without further analysis of the share accruing to the top 1% of the population. GDP is defined as the sum of wages and profits, and an ever-increasing fraction of wages has, in recent years, gone to the top 1% of earners, comprising bankers and senior executives often rewarded for failure. Thus, increase in GDP has become largely associated with success in rent capture by the very rich, and has become an unreliable indicator of output growth.
Before rushing to celebrate the return of GDP growth, or to dismiss the figures as meaningless for gauging economic welfare, data on the income share of the top 1% of the wage earners is needed in order to be examined.
SP Chakravarty
Bangor, Gwynedd
• The Guardian reported (25 July) that the 0.6% growth in the UK economy during the second quarter of this year “is good but unspectacular”. What has been more spectacular has been the growth in the green economy. Recently released government figures show that the UK’s green goods and services market increased almost 5%, to more than £128bn, during 2011-12. While the rest of the economy remained virtually flat, sales in green markets grew by almost £6bn and created a trade surplus of £5.2bn. The data also shows that the green economy now employs around 940,000 people. The main sectors responsible for this economic boost are alternative fuels, building technologies and wind power.
This green growth illustrates the absurdity of George Osborne’s claim, made at the Tory party conference in October 2011, that by going green we risk “putting our country out of business”. If the chancellor had based his policies on evidence rather than dogma, he would this week have been celebrating an even larger growth in GDP.
Gordon James
Whitland, Carmarthenshire

I, an 82-year-old widow and human rights lawyer, last Sunday started my hunger strike in protest at the continuing detention of the totally innocent Shaker Aamer, the last British resident to be left in the infamous Guantánamo Bay prison (Letters, 26 July).
I follow the lead of 72-year-old actor Julie Christie and the comedian Frankie Boyle. We ask William Hague to act immediately to insist that President Barack Obama releases this man to his wife and children living in London, and blocks any moves to send him to Saudi Arabia, which he left as a boy of 15 and where it is most likely he will end up in prison, to suffer further torture.
Hague must act quickly, for already Aamer’s physical and mental health is fast deteriorating, threatening his life. This case is of such gravity, that I am glad and willing to risk my own health for the life of this man.
Margaret Owen
London

Independent:

Dan Kantorowich (Letters, 19 July) writes of how his local hospital had the central heating on at full blast during this heatwave, and how nobody seemed to know what to do about it. Any of us who have had dealings with hospitals in recent years know that such things are all too common.
Everything is delegated, and outsourced to private contractors who choose the hours that they want to work. Something as seemingly trivial as the bulb in the anglepoise lamp above my father’s bed caused quite absurd difficulties.
It failed one Friday evening. The hospital were unable to do anything about it till Monday because that was when “maintenance” reopened. None of the nurses seemed to have access to a light bulb, or alternatively did but considered it too dangerous to change one themselves, or alternatively considered it beneath their medical expertise to perform such a task. It was left to us to get a replacement bulb and fit it so he could continue to read over the weekend evenings.
The National Health Service should make it a condition of any outsourcing that the companies given such contracts maintain a 24/7 presence at each hospital they cover. Maintenance, cleaning and such activities are not optional extras for our Health Service to be carried out at the convenience of huge private corporations.
Ian Craine, London N15
Given the growing body of evidence linking poor Registered Nurse staffing to mortality and other adverse outcomes, it would be interesting to see a graph showing average Registered Nurse-to-patient ratios for the 14 trusts alongside Professor Jarman’s graph of excess mortality (Andreas Whittam Smith, 17 July). I would anticipate considerable correlation. Unfortunately, as far as I know, this data is not publicly available. If the 14 trusts being investigated began by bringing RN numbers up to safe standards using an evidence-based methodology perhaps the “hit squads” would not be necessary.
Jennifer Hunt, Cambridge
You report (26 July) that, according to a survey, 51 per cent of GPs are in favour of charging patients to see them. This is a misleading statistic: 51 per cent, not of all GPs, but of the sample of 440, expressed this opinion. As in all surveys of this kind, the sample statistic is taken as an estimate of that among all GPs. Unfortunately, for technical reasons the sampling distribution of the proportion is not known. It approximates to the normal distribution if the sample is large, but 440 does not qualify, in my opinion. May I suggest that in future reports of this kind you provide such statistics with appropriate confidence intervals, so that readers can make better-informed judgements.
David Kaye, Corbridge, Northumberland
Pickles’ parking plan: problems
I have just heard on BBC news that Eric Pickles has suggested that parking on double yellow lines be allowed for 15 minutes, to encourage the use of local stores. I chair a committee, set up by my town council, trying to think up ways of removing congestion from, and improving traffic flow in, the centre of our small country town. One car parking on double yellows for even a couple of minutes can bring traffic to a standstill. The thought of allowing cars to stop for up to 15 minutes would bring absolute gridlock here. The idea is barmy and frankly shows how out of touch with reality so many of our urbanite parliamentary masters are.
Alan Lewendon, Fordingbridge, Hampshire
Not in their back yard. Or theirs…
It was no surprise to read Lord Young’s warning to the Prime Minister (“Localism hands power to Nimbys”, 27 July) that trying to push more decision-making to the most local level might worsen Britain’s housing problem. It is only common sense that giving more power over planning matters to local people will tend to stifle development: nobody is going to vote for new development on the field next door. Suggest the next county instead and you may get a few votes. The unwillingness of successive Governments to face down the Nimbys has contributed to the sluggish pace of house-building, the over-valuation of private housing and the imbalance between investment in housing and industry compared to our European competitors.
C Sladen, Woodstock, Oxfordshire
Royal misgivings
Reading “The Big Questions” (27 July), I wondered whether a page from the Daily Telegraph had been included in my copy by mistake. Alison Weir states: “the succession is assured now, and in good hands” and later on: “The abdication of… Edward VIII… is a precedent no British monarch would wish to emulate.” But the possibility of abdication in favour of the next in line should not be ruled out; otherwise we have the prospect of three kings, each succeeding at the age of 70 years old. So far, The Independent has done a good job of detaching itself from the hysteria on TV and in the rest of the press; but now it should examine such questions dispassionately, and not rely on the opinions of professional royal watchers.
John Dakin, Dunstable, Bedfordshire
Balancing spirituality and politics
I gather that usury is no longer a sin, provided the interest rates are lower than most payday lenders. Investment is a commercial necessity, but has to be with fairly ethical companies which do not sell too many arms. Your financial advisers obviously find it very complex to sort the good guys from the bad. Entry fees and shops in church buildings are also acceptable ways of making money, though I remember reading that Jesus got a bit cross about that sort of thing. Homosexuality, I think, has been grudgingly accepted as no longer sinful, though of course you won’t let gays get married in C of E churches or practising gays serve as bishops. Could the Archbishop of Canterbury please clarify for me?
Chris Wright, Madeley, Cheshire
If Jesus didn’t “keep to matters spiritual” as you put it, why should the Church?
In one of his summaries of what it meant to be a citizen of what he called the Kingdom of God (note, not the Church equivalent of his day with which he had a tempestuous relationship but something far more wide-ranging), Jesus calls for the feeding of the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick and having a concern for those in prison (Matthew 25:35). How do you do that without being “political” and getting involved in the nitty-gritty of business, social and financial life?
Canon Tony Chesterman, Lesbury, Northumberland
All decisions in life are both “political” and yet simultaneously “spiritual”. They meld the material with a higher element. This might be defined as the Common Good or at a more metaphysical level, a reference to what Jesus might have done in such a situation. So we cannot dismiss so lightly the input of church leaders. To miss either the “political” or the “spiritual” from our decisions makes the end result unbalanced. Finally, to state that “such matters are a private affair”, is to close down valuable input.
Tom Baxter, Stratford-on-Avon
You make a mistake, I think, in assuming that there is a simple dividing line between things spiritual and those which are not. Surely causing people to unnecessarily enter into debt has significant spiritual consequences? Remember that Jesus was seen as being a political activist during his lifetime. There is very little which is not in some way spiritual.
Ian K Watson, Carlisle
Why the shock about the Church of England investment in Wonga? I remember years ago on The Mark Thomas Show how Channel 4 exposed the hypocrisy of the Church of England for investing in nuclear cruise missiles.
P Cresswell, County Fermanagh
Esperanto and Shatner
In your report about the campaign to secure international recognition for Esperanto (26 July), it was stated that William Shatner “starred in a science fiction film called Incubus in 2003, which was made entirely in Esperanto”. The film was actually made a whopping 37 years earlier, back in 1966. It also belongs to the horror genre, as opposed to science fiction – its plot revolves around succubi who lure victims to their death and offer their souls to the God of Darkness.
Martyn P Jackson, Cramlington, Northumberland
William Shatner did indeed star in a film called Incubus made in Esperanto, but not in 2003. The film was made in 1966 and, as it was released just weeks after Star Trek started on US television, I would guess he made it before starting work on that show.
Paul Dormer, Guildford
In defence of HRH
When will republicans such as Julian Gardiner (Letters, 25 July) recognise the peculiar advantage of an unelected head of state is that no one has voted against her and she doesn’t have an “agenda”? She just happens to be there and, in that way, is more like an ordinary person than someone who has led a successful campaign. Of course this only works so long as she is a gentlewoman in character. And it would be nice if they could show a little justice and divest themselves of some of their enormous wealth – but you can’t have everything in this life.
Antony Black, Dundee
Cull the gulls
I would much rather listen to the chirping of Daniel Emlyn-Jones’s African field crickets when sitting in my garden (letter, 26 July) than the usual sound of summer here in Bath – the deafening screeching and squawking of hundreds of urban gulls, all day and night.
Apparently they are a protected species, so no action can be taken against them, even though a cull is needed to reduce their rapidly increasing numbers.
Pete Dorey, Bath

Times:

Telegraph:
SIR – Although the long border delays between Gibraltar and Spain have ended, the diplomatic impasse over Gibraltar shames both the British and Spanish governments.
The Treaty of Utrecht, 300 years ago, might have ceded sovereignty of Gibraltar to Britain in perpetuity, but a more pragmatic approach is now required. In 1898, a treaty with China leased most of the former territory of Hong Kong to Britain for 99 years. A similar treaty with Spain would make sense today.
The use of Gibraltar as a forward base for the Royal Navy is far more important than the sovereignty of an arid, rocky peninsula, and such a treaty could guarantee naval facilities until well into the 22nd century.
Mark Harland
Scarborough, North Yorkshire

SIR – I live half the year in Britain and half in Spain, and the health service in Britain falls short of its Spanish equivalent.
This week in Spain, I needed a series of blood tests and called my local clinic first thing in the morning. By 5pm the same day I had been emailed my full results. By contrast, when I needed the same service in London earlier this year, it took me eight days to get an appointment with the nurse at my local surgery, and I was told to wait another eight days for my test results.
The difference is that the health service in Spain is run and funded locally. In our region of Valencia, 45 per cent of the health budget is spent through private services, such as hospitals, clinics and laboratories, and they satisfy 65 per cent of the region’s health care requirements. This is carefully managed so that they are not able to cherry-pick the more lucrative jobs.
As long as the NHS is run by central government, it will continue to fail.
Paul Francis
London W8
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SIR – Is it not strange that a company running the NHS 111 helpline wants to quit as the contract is not financially viable; yet those milking the health service with private finance initiative deals decline to renegotiate (“111 line faces collapse as NHS provider calls it quits”, report, July 30)?
No doubt the NHS managers who negotiated all these contracts have been promoted, knighted or given a golden handshake on leaving a poisoned chalice for others to deal with.
Dr Ken Harvey
Trefecca, Brecknockshire
SIR – I used to work as a nurse for the Harmoni urgent care service in Buckinghamshire.
This was a well-established team of 35 nurses, some permanent, but many on a zero-hours contract due to the weekend and evening working patterns. Harmoni lost the contract to run 111 to NHS Direct (NHSD) last year, and consequently most of us were made redundant earlier this year.
We were offered an opportunity to work with NHSD but the terms and conditions changed, with lower salary, a minimum of 15 hours per week – not ideal if you have another job – and mandatory three-week full-time training, despite the fact that some of the nurses had worked for Harmoni for 12 years.
We were a highly experienced nursing workforce and NHSD lost about 90 per cent of us due to their requirements. Is it any wonder that NHSD is now going to withdraw in Buckinghamshire?
Helen Jeffers
Wing, Buckinghamshire
SIR – My elderly neighbour, on calling the NHS 111 service, was asked, among other pointless questions, how long had she lived in her house and was she a home owner? What on earth have questions like that got to do with a medical query?
Jan Denbury
Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire
Educating employees
SIR – As a member of the struggling “next generation”, it would be easy to agree with the MP Matthew Hancock’s call for companies to “hire UK workers over qualified immigrants” (report, July 27). However, his solution misses a greater problem – an unbalanced education system that leaves British youths woefully unprepared for the job market.
The process must start with educational reform. Practical skills must be built in to school curriculums, supported by access to vocational higher education courses. Many of the arts degree courses currently on offer in universities should be replaced with technical courses teaching engineering, bricklaying and farming.
Companies must be helped to develop apprenticeship programmes to ease the transition from student to employee. Unemployment will fall, expendable income will rise and the economy will grow. Then there will be no need for businesses to choose between foreign and British employees.
George Baggaley
London SW12
SIR – Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, has called the poster advising illegal immigrants to go home or face arrest “stupid and offensive” (report, July 29).
The fact that it may offend either illegal immigrants or Mr Cable does not worry me. But I have to wonder why, if he considers it stupid, he didn’t suggest a more sensible alternative.
Richard Shaw
Dunstable, Bedfordshire
Arms trade treaty
SIR – Your report “Britain approves £12bn of military exports to human rights abusers” (July 17) does not mention the Arms Trade Treaty, which was adopted at the United Nations earlier this year.
Britain has been a strong champion of the Arms Trade Treaty, and demonstrated this by taking the first available opportunity to sign the treaty on June 3 2013. At the heart of this treaty is the obligation to refuse export licences where there is a clear risk that the transfer could facilitate human rights violations.
How can the British Government reconcile this progressive stance on the world stage with the huge quantity of export licences it is authorising to countries Britain itself has dubbed “of human rights concern”?
Ben Donaldson
Communications and Campaigns Officer United Nations Association, UK
London SW1
Twitter abuse
SIR – My advice to those complaining of abusive messages on Twitter, such as Stella Creasey, the Labour MP, and Caroline Criado-Perez, would be not to look at them (report, July 30).
Disengage from Twitter, Facebook and any other internet platforms which encourage people to tell lies about themselves and others.
Kevin Platt
Walsall, Staffordshire
SIR – Free speech is fine, but normal social limits must apply on the degree of freedom.
Fin Mackenzie
Morpeth, Northumberland
Language school
SIR – Try explaining to an American that a public school is, in fact, a private school (Letters, July 30).
Adrian Simmonds
Kendal, Cumberland
Heathrow business hub
SIR – Daniel Moylan, the Mayor of London’s chief aviation adviser, writes that “moving Heathrow will attract business to London” (Letters, July 26). He cites the economic benefits to Hong Kong of moving that city’s airport to a site where it was free to expand. However, there are no global examples of successfully moving a major airport 30 miles from its existing site. Doing so would cause huge damage to the economy of West London and surrounding counties.
Two hundred and two of Britain’s top 300 company headquarters are in close proximity to Heathrow because they want direct and frequent connections to their customers. That would be lost if we moved Heathrow – threatening jobs and economic growth. And those companies might not choose to relocate to the Thames Estuary; some might prefer the attractions of Paris or Amsterdam, deserting Britain entirely.
Frank Wingate
Chief Executive, West London Business
Hounslow, Middlesex
Cycling menace
SIR – Graham Ashton (Letters, July 29) exhibits a wondrous faith in human nature. My experience is that young male cyclists career along pavements at high speed, scattering pensioners and swerving swiftly on to the road without warning to drivers, oblivious to the danger they create.
Please construct more cycle lanes and keep these menaces off the footpaths.
Sheila Coggrave
Selby, North Yorkshire
SIR – On the busy Topsham Road in Exeter there is a narrow pavement with a very obvious sign saying “cyclists give way to pedestrians”. Walking along it recently, a cyclist hurtled past, brushing my shoulder.
Over the next 15 minutes, I counted 12 more passing and only one had a bell visible on his handlebars. He was riding one-handed while reading a paperback book held in his other hand.
Leigh Larigo
Hatt, Cornwall
Organic ladybirds
SIR – R L Evans (Letters, July 30) should look to local farming practices to explain the lack of ladybirds. There must be thousands on my large organic vegetable plot, surrounded by meadows, where no pesticides are used. Whitefly, however, are thankfully absent this year.
Adrian Waller
Woodsetts, South Yorkshire
Councils should review yellow line restrictions
SIR – A few years ago, in the face of objections from motorists and motoring organisations, councils were permitted to raise parking fines, and keep the proceeds.
This resulted in a rash of double-yellow lines appearing in areas which, up to that time, had not been signified as dangerous, but now became obvious money-spinners for the councils. Reality has now begun to bite in the form of loss of trade for local shops, very reluctantly conceded by local government groups.
A review of restricted parking should now be conducted.
David Broughton
Woodborough, Wiltshire
SIR – Imposing higher fines on those who park dangerously will not make any difference in popular tourist areas, where a parking fine may be regarded as a reasonable expense in return for a free and enjoyable day out.
Until penalty points are added to a driver’s licence for parking infringements, traffic congestion caused by thoughtless drivers during peak holiday times will continue unabated.
Sarah Britten
Southwold, Suffolk
SIR – The proposals to give drivers a “grace period” to allow them to stop outside shops without being fined (report, July 29) would be particularly beneficial to men.
Men do not go shopping, but go out to make specific purchases, parking as near as they can to the shops they plan to use and moving on as quickly as possible to the next one before returning home.
Malcolm Watson
Welford, Berkshire
SIR – Nicholas Wright (Letters, July 30) says we may need a third yellow line to differentiate between parking areas.
We already have this – a double red line, meaning no stopping whatsoever.
Allan Wright
Studham, Bedfordshire

Irish Times:

Sir, – John Tierney’s article on the conservation of water and introduction of water charges (Opinion, July 31st) is very interesting. However, so far we have heard nothing about how charges are to be applied. For example, what volume of water will each person be allowed free of charge? Will the charge to a household be based on the number living there at the last census or will it be based on the PPS numbers of the people actually in residence each year? Or will the charge be based on the size of the house – which would be most unfair?
These things interest us greatly and surely a discussion should be started at this stage. – Yours, etc,
LYDIA GILLEN,
Downside Park,
Skerries, Co Dublin.
Sir, – The comparison made by Donal Wynne (July 31st) of developing a group water scheme for €3 million and the total cost of installing water meters across the entire public network for €539 million is not comparing like with like and is rather meaningless.
Water services cost more than €1.2 billion to run in 2010, of which operational costs amounted to some €715 million, with capital costs exceeding €500 million. We are the only country in the OECD where households do not pay directly for the water they use. The 2009 Independent Review of Charging for Household Water and Sewerage Services in England and Wales (the Walker Report), where charging for water was well established, concluded that “charging by volume of water used, which required meters to be installed, is the fairest approach to charging. It can incentivise more efficient water use”.
In Ireland, average consumption per person is estimated at 150 litres per person per day. In Denmark, a reduction of 12.6 per cent in household consumption was achieved in the period 1996–2007 following the introduction of water meters and volumetric water charges. The average consumption per person per day in Denmark now stands at 114 litres (24 per cent lower than estimated use in Ireland).
The planned investment of installing water meters in Ireland will serve us well. It will reduce wastage and encourage us to value water as a precious resource into the future. – Yours, etc,
RICHARD COFFEY,
Wainsfort Manor Crescent,
Sir, – In choosing to ignore the very real concerns articulated by experts and ordinary people about specific features of the proposed legislation, particularly during the past few months, President Higgins has shown that he is still ideologically Labour at his new address of Áras an Uachtaráin. The people of Ireland, whatever their views on abortion, would have benefited from the input of the Supreme Court on the problematic aspects of the Bill. The President has let the people down on this immensely important issue of life and death. – Yours, etc,
NOREEN O’CARROLL,
Carysfort Park,
Blackrock, Co Dublin.
Sir, – Several correspondents have questioned Breda O’Brien’s understanding of the pro-choice position on abortion (Opinion, July 27th). Hillary Clinton has articulated what for many would appear to be a moderate pro-choice position – and one which would seem to be shared by a considerable number Irish people – namely that abortion should be safe, legal and rare.
What troubles many of us who would self identify as being pro-life, is that while a lot of legislative and political activity is focused on the “safe and legal” aspects of abortion provision, very little is ever heard (and even less acted upon) from within the broad pro-choice advocacy community, on addressing the “rare” part of that equation. – Yours, etc,
BRENDAN CONROY
Thu, Aug 1, 2013, 01:11

   
Sir, – May I wish the management team of Letterkenny General Hospital the very best and sincerest good luck with the ongoing clean-up operation following the recent flood crisis.
While its contingency plans are set in motion, I wonder what contingency plans are being offered to Sligo Regional Hospital by the HSE to cater for the increased demand on services, in particular that thrust upon the NCHD group who are currently entrenched in the quagmire there? The repairs at Letterkenny are likely to run into months, as suggested by the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine spokesperson, Fergal Hickey.
May I suggest a reallocation of NCHD resources from the now minimally functioning hospital to the newly overburdened one. Or would this be too much like common sense? – Yours, etc,
Dr HUGH Ó FAOLÁIN,
GP Registrar,

First published: Thu, Aug 1, 2013, 01:10

   
Sir, – Nicholas Prins (July 31st) exposes the contradiction in Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton’s so-called “dash for jobs”. Her “reforms” will only increase unemployment.
However, he exaggerates the power of politicians, like Germany’s Schröder to reform labour markets and levels of employment. Germany’s high employment rate is due to its strong manufacturing base which results in a healthy trade surplus as well as an apprenticeship system which also involves the education sector. A solid industrial base also enables the unions to insist on a greater say in how companies are run through their representation on boards of directors. – Yours, etc,
PATRICK BRADY,

A chara, – As a Galwegian living in Dublin I unfortunately missed many Galway Race meetings over the years, however I never failed to watch Colm Murray’s Six One news updates live from the Ballybrit race course.
I don’t follow horse racing, but I loved the infectious enthusiasm and passion of his reports and his ability to easily transport the fantastic atmosphere through the TV for the few minutes of his daily reports. I never met Colm in person, but I will certainly miss him. He is a huge loss, RIP. – Is mise,
JASON POWER,
Maxwell Road,
Rathgar, Dublin 6.
Sir, – I can’t put an exact date on it. It must have been around the turn of the century, 1999 or 2000. I was just about long enough in Fair City to be recognised by members of the public. I was also beginning to realise that many people in the world of TV and “celebrity” could make you feel like a bit of a trespasser, who hadn’t yet earned your full stripes, if indeed you ever would. Colm Murray was not one of those people.
As a fan of racing, from Ballinrobe, I knew Colm Murray very well as a racing commentator. In 1999/2000 my kids were about 10 and seven. We had taken them to the races in Galway, a meeting I rarely missed as a child. It was part of our holidays, so after the races, we treated ourselves to dinner in a packed Blake’s Restaurant at the bottom of Quay Street. As we waited for a table to become available, Colm was leaving, having already dined. I’m not sure who said hello first, probably Colm, but an instant conversation struck up. Being a strong family man, he was immediately taken with our kids and then keenly interested in how many winners we had had, if any. He had his own tales of near misses and a big winner in the bumper that redeemed him for the day.
He then made a point of telling me what a good job I was doing, handed my daughter a tenner for herself and her brother and a tip for the next day’s racing, smiling that broad, impish smile of his as he left. I would later meet him frequently at race meetings after I persuaded the cast of Fair City to invest in a horse that alas is “still running” as they say. Colm was always smiling. He was always interested in how we were getting on. He would always ask after “the family”. He always had a tip. He was a lovely, generous man.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis. – Yours, etc,
SEAMUS MORAN

Sir, – Frank Khan (July 31st) compares prices between Ireland and France for a visit to a doctor and a dentist, but there are also wide price differences for veterinary procedures. Here, I paid €67 to have our dog vaccinated prior to travelling. The corresponding price in France, for the return trip,was €24. – Yours, etc,
BERNARD O’DONNELL,

Irish Independent:

I can’t put an exact date on it. It must have been around the turn of the century, 1999 or 2000. I was just about long enough in ‘Fair City’ to be recognised by members of the public.
Also in this section
A challenge to David McWilliams
Keep our troops out of unnecessary danger
Brendan truly blessed
I was also beginning to realise that many people in the world of TV and ‘celebrity’ could make you feel like a bit of a trespasser, who hadn’t yet earned your full stripes, if indeed you ever would.
Colm Murray was not one of those people.
As a fan of racing myself, from Ballinrobe, I knew Colm Murray very well as a racing commentator.
In 1999/2000 my kids were about seven and 10. We had taken them to the races in Galway, a meeting I rarely missed myself as a child.
It was part of our holidays so after the races we treated ourselves to dinner in a packed Blake’s Restaurant at the bottom of Quay Street.
As we waited for a table to become available, Colm was leaving, having already dined.
I’m not sure who said hello first, probably Colm, but an instant conversation was struck up.
Being a strong family man himself, he was immediately taken with our kids and then keenly interested in how many winners we had had, if any.
He also had his own tales of near misses and a big winner in the bumper that redeemed him for the day.
He then made a point of telling me what a good job I was doing, handed my daughter a tenner for herself and her brother and a tip for the next day’s racing, finally smiling that broad, impish smile of his as he left.
I would later meet him frequently at race meetings after I persuaded the cast of ‘Fair City’ to invest in a horse that alas is ‘still running’ as they say.
He was always smiling. He was always interested in how we were getting on. He would always ask after ‘the family’. He always had a tip. He was a lovely, generous man.
Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.
Seamus Moran (actor/director)
It’s time to tackle this
I am a smoker. I do not enjoy being a smoker, but I do enjoy smoking. These are two very separate things, something that is lost on many in the non-smoking community.
As a smoker, I see myself as an addict, and the most frustrating thing about being in this cancerous captivity is that freedom lies within.
Willpower, of course, is all that is required to free oneself from this smoking trap. It is pointed out to me regularly that for my children’s sake alone I should quit. Yet this does not enable me to quit.
Selfish behaviour? I agree, the behaviour of an addict. Seven thousand people die in this country every year due to smoking-related diseases. The Department of Health points out that “these deaths are preventable”. So why then does Health Minister James Reilly not prevent them? Is it not his responsibility to eradicate health dangers? Instead he deals in half measures by vowing to make smoking less visible, less socially acceptable.
If he was truly serious about the health of this nation’s citizens, then should he not ban smoking completely? The sale of cigarettes brings much revenue to the Government. Could this be a factor in this hypocrisy? Surely the cost to the health system outweighs this income, so why not have the courage to actually deal with the issue?
Edwin Ambrose
Co Limerick
An ability to protect
With regards to Colin Smith’s letter of July 29 last, I have to ask are we, as a country, to shirk our responsibilities with regards to peacekeeping?
The various advantages Ireland has in relation to peacekeeping missions are well known and, as such, I will not repeat them here. I simply believe that Ireland should continue to stand up and be counted when it comes to global peacekeeping. Not because we have an interest in the conflict, nor because we are trying to make amends for history – but because we have an ability to protect the weak and vulnerable in these conflicts.
Now, if only we could protect the weak and vulnerable at home.
Kevin Moloney
Churchtown, Dublin 14
Act of mercy, or a right?
Judge Hugh O’Flaherty refers to the European Court of Human Rights’ decision against whole-life tariffs for convicted multiple murderers, sentences which many would see as appropriate to the crimes committed.
As Judge O’Flaherty says, the ECHR was established after World War II, when the main concern was with the gross violation of human rights by the Nazis and fascists. The ECHR was set up with the victims of mass murder, etc, in mind.
Is not the ECHR, in ruling against such tariffs, effectively inverting the rights it was originally set up to protect by casting the perpetrators of heinous crimes in the role of victims who have a “right” not to have to take the consequences of their crimes?
It might be appropriate in some circumstances to release such prisoners as acts of mercy, but to release them because of their so-called rights is a different matter.
Hugh Gibney
Castletown, Athboy, Co Meath
Swagger and smiles
I understand the reason behind the meeting in Aras An Uachtarain of the Council Of State members to advise the President on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. What I do not understand is the swagger and smiles, as they arrived, of Mr Bertie Ahern and Mr Brian Cowen.
If I had been instrumental in ruining the country and its people, I would be hanging my head in shame.
Catherine Dolan
Tralee, Co Kerry
Old rules – and less injuries
It was sensational that Henry Shefflin was sent off at the weekend. Justified? Cody was mystified. Your sport writers were not too sure either.
No one is very clear about what merits a yellow card. However, there is no doubt that the GAA genuinely fears the danger of serious, if not fatal, neck damage. But are they trying to prevent something without tackling or even knowing the cause?
Fifty or so years ago, when hurling was rougher and tougher, there was seldom a danger of such an accident. Why not? The answer is simple. You were not allowed to run with the ball in your hand. The oldI can’t put an exact date on it. It must have been around the turn of the century, 1999 or 2000. I was just about long enough in ‘Fair City’ to be recognised by members of the public.
Also in this section
A challenge to David McWilliams
Keep our troops out of unnecessary danger
Brendan truly blessed
I was also beginning to realise that many people in the world of TV and ‘celebrity’ could make you feel like a bit of a trespasser, who hadn’t yet earned your full stripes, if indeed you ever would.
Colm Murray was not one of those people.
As a fan of racing myself, from Ballinrobe, I knew Colm Murray very well as a racing commentator.
In 1999/2000 my kids were about seven and 10. We had taken them to the races in Galway, a meeting I rarely missed myself as a child.
It was part of our holidays so after the races we treated ourselves to dinner in a packed Blake’s Restaurant at the bottom of Quay Street.
As we waited for a table to become available, Colm was leaving, having already dined.
I’m not sure who said hello first, probably Colm, but an instant conversation was struck up.
Being a strong family man himself, he was immediately taken with our kids and then keenly interested in how many winners we had had, if any.
He also had his own tales of near misses and a big winner in the bumper that redeemed him for the day.
He then made a point of telling me what a good job I was doing, handed my daughter a tenner for herself and her brother and a tip for the next day’s racing, finally smiling that broad, impish smile of his as he left.
I would later meet him frequently at race meetings after I persuaded the cast of ‘Fair City’ to invest in a horse that alas is ‘still running’ as they say.
He was always smiling. He was always interested in how we were getting on. He would always ask after ‘the family’. He always had a tip. He was a lovely, generous man.
Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.
Seamus Moran (actor/director)
It’s time to tackle this
I am a smoker. I do not enjoy being a smoker, but I do enjoy smoking. These are two very separate things, something that is lost on many in the non-smoking community.
As a smoker, I see myself as an addict, and the most frustrating thing about being in this cancerous captivity is that freedom lies within.
Willpower, of course, is all that is required to free oneself from this smoking trap. It is pointed out to me regularly that for my children’s sake alone I should quit. Yet this does not enable me to quit.
Selfish behaviour? I agree, the behaviour of an addict. Seven thousand people die in this country every year due to smoking-related diseases. The Department of Health points out that “these deaths are preventable”. So why then does Health Minister James Reilly not prevent them? Is it not his responsibility to eradicate health dangers? Instead he deals in half measures by vowing to make smoking less visible, less socially acceptable.
If he was truly serious about the health of this nation’s citizens, then should he not ban smoking completely? The sale of cigarettes brings much revenue to the Government. Could this be a factor in this hypocrisy? Surely the cost to the health system outweighs this income, so why not have the courage to actually deal with the issue?
Edwin Ambrose
Co Limerick
An ability to protect
With regards to Colin Smith’s letter of July 29 last, I have to ask are we, as a country, to shirk our responsibilities with regards to peacekeeping?
The various advantages Ireland has in relation to peacekeeping missions are well known and, as such, I will not repeat them here. I simply believe that Ireland should continue to stand up and be counted when it comes to global peacekeeping. Not because we have an interest in the conflict, nor because we are trying to make amends for history – but because we have an ability to protect the weak and vulnerable in these conflicts.
Now, if only we could protect the weak and vulnerable at home.
Kevin Moloney
Churchtown, Dublin 14
Act of mercy, or a right?
Judge Hugh O’Flaherty refers to the European Court of Human Rights’ decision against whole-life tariffs for convicted multiple murderers, sentences which many would see as appropriate to the crimes committed.
As Judge O’Flaherty says, the ECHR was established after World War II, when the main concern was with the gross violation of human rights by the Nazis and fascists. The ECHR was set up with the victims of mass murder, etc, in mind.
Is not the ECHR, in ruling against such tariffs, effectively inverting the rights it was originally set up to protect by casting the perpetrators of heinous crimes in the role of victims who have a “right” not to have to take the consequences of their crimes?
It might be appropriate in some circumstances to release such prisoners as acts of mercy, but to release them because of their so-called rights is a different matter.
Hugh Gibney
Castletown, Athboy, Co Meath
Swagger and smiles
I understand the reason behind the meeting in Aras An Uachtarain of the Council Of State members to advise the President on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. What I do not understand is the swagger and smiles, as they arrived, of Mr Bertie Ahern and Mr Brian Cowen.
If I had been instrumental in ruining the country and its people, I would be hanging my head in shame.
Catherine Dolan
Tralee, Co Kerry
Old rules – and less injuries
It was sensational that Henry Shefflin was sent off at the weekend. Justified? Cody was mystified. Your sport writers were not too sure either.
No one is very clear about what merits a yellow card. However, there is no doubt that the GAA genuinely fears the danger of serious, if not fatal, neck damage. But are they trying to prevent something without tackling or even knowing the cause?
Fifty or so years ago, when hurling was rougher and tougher, there was seldom a danger of such an accident. Why not? The answer is simple. You were not allowed to run with the ball in your hand. The old rule 150 said ‘a ball may not be carried except on the hurley’. All the advantage now lies with the player who has ball in hand.
This change was detrimental to hurling safety. If only your writers would put pressure on the game to clean up by restoring the old rule, we could have a cleaner game. Maybe we should get the health and safety people on to them. On reflection, better not.
James Neville
Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick
No softening of stance
‘Pope asks, ‘Who am I to judge gay people,’ as he softens church stance’, screamed your world news headline yesterday.
That is but one example of the sort of hyperbole surrounding Pope Francis’s latest statements regarding homosexuality. But one fundamental truth has been forgotten: that Francis simply restated Catholic doctrine.
There is not now, nor has there ever been any Catholic doctrine, anywhere in the Catechism, that preaches hatred for any one group or any one person for any reason.
Oddly enough, it seems to have taken 2000 years for those outside of the church to (hopefully) finally get that.
Killian Foley-Walsh
Kilkenny City, Co Kilkenny
Irish Independent
rule 150 said ‘a ball may not be carried except on the hurley’. All the advantage now lies with the player who has ball in hand.
This change was detrimental to hurling safety. If only your writers would put pressure on the game to clean up by restoring the old rule, we could have a cleaner game. Maybe we should get the health and safety people on to them. On reflection, better not.
James Neville
Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick
No softening of stance
‘Pope asks, ‘Who am I to judge gay people,’ as he softens church stance’, screamed your world news headline yesterday.
That is but one example of the sort of hyperbole surrounding Pope Francis’s latest statements regarding homosexuality. But one fundamental truth has been forgotten: that Francis simply restated Catholic doctrine.
There is not now, nor has there ever been any Catholic doctrine, anywhere in the Catechism, that preaches hatred for any one group or any one person for any reason.
Oddly enough, it seems to have taken 2000 years for those outside of the church to (hopefully) finally get that.
Killian Foley-Walsh
Kilkenny City, Co Kilkenny
Irish Independent

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