Chemist

3 August 2013 Chemist

I go all the way around the park round the park listening to the Navy Lark Troutbridge crew return from leave but no Troutbridge she is being refitted so they chase around after her, by train Priceless
We are both tired but I get the drive swept I get Mary’s prescription
We watch Yes Minister quite good
Scrabble today Mary wins but gets under 400. perhaps I might win tomorrow.

Obituary:

Maurice Tiefenbrunner
Maurice Tiefenbrunner, who has died aged 97, was a German Jew who served with British Special Forces behind enemy lines in the Second World War.

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Maurice Tiefenbrunner 
5:58PM BST 02 Aug 2013
Tiefenbrunner was born in Germany, but in 1939 he fled to Palestine to escape Nazi persecution. In March 1942 he was recruited by the Special Interrogation Group (SIG), the name given to a small force of German-speaking troops assembled to carry out raids in North Africa while disguised in enemy uniforms.
Most of the volunteers were Jews from Palestine, and, like Tiefenbrunner, had previously served with the commandos. At a PoW camp near Suez the SIG observed the behaviour of German soldiers, learned their commands, their salutes, their slang, their marching songs and how to handle their weapons. Their false identities were rounded out by photographs of German girlfriends — actually posed for by British ATS girls in Cairo.
The SIG’s first mission, in June 1942, was to help the SAS to destroy the aircraft on the airfields at Derna and Martuba in Libya, 100 miles west of Tobruk. This would involve bluffing their way through enemy lines with forged documents and wearing captured uniforms. If caught, they could expect no mercy.
Travelling in two Afrika Corps lorries and a staff car, 12 members of the SIG led by Captain Herbert Buck posed as guards escorting 15 French prisoners (in fact, these were soldiers of the Free French Squadron of the SAS). The lorries were driven by two genuine German PoWs who claimed to be anti-Nazi. Tiefenbrunner, who was then a corporal, did not trust them and objected to their coming.
As they approached the targets, they split into three groups. One lorry made for the airfield at Derna, the other for Martuba. Tiefenbrunner stayed with the car and liaised between the two.
After hearing some loud explosions, he assumed that the attack was going well. Then he heard frantic shouting, and a lone Free French officer appeared. He was exhausted and almost incoherent. Their lorry, he said, had broken down. The German driver had gone into the airfield’s guardpost ostensibly to obtain a spare part — but had betrayed them, informing his compatriots that he had a lorry full of Allied soldiers. All the other raiders in that group had been killed or captured.
The other detachment of Frenchmen had also been taken prisoner before they could destroy any aircraft, and the surviving members of SIG had no option but to try to return to base in the remaining lorry. Tiefenbrunner covered the second German driver with his gun, ready to kill him if he made a wrong move. On the way they were bombed by a German aircraft, but when they unfurled a Swastika flag on the ground it flew off.
After the remnants of the raid had made it back to their own lines, Tiefenbrunner’s driver was returned to a PoW camp — he was later shot trying to escape. The other driver, who had betrayed them, was received as a hero and decorated by the German High Command.
In July 1942, Tiefenbrunner took part in successful raids on the Egyptian airfields at Fuka and Mersa Matruh, where a large number of enemy aircraft were destroyed. But two months later , following a failed raid on Tobruk in which it was almost wiped out, SIG was disbanded, its remaining members being amalgamated with the SAS.
In December 1942, however, Tiefenbrunner was taken prisoner and shipped by submarine to Italy. On the way, he and seven British officers made an unsuccessful attempt to overcome the crew, and they were forced to spend the remainder of the journey on the floor, packed together like sardines.
After the Italian armistice in 1943, Tiefenbrunner was moved to Austria, then to a camp in Prussia. As the Red Army got closer, he and several hundred others were marched to Fallingbostel, near Hanover. Food was scarce and the weather freezing; at night they slept in the open fields.
In February 1945, with the British Army approaching, the German guards surrendered to the PoWs. Tiefenbrunner was released the following month.
One of eight children, Maurice Tiefenbrunner (nicknamed “Monju”) was born to an orthodox Jewish family at Wiesbaden, Germany, on December 18 1915. His parents, who had moved there from Poland before the First World War, ran a kosher grocery and delicatessen store. He helped his parents in the shop after school, but emigration was affecting the business, and in 1931 he moved to Mainz to work in a department store.
In 1934 Nazi storm troopers burst into the store and began beating up the staff. Tiefenbrunner tried to protect his boss but was knocked down with a truncheon and had to spend several days in hospital.
In October 1938 his parents were arrested, imprisoned and taken to the railway station to be deported to Poland. Monju begged to be allowed to take his mother’s place so she could return home to look after the younger children. Reluctantly, the police agreed.
Thus he accompanied his father, who was blind, to Krakow, where they stayed with relations. Some weeks later, after receiving an order to enlist in the Polish Army, he succeeded with great difficulty in getting to Antwerp, where his brother was living. He never saw his father again.
In April 1939 Tiefenbrunner was busy learning the business of diamond-cutting when an inspector asked to see his work permit. He had none and was told that he would be deported. To avoid this fate he joined a small group of refugees similarly placed and was smuggled across the frontier into France, making his way to Paris.
For 10 days he hid from the authorities. Then, having contacted Jewish agents of the Irgun, he got to Marseille, where he bribed the captain of a pleasure boat to take him to the cargo boat Parita, which was bound for Palestine.
The boat was meant to take about 250 passengers, but at Constanta, in Romania, 750 joined the 80 already on board. The passengers were told that, when they reached Cyprus, they would be transferred to four sailing boats. In the event these boats never arrived; meanwhile, the food ran out and many of the more elderly became ill.
A group of 100 passengers decided to act. They locked up the captain and his officers, hoisted the Israeli flag and took command of the ship. The Greek crew took all their money and valuables but helped them reach the coast of Palestine after 70 days at sea. There, the passengers smashed the engines before running the vessel deep into the sand at Tel Aviv beach. The Second World War broke out a month later; the passengers were released from internment and became legal citizens.
Tiefenbrunner volunteered immediately for the British Army and, posted to the Pioneer Corps, was sent to France. Two weeks after the French surrender, he was evacuated from St Malo in one of the last British ships to get away.
He joined 51 Middle East Commando and fought in the Eritrean campaign. Leading a section of machine gunners in the fiercely contested battle of Keren, he was wounded and was subsequently mentioned in despatches.
In October 1945 Tiefenbrunner returned to Palestine, to learn that his parents had perished in Auschwitz. For a time he worked as a diamond cutter. He was also active in the 1948 struggle for Independence, after which he moved to Britain , settling in west London. He managed a book production business and raised a family before spending the last 30 years of his life in Israel, where he worked as a bookbinder until finally retiring at the age of 95. He considered the large family surrounding him his personal revenge against Hitler.
Monju Tiefenbrunner married, in 1947, Friedel Sturm. She predeceased him, and he is survived by their son and three daughters.
Maurice Tiefenbrunner, born December 18 1915, died July 24 2013

Guardian:
ieran Doherty/Reuters
It’s ironic that Tim Llewellyn (Letters, 2 August) should attack Martin Indyk, the US diplomat involved in the Middle East peace talks. Indyk is the subject of virulent attacks from the Israeli right, who have called for his removal, in part because of his longstanding involvement with the New Israel Fund (NIF), which supports civil society in Israel, including its Palestinian citizens.
Jeremy Beecham
Labour, House of Lords (Vice chair, NIF UK)
• Notice one thing from the 30-year National Archives release (‘This awful duty’: the Queen’s speech for third world war, 1 August): the government’s advisers, when contemplating the actuality of nuclear war, did not consider that having nuclear weapons would make Britain safe. They considered that it would make Britain a target.
Roger Schafir
London
• There already is political control of oil/coal/gas output (Letters, 31 July). Its structure is devised by, and dictated to government by, global energy interests.
M Bidwell
Winchester
•   I was unprepared to be so moved by different reports on 1 August. Jackie Ashley’s article telling us that she had not realised how demanding life can be when acting as a carer, so that we were able to understand more of the difficulties carers face each day. The Letters page, too, with its many contributions from readers about the implications of the NHS going private, giving us much food for thought. Even more moving was Margaret Owen’s letter telling us that she was prepared to die by fasting to save the life of Shaker Aamer. The Guardian is magnificent and it obviously has extraordinary readers too.
Joyce Morgan
London
• It is disgraceful that the government receives £100m from the US for information (Report, 2 August). If we’re for sale we should do it for a great deal more.
Roger Broad
London
• If Caligula’s horse is to form a stable government (Letters, 1 August), will other members be elected by straw poll?
Richard Barnard
Wivenhoe, Essex

I awaited your correspondents’ response to Melissa Kite’s article (Letters, 1 August) to see who would refute her thesis by referring to Hirschman’s seminal theory on Exit and Voice. But no one did – even though Hirschman’s thesis completely and utterly undermines her argument. In short, his theory suggests that if a consumer, a user or a patient is unhappy with the product or service they are receiving, they can either go elsewhere (ie exit) or complain (ie use their voice). Melissa Kite suggests that people who can afford to should exit from the NHS, so that the service they have abandoned will improve. But all the evidence is that if the privileged can exit, they will take their voice with them. Or, to put this another way, if the Queen is in the queue, the queue will be very short. If she exits, however, the queue will get longer. Without the voice of the privileged, the NHS will become a safety net for those who have no voice. Melissa Kite could not be more wrong.
Gordon Best
London
• Three years ago, an operation cured my (hereditary) type 2 diabetes. It has been known for years that a gastric bypass cures diabetes, yet no NHS doctor had told me this, let alone referred me for it. Indeed, my GP was very doubtful about it. Eventually I had it done privately at a cost of well over £10,000 and, since coming out of the anaesthetic, have not been diabetic.
The condition was already affecting my eyesight, while other complications of diabetes could have rendered me helpless. We have saved the NHS a small fortune, yet, far from our having “jumped the queue”, the operation was never offered to us, nor is it, presumably, to many others.
If we had not had substantial savings, I could be blind, disabled or dead by now. After over half a century of “free” healthcare, there is still one service for the rich and another for the poor.
Sara Neill
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
• Let Florence Nightingale have the last word on private healthcare. In 1873 she was asked to help find a superintendent and two nurses for the Royal Berkshire hospital, where she knew private nursing was practised. She wrote to her friend Henry Bonham Carter: “I have no ‘experience’ as to ‘private nursing’ and have always been thankful that we were not obliged to have anything to do with it. Miss Jones (of K.C.H.) and everybody whose opinions I respect, has always told me that it was the most unsatisfactory part of their work, and the private nursing of the ‘rich’ always absorbs and takes the place of the ‘nursing’ of the ‘poor’.”
Tom Lake
London

A lobby claiming to represent 400,000 so-called low-caste people is claiming the rest of the Hindus are discriminating against them (Report, 30 July). The Hindu population in the UK does not have the economic or political power to discriminate against anyone even if it wanted to. How can 400,000 people be discriminated against by a minority faith? The government-commissioned NIESR report on caste discrimination found no evidence of it. The proposed law to ban caste discrimination will open a Pandora’s box in which innocent Hindus will be accused of caste discrimination and every institution in the country will have to bring in measures to comply with a useless piece of legislation. This country has sufficient anti-discrimination laws to tackle any injustice. An alliance of evangelical groups, caste activists and some leftwing politicians are attempting to bring India’s politics to this country.
Nitin Mehta
Croydon
Michael Gove’s assertions about free schools paint a distorted picture (Wrong again, Ed, 1 August). I challenge him to provide the evidence to support his comment that in England “the evidence shows that children benefit from … a knowledge-rich curriculum”. He claims the free schools policy is supported “right across the political spectrum”, but then admits that doesn’t stretch to the Labour party. He ignores the disquiet among policymakers about the lack of accountability of these schools, which is partly about the disproportionate amount of taxpayers’ money they receive. He omits to mention the huge concern among those who teach in, administer and lead our schools, about opening schools where no extra places are needed.
Inspections from 24 free schools are not sufficient to back his claims that they are driving up standards or that their Ofsted inspections outstrip those of other state schools. And he chooses not to mention that their inspection results are only slightly better than for schools generally, with 58% rated good, compared with the national figure of 54%.
The freedoms he claims are available only to free schools actually apply to all state schools. But, since he hardly ever visits “bog standard” schools, he wouldn’t know that many of them buzz with innovation. The one freedom available to free schools, which no sane school leader would want, is the right to employ unqualified teachers – how is that best for children’s education?
It’s time Mr Gove came clean about his real agenda. One thing he does know is that free schools and academies are ripe for takeover by global businesses seeking to make a profit from education. Is this really what taxpayers should be funding? And how is this going to improve children’s education?
Dr Mary Bousted
General secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers
• It is now clear, despite Gove’s protestations, that free schools are indeed ideological and based on no objective evidence whatsoever. The only source he cites is Ofsted, an organisation that, since the days of Chris Woodhead, has not been renowned for its impartiality. There is a considerable body of evidence on what makes a good school and how young people can be helped to become better learners. On his doorstep, Professors Peter Mortimore and Dylan Wiliam of the University of London’s institute of education have, in their different ways, contributed to this body of evidence, but I have the feeling they might well be dismissed as “leftwing academics”.
Gove wants us to believe that he is driven by a desire to get more children “to succeed academically”. I have never met a teacher who did not want children to succeed academically, but teachers know that there is a lot more to education than narrow academic success. The secretary of state has ridden roughshod over the views of parents, the concerns of teachers and the advice of academics. The tragedy is that, as Bruce Millan, as secretary of state for Scotland in 1977, said of education policy, “at the end of the day, the system does change, and change significantly, but it just can’t be done by administrative or ministerial fiat … It just doesn’t work like that”.
Brian Boyd
Emeritus professor of education, University of Strathclyde
• If free schools are doing well (except for some) because they are free from local authority control and can decide things for themselves, does that mean Gove will now introduce a bill bringing the national curriculum to an end instead of extending it, as he currently proposes, even including pressure on how to teach reading – by synthetic phonics? The national curriculum does not have to be taught in free schools or academies, any way, so why impose it on local authority schools?
Surely a Marxist of Mr Gove’s intelligence cannot be so confused as to advocate freedom for schools and at the same time deny it.
Professor Norman Thomas
St Albans, Hertfordshire
• Since Gove believes that the freedom “to choose to open for longer; offer academic and other courses unavailable in other local schools; and hire the best people to teach” is a good thing, why does he not extend it to all publicly funded schools, for which he is supposed to be responsible, rather than restricting it to his favoured ones? Without a level playing field, how can any valid conclusions be drawn?
Ron Glatter
Emeritus professor of educational administration and management, Open University
• Few ministers can have initiated more changes that ignore the evidence Gove claims his are rooted in, nor been shown to have done so on so many occasions. Who are these adherents of Robespierre, Mill and Marx whose support he claims for free schools? And how can he assert their “remarkable success” after a single year? They have received preferential funding, top-sliced from the education budget; in many cases they amount to no more than one year-group as yet and have no statistically significant track record. Roll on Dotheboys Hall.
Ian Roberts
Baildon, West Yorkshire
• Michael Gove writes about the performance of free schools after publication of data showing that three-quarters of them have been rated good or outstanding. He states that “if a single local authority performed this well we would applaud its commitment to excellence”. In Reading, 80% of schools are rated good or outstanding. I trust he will applaud the commitment to excellence of the Labour council in Reading.
Peter Kayes
Reading
• It is overwhelmingly documented that children require unconditional Gove in order to thrive.
Bob Buntine
Northampton

Independent:

I read with anger and sorrow of the judgments on the right to die for Tony Nicklinson and Paul Lamb.
Both my parents have died on the NHS.
I sat by my mother this week, as she struggled with her last breaths.
Both their experiences (and mine) have been ones of fear, loss of dignity and pain throughout the process of dying.
As I have sat with my mother I have seen all around me, in every hospital and nursing home, both loved and forgotten people for whom a dignified, pain-free death is denied by those arrogant enough to think they speak for a nation’s conscience.
When are we – the nation – going to have a detailed, comprehensive and enlightened debate about assisted dying, not only for those who are terminally ill, but those who face death through dementia, frailty and loss of independence in old age.
I am determined, absolutely determined, that I will not die in the manner that my parents have died – pushed from pillar to post by a disjointed, malfunctioning, crippled NHS system, cared for by a family that has become so stressed it cannot cope. It will be forever on my conscience that I have let my parents die like this.
I challenge those who represent “the conscience of the nation” to put aside their private healthcare privileges and spend some time in struggling, under-resourced hospitals and nursing homes, and in the private homes of those families struggling to help those who are dying… and then let’s all have a proper debate and a proper decision – one which allows a person to die in peace, without suffering, as should be possible in our modern world.
Ruth Hair, Midgley, Halifax
 
Lord Falconer is introducing a bill to enable doctors to participate in assisting terminally ill people to die. This is a step in the right direction, but it is time for much more serious thought to be given to the subject.
Let’s face it, doctors have been assisting patients to die by putting them on the Liverpool Care Pathway, and very unsatisfactory it is. If a pet-owner deprived an animal of food and water in this way, they would be guilty of a serious crime. It would be far better to assist in the dying humanely and medically.
Although I am well and active now, I have no wish to live when the quality of my life deteriorates to nothing, and I think the politicians, doctors and lawyers should give serious consideration to changing the law to allow those who see no future value in their life to have assistance in terminate it.
I have no wish to have my desires inflicted upon other people, but I think that such an option should be available, with adequate safeguards, for those who want it.
I do not understand the attitude of a Government that so savagely cuts social support for the poor being prepared to spend millions on caring for the old and infirm and not at least consider allowing those who wish to be relieved of their misery being assisted to die.
Brian Crews, Beckenham
 
Lots of good experience  – of rejection
“Must have at least X amount of experience”… a line with which the young people of today are more than familiar.
I am employed, albeit on a lower wage structure than my job role would normally demand. But I have a friend who is an absolute stand-up, hard-working, honest guy – and how he can’t get a job is beyond belief.
The whole corporate structure in this country is a joke. Our Government claims it wants more young people in jobs, encourages people to go to university and lets us think that if we are decent, hard-working people, we will get what we deserve – but it’s rubbish.
It’s a sham and it’s the higher-ups who are to blame, because most of them are so far removed from regular society that they have no idea what it’s like to try to climb the ladder.
I have been there so many times myself in the past and it’s the same old story. You can’t get past the application stage because no matter how skilled you are or how well you feel you could suit the role, it states: “Must have experience.”
I’m sorry, but while others were working and getting great experience in work, we were at university doing what you told us we had to do to get the same role we’re now being told we can’t apply for because we have no experience.
Many companies are afraid of putting faith in younger people; because a piece of paper says they aren’t experienced in a particular role, they don’t get a look-in. A few brave companies do appreciate that what some young people lack in work experience they more than make up for with desire, new relevant ideas and passion.
Steven Ormrod, Oldham
 
Peace talks are a sham again
The Middle East peace talks have begun again. For those not familiar with the situation, it’s when Israel, with the help of its greatest ally, the US, tries to bully the Palestinians into accepting a fraction of what they’re entitled to by international law.
Since Israel’s creation in 1948 (having been given 56 per cent of Palestinian land by the UN), it went about stealing more land. In 1967, it occupied Gaza and the West Bank, and that continues to this day. Since then, Israel has continued to build settlements in the West Bank and has seized control of scarce water resources.
If you want peace, force Israel to follow international law. Dismantle all settlements, stop the military occupation, end the siege on Gaza, allow the displaced refugees to return and make sure the Palestinians are treated equally.
And perhaps get an impartial mediator. In other words, anyone apart from Britain or the US.
Clive Collins, London SW17
 
Strip Obama of his award
A Nobel Peace Prize for Bradley Manning (letter, 2 August)? How about making it a dual campaign? Let’s demand an award for Manning, while stripping Barack Obama of his 2009 Peace Prize for his now laughable “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples” – which he apparently thinks is achievable by bugging the peoples of the world.
Dr Gavin Lewis, Manchester
 
So now freedom is just for whites
Have I lost the plot? Am I a sleeping beauty who has woken up in a different world (“The new stop-and-search: spot checks at stations in hunt for illegal immigrants”, 2 August)?
I thought that we were free to mind our own business and did not have to carry ID or tell officials what we are about unless there is specific cause for them to be suspicious. Is this hard-won freedom now available only to boring white people like me?
This news is outrageous and  as a country we should be ashamed. Every media outlet should be lambasting this behaviour. The more I think about it, the angrier I get. Yet in the current system I feel powerless. It is  time to shout out against our “masters”.
Dr Gemma Stockford, Hassocks, West Sussex
 
Sack them all
In the case of Daniel Pelka, we will be given the same old comment: “a thorough investigation will take place” and then “lessons will be learned”. The comment I would like to see is: all those connected with the failure in this case will be sacked forthwith, without a reference and their pensions forfeited.
That might make sure that, in future, should alarm bells ring about a child, all those involved will pull out all the stops to see exactly what the problem is – before the child is killed, not afterwards.
Joan McTigue, Middlesbrough
 
Lesser evil?
Here we reward party donors with peerages. In America they do it with embassies. Which is worse?
Robert Davies, London SE3
 
Be honest, we are corrupt
Are we one of the more corrupt countries in Europe despite our protestations otherwise?
We have a second cash for honours situation. And there are numerous stories of downright deception and lies by police chiefs and politicians.
It’s as if nobody ever wants to hold anyone accountable, because it would mean the end of the cosy relationship between money, legal shenanigans and those with influence.
Is this country simply staying rotten to the core in order to maintain its appalling status quo?
Martin Sandaver, Hay-on-Wye
   
It’s cars not cats
Rosie Catford thinks there should be a cat curfew to save birds and small animals from being killed (“It’s 10pm: do you know where your cat is?”, 2 August). How about banning car driving after dark? My money’s on roadkill accounting for more birds and mammals than any moggie could manage.
Gary Wiltshire, Bunwell, Norfolk
 
Don’t blame gulls
Pete Dorey (letter, 1 August) might consider why herring gulls are becoming an urban issue. The depletion of their natural food stocks and man’s landfill sites and litter have led to their increasing presence in towns and cities. Since 1969, the herring gull population has declined by 69 per cent and they are a threatened species.
Christopher Chappell, Somerton, Somerset
 
Heathrow misery
I agree with April Beynon (letter. 2 August). I have recently flown from and back to Heathrow. On both occasions we took off over 40 minutes late. Not much, but one is instructed to get there two hours before the flights – more, in my case, than the actual flight time. A fourth runway would make things worse.
Michael Lloyd, London N4
 
Perfect name
As the Home Secretary has announced a licensing authority for private investigators (PIs), no doubt we will have another body to monitor them, to join Ofsted (for education), Ofcom (communications) etc.
It will surely be called Ofpis. And can I suggest some individuals who would be fit to lead it?
Colin Burke, Manchester

Times:
Telegraph:

SIR – I read with interest Daniel Hannan’s excellent article (“We celebrate the Royal family because it symbolises our liberty”, Comment, July 27). This was followed by the results of the poll in Sunday’s Telegraph giving overwhelming support for the monarchy.
It therefore appears to be the ideal time to start the planning process for a new royal yacht, to be given the go-ahead when the economy has made its recovery.
A replacement for HMY Britannia would not only be a great asset to the Royal family but would be a symbol of a burgeoning nation, paying for itself many times over in the years to come with the income derived from its trade missions.
Robert Worlidge
Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire

SIR – We did not criticise John Humphrys in our finding on the BBC Two programme The Future State of Welfare (“Humphrys ‘a victim of BBC Left-wing bias’ ”, report, August 1).
We did not uphold any of the points of complaint about his presentation of the programme, which we considered to have been based on professional judgment, not personal opinion.
Although we found that the programme did include an appropriately wide range of voices, some statistics were omitted that we believed ought to have been included to help viewers to reach an informed opinion.
Alison Hastings
BBC Trustee
London W1
SIR – The BBC Trust says that John Humphrys’ programme should have included the ratio of jobs to applicants. This statistic is meaningless.
Related Articles
It’s time for a new Britannia to rule the waves
02 Aug 2013
If each applicant applies for 10 positions, they are effectively counted 10 times. Therefore if the jobs-to-applicants ratio is one to every 100 applications, in reality this equates to one job per 10 job seekers.
The application figures also include those already in employment who are seeking a change of job.
As neither of these two variables is known, the statistic is worthless except as a propaganda tool in the wrong hands.
Paul Gilbert
Knowle, Warwickshire
Lord Howell’s comments reflect Westminster’s disregard for the North
SIR – I wonder if all the peers who gasped at Lord Howell’s ill-informed comments on the North East are breathing a sigh of relief now that he has admitted he meant the North West (report, August 2).
I live in the Bowland basin area and I do not recognise the description of it as one of those “unloved places that are not environmentally sensitive”. How can he say this when the forest of Bowland is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty? Why does he think the North West is not a “sensitive” place like Sussex?
The debate now is not about fracking itself but how blinkered men like Lord Howell have any say in the running of this country – men who don’t know their East from their West and have no idea what the country looks like north of Watford Gap.
Anna Old
Preston, Lancashire
SIR – Lord Howell’s attitude is wholly consistent with the disregard shown by Westminster to our beautiful corner of Britain by the previous administration, who, despite much local opposition, waved through planning permission for the 29 inappropriately situated wind turbines at Middlemoor and Wandylaw, just north of Alnwick.
On the back of this we now have an application for a further nine turbines at Belford Burn, with an expected further submission for 16 at Middleton Burn.
Does anyone care that these would be in touching distance of Holy Island and St Cuthbert’s Way? Does it matter that the historic, unbroken views from the Northumberland coastal Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the Northumberland National Park have been destroyed, to the detriment of thousands and the benefit of few?
Of course not. It’s the North East. Who needs it?
Elizabeth Robertson
Alnwick, Northumberland
SIR – If fracking in the North does happen, the revenue should stay in the area to rebalance the bias that exists towards the bloated South East. This revenue should be used to invest in renewables that will last when fossil fuels run out, in infrastructure projects, in manufacturing and not, as North Sea oil was in the Thatcher years, wasted on keeping three million on the dole and millions more on Invalidity Benefit to massage the dole queue figures.
Alan Quinn
Manchester
SIR – Many mainland Scots insist that the oil found in the North Sea is purely Scottish oil, and that the English have no right to it. They also like to offset its value against Government regional subsidies.
Now we are seeing early test exploration for shale gas being concentrated in England. Is it therefore time to return the favour and lodge an exclusive claim for England?
Martin Burgess
Beckenham, Kent
Preventing child abuse
SIR – Your report on the dreadful death of Daniel Pelka (“Guilty: mother and stepfather who battered starving boy, 4, to death”, August 2) says that, although teachers noticed bruises and loss of weight, social services and the police were not alerted.
I am a visiting music teacher at Kingston Grammar School, where a number of members of staff are child protection experts. All teachers, including part-timers like myself, are required to attend child protection sessions so that we know what to look out for and whom to report to if we have any concerns.
If this happens at a fee-paying grammar school, surely such procedures must be even more stringent at a state primary, where problems with child welfare are likely to be noticed for the first time.
Alison Place
Hampton, Middlesex
SIR – Another review will no doubt tell us that lessons must be learnt. It’s far too late – we’re told this every time and
clearly, lessons are not being learnt.
It’s time for the “no blame” culture to change and for those responsible for these appalling failures to be brought to account, even prosecuted, when they have neglected their duty as public officials.
Ben White
Congresbury, Somerset
Genocide suspects
SIR – Rwanda welcomes the position of the Home Office that Britain will not be a haven for war criminals who use the protection of human rights law (“100 war criminals hiding here every year”, report, July 31).
We have been working with the UK Government to ensure that five Rwandans wanted over their alleged role in the genocide which left one million people dead in our country are repatriated to face justice.
Recent reforms to our judicial system now ensure that it meets international standards, including the right of the accused to retain foreign counsel. This has eliminated earlier concerns that suspects transferred to Rwanda would not receive a fair trial.
As a result of these reforms, the European Human Rights Court, Norway, Canada and the United Nation’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda have all transferred cases to our jurisdiction.
We believe that these reforms should also allow the UK courts to return the five Rwandan suspects to stand trial, which will promote both justice and national healing.
Williams Nkurunziza
Rwandan High Commissioner to the UK
London W1
Hospital procedures
SIR – As an examiner for the Royal College of Physicians, I would fail a candidate who treated someone for symptoms of heart failure (Letters, August 1) without reassessing them. Doraine Potts would certainly complain if her husband had breathlessness due to pneumonia but it was treated with diuretics.
Tom Pullar
Dundee, Angus
Traffic jam
SIR – If John Prescott intends to stand in the middle of a road waving his arms about again (“Third Way Traffic”, report, July 31), would somebody please give me sufficient advance notice to get there with a steamroller?
Glyn Jones
Haxton, Wiltshire
Fewer years of solitude
SIR – I don’t agree that computers will deprive us of the amendments made by writers (Letters, August 1).
Nowadays, when revising a draft, a writer will work on a fresh document, having saved the previous one, which often results in many more than the traditional three drafts (a point not lost on writers with an eye to one day flogging this material to some American university).
Computers also lead to more books being written. Gabriel García Márquez noted how they enabled him to produce works in less than half the time.
Graham Weeks
Vilassar de Mar, Barcelona, Spain
Holiday snaps
SIR – We call the photography of one’s self on holiday “ussing” – eg, us in front of the Taj Mahal (“Holiday show-offs who can’t relax”, report, July 30).
Peter Foston
Newton Abbot, Devon
Gibraltarians wish to remain British, so let them
SIR – Mark Harland’s suggestion of leasing Gibraltar from Spain (Letters, July 31) smacks of appeasement. Surely sovereignty ceded to Britain in perpetuity under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht should mean just that?
More importantly, the Gibraltarians have overwhelmingly made their feelings on the subject absolutely clear and it is their wishes that matter most. Their views must be respected.
Philip Kerry
Loughborough, Leicestershire
SIR – Gibraltar is far more than the arid, rocky peninsula that Mark Harland describes. It is the home of a friendly and vibrant people who have shown unswerving loyalty to the British Crown over many years and played a significant part in our island history.
William Allen
Horton, Wiltshire
SIR – Having visited Gibraltar – that arid extension of the UK that exhibits the worst traits of British loutishness in abundance – is it not time to return the land to Spain gracefully and concede that, if they wish to own it so desperately, then they are welcome to it?
Andrew Woodhouse
Huntingdon
SIR – The people of Gibraltar voted to remain under the British flag. I wonder if the people of Ceuta and Melilla would vote to stay under the rule of Spain.
Michael Deighton
Hethersett, Norfolk
SIR – I spent more than two years on the Rock with 20,000 other service personnel and their families in the Seventies, as we resisted Franco’s attempt to take it by force. I can attest to the strength of the Gibraltarians’ wish to remain British and I doubt they have altered their stance from 2002, when they rejected any discussions over sovereignty.
Cdr Alan York RN (retd)
Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Irish Times:
Sir, – So the group of five Labour TDs proclaim they are not “austerity junkies” (July 2nd) and  will only do as much of it as is needed and “not a cent more”. Another way of putting this is committing to borrow as much  debt as possible to finance day-to-day living and not a penny less. For, in the Labour philosophy,  there is always somebody in the future to pick up the bills. – Yours, etc,
Dr MAIT O FAOLAIN,
Beechwood Court,
Stillorgan, Co Dublin.
Sir, – The five Labour TDs who wrote to The Irish Times (August 2nd) regarding budget 2014 were simply reflecting the political ideology of their party. Labour as a party of the left must strive to uphold its values: there are limits to compromise.
If budget 2014 goes further than needed, then Labour must leave government, any other action is unconscionable. – Yours, etc,
DAVID WHELAN,
Clara,
Co Offaly.
Sir, – I note with interest the letter from the Labour TDs (August 2nd), especially the line: “We will do as much austerity as is needed to secure the recovery”. So, can we look forward to large cuts in the number of TDs, their salaries, pensions and expenses? – Yours, etc,
HARRY BOND,
Killurin, Co Wexford.
Sir, – The reported “clash” between Fine Gael and Labour backbench TDs over the fiscal plan for 2014 is a clear signal that the silly season is upon us (Front page and Letters, August 2nd, and Opinion, July 31st). This is nothing more than a phoney war waged between the two Government parties in the lead-up to the next austerity budget. The Labour Famous Five TDs, in particular, are throwing shapes when they write “we are not austerity junkies. We will do as much austerity as is needed to secure recovery. Not a cent more”. These are the same TDs who had no problem voting consistently for austerity in the Dáil since they embraced power in 2011 and callously reneged on their election promises. To borrow some words from George Bernard Shaw, the electorate will not quite appreciate the very clever way in which they systematically humbug them. – Yours, etc,
PATRICK O’BYRNE,
Shandon Crescent,
Phibsborough, Dublin 7.
Sir, – While I disagree strongly with the opinion piece written by the group of Fine Gael backbenchers (Opinion, July 31st), I take particular exception to the idea that Ireland has a progressive tax system. This lie is constantly uttered by those on the right. A top rate of tax that kicks in at €32,800 for a single person is anything but progressive. This means that those earning about €32,000 or €32 million pay the same tax rate. While the USC does add more to high earners, this is still not good enough.
A truly progressive tax rate would begin at zero per cent and increase incrementally up to maybe 60-65 per cent. That is a progressive tax system that would ensure all make a contribution, but particularly those at the top. This assertion by these TDs is nothing more than right-wing ideology, not out of place in the Tory or Republican parties. – Yours, etc,
SEÁN DEVLIN,
Aberdeen Street,
Dublin 7.
Sir, – It would seem that “New Politics”, long promised by the Taoiseach is a budget debate between the coalition government parties courtesy of the Letters page of the paper of record. Most assuredly, it is certainly cheaper than running a second house and potentially as effective, but hardly what the electorate expected from either party. – Yours, etc,
TRIONA MURPHY,
Ballycullen View,
Firhouse,
Sir, – The situation at Letterkenny General Hospital is very serious – life-threatening. We do not have an A&E department in Co Donegal. And we will not for a long time. The risk of cross-infection from raw sewage is off the scale. Patients in the hospital cannot receive visitors and yet we have a daily troop of politicians trailing through the place.
To all politicians, including ministers and party leaders across all party lines: Stop wasting management and staff time. They are too busy to be dealing with a political circus. The local media is more than capable of informing you of the daily situation. If you know where extra funding is available go and source it – do not stop at the media first. Get the funds to the hospital management. We need a fleet of ambulances. One extra ambulance is not enough. If there is a team of advisers anywhere in the world that can help sort out this situation to the highest standard fly them here now.
We could ask, “Would you want to be treated in Letterkenny hospital?” but Kathleen Lynch’s helicopter ride out of the place answered that question. We are in a disaster situation, but we are not a third-world county. Wandering around Letterkenny hospital with one arm longer than the other is not helping. When the hospital is equipped and fully functioning again you may all come back, cut ribbons and take a bow. In the meantime do not stand there telling us what you are going to do – go do it. – Yours, etc,
DENISE BLAKE,
Ramelton ,
Co Donegal.
Sir, – As a daily reader of The Irish Times for over 40 years, I always regarded your paper as the leader of Irish journalism, but I have been totally disgusted by your almost complete lack of coverage of the recent flooding of Letterkenny General Hospital and the absolutely devastating consequences of the flooding.
The fact that a major hospital catering for the needs of a population of 140,000 has been made essentially inoperable did not warrant a single article in your newspaper this week, suggests either sloppy journalism, a complete absence of interest in the north west, or, worse still, the suppression of news.
Given that essentially the entire radiology department, the entire emergency department, much of coronary care, oncology department, the entire kitchen department and large parts of pharmacy, pathology and medical records have been utterly destroyed, with the cost of reinstatement, of one of those departments alone being of the order of at least €7 million, I find it extraordinary that this event has received so little coverage.
I very much doubt if an event of similar magnitude had occurred in any Dublin hospital that there would be so little coverage. I think that the people of Donegal deserve better and I would hope that even at this late stage that appropriate coverage of this disaster (which it truly is for the people of Donegal) would be provided by the supposed paper of record. – Yours, etc,
(Dr) CONALL
Mac a BHAIRD,

Sir, – I hope Minister of State Kathleen Lynch is feeling better (Home News, August 1st), but surely there are nearer hospitals than Cork University Hospital to Letterkenny at time when emergency services are totally stretched here? – Yours, etc,
Dr CIARÁN A KELLY,

Sir, – In reaction to AIB assertions about “strategic defaulters”, may I please ask what the difference is between a strategic defaulter and a tax avoider? I would suggest a good tax lawyer and an accountant. – Yours, etc,
DARREN WILLIAMS,

Sir, – Hilary Minch’s assertion “No Israeli government has even been prepared to halt settlement-building temporarily while negotiations with Palestinians proceed” (August 1st) is incorrect.
In September 2009 Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a 10-month freeze on construction in the West Bank settlements in a bid to restart stalled peace talks. Sadly this was to no avail as the Palestinian leadership chose not to return to the negotiating table. – Yours, etc,
DAVID M ABRAHAMSON,

   
Sir, – The review by Rachel Collins (Magazine, July 27th) of the restaurant Dublin City Food, was very positive, giving it 8/10.
“Good food, great service”; the only negative seems to be no wheelchair access. I was surprised to see it had a “single bathroom on the top floor”. If a customer arrives carrying a full change of clothing, should they have a bath before, during or after their meal?
I recall circa 1980 that developers of a new cafe/restaurant in central Dublin, if they had accepted the hygiene/toilet requirements of city officials, would have had to devote at least 50 per cent of their floor space to toilets and wash-hand basins. This silliness was changed on appeal, allowing the business to operate. But even they did not require a bathroom.
I’m aware the word bathroom is sometimes used very differently in some other far-off places, but this is a restaurant in Ireland. Many restaurant operators in Ireland, most struggling with large overheads, will be worried that a bathroom might become a requirement for all. – Yours, etc,
CHRISTOPHER SANDS,

Irish Independent:
* Somebody has to do something. ‘Somebody’ will. But who? And when? When it is too late?
Also in this section
More women will not make system fairer
Colm Murray was always smiling – and always had a tip
A challenge to David McWilliams
Recently the Pope praised grandparents for their potential to pass on the wisdom garnered from their own experience.
James Downey is owed respect as one of the grandfathers of Irish political commentary. The words in his latest comment cannot be matched for their insight. So too Theo Dorgan (Irish Independent, July 27), a writer in an agonising (does he think ‘doomed’?) though loving relationship with our people. Making a different – but related – point.
Downey, to summarise, says that the Labour Party’s contract with Fine Gael in this Government – on the terms and conditions agreed two-and-a-half years ago – has failed. A magnificent German film of the Nazi era was called ‘The Triumph of the Will’. Will a similar film or TV programme about Ireland be entitled ‘The Triumph of the Mediocre’? Or indeed echo Spike Milligan and be called ‘Cathleen Ni Houlihan: Our Part in Her Downfall’?
According to Downey, there is no party (certainly in the Coalition) which is offering a coherent and credible alternative vision. Dorgan cannot sleep for fear of the night and what it might bring. Despite the dogged penitential docility of the Irish, who don’t ‘do’ routine Mediterranean rioting in the streets, he fears (very validly) that one of these days some tiny, ostensibly trivial ‘incident’ will trigger the incoherent volcanic release of all those dark demons of ‘unthinking’ violence which are very much part of our heritage.
A memory of the Fifties is of sitting indoors on ‘soft’ days in rural Kerry and listening to the gentle moaning of older men who had been abandoned by history and saw no future other than celibate bleakness and somebody else drinking carefully nursed pints after they themselves had been ‘laid to rest’ in nettle-garnished graveyards, their graves rain-filled.
Thanks to Professor Diarmaid Ferriter and innumerable clinical vulture-pathologists, we know – intellectually – most of how we got here in 2013. The day for moaning and navel-contemplation has passed.
If pragmatic social democracy is to have a future, then the time for moaning and whinging is over. The ‘young in heart’ in the Labour Party, and, failing them, we the people, must act politically to change the game.
Good governance is not about reacting to events but about preparing for and managing those events. Labour has some weeks before the Budget to do its political planning.
We are not a mean, uncreative, timorous or even ‘old-fashioned’ people. Not mediocre. We have done it before and we can do it again.
Maurice O’Connell
Tralee, Co Kerry
I’M FOLLOWING PAT
* “And still they gazed and still the wonder grew, that one small head could carry all he knew?”
Pat Kenny’s departure will be a great loss to all listeners of Radio 1.
I for one will have no hesitation in following this great Master of Radio to Newstalk.
Des O’Dowd
Celbridge
* Look up Newstalk in the dictionary and you will see a picture of Pat Kenny, a perfect fit. Good luck Pat and a smart move.
Kevin Devitte
Westport, Co Mayo
POLITICS, HEAL THYSELF
* It’s absolutely extraordinary our parliament is asked to sit late to process arguably one of the most important pieces of legislation to come before it since its inception. And what happens? One of our parliamentarians pulls a female colleague onto his lap and the images go around the world making us, hot on the heels of the Anglo Tapes, really look like a baboon republic. Another votes against his own party, citing fatigue in his defence.
Meanwhile, the bar stays open for ‘refreshments’ until 5am when the whole charade winds up with arrangements to reconvene 12 hours later – presumably to allow exhausted deputies get some much-needed sleep before resuming proceedings.
Contrast this with your average hospital doctor who regularly works in excess of 100 hours a week, often doing 24- and 36-hour shifts, making life-and-death decisions. And no one blinks an eyelid!
Week in, week out, they keep our fractured health service running. It makes some of our public representatives look pathetic by comparison.
No doctor would be cut the slack afforded to our public representatives were they to ‘make a mistake’ or behave in an outrageous manner towards a colleague of the opposite sex. Is it any wonder so many of our brightest and best are choosing to leave?
Dr Paul Balfe
Bennettsbridge Road, Kilkenny
PROPERTY RELIEF
* While no one in their right mind wants to see a return to the property market of the boom years, it might be useful to point out to David McWilliams that the small rise in property prices also represents a halt to the inexorable slide of negative equity for tens of thousands of households.
That’s not getting giddy about property porn. That’s a relief for those under the most severe strain.
Seeing prices rise does not mean the ascent to the top has begun again. It merely means the descent has stopped.
Emmett Keane
Address with editor
IT’S DISGUSTING BUT TRUE
* Lise Hand recently wrote Senator Jim Walsh’s “graphic description of abortion procedures” were “disgusting” and “inappropriate” etc. But are they untrue?
Anthony Barnwell
Dublin 9
ONUS LIES WITH ISRAEL
* The Middle East peace talks have begun again. For those of you who are not too familiar with the situation, it’s when Israel, with the help of their greatest ally, the US, tries to bully Palestine into accepting a fraction of what they’re actually entitled to under international law.
Since Israel’s creation in 1948 (having been given 56pc of Palestinian land by the UN), it immediately went about stealing even more land. Within a year it had accumulated 78pc of the land. Then, in 1967, when Israel attacked Egypt, it militarily occupied Gaza and the West Bank, and that continues to this day.
Since then, Israel has continued to build huge settlements in the West Bank, and with the help of the Israeli military it has seized control of the scarce water resources. Israeli companies also sell products acquired from occupied Palestinian land (like dates) and sell them to the West.
If you want peace, then force Israel to follow international law.
Simple. Dismantle all settlements, stop the military occupation, end the siege on Gaza, allow the displaced refugees to return, and make sure the Palestinians are treated equally, and not like the South Africans were under apartheid. Oh, and perhaps get an impartial mediator. In other words, anyone apart from Britain or the US.
Clive Collins
London SW17

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