8 August 2013 Tired

I go all the way around the park round the park listening to the Navy Lark The nephew of the Sea Lord is doing his se trials on Troutbridge and is a practical joker but he plays one jke too many on Pertwee Priceless
We are both tired but get a few things done
We watch Yes Minister quite good
Scrabble today Mary wins but I gets under 400. perhaps I might win tomorrow.

The Very Reverend Keith Jukes
The Very Reverend Keith Jukes, who has died aged 59, was, from 2007, Dean of Ripon, where his proven gifts as a pastor and conciliator were in much demand.

The Very Reverend Keith Jukes Photo: TONY BARTHOLEMEW
6:42PM BST 06 Aug 2013
One of the last of a clutch of deans to be nominated directly by the Crown Appointments’ Office in Downing Street (before Gordon Brown’s reforms rendered such positions subject to a dogmatic “human resources” process), Jukes’s preferment to Ripon was widely hailed as an inspired choice. For he had established a reputation as a troubleshooter during a ministry in Cannock and Selby, and the situation he inherited at Ripon was in need of urgent attention.
His predecessor, the Very Rev John Methuen, had resigned in 2005 rather than face 21 charges of “conduct unbecoming in the office of a clerk in holy orders”. The Cathedral community was divided and the finances and fabric were in a parlous state, running up annual deficits in the region of £300,000.
For some years, the Chapter had remained solvent only by selling properties and when Jukes, prior to taking up the post, asked to inspect the deanery, he was told that it was uninhabitable with the exception of a well-appointed wine cellar. He and his family therefore took up temporary accommodation in what was little more than a cottage with no office and little or no administrative support.
Horrified to discover that the accounts for several previous years had never been signed off, Jukes immediately set about restoring financial controls and stability to the Cathedral, including the imposition of a balanced budget. He pursued new avenues of income generation, turned the Cathedral’s condemned wiring into an opportunity to renew the interior and exterior lighting to great effect, and completed a scheme to install a new glass porch at the west end, making the Cathedral appear open and welcoming to all.
In 2009 he presided over the ceremonies to mark the 1300th anniversary of the death of St Wilfrid of Ripon and the inauguration of the now well-established series of Wilfrid Lectures. More recently, Jukes had to manage the closure of the financially unviable Cathedral School and remodel the Choral Foundation to offer places to boys and girls from any school in Ripon and the surrounding area.
In and through all these crises, Jukes exercised a warm, pastoral touch, especially when old wounds reopened in 2010 after the death of his predecessor, who had continued to style himself “Dean of Ripon” even in retirement. Jukes once received a letter complaining that he (the Dean) was drunk while giving a lecture on a cruise, which was just one case of mistaken identity.
But although Jukes could never entirely win the consensus of his capitular colleagues, not least in relation to the ordination of women, he nevertheless earned their affection and respect by his gifts of hospitality and sense of fun. The latter was particularly evident in the enthusiasm with which he participated in the annual Shrove Tuesday pancake races. But the demands of office took their toll. Less than a year before he died, Jukes admitted to a fellow dean: “I did not realise how tired I was until I went on my summer break, and slept non-stop for 48 hours.”
Keith Michael Jukes was born on February 18 1954. Following education at Leeds University, he trained for Holy Orders at Lincoln Theological College and was ordained deacon in the Diocese of Lichfield in 1978. After serving his title in Wordsley, Jukes undertook a second curacy in the Central Wolverhampton Team Ministry.
In later years he delighted to recount how he once incurred the wrath of the Team Rector, the redoubtable Prebendary John Ginever, who cultivated absent-mindedness as a virtue. Ginever was not at all amused when Jukes took it upon himself to file the confirmation returns on time to the diocesan office. “What do you think you were doing?” railed the Rector; “I have a reputation to maintain.”
Jukes remained in the Lichfield Diocese, serving as Team Rector of Stoneydelph and Rural Dean of Tamworth. In 1991 he was appointed Rector of Cannock, where his pastoral and administrative gifts helped to stabilise a difficult and over-stretched team. In recognition of this, Jukes was made a Prebendary of Lichfield Cathedral in 1996. During his time in Staffordshire, he also lectured in Liturgy for the West Midlands Training Course at Queen’s College, Birmingham.
In 1997 Jukes was appointed Priest-in-Charge, and later Vicar, of Selby Abbey, where he faced the double challenge of rebuilding relationships with the community and restoring the fabric of “the hidden gem of Yorkshire” – a task rendered all the more urgent when a pinnacle fell through the chancel roof. The restoration appeal that Jukes launched in 2002 reached its £4.5m target and work is still in progress. His pastoral ministry in the aftermath of the Selby rail crash in 2001 was particularly appreciated.
Keith Jukes was a keen photographer, appreciated fine architecture and enjoyed dabbling in graphic design.
He is survived by his wife, the Rev Susanne Jukes (née Weatherhogg), and their son and daughter.
The Very Rev Keith Jukes, born February 18 1954, died May 21 2013


How the world’s costliest burger made it on to the plate (Report, 6 August) makes an interesting read and provides a good moment to bring attention to how artists progress thinking and do real innovation. For more than 10 years the work of Symbiotica in Western Australia has involved making art made of in-vitro meat (Disembodied Cuisine), recently hosting an art cookery show, ArtMeatFlesh, where the audience was served only grown-meat products.
Victimless Leather was grown in collaboration with Dr John Hunt of Liverpool University and the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology in a custom made bio-reactor. The living structure was then presented as part of the SKinterfaces exhibition, part of Liverpool’s Year of Culture 2008. This living artwork posits the question of what if we not only grow meat, but also leather, and sits within a subset of arts-science collaborations (sometimes termed bio-arts). Key proponents include Gina Czarnecki and John O’Shea, both of whom have collaborated with Dr John Hunt, and Stelarc.
Unquestionably, Sergey Brin’s investment in this area of research and the related PR is great for raising public awareness of these significant ethical issues, but let’s acknowledge other earlier pioneers working without commercial incentive and recognise that art actually is innovation.
Mike Stubbs
Director, Fact, Liverpool
• Synthetic meat and possibly other foods could have huge benefits, although there are simpler improvements to supplies – for example, those flagged by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in its livestock report – and a reduction in the huge amounts of food wasted. Yet even the best combination of past, current and future changes may not give the expected benefits. Will the world’s poor be fed, for example, as there is no profit there? More food banks in wealthier countries also show that hunger can exist even in a world of plenty. Further concerns are land and resource usage. More food from less space could save more space for wildlife, or the land could be more profitably used; this may seem cynical but three or four fully used planets are often estimated as required to give western lifestyles to all. The livelihoods needed to afford them are a significant factor too.
Iain Climie
Whitchurch, Hampshire
• Peter Singer’s expertise in bioethics (Comment, 5 August) is matched by his ignorance of organic farming, which bans intensive factory farms and does not permit the use of soya from cleared forest. It recognises that ruminants play an essential role in maintaining natural grassland, and that, with clover, their manure provides the fertility to eliminate the need for artificial fertilisers, whose manufacture is the cause of huge CO2 and N2O emissions. Land under organic systems build up carbon in the soil, thereby ameliorating global warming. The elimination of ruminants by way of an ersatz burger will have profound unintended consequences.
Edward Goff
Oswestry, Shropshire
• I see that Sergey Brin was the financial backer of the test-tube burger. Presumably, he’ll want to be a major steakholder.
Adrian Brodkin

Your report on the “fatberg” (Sewer team save royal borough from toxic 15-tonne ‘fatberg’, 7 August) highlights the problems we have with the safe disposal of such waste, with Thames Water clearing 40,000 blockages a year caused by waste cooking oil and other products and similar problems in the rest of the UK. The cost to the economy that could be avoided and the saving of carbon by converting this oil to biodiesel is there for all to see. I have raised with the government the case for real support for the biodiesel industry that makes fuel from used cooking oil, but so far this has fallen on deaf ears. They seem unwilling or unable to distinguish it from the biodiesel industry that makes the fuel from virgin oil.
With proper support from the government, every town and city should have a thriving biodiesel sector making a green fuel from local waste products. It is just a shame they do not appear to be interested in supporting this industry.
Roy Kennedy
Labour, House of Lords

In the last week there have been more media stories about yet more apparent incompetence in NHS healthcare, including on the 111 service for acute and short-term directive contact (Report, 30 July). What we are witnessing is the loss of a healthcare culture of personally invested connections and understandings. This has happened through attempts to emulate industrial manufacture and commercial trade. Before 20 years ago there was much good practice that was free of the current errors. For example, I was part of a GP out-of-hours rota which – together with our telephonists – provided a much more skilled, competent and personable service with little administrative clutter or expense.
Likewise, when I worked as a psychiatrist I was able to offer personal continuity of care over many years with the commensurate containing, and healing effects: this was humanly rich yet financially economical. These lost patterns of healthcare extended beyond sensitive and sensible care for patients, they were – indirectly though substantially – sources of human nourishment and enlivenment for healthcarers too: the doctors I know may now be paid more, but they have less personal work satisfaction.
In complex human welfare, if employees do not really like their work they are unlikely to ever do it well, whatever the strictures and structures. A commercially or industrially modelled system becomes humanly disconnected, then harmful and economically wasteful. The evidence for the failure of this approach is now ineluctable: it is a doomed project. We need to largely dismantle these well-intended but corrupting devices: autarkic and competing trusts; commercial subcontracting; payment by results; hegemonic goals and targets, algorithms, care pathways and statistics-before-sense. We need to understand and reclaim the underlying motivational and vocational psychology of our work: why and how should we care for one another? Our complex human bonds may then be better honoured.
Dr David Zigmond (GP)

The government’s planned tax breaks for childcare will only benefit wealthier families and add further complexity to paying for childcare (Editorial, 6 August). The proposals won’t tackle the crisis in childcare of falling places and growing demand as the birthrate increases. Families need more and better childcare at a price all can afford. A national childcare strategy that invests in giving children a good start in life and supporting parents to work is desperately needed.
Stephen Burke
Director, United for All Ages
• What a coincidence. Just a few days after the Guardian blows the lid on NSA and GCHQ we have a front page “terror warning” (Report, 7 August) to show that “the NSA programme is proving its worth yet again”. Why am I not surprised?
David Simpson
Datchet, Berkshire
• Spanish demand the “return” of Gibraltar (Report, 7 August). Are they going to return Ceuta to Morocco? Thought not.
David Harding-Price
• The next day (Train firm apologises for six-hour delay, 6 August), another First Great Western train broke down so those following it became increasingly late as they missed their slots in the timetable. The train I was on, the 13:45 Paddington to Swansea, was only an hour late reaching Swansea but, again, the air conditioning had failed in two coaches on one of the hottest days of the year. The 125 trains have worked well for 40 years but are no longer fit for purpose. Presumably this is what happens to customers when you restrict capital outlay so as to maximise profits and dividends.
Rev Peter Phillips
• The German-born artist, Josef Albers, told to “have a nice day” by a Yale postmistress (Letters, 6 August), snapped: “I am afraid I heff already made other arrangements.”
Charles Darwent
• Is the fourth plinth’s cockerel (Report, 26 July) any relation to the silver one on a Dorking roundabout? I think not as the latter uniquely has five toes. Are there any more out there?
JM Bragg
Gomshall, Surrey
Will Self (The drug pushers, 3 August) wrongly accuses Tom Burns of post hoc ergo propter hoc because he asserts that he is “convinced that psychiatry is a major force for good or I would not have spent my whole life in it”. Looking back over 40 years as a psychiatrist, I agree with Burns. I call to mind countless people with schizophrenia who would not have recovered completely before neuroleptic drugs were available, the people with bipolar illness whose attacks became less severe because of treatment with lithium, and there is solid scientific evidence for both these assertions. There are countless people with depressive illnesses whose episodes become of shorter duration because of treatment with antidepressants. It is true that they only have a placebo effect in mild depressions, but Nice has confirmed that they have a therapeutic effect in both moderate and severe depression. Like Burns, I also paid major importance to psychotherapy and social interventions, but the contribution of drugs should not be so lightly dismissed.
David Goldberg
Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London
• Many psychiatrists reading Self’s critique of their profession will feel a twinge of recognition at his observation that we do our best despite, rather than because of, the prevailing psychiatric ideology. In truth, many of us ignore it and in so doing find ourselves in the unsettling but fascinating no man’s land that lies between the lines that Self draws, with the forces of “medical science” ranged against the bad guys of “medical pseudo science”. The real truth, as ever, is far more interesting than the dull dichotomies he purveys.
As any sentient shrink will admit, people have a stronger hunger for certainty than for knowledge. All of us – psychiatrists included – go to some lengths to fend off the confusion that uncertainty brings; one word for this daily act of self-deception is “consciousness”. Our drugs may not help as much as we might hope, but few would assert that they have no part to play, whatever their mechanism of action. Similarly, the censure of the DSM III classification and its successors simply echoes the criticism of the bewildering Freudian maze that came before it. As Self apologetically notes, yes, we are all to blame. We get the treatments and classifications that we deserve because, until we embrace a richer idea of what it means to have a mind, they are about as good as it gets.
The anthropologist Mary Douglas observed that the “the division between the reality of the external world and the gropings of the human psyche have allocated real knowledge to the physical sciences and mistakes to the field of psychology”. In much of his work, Self has shown a talent for making his readers comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable. By embracing the division of which Douglas warns, he says more about our fears than our imagination.
Mark Salter
Consultant psychiatrist, City and Hackney Centre for Mental Health
• Will Self’s arguments are welcome. Previous criticisms include those of the late Loren Mosher in his open letter of resignation to the American Psychiatric Association in 1998: “Unfortunately, the APA reflects, and reinforces, in word and deed, our drug-dependent society… psychiatry has been almost completely bought out by the drug companies.” In 1970, Mosher set up Soteria House which offered a community based non-medical alternative to hospital. This showed better overall outcomes than conventional psychiatric units; people who never received neuroleptic drugs did especially well. It closed in 1983 for lack of funding. Mosher’s vision, however, lives on. Inspired by his visit in 2003, a UK-wide Soteria network was formed and is on the way to opening Soteria houses where there is strong local interest. It also aims to promote other humane non-coercive, non-medical alternatives, while arguing strongly for the right to choice.
One alternative approach using minimal or no medication is the “open dialogue” model: initiated in Finland it has been shown to have the best outcomes in the western world. The Soteria Network regularly receives desperate stories of coercive, drug-heavy treatments and pleas for information as to where they can find alternative sanctuary and support. It would be wonderful if Self’s article prompted sufficient groundswell to generate much-needed innovation in services offering new hope for real recovery.
Margaret Turner
Secretary, Soteria Network
• There is already stigma attached to taking antidepressants. In adding to it, Will Self does a disservice to psychiatrists, GPs and to people such as myself. Severe clinical depression runs through four generations of my family with clear genetic links. I witnessed the debilitating effects of my mum’s depression, it took away her ability to empathise with family and friends, led to prolonged anguish and isolation, and destroyed her life. For me, SSRIs play a crucial role in treating my depression and preventing relapse. Taking them frees me to relate to others, make a positive contribution to our world, and enjoy my short and precious life.
Trish Oliver
• Self is right that psychiatry is in the throes of an identity crisis, its social role uncertain, its distinctiveness from psychology and neurology unclear, its scientific underpinnings primitive. But rather than hand-wringing nihilism, Self could familiarise himself with emerging new paradigms. Relational neuroscience shows how the subtleties of trauma and disturbed early parent-child relationships inscribe themselves in the brain and genome, predisposing to psychiatric disorder, but potentially reversible with environmental support and psychotherapy. Drugs such as oxytocin can help too, a natural hormone that boosts the capacity for bonding and optimism. Psychiatry offers a unique and privileged window into the inner life of the self; its role as midwife to self-healing and recovery from trauma and loss is endlessly moving and inspiring. Young doctors, listen to minds as well as hearts. Here is still a continent to conquer.
Jeremy Holmes
Consultant psychiatrist; visiting professor, school of psychology, Exeter University


I am a retired member of the British Red Cross. I know nothing of the directors of the other charities mentioned in recent reports, but I should like to write in support of Nick Young of the British Red Cross.
More than 20 years ago, he came to us from a different field. He took care to familiarise himself with every aspect of Red Cross work and to get to know many of his myriad volunteers.
He has led our organisation to adapt to changing times, both at home and overseas, and if everyone worked as hard as he does and maintained such good relations with their people, the world would be a better place.
He is worth every penny he earns, and it will be hard to find a replacement for him when he retires.
Jinny Lumsden, London W8
Charity begins at home, doesn’t it? A staunch defence of the high incomes of chief executives of charities was launched this week with the well-tried argument, usually reserved for bankers, being “We have to attract talent”.
There are more than 250.000 registered charities in the UK. Some are tax-dodging devices for those who want to appear to be philanthropic in their motives, but most do “good works”, mostly for the poor.
It has been claimed that CEOs of charities get on average £58.000 per year.
One CEO of a charity  housing association gets over £200,000. And 78 per cent of its tenants are on housing benefit.
Another charity I know of has “volunteer” in its title and its CEO takes an annual salary in excess of £230.000.
While many of these charities use the buzz words of transparency, consultation, good practice and democracy, in reality these are all sidestepped.
Could this be called a scam?
Pat Edlin, London N1
The former head of Oxfam Barbara Stocking who was paid more than £100,000 a year, said she took a 30 per cent pay cut when leaving her job at the NHS.
Well, that tells you NHS management is even more overpaid than that of charities.
The Government should cut back on the health budget – not healthcare but salaries for management.
As for the public, they should think twice about donating to charities.
John Boylan, Hatfield, Hertfordshire
It is perverse to blame victims for their abuse
A Crown Prosecution Service barrister has been criticised for calling a 13-year-old girl abuse victim “predatory” and “sexually experienced”, apparently as a criticism of her.
It is perverse in the extreme to hold it against a child victim that they are in some way to blame for the abuse they suffered.
It suggests a strand of thought in our own culture that victims of sexual abuse or rape have become impure and blameworthy and not deserving of help, simply by virtue of having sexual experiences, even if forced upon them – an attitude we see and condemn in other cultures.
Bob Morgan, Thatcham, West Berkshire
I don’t understand the fuss about the barrister calling the 13-year-old girl “predatory”. When I was at school, some (and I want to emphasise, only some) of the girls weren’t just predatory, they were sexually aggressive to the point of being terrifying.
I have long held the view that some cases – like the teacher and pupil who absconded to France a few months back – are not purely the fault of the older party, but are also encouraged or initiated by the younger. That doesn’t make it right, of course, but it needs to be accounted for as a factor.
The idea that all kids are as innocent as the driven snow is demonstrably false, and this issue will never be sorted until all sides of the problem are honestly addressed.
Paul Harper, London E15
Fracking is old world not new
It’s all very well for Dominic Lawson (“Protesters know nothing about our rich rural history”, 6 August) to highlight the industrial history of the High Weald, but it’s the future that people are rightly worried about.
There are genuine concerns about the impact of shale gas and oil extraction, particularly if fracking occurs, including water pollution and the vast quantities of fresh water it requires.
If we want to play our part in tackling catastrophic climate change, we must wean the nation off fossil fuels – not find new sources of energy to pollute our atmosphere. The UK’s renewable energy potential is one of the best in the world. By developing home-grown clean power and cutting energy waste we can create thousands of new jobs, boost energy security and slash emissions.
Shale gas and oil have been hugely hyped. There’s plenty of evidence that they won’t lead to cheaper fuels bills. It’s time to end our fixation with dirty and damaging fossil fuels and build a power system that can tackle the energy challenges of the 21st century.
Craig Bennett, Campaigns and Policy Director, Friends of the Earth, London N1
Thank goodness for the recent, balanced unemotional review of fracking by Dominic Lawson. I am a retired chemical engineer, having worked in oil refining, petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals in 27 countries.
I live in Dorchester and am well aware of the oil extraction plant which he mentioned. Oil and natural gas leak continuously from the Jurassic Coast and its cliffs and have done for ages. I have pictures of flames on the beach where gas has been ignited by lightning, bits of glass acting as magnifiers or very hot pebbles.
The first references I have found go back to newspaper articles in 1874 reporting the enthusiasm of the local Rev Henry Moule to harness these “gifts”. At the time, economics and lack of technology defeated the proposals.
We should remember that the experiences from the US are typical of that country – rather wild. UK geology could well be very different, and there are strict UK limits on the chemicals that can be used.
The “earthquakes” near Blackpool were minor tremors likened by a local to a heavy lorry passing by his house.
I am undecided whether to go ahead or not. We need data to make a rational decision and this is what the current drilling is trying to get. Even if the data suggests a technical feasibility, the economics may not stack up (until later).
We need to avoid the usual either/or decision (fracking vs renewables): we need a suitable mixture of independent energy sources.
Dr Eric Evans, Dorchester, Dorset
Imagine Gibraltar was Land’s End
I, like most Spaniards, consider myself a friend of the British, I think Britain is a wonderful country. From that position, I should like to ask the British some questions relating to Gibraltar.
First, imagine Gibraltar was the other way round. Suppose the Spanish Armada had taken, in the 16th century, a tiny piece of England, eg Land’s End, some 2.6 square miles. After they took it, they built a military base, removed the English people and brought settlers from different countries. Spain, thanks to its dominant international role, compelled Britain to sign a treaty declaring that Spain could keep that English corner.
So, would you still give extra land to Spain so it can build an airport and let Spanish planes fly over British soil to land on the colony’s airport? Let the colony convert the place into a tax-haven territory? Let smugglers operate from the colony? Let the colony build a reef so that English fishermen could not fish in the area?
Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you.
Ramon Michan, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife
William Hague shouldn’t pussyfoot around with the Spanish regarding the sovereignty of Gibraltar. Just tell them to back off or the British will boycott Spain for their holidays next year. Then they’ll have something to moan about.
Peter Flynn, Sheffield
Welcome to the world of 2014
You are rudely awakened at 4am by a minor fracking tremor and then again at 5.30am when the bloke who rents your drive parks his lorry on it.
At 7am you get the kids ready for the local free school, where none of the teachers are qualified and there are 45 kids to each class, but at least you don’t have to get a packed lunch ready as the meals are sponsored.
You open the curtains promptly at 8am – you don’t want the neighbours to think you are a shirker. Then you spend the rest of the day desperately hoping for your employer to phone to see if you are getting any work, and pay, today. Welcome to Toryland 2014.
Simon G Gosden, Rayleigh, Essex
Have no wheels, will travel
Sigrid Marceau’s student daughter (letter, 6 August) doesn’t have to drive. I had no car as a student and managed perfectly well on foot and using public transport.
In fact, I’m into my fifth decade and have never owned a car. There is always an alternative means of getting to a destination. Even following the birth of my son, after which all and sundry insisted: “You’ll need a car now”, vehicle ownership didn’t prove necessary.
Neither I nor my family have had to miss an event. And it’s so much easier to engage with the world on foot, on a train or from the top deck of a bus. Sigrid’s daughter may enjoy being liberated from her car.
Michael O’Hare, Northwood, Middlesex
Admired admiral?
Your article “Officer who sank the Belgrano dies, aged 81” (6 August) states that Admiral Sir John Woodward sought a change of rules of engagement to give the order to sink the Belgrano “which was steaming away and sank with the loss of 323 Argentine lives”.
In spite of the above, you then publish on the same day an obituary which unequivocally praises the admiral for having had “spirit enough to step out of line when the moment called”.
Julie Harrison, Hertford
Not so full Monty
Great news that Monty Panesar is leading the way in showing how disaffected and disenfranchised British Asian youth can realise their place in this damaged society. My dog claims similar dominion over his local lamp posts.
Alistair Vincent, Barnet


Things could have been very different if Spain had pursued a different policy and thrown open its frontiers and removed restrictions on cross-border movement
Sir, Are the Spanish not being hypocritical over the issue of the sovereignty of Gibraltar?
After all, in the Pyrenees Spain holds an enclave, Llívia (population about 1,600), and also Os de Civís, not strictly an enclave but accessible only via Andorra. And in Morocco there are two further enclaves, Ceuta (population about 79,000) and Melilla (population about 74,000) which are claimed to be integral parts of Spain and both of which are heavily controlled at their respective crossing points.
In addition, there is Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, a Spanish rock on the Moroccan coast, which is one of several plazas de soberanía on that coastline that Spain has laid claim to.
Iain R. Mckinnon
Little Waltham, Essex
Sir, The Chief Minister of Gibraltar is right to accuse Spain of sabre-rattling over Britain’s overseas territory (Aug 6). Spain and Morocco both claim sovereignty of Ceuta and Melilla on the North African coast. A poll by the Instituto Opina found that 87.9 per cent of people from mainland Spain consider the two cities to be Spanish. This is a lower percentage than those in Gibraltar who wish to remain part of the UK.
Jim Norris
Broadwas-on-Teme, Worcs
Sir, I spent some time in Gibraltar in 1977 when there was tension, as there is today, between the UK and Spain over the Rock’s status.
I have frequently wondered what would have happened had Spain pursued a different policy. It could have thrown open the frontier, and removed all restrictions on cross-border movement. It could have amended its constitution to declare that, so far as it was concerned, Gibraltar citizens were Spanish citizens. Spain could have made it clear that Gibraltar citizens were accordingly entitled to travel throughout Spain, and to attend Spanish schools, universities and hospitals.
If Spain had instituted such a policy in 1977 (post-Franco and pre-EU) there would now be a generation of adult Gibraltarians who would have known no situation other than complete freedom of movement across the (notional) border. They would have formed friendships with contemporaries across the border. They would have enjoyed unlimited access to the whole of Spain. The issue of sovereignty would be seen by that generation as largely irrelevant.
Patrick Layden
Sir, The UK should try and take the heat out of a situation which historically is really nothing to do with us. The Treaty of Utrecht was shambolic at best. For 1,000 years or more this hunk of rock was the business of the Moors and the Spanish. We were interested only for strategic reasons but that advantage is long past. Give the Gibraltarians a 25-year lease and bank on the fact that the Spaniards will be undoubtedly gracious.
A. Christopher Morgan
St Saturnin-lès-Apt, France
Sir, Around 9,000 Spaniards work in Gibraltar every day from La Linea bringing wealth to their town, but the government in Madrid has chosen to ignore this fact and by imposing retaliation measures the people mostly affected will be the Spaniards working in Gibraltar. The Gibraltarians and Spanish workers deserve better treatment.
Leo A. Guilliano
Ketton, Rutland

‘Bringing up the next generation is a very important job and mothers should be encouraged and rewarded not patronised for fulfilling this role’
Sir, I find it very surprising that this Government is so determined to force mothers back into the workplace (“Stay-at-home mothers make a ‘lifestyle choice’ says Osborne”, Aug 6) at a time when jobs are in short supply and there is great pressure on childcare places.
It is all very well for Mr Osborne to say being a stay-at-home mother is a “lifestyle choice” but research shows that particularly in the early years children benefit from being with their mothers. Children need physical contact which is now often denied in nurseries.
I was a teacher but when we had our children in the 1980s I chose to be a stay-at-home mother as my income would only just cover the cost of childcare and many people still find that this is the case. I thoroughly enjoyed those years and our now grown-up children say how pleased they are that I was at home with them.
The Government seems determined to penalise families where one chooses to stay at home to look after the children, firstly with the cut in child benefit and now excluding them from the childcare vouchers. Bringing up the next generation is a very important job and mothers should be encouraged and rewarded not patronised for fulfilling this role. It is better for the children and for society.
Jane Perry
Cookham, Berks
Sir, Of course looking after one’s children full time is a lifestyle choice for women. So is getting a paid job, beat-boxing at the Edinburgh Festival, being a heroin junkie or the Lady Chancellor of the Exchequer. From a political perspective, what should matter is how beneficial for society these various “choices” are. Here a careful study might possibly reveal that looking after one’s children does more for the future of Britain than being a professional politician.
Eric Descheemaeker
Sir, The argument that George Osborne is somehow discriminating against stay-at-home parents with his new online childcare vouchers scheme entirely misses the point of this important step forward in parental choice. The scheme represents a huge stride in the right direction, putting funding for children’s education and childcare directly into parents’ hands and bypassing local authorities that have shown themselves to be partial. Parents are being given an opportunity to choose, not only whether or not they work, but also the setting for their children’s development. This principle should be extended to cover the whole of a child’s education to the age of 16.
David Hanson
Chief Executive, Independent Association of Prep Schools

In reality, in 1980-2009 between 7 per cent of primary legislation and 14 per cent of secondary legislation related to EU laws
Sir, The plea not to entrust EU negotiations to British civil servants (Thunderer, Aug 6) is based on misleading assumptions.
The Government has not said that half of our laws with “significant economic impact” stem from Brussels. Rather, it has cited the October 13, 2010 House of Commons paper which says that in 1980-2009 between 7 per cent of primary legislation and 14 per cent of secondary legislation related to EU laws.
The Commons paper does say that 53 per cent of the total laws passed in the Commons related in some way to Europe — but that does not mean they constitute negative interference. Is there really an objection to workers not having to work more than 48 hours a week unless they choose to?
Anyway, the figure is not surprising given that half of our business is conducted in the EU, that so many UK citizens travel and live on the Continent and that so many companies depend upon non-national employees.
Lawrence Brewer
Peopleton, Worcs

Licensing is the only way forward to try to tackle the problem of dangerous dogs as well as animals that have been abused and neglected
Sir, While dog ownership is unlicensed dangerous dogs will continue to be a risk to our communities. Bitches of unregistered breeders earn up to £8,000 per litter, £16,000 a year tax free. Charities are heaving with abused and neglected dogs.
A pilot scheme in a few inner cities should introduce licensing, basic insurance and chipping, with spot checks and hefty fines for owners and breeders not complying. It should also be compulsory for all breeders to be licensed to breed with a simple code of practice ensuring the future welfare of their puppies.
Sara Blunt
Chislehurst, Kent

The agreement with the RSPCA says that police will provide conviction records and unique reference numbers when a prosecution has commenced
Sir, You imply (report, Aug 3, letter, Aug 6) that the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has granted the RSPCA access to the Police National Computer. The agreement that exists with the RSPCA and a number of other statutory and non-statutory prosecuting agencies is that police will provide conviction records and unique reference numbers when a prosecution has commenced. This agreement, whether made with ACPO or with individual police forces, ensures that the courts have the necessary information to ensure that sentencing is appropriate and, in the event of a conviction, it is recorded on the PNC against the correct details of the accused.
Ian Readhead
Director of Information, Association of Chief Police Officers

The new statue of Matthew Flinders in London is overdue, but there is already a monument to him on the island of Mauritius
Sir, The erection of a statue in London of Matthew Flinders (report, Aug 5) is long overdue. A monument to him was erected in 1942 in the centre of Mauritius where he spent much of his six and a half years in captivity.
In November 2003 a bronze monument depicting Flinders at his desk was unveiled by the Earl of Wessex and the President of Mauritius to celebrate the bicentenary of Flinders’s landing at Baie du Cap.
David Snoxell
High Commissioner to Mauritius, 2000-04


SIR – My husband and I enjoyed taking part in the very well-organised FreeCycle event along traffic-free streets in London on Saturday. The next day we followed diversion signs in Surrey to watch our two daughters take part in the RideLondon 100.
There was a great camaraderie among onlookers and competitors. Road closures had been advertised for weeks, so there was no reason for people to complain.
Romy Blott
Eastergate, West Sussex
SIR – I live on one side of Wimbledon Parkside, where I care for a sick husband. My 95-year-old mother, for whom I also care, lives on the other side. It was impossible for me to travel between the two because of road closures. My mother only ate courtesy of a neighbour.
I am sure the cyclists enjoyed themselves but no consideration was given to the elderly and housebound. God forbid this should become an annual event.
Gillian Davis
London SW19
SIR – If this is to become an annual sporting feature, then the organisers might like to consider other areas around London: south-east, north-west or north-east. This would alleviate the disruption and loss of income felt by those who live or work in Surrey and south-west London.
Peers de Trensé
London SW4

SIR – The exclusion of non-working mothers from child-care vouchers is just another indirect way of subsidising house prices. Many mothers have to work to pay their mortgages in this ludicrously overvalued housing market, which successive governments have encouraged in an attempt to create the illusion of prosperity.
Charles Pugh
London SW10
SIR – George Osborne, the Chancellor, wishes to help those wrestling with tight budgets. This is laudable. But how could households with a dual income of up to £300,000 possibly be finding it harder to make ends meet than a family with a single earner and a stay-at-home parent?
Monica Hosie
Kibworth, Leicestershire
Related Articles
Celebration of cycling brings pleasure and pain
07 Aug 2013
SIR – George Osborne’s proposals are justified. In the past, full-time mothers were really full-time housekeepers. The laundry alone took an entire day each week; cooking took several hours each day.
Children were sent off to play on their own, not “enriched” by constant attention from a non-working parent.
Timothy Morris
Abingdon, Oxfordshire
SIR – Has anyone considered the effect that “luring” mothers back to work could have on the rate of unemployment of younger people seeking to find jobs?
Wendy Watson
Cockermouth, Cumberland
SIR – While I agree that George Osborne should rethink his child-care voucher scheme, his opinion that stay-at-home mothers have made a lifestyle choice is neither perjorative nor patronising.
These are wildly inaccurate feminist accusations against Mr Osborne. Fathers make choices to stay at home too.
Pam Maybury
Bath, Somerset
SIR – George Osborne considers that choosing to stay at home and bring up your children yourself is a “lifestyle choice” (report, August 6).
But it is also a lifestyle choice to go out to work and pay someone else to look after your children. The same could be said of choosing to have children in the first place.
I heard one mother complaining about the cost of child care and saying that it meant they might not be able to go on holiday. She should know that in the past we all had to make such sacrifices when our children were young.
Brenda Scott
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
SIR – Research shows that the first three years of life shape a child’s future for ever. This is ignored by policy makers who continue to devalue the importance of parents as the main providers of consistent loving care for their children.
Lydia Keyte
Sunninghill, Berkshire
Disability allowance
SIR – Having been granted the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for life, I do not have to be tested to see if I can walk far enough. But the last job I had involved walking more than 20 metres to the printer, post room and toilet facilities, even though the disabled car parking space was within 20 metres of the entrance door.
Anyone who cannot walk from the entrance to their workstation, and thence to the toilet facilities and back, in a time scale an employer would find acceptable is unemployable – that was the ruling by the Job Centre when they informed me I was unfit for work.
Sue Doughty
Twyford, Berkshire
SIR – I’m concerned by your report and letter (August 5) suggesting reforms of DLA will “drive people out of the workplace”. Like DLA, the new Personal Independence Payment is not related to work (it’s a non-taxable benefit received whether you’re in or out of work). We will be spending more on the benefit during the lifetime of this Parliament – up from £12.5 billion in 2009/10 to £13.8 billion in 2015/16.
We also have a specific disability benefit to support disabled people at work called “Access to Work”, and have recently widened the scope so that even more disabled people can use it.
As for the 50/20 metre rule, the higher rate was always meant to be for those disabled people who are unable to walk. Individuals who can move more than 20 metres can still receive the higher rate, if they cannot move this distance safely, reliably and repeatedly.
Esther McVey
Minister for Disabled People
London SW1
Appeasing protesters
SIR – The French government’s response to protests over nuclear power was to say that any households that were in sight of a nuclear plant would get free electricity for the first three years (Letters, August 6). All demonstrations ceased forthwith.
R M Flaherty
Auchterarder, Perthshire
Off the shoulder
SIR – Like red trousers, a fashion faux pas of some middle-aged men is the draping of jumpers over shoulders, made even worse if the garments are yellow or pink (Letters, August 6).
James Logan
Portstewart, Co Londonderry
Hospital waste
SIR – The Government’s call for NHS trusts to find £1.5 billion of efficiency savings in health procurement over three years will require an immediate change in practices and attitudes (“Hospitals should adopt a Bargain Hunt mentality”, report, August 5).
However, many of the proposed changes to address the scandalous price variation of supplies across hospitals will take years to implement at an unspecified cost. This is time and money that NHS Trusts can ill afford; recent research conducted by Peto (a website that provides transparency in business to NHS markets) published with Ernst & Young, shows £500 million is wasted every year by hospitals paying different prices for identical supplies.
Only when transparency is practised at all levels, from clinicians to suppliers, from non-executive directors of hospitals to procurement leaders, will hospitals achieve these savings and pay a fair price for quality products. It is not clear how the procurement review will ensure that this is immediately delivered on the front line.
Julian Trent
Managing Director, Peto
London EC4
Non-charitable salaries
SIR – The practice by large charities of paying enormous salaries is not limited to their chief executives (report, August 6).
These household names routinely pay middle managers, particularly fundraisers, more than twice the national average wage, creating huge inflationary pressure on salaries in the sector. A cartel of charities is therefore able to cherry-pick candidates with handsome financial rewards, making it hard to compete.
Charity workers, like all employees, should be paid salaries that are commensurate with their responsibilities. Greater transparency, including the annual publication of salary benchmarks, would do much to assure public confidence.
Leigh Daynes
Executive Director, Doctors of the World
London E14
SIR – The increase in charity CEO pay points to a widening gulf between employers and their staff. Executive pay continues to mushroom, but 34 per cent of voluntary-sector employers now use zero-hours contracts, double that of the private sector. These provide little certainty of work and minimal control over finances.
Charities must better recognise that their success is built upon the hard work and dedication of all of their staff, not just those at the top.
Duncan Exley
Director, The Equality Trust
London SE1
The Queen at sea
SIR – I agree with Robert Worlidge (Letters, August 2) that now is an ideal time for a royal yacht, but why not recommission the present HMY Britannia? Cheaper, operational earlier and, almost certainly, more beautiful and impressive than any modern version would be.
The cost could be raised by public subscription, as Nelson’s Column was.
Vicky Jacobsen
London SW3
Gallic tipple
SIR – Can we knock on the head once and for all the myth of children drinking from an early age in France (“Are we driving our children to drink?”, Features, August 6)?
I have 40 years’ experience of family life in France and never have I seen a child given wine.
Robert Parker
Taunton, Somerset
Gibraltar has been British longer than Spanish
SIR – The country we recognise as Spain was not really formed until Castile joined Aragon in 1469. Gibraltar became British in 1704, ratified by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Either way, Gibraltar has been British for a longer period than it was Spanish.
If Spain wants to reopen the Utrecht Treaty negotiations, it will need to argue with the Netherlands, Italy, France and Portugal about parts of what those countries have since regarded as theirs.
Peter Owen
Claygate, Surrey
SIR – Surely the simple answer to the Gibraltar problem is to hold a referendum in Gibraltar to agree to the integration of Gibraltar into the United Kingdom as an integral province or county?
There is sound precedent for this in the French integration of their overseas possessions into the republic by making them Departments of France. This would be the democratic solution, which should have the support of the European Union and the United Nations Committee on Decolonisation. The people of Gibraltar should, of course, be offered the alternative of integration with Spain.
This would make the current actions being taken by the Spanish government illegal under European law.
Nicholas Sibley
La Colle sur Loup, Alpes-Maritimes, France

Irish Times:

Sir, – I am pro-choice so I cannot deny the Mater hospital the right to be the same; it’s just that our choices will be different. – Yours, etc,
Ferndale Road,
Bray, Co Wicklow.
Sir, – Fr Kevin Doran, member of the board of directors of the Mater hospital, worries that the abortion legislation may impinge on hospitals having their own “ethos” (Front page, August 7th). I am sure I am not alone in believing that if a hospital is entirely funded by the State, then the “ethos” should be the law of the land. This arrangement, unlike the current situation, would have the added bonus of being consistent with the democratic process, whereby the law of the land is formulated by democratically-elected legislators.
It is my opinion that the status quo in Irish society, whereby the majority of hospitals and schools are run by boards appointed and controlled by religious entities, is a perverse anachronism, and is inconsistent with the idea of both democracy and equality. – Yours, etc,
Vernon Wood,
Clontarf, Dublin 3.
Sir, – So a Catholic priest who is a member of the Mater hospital’s board of governors has decided that hospitals should be able to frame procedural rules independent of the laws of this country, based on what they decide is a moral framework (Front page, August 7th)? It sounds like a nice idealism.
However, to apply Fr Kevin Doran’s principle of free moral agency to other institutions one quickly sees by inference how impracticable and even dangerous it is. Imagine an Ireland where, for example, capitalist financiers could make their own rules based on an ethos of material accumulation, unfettered by law or State governance? What a mess we could end up in. Or an example closer to Fr Doran’s situation: suppose a zany cult believing in self-mortification was allowed to choose what to teach children in schools? What kind of repressed and deluded society would grow from that? Hard to imagine, I know.
But it’s not money or lifestyle we are talking about in this case – it’s people’s lives. Better to leave hospital protocol to people who act on evidence, not fading superstitions. – Yours, etc,
St Augustine Street, Galway.

Sir, – As someone who gave refuge in our home to “unmarried mothers” in the 1970s and 1980s, I agree with Brendan Hoban and Tony Flannery on the “demonisation of all religious” (Home News, August 6th).
Many of those who condemn them have neither memory nor experience of the times or of the harsh Victorian attitudes of Irish society towards those who strayed from the straight and narrow.
Caring leadership was given by those in religious life. Sisters in the social services, especially the Good Shepherds, Assumption and Little Company of Mary, guided families such as ours to offer refuge to women and girls sheltering from the social disapproval of their friends, employers, schools and, frequently, their families. In the context of the times their good work should be recognised. – Yours, etc,
Newport, Co Tipperary.
Sir, – It seems that the litmus test for Catholics in relation to the Magdalene survivors according to Fr Brendan Hoban is where one stands in relation to the “scurrilous attacks” against women religious by the media (Home News, August 6th).
Fr Brendan states that the congregations who managed the Magdalene homes should not be held 100 per cent responsible for the wrongs done to the women involved. He is 100 per cent correct in that statement as many others were culpable in our society, including those who managed and owned the Bethany Homes.
However, one group not mentioned by Fr Hoban and who escaped all responsibility were the men involved who impregnated, often forcibly, many of the women who were subsequently condemned to these laundries.
The Magdalene women were the innocent victims of a brutalised society where Jansenistic attitudes to sexuality portrayed the women as evil temptresses who enticed men into sin .
Fr Brendan asks for the balance that equity and justice requires but that doesn’t mean that all Catholics march in line, sing to the same hymn sheet and close ranks against the evil media. Only for the media and especially for the late Mary Raftery, many of the great evils of our time including clerical sex abuse and indeed the grave injustices suffered by the Magdalene women would not have seen the light of day.
Women should not allow themselves be divided when it comes to their common experiences as second class citizens and sometimes as non-citizens. I was not present nor privy to what happened in these terrible places of forced labour but I’ve no doubt that the experiences dehumanised many of the sisters, as it equally dehumanised the so-called Magdalene women. Equity demands that we draw no line in the sand nor demonise anyone. Besides adequate compensation for the Magdalene survivors, a process of reconciliation between survivors of the congregations and the Magdalene women should now be our priority rather than putting us all on a war footing and lining us up in battle formation ready to take on these “scurrilous” attackers from the media. – Yours, etc,
The Moorings,
Malahide, Co Dublin

Sir, – In contrast to the the Greeks, the Irish people have been remarkably subdued in their response to the austerity policies being imposed.
Therefore, I believe the strike by Dublin Bus workers should be welcomed. Any action that is opposed, however indirectly, to the austerity agenda, should be supported.
The disruption caused should remind us all that it is working people that provide the goods and services we need, and not the international financial services industry, for whose benefit austerity is being enforced. – Yours, etc,
Shelby Close,

First published: Thu, Aug 8, 2013, 01:07

Sir, – Throughout midwife Ann Ó Ceallaigh’s legal battles, research presented by international childbirth experts on her behalf was consistently ignored. It was necessary for her to engage specialists from abroad, as in Ireland she is probably the most experienced practitioner of domiciliary midwifery.
The deregistration of Ann O’Ceallaigh (Home News, August 5th) casts aside 40 years of expertise and knowledge of the physiology of natural birth.
In contrast, the medical establishment introduces guidelines and forces midwives to sign a memorandum of agreement that discounts the skills of observation, vigilant care, physical and emotional support and reflective practice that are employed by the home birth midwife. These new regulations insert a deep layer of bureaucracy between the midwife and his or her client.
One-to-one care in an environment of mutual trust has been the essential characteristic of a good home birth as experienced by myself and many others. This action by the Nursing and Midwifery Board can never negate the respect for and appreciation of Ann Ó Ceallaigh by her former clients, and the affection which is held for her by the “Ann Kelly Babies” many of whom are now young adults. – Yours, etc,

Sir, – Since the Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore has now demonstrated his view that an sworn oath is merely a “formula of words” that can be liberally interpreted according to circumstance, is it any wonder that ethical standards among business and politicians have sunk so low.
The other extraordinary element thus far regarding this historic event is the almost deafening silence from the liberal media on the subject. In fact the only comments I have read in The Irish Times came from two letters from people who declare themselves as non-religious and reported comments from the Atheist Ireland Organisation where they rightly, in my view, state that atheists are discriminated against by a requirement to perjure themselves and swear an oath which they do not believe to be true (Home News, July 27th). While I agree with David McGinn (July 30th) that this requirement should be added to the forthcoming referendum for removal, I nevertheless remain astonished that there is no public outcry against the comments and action by the Tánaiste, that out of respect for the Constitution, he chose to perjure himself. – Yours, etc,
Glenvara Park,

Sir, – You state in your Editorial (August 7th) that the sale of the Washington Post to Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, is “for a mere $250 million” and “a bargain anyway, not least in terms of property assets”.
The industry consensus is that the price is a generous one, equivalent to 17 times the publishing company’s adjusted earnings. All the more generous considering that the sale excludes the newspaper’s valuable head office building but does include large pension liabilities.
Going by the valuations of other newspaper and media company deals, the Post should have fetched closer to $70 million. Such a large premium would suggest that Bezos is buying a lot of goodwill embedded in the masthead.
It will be fascinating to watch the new owner unveil his business strategy for this iconic title. Warren Buffett (an existing and substantial shareholder in the company) has stated that he thinks Bezos is the best CEO in the US . I would bet that the paper’s future will be increasingly tied to the Kindle, and that the days of the fat, inky, dead-tree paper are severely limited. But this “amazing” deal is a huge vote of confidence in the newspaper industry per se, albeit a sad one for the Graham family who lose their prestigious crown jewel.
And who can say that Richard Nixon is not smiling wanly from the grave? – Yours, e tc,
Mount Argus Court,

Irish Independent:

* Drafting the 2014 Budget involves the most ‘difficult’ decisions the Government has yet had to make.
Also in this section
Public are (sadly not) being taken for a ride
Blame the State for laundries, not the nuns
If walls could talk
Hitherto, it argued that it was taking – rapidly – what were essentially ’emergency’ remedial actions (with some strategic implications), in order to deal with ‘crisis’ conditions. To an extent, it got the benefit of the doubt. Though that did not prevent it tattering its credibility.
This time, whatever it does (or fails to do) will have very serious strategic consequences and will be made very much more complicated by complex and contradictory but powerful forces at work.
There is a wind blowing demanding a simple end or drastic scaling down of austerity. Not just here. But the figures show that even if nothing happens, either internally or externally, we simply are not ready “to go easy”.
The Government’s populist instincts and imminent local/European elections could far too easily lead it to gamble on an easing process that would be very difficult to control once started.
We could lose all that has been won by blood, sweat and tears.
There is still some considerable confusion in the greater European and global context. But leave aside the shock that could come from a global economic ‘non-system’ that has failed to sort itself out – and may not be able so to do without re-thinking the way we (globally) fail to run our shrinking shared planet.
There are strong suggestions that the proportion of our own society that is hanging on by its fingernails is growing – and will be pushed further towards the edge if restrictions ‘ease’ on so-called ‘lenders’.
Sectional interests (and individuals) are being pushed, or consider themselves to be being pushed, towards a point at which they feel they have nothing to lose by taking action outside the law or the constitutional social contract.
When the election took place in 2011, we were forced to accept the menu of policies and personnel upon which the main parties had not been working hard or fast enough.
So we got something that was not a national Government able and willing to address a 21st-Century catastrophe in a 21st Century – in a national – manner.
Our unreformed, deeply flawed political ethos is failing. Anybody who dares to dissent or even differs mildly is decapitated.
This is not an administration that psychologically can understand that the complexity of our 21st-Century catastrophe requires 21st-Century solutions.
Maurice O’Connell
Tralee, Co Kerry
* I must admit I am not surprised by the Japanese deputy prime minister’s refusal to apologise over his “Nazi” remark. To my knowledge, Japan does not have a great history when it comes to war crimes.
When it comes to their countless, horrific war crimes during World War II, the Japanese government, while admitting moral wrongdoing, is completely unwilling to admit legal wrongdoing. They consider the legal and moral wrongs to be separate, so while some members of the Japanese government have apologised to small deputations of Allied POWs and locals affected by Japanese colonial rule, other parts of Japan’s hierarchy cling to a rejection of responsibility for the country’s war crimes.
The fact that significant players in Japan’s leadership reject legal responsibility for the likes of the Rape of Nanking, whose horrors are too huge to describe here, is surely a worrying train of thought to find in any modern nation.
The most high-profile of the reactionaries is the former head of Japan’s Air Force, Toshio Tamogami, who, in a 2008 essay, stated that Japan was not an aggressor during World War II, that the war brought prosperity to China, Taiwan and Korea and that the Imperial Japanese Army’s conduct was not violent.
While some may wonder the reason for, from a Western point of view, dragging all of that up again, from an Eastern point of view it is a major stumbling block in relations between Japan and many other Asian states.
Colin Smith
Clara, Co Offaly
* Your review of the new book on St Patrick by my colleague Marcus Losack was interesting, but the comment that Patrick might have been French is way out. France did not exist until the Franks colonised Gaul. The mass migration of Celtic Britons to what became known as Brittany or Little Britain (because of plague and onslaughts) meant that even if Patrick’s family lived there, they were still British.
I am in Co Wicklow writing a historical novel about Ireland’s St Aidan, who laid down his life for the English, just as the British Patrick laid down his life for the Irish.
History’s dastardly deeds have been mixed with a few noble deeds.
Ray Simpson
Holy Island, Berwick-Upon-Tweed
* I admire Joe Brolly for his statement on RTE on the rugby tackle in the Tyrone/Monaghan game. I saw the game on the web and it is a disgrace to look at this type of football.
I live on the west coast of Canada and dearly love GAA. It is in my blood as a Corkman, but this has to stop.
Seanie Barry
Powell River, British Columbia, Canada
* It should be no surprise that there was no early intervention in the Dublin Bus dispute. It was the August Bank Holiday, after all! With the talks hopefully now minds will be focused.
The unions will be under huge pressure from their members, particularly given that 2013 is the centenary of the Great Lockout. Fuelled by the sentiments from the likes of the late, great Jim Larkin, their position will not be easily moved.
That is why the hands-off approach of the Government showed a lack of leadership and a lack of grasp of the severity of the situation. What we have witnessed is a carte blanche criticism of the unions. This situation should not have been allowed to escalate to this point.
In future the government should be compelled to engage in talks. It should request that either agents of the State such as the Labour Relations Commission or bodies such as the ICTU and IBEC facilitate such an intervention.
All eyes will be on how this situation is resolved. Any resolution will need to be swift and fair or else the Government could face a ripple effect throughout the economy with a sea of ‘red flags flying’. It’s good to talk!
Killian Brennan
Clare Village, Malahide Road, Dublin
* The Dublin Bus strike cannot be described as anything but the height of nonsense.
Here are some of the best-paid bus drivers in Europe demanding yet more from the public, despite their already cushy state funding and the exorbitant fares they extract from the public.
God be with the days of patriotism in this country, when people made small sacrifices for the betterment of the nation!
Killian Foley-Walsh
Kilkenny city
* I am so sorry to hear of Bob Gallico’s passing away, RIP, as I am sure many of your readers will be too. This surely is the end of an era.
Indeed, I enjoyed listening to his lovely American accent and, if I remember correctly, he also presented a classical radio show besides reading the news.
Truly one of the greats of the pirate era.
Terry O’Connor
Swords, Co Dublin
Irish Independent

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