11 August 2013 Sharland

I go all the way around the park round the park listening to the Navy Lark Pertwee has a new fiddly but it depends on knowing where Troutbridge is off to next Priceless
We are both tired but get a few things done Sharland pays us a visit.
We watch Yes Prime Minister quite good
Scrabble today I win and gets exactly 400. perhaps Mary might win tomorrow.


GJack Barrah
Jack Barrah, who has died aged 84, was a well-known game warden in Kenya and a key figure in preserving the Maasai Mara, the internationally famous wildlife sanctuary.

Jack Barrah feeding a baby rhino in Kenya 
6:43PM BST 09 Aug 2013
The Mara — now one of Kenya’s most important sources of tourist revenue — is on the Serengeti plains and home to lions, cheetahs, elephants, leopards, black rhinos and hippos; for about three months of the year its northern range supports a famous wildebeest and zebra migration, often described as one of the wonders of the natural world.
It opened as a national park in 1964 after Barrah had spent many years helping in negotiations with the indigenous Maasai people. He also successfully opposed a massive wheat-farming project by the FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN), which would have involved ploughing up two-thirds of the entire area; and he helped to create the Shaba and Samburu game reserves as well as the development of Amboseli as a national park.
Jack Barrah was born on April 4 1929 and brought up on the family cattle farm at Nakuru in the Rift Valley. His father, who was Australian, had been mustard-gassed at Gallipoli and bet his war pension on the winner of the Epsom Derby. With the proceeds, he bought two farms in Kenya, which he kept until the Second World War. He then started buying cattle to provide bully beef for the Allied troops in North Africa.
After being sent as a boarder to Pembroke House in Kenya at the age of four, Jack went on to Michael House in South Africa. During his summer holidays he bought cattle from the Maasai for his father and drove them back across the Rift Valley to Nairobi . In 1948 he went to work for the Kenya Veterinary Department , and two years later joined the Kenya Regiment.
Barrah served during the Mau Mau rebellion, which broke out in 1952, rising to the rank of lieutenant, and was involved in a number of encounters with insurgents . He was one of the first soldiers to arrive at the scene of the Lari Massacre of March 26 1953 , in which around 75 loyalist Kikuyu followers were slaughtered by more than 600 Mau Mau .
On one occasion, having captured and interrogated a terrorist near Maguga, Barrah knew that there was a Mau Mau gang holed up in the rough of Muthaiga Golf Club preparing to attack the clubhouse. Without informing his superior officers, he drove to Muthaiga police station where he collected a couple of Bren gunners before flushing the gang out of the rough. Eight insurgents were killed, including General Mwangi Toto, commander of the Mau Mau in Nairobi.
This incident took place on a Saturday afternoon — much to the disapproval of the club secretary, who complained that there had been golfers on the course at the time of the battle. Barrah, feeling somewhat underappreciated by this reaction, replied: “Don’t worry — next time I’ll shout ‘Fore!’ before firing the first shot.”
In 1955 Barrah was seconded from the regiment to become District Officer at Narosurua and the colonial officer in charge of Moran (Maasai warriors). He cleared up pockets of remaining Mau Mau with the help of the Moran, whom he armed with shotguns.
The following year he joined Kenya’s Game Department — one of only two men selected from 800 applicants — and served as an apprentice under George Adamson (husband of Joy Adamson, the author of Born Free) and JA Hunter. Among his roles was game control in settled areas, and he accounted for more than 5,000 buffalo, primarily in the area around the Mt Kenya wheat fields, and — alongside Hunter — some 700 black rhino on potential farmland to be occupied by the Wakamba people .
By 1972 Barrah was Chief Game Warden; but the post was then “Africanised”, and at the request of the Kenyan government he was retained as special adviser to his successor. What was intended to be a two-year appointment lasted 20 .
Barrah acted as the official hunting and photographic guide for the government’s guests in Kenya. Among those he escorted on safari were President Tito of Yugoslavia, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and members of the British Royal family.
In 1977 he accompanied Prince Bernhard on a two-week safari with the aim of hunting a buffalo with a horn-spread of more than 50in. In the event, the Prince shot only a single Coke’s hartebeest (to keep the camp supplied with fresh meat), and the expedition was chiefly memorable for Bernhard’s prodigious consumption of garlic, the smell of which he insisted was a deterrent to insects, particularly ticks. The stench in the safari vehicle, when the windows were closed against the early morning chill, was not pleasant for his companions.
During this safari Barrah persuaded Prince Bernhard, then head of the World Wildlife Fund, to purchase for the Kenya government a farm at the south end of Lake Nakuru, which became a game park and a productive breeding area for both Black and White Rhino.
After his retirement in 1992 Barrah continued to lead photographic safaris, and as an honorary game warden sat on many committees helping to secure the future of Kenya’s wildlife. He was the Dulverton Trust’s adviser in East Africa until his death.
Jack Barrah was appointed OBE for services to conservation in 1976.
He married, in 1957, Patricia Patterson, who died in January 2013; they had two sons (one of whom died in childhood) and a daughter.
Jack Barrah, born April 4 1929, died June 15 2013

Yet again, we hear of gargantuan profits made at the cost of terrible quality of essential goods and services (“Revealed: how UK water companies are polluting our rivers and beaches, News”).
What happened to the model of capitalism where the quality of the goods and services was the essence of the business? Profit followed in the slipstream of that focus. Now, it is profit that is the arrowhead of attention and the goods and services are mere flotsam and jetsam in the slipstream.
History is littered with precedents where corruption in the service of greed leads to disintegration of civilisations yet this is the model championed by our government as it next puts out to tender our NHS (Andrew Marr: “There’s nothing in the world that beats the best of the NHS”).
Pat McKenna
Nick Cohen’s excellent piece on the private water companies struck a chord with me (“Water companies and the stench of exploitation”).
In September 1989, during the passage of the privatisation legislation and when I was shadow trade and industry secretary, I was asked by Ann Taylor (who was leading for the opposition in the standing committee) to write a piece for the Financial Times setting out Labour’s position. The aim was to give potential investors pause when they came to subscribe for shares in the flotation to come.
I duly did so, explaining (as I recall in my subsequently published memoirs) that an incoming Labour government would expect a privatised water industry to see “its first responsibility to investment in a safe and efficient industry, and secondly, to maintaining fair prices to consumers. Only once these two needs had been met would there be any room for private dividends”.
I refrained from saying anything about returning the industry to public ownership, since it was clear that this commitment was being quietly dropped.
I subsequently made a similar point in an interview and was astonished to find myself repudiated by Neil Kinnock the following day, and the subject of some vitriolic press treatment, apparently engineered by the Labour party’s press office, including a half-page article in the Sunday Times, portraying me as a Jekyll and Hyde figure, complete with drawings showing my face being transfigured under the influence of a full moon!
It is little comfort to find that my recommended order of priorities has been vindicated by subsequent experience.
Bryan Gould
New Zealand
Nick Cohen claims Thames Water is “asking the government for money to build a new much-needed super-sewer through London” because it is “too enfeebled by debt”. This is simply not the case. Thames Water’s ability to invest has never been stronger.
We are currently spending £1bn a year on essential upgrades to our pipes, sewers and other facilities – more than any water company ever has – including building the £635m Lee tunnel, the water industry’s biggest single project since privatisation in 1989.
We are not asking the government to fund the Thames tideway tunnel. Instead, the government has proposed a support package for exceptional risks during construction, acting in effect as an insurer of last resort against risks that are uninsurable in the private sector.
This will reduce financing costs and, in turn, the cost to Thames Water customers. Paying for the project from company reserves would neither reduce the cost to customers nor remove the requirement for government support.
Stuart Siddall
Chief finance officer
Thames Water

Therapists who work with and study men will applaud Yvonne Roberts’s spot-on analysis (“Don’t forget men in the shifts that are reshaping society”, Comment).
Among the many things we have learned is that there is a kind of “male deal” that men sign up to from an early age. Provided men renounce softness and relatedness to others, provided they agree to compete with each other, then society will reward them with many goodies, including power over women and children. But we have also learned that, for many men (and this is increasing under austerity), those goodies are not for them. In other words, we need to break up the monolith of “men”. Some are powerful for sure; others are manifestly powerless and oppressed: black men, disabled men, imprisoned men.
We also need to identify and celebrate intergenerational co-operation between men, something gay people have pioneered. Here, therapy theory has to be revised as the legacy from Freud is that men are psychologically bound to fight another: sons against the father, brothers against each other, every man against women. This is not how it always has to be, not even how it always is.
Professor Andrew Samuels
University of Essex
Agony of asylum seekers
I met a failed asylum seeker at a church day centre (“This hunt for illegal immigrants is revolting”, Comment). She slept rough and wept as she told me that sometimes she resorted to prostitution in order to get money for food. She had fled from an east African country where her political activities had led to terrifying treatment in prison. Her present lifestyle was preferable to that. No doubt, the government will rejoice if the sweep by its UK Border Agency succeeds in sending people like her back “home”.
Bob Holman
Think again about those spies
Benedict Birnberg sets out to try to defend those who spied for Russia and argues they saw the Soviet state as the only bulwark of civilised existence at the time (Letters).
Really? The documents released following the collapse of Soviet communism showed 681,692 were executed in 1937-8, the height, as we know, of Stalin’s terror. In addition, millions were held in gulags, frequently perishing in the hardest conditions. Perhaps the spies thought civilised existence was demonstrated by the outright murder of more than 20,000 mainly Polish servicemen at Katyn in 1940.
The heroic defence by Russians of their country against Nazi occupation and genocidal annihilation, far worse than Stalinism, should never be forgotten. Neither should it be overlooked that when this country went to war in 1939, and until Russia was invaded, Moscow’s position, echoed by communists everywhere, was that the conflict was an imperialist one and that most of the blame for the war was more with Britain and its allies than the Nazis.
David Winnick MP
House of Commons
London SW1
Don’t blame sugar for obesity
A look at the facts makes it clear that the claim that sugar in soft drinks is a particular cause of obesity and diabetes does not stand up to scrutiny (“The demon drink”, Magazine). Official statistics show that consumption of sugar in the diet is falling, and has been falling for decades, while obesity rates are rising.
Contrary to what your writer suggests, high fructose corn syrup can’t be held to blame, as it is hardly used in the UK due to restrictions on production imposed by the EU common agricultural policy. The claim that cheap subsidised sugar is responsible is equally misguided, since there are no sugar subsidies.
Labour-saving devices at home and computerisation at work are reducing the amount of calories we need. We need to encourage people to live more actively and cut calories too.
Gavin Partington
Director general
British Soft Drinks Association
London WC1
Plight of retired racehorses
The number of racehorses that die every month on British racecourses makes for a grim statistic (“A thousand racehorses destroyed on UK courses in just six years”, News. Sadly, however, the thoroughbreds that die in action, or that are humanely destroyed on the track, may actually be the lucky ones. The majority of the thoroughbreds that survive to the end of their racing careers are not allowed to pass their genes on; only the very best, possessing a gilt-edged pedigree or a proved top-class record on the track, will go to stud.
A relative handful may be fortunate enough to flourish in a second career as an eventer or general riding horse. But thoroughbreds frequently come out of racing with myriad physical and psychological problems. Few people have the time and resources to take on such a horse.
Ex-racehorses are offered for sale in their dozens, priced far more cheaply than children’s ponies and sturdy cobs. Many of these animals face an uncertain future. Many will end up, months down the line, neglected and terrified, and facing their fate at the hands of the slaughterman.
Camilla Hannan
Marple Bridge


The primary purpose of Familienpflegezeit in Germany is not for general childcare (“More and more mums bring home the bacon”, 4 August). Its target is to enable employees to reduce their working hours for up to two years to allow them to look after relatives – including children – with physical, mental or emotional illness or disability.
While about two-thirds of the 2.63 million benefiting from Pflegeversicherung (care insurance) are looked after by a combination of relatives and mobile care services, in 18 months there have been fewer than 200 applications for Familienpflegezeit. The anticipated take-up was 44,000. Not surprisingly, Kristina Schröder, the minister for families, who championed the legislation, is being criticised in the press.
Two reasons have been mooted for the scheme’s failure. Firstly, that it isn’t a legal right. Secondly, that despite the financial support afforded by the scheme, this still isn’t enough to enable some to reduce their working hours. I am in favour of looking to other countries for ideas. However, it is also important to see how successful they are before they are modified for use in the UK.
Matthew Cartwright
Eppelheim, German
As a childless single person, I don’t agree with the IPPR think tank who want universal childcare provision. After all, people choose whether or not to give birth, and they shouldn’t automatically be subsidised for doing so, especially if they are higher-rate taxpayers. To think otherwise is to discriminate against those like myself.
Tim Mickleburgh
Grimsby, Lincolnshire
Any scheme that helps parents raise children while earning to support them is an investment for the country that will reap huge dividends. Such incentives, coupled with news last week of Britain’s soaring birthrate, bring the promise of a new, tax-paying generation to bankroll the ever higher cost of maintaining an ageing population.
Imogen Harper
Joan Smith is right that all interests, good or bad, work more efficiently in packs or groups (“Twitter climbdown is too little, too late”, 4 August). And some people are more brutal when hiding behind a pseudonym at the computer. But to say that all verbally abusive men could also be physically abusive or raping their partners at home is silly. Or should the state lock up every man who makes a negative remark about a woman?
Metin Altun
London E8
There is no valid statistical data relating the increased death rate of cyclists to the failure to wear a cycling helmet (“Hats on for cyclists”, 4 August). Nor is it of use in the event of an accident to observe whether the cyclist was wearing a helmet. The question is this: in how many accidents were there significant head injuries, and of those how many would have been less severe if a helmet had been worn? Would a helmet have saved the life of a cyclist struck by a vehicle 60 mph? I think not.
A third of road accidents involve two-wheeled vehicles and pedestrians. By the same twisted logic, pedestrians should also wear helmets too.
Terence Hollingworth
Blagnac, France
I have been a loyal reader of The Independent on Sunday and its sister papers for many years and consider them the best newspapers in Britain, despite their neglect for anything north of The Wash. However your reports on the football matches last Sunday were a disgraceful snub to those clubs and football supporters outside of London and the south of England. Not a mention of Wigan, Blackpool or Middlesbrough, and your headlines on the Brighton vs Leeds game featured Brighton, although Leeds were the victors. This is simply not fair coverage.
John Sharkey
As long as women are forced by sport’s ruling bodies to compete among themselves and not allowed to compete in men’s sports they will be saddled with the feeling of being less able. Sex discrimination comes in many guises and the pervasive nature of this one only reinforces women’s second-class status in sport.
Mark Steele
Dunston, Newcastle upon Tyne


AN out-of-control pub gathering is a good analogy for Twitter, but why would India Knight want to mix  with such rabble (“Boycott — my one-word message to shame Twitter over the trolls”, Comment, last week)?
Free speech wouldn’t be curtailed if Twitter insisted on members submitting their name, telephone number and proof of address. The tedium of creating and validating a new identity every time someone is barred for overstepping the mark would soon wear down the rabble-rousers.
Eventually Twitter-type forums will be replaced by smaller ones for groups with common interests, but they will only evolve once Knight and others stop slumming.
Martin Daniels, Asthall Leigh, Oxfordshire

Too much information
Why not boycott Twitter for ever instead of a day? Do some people lead such shallow lives that they feel the need to tell the world what they are doing every minute of every day, and are the followers even more imbecilic to think that they need to know what someone else is up to all the time?
I don’t feel that I have lost out by not being on Facebook or Twitter.
Tony Scofield, Glastonbury

The ego has landed
The irony of boycotting Twitter is that, of course, as soon as the Twitterati have concluded their heroic protest they will all be tweeting each other to congratulate themselves and tell each other how wonderful they are.
For one moment with all this stuff about vile Twitter threats, I thought that some good might come out of it all, namely the obliteration of this loathsome phenomenon. But unfortunately the genie can never be stuffed back into the bottle, so the horror that is Twitter is sure to grow and grow.
We may thankfully see the curtailment of these personal threats and attacks, but the real pornography of Twitter is its ability to launch the self-important, and often downright egomaniacal, thoughts and utterly banal ramblings of people you really just don’t want to hear from.
The mystery is why so many people feel the need, for example, to hang onto every ego-driven thought of some celebrity comedian, political hack, or — take a bow, India — journalist.
I prefer to follow Jerry Seinfeld’s philosophy on why he wasn’t on Facebook: “When you blow out the candles on your 50th birthday cake, your first thought is: the fewer people I have anything to do with, the better off I’m going to be.”
Steve Earl, London N7

Nick of time
If the comments made by internet trolls had been similarly offensive racist remarks aimed at a particular ethnic group, the police would have been down on the perpetrators like a ton of bricks, and in half the time that it’s taken them to react over the current rash of offensive and threatening utterances.
Anne Vanden Bosch, Solihull, West Midlands

Alien world
Knight likens Twitter to visiting a pub, but it’s more akin to an alien planet populated by the insane, the self-obsessed and the empty-headed.
Joe Cowley, Belvedere, Kent

Fearing for health of our hospitals
YOUR report “Mother dies for want of scan at weekend” (News, last week) is almost incomprehensible to any medical practitioner familiar with abdominal emergencies. The diagnosis of appendicitis depends on history, clinical signs and symptoms, not on technology.
As a former surgeon I fear for my family at the hands of the NHS should any of them develop a medical or surgical emergency.
In a speech in 1975 I said of the NHS: “In a service where morale is sapped by a machine-like bureaucracy, harmful interactions will increase in frequency, and in time hospitals will become an extension of disease and often the worst part of it.” One-third of the audience walked out in protest during the course of this address.
The NHS is the closest thing we have to a national religion. The tragedy is that the health service has not only vitiated the professions of medicine, nursing and hospital administration, but it deforms the lives of those who work in it, while for many patients it has indeed become “an extension of disease”.
Max Gammon, London SE16

Keeping watch
I was appalled to read your report. Where have all the clinical skills gone? Why do we have to rely on scans? We used to be able to diagnose deep vein thrombosis through observation — it was one of the things we were on the lookout for after childbirth. We used to use our hands, ears and eyes to care for people properly.
Margaret Brothwell, Retired midwife, Lichfield, Staffordshire

Labour intensive
Congratulations on raising awareness of the importance of 24/7 consultant and midwifery cover for NHS maternity units (“If only he’d been born in the daytime”, News, July 28). There is evidence to suggest that the additional cost of clinical staffing would be more than offset by the savings from medical negligence claims.
Successive health secretaries have been made aware of this by the Women’s Services Provider Alliance. It remains to be seen how quickly progress is made.
Ken Morris, Chairman, Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust

Temporary measures
Pay and conditions in the NHS for nurses mean many leave the health service as they can earn more with agencies (“Huge waste as hospitals spend £3bn on temps”, News, last week). Reductions in doctors’ training posts, the European directives on working hours, and visa restrictions on overseas doctors mean many hospital doctors’ rotas are understaffed.
Without temporary staff in busy acute care departments, the numbers would be dangerously low. Trusts employ casual personnel to maintain safe levels on wards. The Department of Health needs to address these issues before it spends the money saved on operations and medicines.
Dr Cauvery Pal, London N11

New thinking on antibiotic resistance
Further to your report “Hundreds killed by drug-resistant bugs in chicken” (News, last week), the latest research from the University Medical Centre Utrecht in Holland using more sophisticated methods does not indicate frequent clonal transmission of antibiotic-resistant E coli from chickens to humans — that is to say, chickens were not the source of the human infection.
Extrapolating the calculations of possible human deaths from Holland to the UK was flawed from the outset because antibiotics have been used differently in UK poultry production. The antibiotics in the study you referred to — third-generation cephalosporins — have never been licensed for use in chicken production in this country. We do not agree with the Soil Association that these were used in this country as in Holland.
Antibiotic resistance is a complex issue and all groups need to work together to develop decisions based on sound science to manage the risks while allowing the optimum benefit to be gained from the use of antibiotics to treat humans and animals.
John FitzGerald, Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance

Phubbing is nothing new
I wholeheartedly support the stop phubbing campaign (“Revolt is rude awakening for phubbers”, News, last week). The name is almost as bad as the practice — snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone — but it’s not a new form of rudeness, and pre-dates the mobile phone by many years.
As long ago as 1947 the Italian-American composer Gian Carlo Menotti wrote a delightful operatic two-hander called The Telephone. In it Ben visits Lucy before leaving for a trip. He has brought a gift and is obviously going to propose. Each time he gets to the crucial moment, her phone rings: gossip, wrong number and even a call to find out the time. Ben gives up and leaves, but on the street he calls from a phone box and finally is able to propose. She accepts, begging him not to forget her number.
Malcolm Shifrin, Leatherhead, Surrey
Big issue
Parents are able to opt out from the government’s annual child measurement scheme and, unsurprisingly, those with grossly overweight children often do (“Obesity alert over 20-stone 10-year-olds”, News, last week). The official figures do not reflect the full extent of the problem.
Terry Coster, Little Wakering, Essex

Honey trap
Your headline “Eat manuka honey . . . and you too could lose the Wimbledon final” (News, last week) was unfair to both Novak Djokovic and manuka honey. Djokovic is not only a former Wimbledon champion but a multiple Grand Slam winner and world No 1. I am happy to continue enjoying manuka honey — even if I don’t win Wimbledon.
Bernard Kingston, Biddenden, Kent

Losing battle
The letter from Julian Lewis MP (“Planning a strategy for Afghanistan”, Letters, last week) gave a truly depressing insight into the mindset of those who govern us. I cannot imagine anything more likely to encourage Islamic militancy than planting western forts in Afghanistan to allow us to poke our noses into their affairs. We tried that approach in the First Anglo-Afghan War of 1839-42 and it ended in disaster. Do we never learn?
Brian Wilson, Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire

The one to watch
Why do we have to put first- class television programmes into national boxes, as if it were a sporting contest (“Our black and white TV needs to learn the art of blurring”, Comment, July 28)? One would expect America to produce some of the most watchable and commercial programmes, albeit together with the dross it produces in abundance. Adrian Wooldridge omits the fact that some recent must-see television has come from Scandinavia. The BBC has much to answer for, but as a nation we would be a lot poorer without it and, despite all the knocking, the much-maligned licence fee still offers fantastic value. Like the NHS, woe betide any government that tries to eliminate it.
Michael Fishman, London N2

Out-of-date licence
In the year to March the BBC received roughly £3.7bn from licence fees plus £1.4bn more from its commercial activities (a recipe for corporate bloat if ever there was one). I’m happy for us all to have a licence for, say, driving a car on public highways, but neither watching television nor listening to the radio should be in that category. To keep the BBC free of advertising, have a subscription, but not a licence that is an anachronism.
David Goodwin, London SW18

Slippery character
You stated that Julian Assange of WikiLeaks is “charismatic” (“The spies who ended up in the cold”, Focus, last week). Really? He is creepy and oily.
Bob Watson, Baildon, West Yorkshire

Knowing the drill
Here in Dorset we have had drilling for decades (“Frackpots”, Focus, last week). The Wytch Farm well complex is slap in the middle of the scenic Poole harbour with clearly no impact on property prices in Sandbanks nearby. At Kimmeridge, on the Jurassic Coast — a world heritage site — another well nods away serenely. Oil is extracted as well as gas. Lorries carrying liquified petroleum gas trundle from Wytch Farm. Nobody notices. The pipelines have long since grown over.
Pete Manson, Poole

Plate expectations
After reading the letter from David Middlemiss about Beverley Minster food bank (“Feast or famine?”, Letters, last week) I noticed an advertisement in Driving showing that the numberplate VP 1 had been reduced from £250,000 to £187,000. Are we all feeling the pinch?
Mike Grant, St Andrews, Fife

Hedgehog deaths spike
We have been rehabilitating orphaned and injured hedgehogs for more than 20 years (“Hedgehog’s prickles won’t save it from extinction”, Focus, last week). There are two significant killers we never hear mentioned, each responsible for the deaths of thousands of hedgehogs every year: slaughter by overzealous gamekeepers on shooting estates, and their maiming and subsequent deaths from bites by domestic dogs.
Martin and Tanis Jordan, Craven Arms, Shropshire

Brock follies
One of the reasons for the decline in hedgehogs is the huge increase in badgers.
Joan Freeland, By email

Claus von Bülow, Danish-English socialite, 87; Viola Davis, actress, 48; Hulk Hogan, wrestler and actor, 60; Joe Jackson, singer-songwriter, 59; Ashley Jensen, actress, 44; Ian McDiarmid, actor, 69; Nigel Martyn, footballer, 47; Pervez Musharraf, Pakistani general and politician, 70; Sandi Thom, singer-songwriter, 32; Jah Wobble, bass guitarist, 55; Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, 63

1858 Irishman Charles Barrington and Swiss guides Christian Almer and Peter Bohren become the first to conquer the Eiger; 1929 Babe Ruth becomes the first baseball player to hit 500 home runs; 1965 Watts riots begin in Los Angeles; 1968 the Oliver Cromwell makes the last steam engine journey on British mainline railways; 1972 last US ground combat unit leaves South Vietnam

Corrections and clarifications
The maker of the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart used by Matthew Green, a transplant patient at Papworth Hospital (“Man survives for two years without heart”, News, July 28), has asked us to make it clear that there is no maximum timescale for using the device. One patient has used it for nearly four years.
Complaints about inaccuracies in all sections of The Sunday Times, including online, should be addressed to or The Editor, The Sunday Times, 3 Thomas More Square, London E98 1ST. In addition, the Press Complaints Commission ( or 020 7831 0022) examines formal complaints about the editorial content of UK newspapers and magazines (and their websites)


SIR – Any report of the Battle of Minden (August 8) cannot pass without mentioning John Manners, Marquis of Granby. Although his role at Minden was small – he commanded the reserve cavalry – he was soon afterwards promoted to command the whole of the British force in Germany.
In 1760, at the Battle of Warburg, he led a cavalry charge which routed the French, losing his hat and wig in the process. In recognition of this, soldiers of the Blues and Royals (his former regiment) have the unique privilege in the British Army of being permitted to salute while not wearing headgear.
In his later years, he set up many of his old soldiers as publicans; and to this day there are more pubs named after him than any other person.
Steve Howe
Grays, Essex

SIR – Major charities resemble multi-million-pound businesses. They need to be run by top quality people.
We do not live in the Victorian age of philanthropists. Those national and international charity businesses need to pay in the region of the going rate for their senior staff or they will not get managers of the right calibre.
Does anyone really want charities to be badly managed because they can’t attract decent staff?
Anne James
Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire
SIR – As an organisation that represents financial professionals working in the charity sector, we must object to your assertion that “the ruthless attention to cost control and efficiency is curiously absent” (leading article, August 7).

In our experience this is certainly not the case. Charities are continually focused on squeezing the most impact out of every pound. For example, Oxfam stripped out £3 million of support costs last year alone through efficiency savings.
Our members, who themselves could earn substantially more working in the private sector, are just the sort of individuals that charities of this size and scale need to be employing to ensure focus on cost control and efficiency continues.
This is not about feathering our own nest, but about delivering maximum value to beneficiaries with donors’ money.
David Membrey
Deputy Chief Executive
Charity Finance Group
London N1
SIR – If a charity’s top management will not give “the very best” performance unless they are rewarded with generous bonuses, they are not the right people to be running those charities and those awarding the bonuses are not the right people to be overseeing them.
Roland Jack
Wantage, Berkshire
SIR – Stephen Bubb’s comments (report, August 7) on the suitability of retired officers to lead charities are misguided. Sir Terry Leahy, in his book Management in 10 Words, constantly refers to the qualities that such officers display which makes them eminently suitable: strategic planning, leadership, project management and decisiveness.
Lt Col Jeremy Prescott (retd)
SIR – Salaries are not the sole reason for high administrative costs. I was most surprised to see a top cancer care charity’s list of old managers’ cars, some of which were top of the range and way beyond the needs of the job.
Furthermore, a few years ago, I had reason to call at a well-known animal charity’s office near Horsham.
I had never before seen such luxurious office accommodation.
J A Sharp
Hove, Sussex
Investigating the BBC
SIR – One shocking fact to emerge from Lord Patten at his appearance before a Commons select committee was his disclosure that having sanctioned the payment of £180,000 to a headhunter to replace Mark Thompson, the BBC Trust then appointed the deputy director general, George Entwhistle, to the post (“Met fraud squad to probe BBC pay-offs”, report, August 9).
It is entirely appropriate that the Metropolitan Police should look into the obscene amount that he was paid after his brief and disastrous tenure, together with the manner in which eye-watering amounts of licence-fee money were squandered on departing senior figures.
John Barker
Prestbury, Cheshire
SIR – Lucy Adams, the head of human resources at the BBC, says that “it had become custom and practice” for employees to expect a 12-month notice period. One would have thought that the £320,000 salary she is paid covers the responsibility of ensuring all personnel are aware of their notice periods, or is that too much to expect from the head of HR?
Jeremy Claydon
Biddenden, Kent
SIR – The grotesque sums paid to BBC executives is easily dealt with: abolish the TV licence fee and let the BBC compete for revenue in the open market – in other words, the real world.
Sandy Pratt
Lingfield, Surrey
House of Elders
SIR – Talk of an elected second chamber entirely misses the point (Letters, August 5). In order to complement the elected Commons – increasingly composed of people with no experience outside politics – we badly need a second chamber populated by people of proven ability and achievement in a wide range of other disciplines, who do not owe their positions to the patronage of political parties.
A satisfactory solution would be to abolish the House of Lords and create in its place a much smaller House of Elders. Members would be selected at random (like jury members) from a database of those of proven achievement, probably recently retired, who have expressed a willingness to participate in the work of reviewing the output of the Commons.
Andrew Papworth
Billericay, Essex
Royal Yacht Squadron
SIR – How interesting to read that the Royal Yacht Squadron has voted to allow women to become full members (Report, August 6). However, will aspiring members still encounter the same prejudice faced by Sir Thomas Lipton, the most persistent challenger for the America’s Cup?
It is believed that the possibility of the “King’s grocer” belonging to the same club as Edward VII and George V proved anathema to many members and he was blackballed on several occasions.
As a result of his Ulster origins, he then joined the Royal Ulster Yacht Club, and under its burgee competed (unsuccessfully) for the America’s Cup.
Brian Orr
Groomsport, Co Down
Jumped up
SIR – When did men start using the term “jumpers”? Did it coincide with leaving shirt collars out in the female way? Jerseys are for men, with the collar tucked in.
Ruth Cliff
Uckfield, East Sussex
Sanctions in Iran
SIR – One factor largely missing from David Blair’s article on Iran (Comment, August 8) is that economic sanctions hurt not only Iran, but also those countries that import Iranian oil.
China, India, South Korea and Japan are all placed under pressure by America and the EU to cut down their oil imports from Iran. India, for example, is being forced to cut back its oil imports from Iran from 12 to 9 per cent. The cumulative effect of this sizeable cut-back, coupled with the increase in international oil price, has been to push India’s GDP growth downward.
While America and the EU may be right to inflict sufficient economic pain on average Iranians for them to threaten the current regime’s survival, what moral principle, if any, is served in punishing citizens such as Indians who are not even remotely connected to the Iranian regime or its nuclear weapons programme?
Randhir Singh Bains
Gants Hill, Essex
A history of aid
SIR – Noel Slaney (Letters, August 9) is almost entirely in error when he equates our ridiculous foreign aid bill with the Marshall aid dollars received by Britain post-1945.
Most Marshall aid was (self-interested) loans, which British taxpayers were still repaying until very recently. That aid was mostly used to import much-needed foodstuffs and other raw materials to effect our post-war manufacturing recovery.
Our aid programme today, however, will have to be borrowed by us and be repaid by our children’s children for many years. It is given – not lent – to states who are developing or have developed nuclear and defence capacity and space programmes far superior to our own. Meanwhile, we cut back on schools, policemen, nurses, teachers, and scientific investment.
David Burns
Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
Right bulb moment
SIR – As a recent attendee on a cookery course, I was delighted to learn that the after-effects of garlic can be avoided if, during the preparation stage, the garlic is cut longitudinally and the central green core extracted and discarded (“How to love garlic without friends”, Features, August 8).
Following this simple advice avoids the subsequent problem of lingering odour. I have tried it and it works!
James Howard
Torquay, Devon
How do you like your eggs in the morning?
SIR – Graham Aston (Letters, August 9) says that eggs, “as a potential source of food poisoning”, should be kept in the fridge. But the policy in this country is not to clean eggs before selling them (in case their natural seal is broken), so the dirt (mostly chicken faeces) remains on the outside.
That is fine for the well-protected egg within, but I wouldn’t ordinarily fancy smearing neighbouring foodstuffs in the fridge with farmyard detritus.
Katharine Anderson
Isleworth, Middlesex
SIR – Heather Johnson is right (Letters, August 8). Eggs should never be kept in the fridge as their shells are porous and readily absorb any smells, such as cheese.
Incidentally, they should also be stored upright (why not remove those egg-hole shelves and put them outside the fridge?) as this keeps the yolks centred.
Jean Pike
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
SIR – Rosemary J Wells (Letters, August 9) should grow her own tomatoes. I harvest my home-grown fruits and can assure her that, fresh from the vine and still warm, they are delicious and full of flavour.
Bill Hollowell
Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
SIR – I was surprised to see batteries among the very wide range of non-edible articles kept in refrigerators (Features, August 8). After lights-out at boarding school, when reading continued under the bedclothes, the life of our torch batteries was extended by putting them on radiators.
Ishbel Orme
Milford on Sea, Hampshire
SIR – The summer brought out a great number of clothes moths. So I have put my winter coat, which they usually enjoy eating, in the freezer.
Anne West

Irish Times:

Sir, – I was sickened to read the article “Priest on Mater board rules out abortions at hospital” (Front page, August 7th).
I would like to pose a question to Fr Kevin Doran and the Mater board. What is hospital policy if the following situation should arise. A woman presents as an emergency case in the Mater hospital. She has acute abdominal pain, is found to have an ectopic tubal pregnancy and if left untreated the fallopian tube will rupture with resulting peritonitis, shock, and possible death. Would the doctor in charge decide to move her to another hospital as dealing with this emergency would necessitate terminating the pregnancy?
I worked as a midwife in a Catholic hospital in the 1980s and no such dilemma would have occurred. A mother’s life was considered sacrosanct and a maternal death considered a disaster in obstetrics. In fact, no matter what the gestation was, if the mother was in danger she was delivered in order to save her life, even if it meant the foetus would not survive.
I say shame on the Mater hospital and its Catholic ethos for putting women’s lives at risk. – Yours, etc,

Sir, – Seán Mac Connell states that “Furze, known as ‘whin’ in the North and ‘gorse’ along the east coast . . . “ (An Irishman’s Diary, August 5th). AT Lucas in his comprehensive book Furze, A Survey and History of its Uses in Ireland (1960) writes, “There are two general English names current in the country. A line drawn from east to west across the country from the neighbourhood of Drogheda to that of Westport approximately divides the territories where these names are in use. To the north of that line the name used is ‘whins’, to the south of it ‘furze’. The common English name ‘gorse’ is not used in Ireland except by those who have become familiar with it in England or from books”. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Your paper features lovely pictures of people who were “snapped” by Arthur Fields on O’Connell Bridge in Dublin, many years ago (Home News, August 8th). As a fan of Margaret Rutherford, may I point out the “friend” with her in a photograph you published was in fact her husband – also an actor – Stringer Davis. He appeared in most of her films, particularly the Miss Marple series in the early 1960s. – Yours, etc,
Merrion Road,

Sir, – I have just been drip-fed more information about water charges. Apparently while a tap on the door will bring the first bills in January 2015, the charge will be backdated to the previous October. All we can do one supposes is soak it all up? – Yours, etc,
Elm Mount,
Beaumont, Dublin 9.

Irish Independent:

* I could hardly believe the article under Richard Bruton’s name (Irish Independent, August 8). Did you authenticate it?
Also in this section
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Was this the same Richard Bruton I met as we criss-crossed the country in 1981 to capture votes for what was ultimately, for both of us, a successful campaign to win seats in this dreadful wicked ‘colonial’ Seanad which must now be done to death up a dark and noisome lane? The same Richard Bruton I helped on dark winter nights in the first 1982 general election to win his Dail seat? Is this the same Richard Bruton who has been, as a TD and a minister, one of the redeeming features of truly modern Irish politics for so long?
One of the terminological inexactitudes (aka direct untruths) perpetrated by the ‘trashers’ of the Seanad and our Constitution (including now, shamefully, Mr Bruton) is that only a tiny, secret cabal has the right to elect the Seanad; that we the people are denied the opportunity to participate in the choice of these legislators. But we the people have a say – bigger than most of us realise.
First, the number of those who may vote for the university seats is 50,000 for the NUI (equivalent to the electorate of a five-seat Dail constituency) and 30,000 for TCD (equivalent to a three-seater). Elitist? Are you or any of your readers willing to sneer at their children or grandchildren who are among the several thousand young people who are at this very moment in the final stages of applying for third level places?
Second, 43 out of the 60 senators are elected on the five ‘main panels’.
Third, 11 senators are nominated by the Taoiseach. This is just one of the delegated powers we entrust to the Taoiseach. Though some Taoisigh have followed the example of the Emperor Caligula who made his horse a consul, they mostly have used their nominations with intelligence and imagination. Having twice been elected to the Seanad, I am more than aware of how it should be reformed – including its method of election.
But the fundamental question is whether we the people want a political ethos and modus operandi that make the system ‘dumber and dumber’, or whether we want it to be based on serious technical and operational analysis and careful planning.
Maurice O’Connell
Tralee, Co Kerry
* Mater Hospital board member Fr Kevin Doran is reported (Irish Independent, August 7) as saying “the Mater can’t carry out abortions because it goes against its ethos”.
The Mater is a publicly-funded teaching hospital. Ireland has franchised so much of the delivery of both education and healthcare to undemocratic, private bodies with personnel appointed by the Vatican – a foreign state whose agents are happy to take nearly 100pc state funding.
The State must sunder these bonds, making whatever constitutional changes are needed, before the 2016 commemorations are observed. Our medical students must be trained in hospitals prepared to offer all treatments and interventions that are legal in this State, including sterilisations of both men and women in accordance with patients’ conscientious decisions.
Publicly-funded medical schools attached to sectarian hospitals where shadowy non-medical board members are able to dictate policy are inappropriate. It is ironic that the Mater was brought about by public subscriptions of ordinary citizens, yet none, it seems, are deemed worthy enough to govern it.
The board should tell us how many surgical/medical interventions were performed there to treat ectopic pregnancies in each of the years from 2010 to date. Surgical/medical intervention to treat an ectopic pregnancy is an abortion; about 800 are performed annually in Ireland, by my calculation, based on a frequency of 11 to 1,000 live births, so the Mater would have had to deal with some of these emergencies as an acute hospital.
Mike McKillen
Ballsbridge, Dublin
* Is it just a coincidence that in the same week that rumours surfaced about Micheal Martin’s leadership of Fianna Fail, Mary O’Rourke pops up to propose a Fine Gael/Fianna Fail coalition after the next election? Has Mr Martin finally realised that the chances of his party leading the next government are nil and has decided to lower expectations and hope he might crawl into bed with Fine Gael as a means of saving his own neck?
Ms O’Rourke’s bleatings about bridging political divides and ending Civil War politics might have some crumb of credibility if she had bothered to practise what she now preaches. Her entire career and her retirement to date have been peppered with viciously partisan attacks against Fine Gael and highly personalised attacks on its leading members, particularly Enda Kenny.
In her autobiography, which was inflicted on the public last year, she makes three references to Mr Kenny. The first two express the wish that he had won the 2007 general election and so would have been in government to face the economic collapse brought about by her own party. The third is an insulting reference to a now famous incident between Mr Kenny and former French president Nicholas Sarkozy that was caught by photographers. This is hardly the stuff of bipartisan friendship.
Her invocation of the name of her late nephew, Brian Lenihan, as some kind of post-Civil War reconstructionist is also somewhat laughable, given his extraordinary attacks on Fine Gael during his time as minister for finance, when Richard Bruton was effectively accused of trying to push the country to default and bankruptcy in pursuit of votes.
I would welcome the end of Civil War politics. But that can only happen when the Fianna Fail party, which has wrought so much destruction and misery on this country, closes its doors and disbands. Perhaps Ms O’Rourke should advocate this option, rather than cheerleading for Mr Martin and his party.
Barry Walsh
Clontarf, Dublin
* Does anyone know when the last baby was delivered at either of the Mater Misericordiae hospitals in Eccles Street?
Michele Savage
* I was shocked to see that AIB is, in my opinion, targeting children to spend, spend, spend.
“Goodbye to the Savings Gang and hello to your new AIB Student Account,” was the heading on a letter my 12-year-old granddaughter received from AIB. It states that from September 23 she can no longer hold a Junior Saver Account, and if it is not formally cancelled by that date her account will automatically transfer to a current account which offers her phone and internet banking, mobile banking and the option of a debit card. To quote the bank’s selling point: “A service you can use to top up your mobile phone and check what’s in you account, so you can still get to the bank even when you’re at school.”
I find this is a really hard sell and a point kids will readily jump at – access to funds, even at school.
My granddaughter has had a savings account since birth, and at no point in the letter does it suggest that she continue to save.
I find this appalling, encouraging a child who has just turned 12 to obtain a debit card. A child of that age would go wild with the freedom of spending their savings, and no mention of the option of transferring her funds to a savings account. I feel this is blatant abuse of children, a form of priming them to become the future misusers of credit cards, overdrafts and personal bank loans.
Maureen Benson
Athlone, Co Westmeath
Irish Independent


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