Water butt

29 November 2013 Water butt

I go all the way around the park round the park listening to the Navy Lark.
Our heroes are in trouble they are to show the flag at Withersea. But Pertwee knows where there is some hidden rum, under the sea, Priceless.
I sweep leaves. Peter finishes the windowand does the water butt.
Scrabble I wins but just by one point we get just less than 400 perhaps it will be Mary’s turn tomorrow.

Obituary:
Margaret Cooper , who has died aged 91, was a progressive-minded but essentially old-fashioned nurse who served as Principal of the Queen Elizabeth School of Nursing in Birmingham and as chairman and chief education officer of the General Nursing Council in the 1970s and 1980s.
In these roles Margaret Cooper developed a new curriculum for trainee nurses which combined training in practical skills with in-depth study of theory. She combined great personal kindness with a stern insistence on the highest standards of appearance and behaviour. The actress Julie Walters, who once trained as a nurse at the Queen Elizabeth, recalled an occasion when she turned up for class with her hair in bunches and no stockings. She was immediately sent home by the principal to tidy up and change.
Margaret Jean Drummond Cooper was born on March 23 1922 and grew up at Oadby, Leicestershire, where her father was Rector. After education at the School of St Mary and St Anne, Abbots Bromley, she trained as a nurse at the Leicester Royal Infirmary and as a midwife at the General Lying-in Hospital in London. Later she worked for several years as a ward sister.
In the early 1960s she moved into nurse education, which at that time was largely ward-based. In 1962 a Nightingale Scholarship funded her visit to nurse-training institutes in Scandinavia, which convinced her that nurses should not only be technically skilled but should also have theoretical knowledge so that they could better understand their role in the Health Service.
She held principal tutor roles at Northampton General Hospital and at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge before becoming Principal of the Queen Elizabeth School.
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Penny Feiwel
25 Feb 2011
A devout Christian, Margaret Cooper served on the council, and as president for many years, of the Guild of St Barnabas for Nurses, which provides spiritual support for nurses, and in the 1980s and 1990s led the healing fellowship at St Mary’s Church, Saffron Walden, where she lived for many years.
In retirement she took an Open University degree, worked as a volunteer for the bereavement counselling charity Cruse and, in 1998, wrote a paper for the Royal Commission for the Long-term Care of the Elderly entitled The Best and Worst of Care during Recovery from a Stoke.
She was appointed OBE in 1980.
Margaret Cooper was unmarried, and was much loved by her nephew, nieces and her Siamese cats.
Margaret Cooper, born March 23 1922, died September 15 2013

Guardian:

Your focus on the Central African Republic is welcome and timely (Report, 23 November). The CAR is a long-forgotten country suffering from a prolonged forgotten crisis. After a decade of civil war, people are starving and traumatised. They rarely have access to clean water, or to a functioning health system. Malaria is a major killer and HIV prevalence is the highest in central Africa. Life expectancy is 48 years. The UN has described the CAR as “a tinderbox” sliding into religious conflict which has the potential to lead to genocide. In spite of these worsening conditions the international community has failed to act. Less than half of the 3,600 African Union peacekeeping force promised last July are in the CAR, and arms are flooding into a country that is rich in minerals, uranium and oil and currently controlled by warlords of the Seleka. It is estimated that, since 2004, the UK has been the fourth biggest supplier of arms to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. In the chaos of the CAR, UK arms licences are being granted for exports that can only multiply the misery and instability. What possible interests can be served?
Glenys Kinnock
Labour, House of Lords

Jonathan Wolff isn’t the first person to be puzzled about why, though five quite well-known female philosophers emerged from Oxford soon after the war, few new ones are doing so today (How can we end the male domination of philosophy?, 26 November).
As a survivor from the wartime group, I can only say: sorry, but the reason was indeed that there were fewer men about then. The trouble is not, of course, men as such – men have done good enough philosophy in the past. What is wrong is a particular style of philosophising that results from encouraging a lot of clever young men to compete in winning arguments. These people then quickly build up a set of games out of simple oppositions and elaborate them until, in the end, nobody else can see what they are talking about. All this can go on until somebody from outside the circle finally explodes it by moving the conversation on to a quite different topic, after which the games are forgotten. Hobbes did this in the 1640s. Moore and Russell did it in the 1890s. And actually I think the time is about ripe for somebody to do it today. By contrast, in those wartime classes – which were small – men (conscientious objectors etc) were present as well as women, but they weren’t keen on arguing.
It was clear that we were all more interested in understanding this deeply puzzling world than in putting each other down. That was how Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Iris Murdoch, Mary Warnock and I, in our various ways, all came to think out alternatives to the brash, unreal style of philosophising – based essentially on logical positivism – that was current at the time. And these were the ideas that we later expressed in our own writings. Finally, I can confirm that I’m still alive and doing philosophy. Next spring, Acumen will bring out my little book Are You an Illusion?
Mary Midgley
Newcastle on Tyne

Boris Johnson’s vision of a happy Britain: greedy squillionaires trying so very hard not to flaunt their wealth; and wondering which worthy public project to trickle their largesse down on to (Greed is good: Boris invokes Thatcher spirit, 28 November). If Johnson’s definition of a successful economy is one that will always produce monstrously skewed inequality of income, perhaps most people would prefer not to have a successful economy. How about a respectable economy, where fairness is a wholesome notion; or a reasonable economy, which doesn’t have rapacious excess at its heart?
Dominic Rayner
Leeds
• Apparently, “greed is good” once again. So the next time a trade union demands a pay increase for its low-paid members, and the Tories claim it is being greedy, can I assume this will be intended as a compliment?
Professor Pete Dorey
Bath
• I welcome Boris Johnson’s speech. He has done more to show the true nature of the Tories than the Labour party has managed to achieve since being in opposition. 
Jake Fagg
Bristol
• Hold on, aren’t greed and envy two of the seven deadly sins? No doubt Boris and many of his supporters will be cosily sitting in their church pews this Christmas. May I suggest hypocrisy be tucked in his handbag as the eighth deadly sin.
Sheila Rigby
Bognor Regis, West Sussex
• Boris Johnson should spend more time studying history. Pressure from Conservative-supporting parents whose children didn’t succeed in the grammar school entrance exam were a powerful influence in the development of the comprehensive system. It was the Conservative minister, Sir Edward Boyle, who made it possible to change the age of transfer to secondary education, so making it easier for Leicestershire and the West Riding of Yorkshire to abolish grammar schools. He also set up the Plowden committee, which reported in 1967 (Children and Their Primary Schools) that, depending on the age at which the check was made, from 10% to 20% of children were misplaced by the 11-plus examination.
Professor Norman Thomas
St Albans, Hertfordshire
• Alexis Tsipras’s fine rallying call (Comment, 28 November) reminds us of the Red Cross findings that “Europe’s humanitarian crisis is unlike anything experienced in 60 years, with 120 million people enduring conditions of extreme difficulty”. While on the front page Boris – aren’t I a one – Johnson brays in favour of the economic theory that created this disaster. God help us if ever he realises his fantasy. And what precisely does he mean by “human beings … already very far from equal [in] spiritual worth”? Never mind Thatcher, is this Ayn Rand speaking?
John Airs
Liverpool
• May I be the first to introduce the term eujohnics?
PC Hall
Hatfield, Hertfordshire

I read with anger and disgust that the Spanish authorities have read Britain’s diplomatic mail at the Gibraltar border (Report, 27 November). I greatly fear this could lead to a country’s intelligence services intercepting another’s emails, confidential phone calls, internet usage etc, in breach of all sorts of privacy protocols. And then where would we all be?
P Wright
King’s Lynn, Norfolk
• The Van Dyck self-portrait which you urge us to “save for the nation” for £12.5m (Report, 26 November) is unquestionably a marvellous picture. But in 2009 it appeared in auction at Sotheby’s, and was sold for a “mere” £8.3m. Why didn’t the nation buy it then and save itself £4m? The picture’s co-owner, the art dealer Philip Mould, who appears on the Antiques Road Show, can perhaps be persuaded to reduce the new price by his celebrated co-star, Fiona Bruce? Or even to donate it to the nation for free? Come on Fiona, the nation needs you.
Waldemar Januszczak
London
• So Professor Bax (Letters, 28 November) sings the praises of HS1 by stating that the HS1 train he was on was “completely full, with people sitting on the floor”. I hadn’t realised that we were proposing to spend billions of pounds on HS2 for the right to sit on the floor in overcrowded trains.
Iain Windeatt
Oldham
• I would suggest that Kent commuters are far more equivocal about HS1 than Professor Stephen Bax suggests. Fast and comfortable it is (I use it daily), but it has been paid for by outrageous fare increases for all, HS1 users or not, and demand for it guaranteed by a scandalous and cynical degradation of (cheaper) ordinary mainline services.
Brett Wolstencroft
Lyminge, Kent
• Surely many readers will have spotted the mistake in K Scoular Datta’s letter (27 November), which lumps together as villains CS Lewis’s hero Ransom, and his nemesis Devine. Actually, the former rises in magnificent spirituality while the latter has descended from greed to worsening evils.
RL Jacobson
London

Since Tuesday students at Sussex University have been occupying the first floor of Bramber House. This space was occupied last February and is where Chartwells, the company now in charge of outsourced catering services, is operating. The students declare their continuing fight against the outsourcing process and the marketisation of higher education, exemplified most recently by the selling of the student loan book. Student protests in Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, York, Brighton, London and Manchester, and statements by the National Union of Students show widespread discontent.
Since 30 October, Occupy Sussex has twice taken action to support us, lecturers and tutors, in our national dispute over fair pay. We consider their actions, and ours next Tuesday, to be part of a broader struggle. One to defend and move towards a model of education that prioritises and financially secures the teaching-staff relationship that makes our universities so attractive.
The injunction obtained in April against the previous occupation cost the university £81,812 in legal fees. Considering the widespread support for the occupation inside and outside the university, and the fact that the injunction banned any unauthorised protest on campus and that it failed to do so, we consider these costs unnecessary and misplaced. We are signing this letter of support to pressure the management to open a dialogue with students and staff over outsourcing, representation, and fair pay. It is important to protect the right to protest at our university and avoid any injunctions that could criminalise protesters and curtail that right for all of us.
Prof Luke Martell Head of Department in sociology, University of Sussex
Prof Gurminder K Bhambra University of Warwick
Prof Charlie Post Sociology, Borough of Manhattan Community College and the Graduate Center, CUNY
Prof Des Freedman Media and communications, Goldsmiths, University of London, Secretary, Goldsmiths UCU
Prof Mario Novelli Political economy of Education, University of Sussex
Prof John Holmwood Sociology, University of Nottingham
Prof Marie-Bénédicte Dembour Law and anthropology, University of Brighton
Prof Bill Bowring Law, Birkbeck, University of London
Prof Michael Outhwaite Sociology, University of Newcastle
Prof Raphael Salkie Humanities, University of Brighton
Dr Mark Erickson Reader in sociology, University of Brighton
Dr John Drury Senior lecturer in social psychology, University of Sussex
Dr Benjamin Selwyn Senior lecturer in international relations and development studies, University of Sussex
Dr Lucy Robinson Senior lecturer in history, University of Sussex
Dr Reima Ana Maglajlic Senior lecturer in social work, University of Sussex
Dr Barry Luckock Senior lecturer in social work and social policy, University of Sussex
Dr Benno Teschke Senior lecturer in international relations, University of Sussex
Dr Catherine Will Senior lecturer, Sociology, University of Sussex
Dr Ben Fincham Senior lecturer, Sociology, University of Sussex
Dr Kenneth Veitch Lecturer in law, University of Sussex
Dr Kimberley Brayson Lecturer in law, University of Sussex
Dr Emily Robinson Lecturer in politics, University of Sussex
Dr Michael Kearney Lecturer in Law, University of Sussex
Dr Kamran Matin Lecturer in international relations, University of Sussex
Dr William McEvoy Lecturer in English and drama, University of Sussex
Dr Paul Kirby Lecturer in international relations, University of Sussex
Dr Anna Stavrianakis Lecturer in international relations, University of Sussex
Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak Lecturer, Glasgow School for Business and Society
Dr Alana Lentin Senior lecturer in cultural and social analysis, University of Sydney
Dr Charlie Masquelier Lecturer in sociology, University of Surrey
Dr Ruth Charnock Lecturer in English literature, University of Lincoln
Dr. Rebecca Searle Lecturer, University of Brighton
Dr Doug Haynes Lecturer in American literature, University of Sussex
Dr Paul O’Connnell Reader in law, SOAS, University of London
Dr Matt Dawson Lecturer in Sociology, University of Glasgow
Dr Lucy Finchett-Maddock Lecturer in Law, University of Brighton
Dr Nadine El-Enany Lecturer in law, Birkbeck, University of London
Dr Ben Jones Lecturer in modern British history, University of East Anglia
Dr Tamsin Hinton-Smith Lecturer in sociology, University of Sussex
Dr Luke Cooper Lecturer in international relations, University of Richmond
Dr Jennifer Cooke Lecturer in English, Loughborough University
Dr Tish Marrable Lecturer in social work, University of Sussex
Dr Tom Hickey Chair, UCU coordinating committee, University of Brighton
Dr Jeffery R Webber Lecturer, Queens Mary University, London
Dr Louise Purbrick School of humanities, University of Brighton
Dr Synne Laastad-Dyvik International Relations, University of Sussex
Dr Cherine Hussein Research scholar, Council for British Research in the Levant
Dr Maïa Pal Sociology, University of Sussex
Dr Chris Kempshall History, University of Sussex
Dr Yuliya Yurchenko Associate researcher CGPE (Sussex), Lecturer in international business (Greenwich)
Dr Kerem Nisancioglu Visiting lecturer, University of Westminster
Dr Shamira A Meghani Former tutorial fellow, School of English (now University of Leeds)
Dr Andrei Gomez-Suarez Research associate, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford
Dr. Nikolas Funke University of St Andrews
Dr Joanne Lee Senior Lecturer in fine art, Nottingham Trent University

The penny is beginning to drop for Britain’s political class (Editorial, 28 November). Even David Cameron now accepts that the free movement of peoples within an ever-expanding EU constitutes a problem. But there remains an unwillingness across the political spectrum to acknowledge that a living wage and mass immigration are mutually exclusive. Either curtail immigration, in which case the market will automatically raise unskilled wages, or let business decide how many to let in.
An end to importing cheap labour from within as well as without the EU has a “democratic” cost. There will be a transfer of purchasing power from the majority “haves” to the minority “have-nots” as menial jobs that cannot be outsourced abroad become more costly: a small price to pay for all who espouse One Nation cohesiveness. As for Labour, it’s not too late to pay heed to free-market economist Milton Friedman – an advocate of unlimited immigration and opponent of the welfare state – who said you can have open borders or the welfare state, but not both.
Yugo Kovach
Winterborne Houghton, Dorset
• You say “renegotiating EU treaties to return control of national borders to national governments is top of the wishlist (of our politicians) for EU reform”. By which you mean national borders for people. There is no parallel campaign for the return of national borders for capital.
It does not take a Marxist to see that the original concept of an economically integrated Europe, in which all barriers to trade and investment were lifted, would increase inequalities in the population unless it were matched by the free movement of labour within the EU. This was clearly understood by those who drafted the 1958 Treaty of Rome and the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht. It is the duty of politicians to explain this to their constituents and to convince them of its benefits.
Chris Weeks
Virginstow, Devon
• The government is right to criticise the Schengen agreement that allows the free movement of people between EU member states. The agreement was constructed on wonky economics: namely that free movement of labour is the same as the free movement of goods. The free flow of goods is governed by supply and demand. The flow of labour, on the other hand, is driven not just by supply and demand, but also by immigrants, who enable their friends and relatives back home to migrate by providing them with information about how to migrate, resources to facilitate movement and assisting in finding jobs and housing. Thus the free flow of labour, once begun, induces its own flow, and eventually becomes a self-reinforcing process. One can hardly say the same about the free movement of goods.
Since the “laws” that govern the market dynamics of free flow of labour and free flow of goods are fundamentally different, it is difficult to see how the former can ever become a basis for a rational immigration policy.
Randhir Singh Bains
Gants Hill, Essex
• The saddest thing about the pronouncements from David Cameron over benefit tourism (Report, 27 November), is that it is all about “them” coming to us and not a word about the opportunities for “us” to go to them. A single market provides the opportunity for thousands of British people to look for work elsewhere in the EU. Many have done so and now work, live and bring up families in other member states. It is always a two-way process, and the thousands of UK people who live and work in Poland, for instance, are the other side of the coin to those Poles who supposedly clog up the surgeries and benefit offices of Britain.
It seems to be impossible for any UK government, whether left or right, to recognise that it is part of the EU and that thousands of its citizens actively benefit from the arrangements which make it possible to work – and to seek work – in another member state. Perhaps the Scots should wake up to the fact that unless they leave the UK next year, their own chances of participating at a European level will disappear. For it looks increasingly as though they will be dragged out of the EU in 2017 by the English south of the border.

Dr Mark Corner
University of Louvain, Belgium
• Your editorial suggests that voter anxiety about migration is a proxy for other concerns about living standards. This disguises the fact that the UK has a real, and growing, population problem. The housing crisis is obvious and health and education services are already overstretched. Corporations want free movement of labour but are unwilling to contribute taxes to help pay for the necessary infrastructure. We are totally dependant on food imports and our energy policies cannot meet our future needs. Unless politicians face up to these basic facts, such proxy arguments will continue to divert us from real solutions.
Richard Gilyead
Saffron Walden, Essex

Independent:

The gloves are well and truly off! The SNP has published its prospectus for an independent country and all the No campaigners can do is say: “But we may not allow you to use the pound as your currency.”
They do more than hint that membership of the European Union should not be taken for granted. All they can actually guarantee is that if Scotland opts to remain within the UK, the Scots can expect more of the same poor government that we have become accustomed to from Westminster.
Of the 59 Westminster MPs representing Scottish constituencies, only four voted in favour of the “bedroom tax”. Disgracefully, 10 Labour MPs did not vote. Does Scotland have the bedroom tax? Of course it does. Does it matter that it doesn’t want it? Of course not.
Fear of change is the major impediment to an independent Scotland. The Scots actually don’t like being governed from London but somehow, the propaganda machine that is the media and the major political parties exert a disproportionate influence on voters.
Devolution has shown that Scotland can govern its own future. Given full fiscal powers its chances of succeeding and prospering are no less than that of the UK.
Robert Stewart
Wilmslow, Cheshire
I heard Alex Salmond explain his military isolationist policy with interest. It would seem when the British Army are seeing off some future dictator set on world domination the brave Black Watch (heroes of the Normandy beaches) and the valiant Scots Greys (heroes of Waterloo) will sit champing at the bit and watch events on the BBC. 
Perhaps, on the other hand, the bravest soldiers in the world will say no to Alex Salmond.
Michael Beary
London NW3
Could any of your readers enlighten me on why people in Scotland do not have to pay for prescriptions and student fees as we do in England?
How is this possible and where is the money coming from?
M Finn
Hednesford, Staffordshire
The Scots made a huge contribution to building the British Empire, and thus the prosperity of the United Kingdom. It seems only right that if they are to leave the UK, they should get to take some of that with them. The obvious way would be for some of the British overseas territories to become Scottish. Perhaps the Falklands and Pitcairn Island?
Mark Walford
London N12
Clegg saved us from  a Tory Government
Owen Jones’s world is a fanciful place. He condemns Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats for backing some Tory policies in coalition, albeit many that stuck in the craw of Clegg’s pre-election supporters (28 November).
If David Cameron, in the absence of a leftish rainbow multi-party coalition, had formed a minority government in 2010, waiting to be brought down or going to the country that autumn, there would probably be a majority Conservative administration in power until late 2015. Despite all his disdain for the Liberal Democrats in government would Owen Jones have preferred the alternative of a red-meat Tory government?
Charles Foster
Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire
Confrontation in Downing Street
Your correspondent (28 November) who is tired of the Mitchell “bleatings” is missing a rather large point.  Sure, addressing Her Maj’s Finest with “I thought you lot were supposed to f——ing help us” wasn’t the brightest, though brushing up against officialdom late at night after a day’s work might try anyone’s patience.  
But to dismiss what followed – including  a ludicrously long, costly and unsatisfactory “investigation” – as a minor matter is breathtaking.
Ian Bartlett
East Molesey,  Surrey
How fortunate for Andrew Mitchell that his altercation with the police has escalated into serious accusations against the officers.
This minister ignored a perfectly good exit gate and demanded that the main gates be opened for him. When the police pointed out that this was an unreasonable demand he abused them, using strong language which he has admitted to. That is alarming and unacceptable behaviour from a government minister.
John Hade
Totnes,  Devon
Press charter a threat to freedom
Roger Schafir is absolutely right in his letter on press regulation (25 November). It is clear that  politicians, newspapers and the police were scratching each other’s backs and allowing a culture of impunity to prevail. Like him, I find supporters of the measure unable to explain clearly why all the press and only the press should be made to pay for this by being regulated.
Think of all the times over our recent history – maybe the febrile atmosphere during the run-up to the Iraq war or the current spying revelations – when a desperate government which is out of its depth would want to silence criticism. We should then ask ourselves whether a parliamentary majority of our often whipped and unprincipled representatives could possibly be found in such circumstances to tighten regulation – in the name of “the national interest” of course.
If the answer to that is even as vague as “perhaps” then we should consider this Royal Charter as an absolute threat to freedom of speech and the thin end of the wedge.
In the end the politicians managed to glide across this Rubicon quite easily over a pizza and a few beers in private with lobbyists. For some reason the press weren’t invited to that, and neither were members of the public. Perhaps this is a sign of enlightened government to come.
John Laird
Rome
No case against  plain packaging
Why are we having a debate about the compulsory use of plain packaging for tobacco products? If it reduces smoking, then why is it not good?
Why wait to see if it works elsewhere in the world? If it might work then it should be tried. I’m afraid the marketing and advertising gurus who make money from trying to sway addicts to their employers’ products will have to find other products to promote.
Andrew E Cox
Hinckley, Leicestershire

Students take a stand against outsourcing

Since the evening of Tuesday 26 November 2013, students at the University of Sussex have occupied the first floor of Bramber House. This space was occupied last February and is currently where Chartwells, the company now in charge of outsourced catering services, are operating their offices.
In their demands, the students declare their continuing fight against the outsourcing process. They are protesting against the marketisation of higher education exemplified most recently through the selling of the student loan book. Student protests in Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, York, Brighton, London and Manchester, as well as statements by the NUS show widespread discontent.
Since 30 October 2013, Occupy Sussex has twice taken action to support us, lecturers and tutors, in our national dispute over fair pay. We consider their actions, and ours next Tuesday 3 December, to be part of a broader struggle. One to defend and move towards a model of education that prioritises and financially secures the teaching-staff relationship that makes our universities so attractive.
The injunction obtained in April 2013 against the previous occupation cost the university £81,812 in legal fees. Considering the widespread support for the occupation inside and outside the university, the fact that the injunction banned any unauthorised protest on campus and that it failed to do so in practice, we consider these costs unnecessary and misplaced.
We are signing this letter of support to pressure the management to open a dialogue with students and staff over outsourcing, issues of representation, and fair pay. It is important to protect the right to protest at our university and avoid any injunctions that could criminalise protestors and curtail that right for all of us.
Prof Gurminder  K  Bhambra, University of Warwick
Prof Charlie Post, Sociology, Borough of Manhattan Community College and the Graduate Center-CUNY
Prof Des Freedman, Media and Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London, Secretary Goldsmiths UCU
Prof Mario Novelli, Political Economy of Education, University of Sussex
Prof John Holmwood, Sociology, University of Nottingham
Prof Marie-Bénédicte Dembour, Law and Anthropology, University of Brighton
Prof Bill Bowring, Law, Birkbeck, University of London
Prof Michael Outhwaite, Sociology, University of Newcastle
Prof Raphael Salkie, Humanities, University of Brighton
Dr Mark Erickson, Reader in Sociology, University of Brighton
Dr John Drury, Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology, University of Sussex
Dr Benjamin Selwyn, Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Development Studies, University of Sussex
Dr Lucy Robinson, Senior Lecturer in History, University of Sussex
Dr Reima Ana Maglajlic, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, Uni. of Sussex
Dr Barry Luckock, Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Social Policy, University of Sussex
Dr Benno Teschke, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Sussex
Dr Catherine Will, Senior Lecturer, Sociology, University of Sussex
Dr Andrew Chitty,  Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Sussex
Dr Ben Fincham, Senior Lecturer, Sociology, University of Sussex
Dr Kenneth Veitch, Lecturer in Law, University of Sussex
Dr Kimberley Brayson, Lecturer in Law, University of Sussex
Dr Emily Robinson, Lecturer in Politics, University of Sussex
Dr Michael Kearney, Lecturer in Law, University of Sussex
Dr Kamran Matin, Lecturer in International Relations, University of Sussex
Dr William McEvoy, Lecturer in English and Drama, Uni. of Sussex
Dr Paul Kirby, Lecturer In International Relations, University of Sussex
Dr Anna Stavrianakis, Lecturer in International Relations, University of Sussex
Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak, Lecturer, Glasgow School for Business and Society
Dr Alana Lentin, Senior Lecturer in Cultural and Social Analysis, University of Sydney
Dr Charlie Masquelier, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Surrey
Dr Ruth Charnock, Lecturer in English Literature, University of Lincoln
Dr. Rebecca Searle, Lecturer, University of Brighton
Dr Doug Haynes – Lecturer in American Literature, University of Sussex
Dr Paul O’Connnell, Reader in Law, SOAS, University of London
Dr Matt Dawson, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Glasgow
Dr Lucy Finchett-Maddock, Lecturer in Law, University of Brighton
Dr Nadine El-Enany, Lecturer in Law, Birkbeck, University of London
Dr Ben Jones, Lecturer in modern British history, University of East Anglia
Dr Tamsin Hinton-Smith, Lecturer in Sociolog, University of Sussex
Dr Luke Cooper, Lecturer in International Relations, University of Richmond
Dr Jennifer Cooke, Lecturer in English, Loughborough University & Sussex Alumni.
Dr Tish Marrable, Lecturer in Social Work, University of Sussex
Dr Tom Hickey, Chair, UCU Coordinating Committee, University of Brighton
Dr Jeffery R. Webber, Lecturer, Queens Mary University, London
Dr Louise Purbrick, School of Humanities, University of Brighton
Dr Synne Laastad-Dyvik, AT International Relations, University of Sussex
Dr Cherine Hussein, Research Scholar, Council for British Research in the Levant
Dr Maïa Pal, AT in Sociology, University of Sussex
Dr Chris Kempshall, AT, History, University of Sussex
Dr Yuliya Yurchenko, Associate Researcher CGPE (Sussex), Lecturer in International Business (Greenwich)
Dr Kerem Nisancioglu, Visiting Lecturer, University of Westminster
Dr Shamira A. Meghani, former Tutorial Fellow, School of English (now University of Leeds)
Dr Andrei Gomez-Suarez, Research Associate, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford
Dr. Nikolas Funke, University of St. Andrews
Dr Joanne Lee, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University
 
Kit Eves, Global Studies and University of Sussex Library
 
Patricia MacManus, Chair of Moulsecoomb UCU at the Uni. of Brighton, UCU NEC Southern Regional Rep
 
Daniel Watson, AT and Ph.D. Candidate in International Relations, University of Sussex
 
Pedro Salgado, Dphil candidate, IR department, University of Sussex
 
Frances Thomson, PhD Candidate, International Relations, University of Sussex
 
Beatrice Chateauvert-Gagnon, PhD Candidate, University of Sussex
 
Steffan Wynn-Jones, PhD Candidate, International Relations, University of Sussex
 
Tom Southerden, PhD Student, Law, University of Sussex
 
Andrea Brock, PhD Candidate International Relations, University of Sussex
 
Nancy Turgeon, PhD Candidate International Relations, University of Sussex
 
Rose Holmes, AT and PhD researcher, Department of History, University of Sussex
 
Erica Consterdine, AT, PhD student, Department of Politics, University of Sussex
 
Joseph Ronan, Associate Tutor & PhD Student, School of English, University of Sussex
 
Phil Homburg, AT Philosophy, University of Sussex
 
Sam Appleton, AT and PhD Candidate, International Relations, University of Sussex
 
Richard Weir, AT, Philosophy, University of Sussex
 
Tanya Kant, PhD student, Media, Music and Film, University of Sussex
 
Sahil Dutta, AT and PhD Candidate, International Relations, University of Sussex
 
Shadreck Mwale, PhD Candidate Sociology, University of Sussex
 
Tom Martin, AT and PhD Candidate, International Relations, University of Sussex
 
Tim Carter, AT, Politics/Philosophy, University of Sussex
 
Neil Dooley, AT and PhD Candidate, University of Sussex
 
Adam Fishwick, PhD Candidate, University of Sussex
 
Sanjeedah Choudhury, Associate Tutor, Psychology, University of Sussex
 
Stella Sims, PhD student, Media and Film, University of Sussex
 
Richard Lane, PhD student, International Relations, University of Sussex
 
Zac Rowlinson, PhD student, School of English, University of Sussex
 
Grainne O’Connell, AT, History and International Development, University of Sussex
 
Luke Walker, Associate Tutor in English, University of Sussex
 
Rebecca Partos, AT, PhD student, Department of Politics, University of Sussex
 
Benjamin Litherland AT/PhD student MFM, University of Sussex
 
Frances Hubbard, PhD student and AT, Department of Media, Film and Music
 
Ana FitzSimons, PhD Student and Associate Tutor, University of East Anglia
 
Viviane Lucia Fluck, PhD Student, University of East Anglia
 
Alex Casper Cline, PhD Candidate, Anglia Ruskin University
 
Juliette Harkin, PhD Student, University of East Anglia
 
Birgit Hofstaetter, PhD Candidate Philosophy, University of Brighton
 
Holly Phillips, PhD Candidate, University of Otago, New Zealand
 
Andy Lockhart, PhD candidate, Department of Town and Regional Planning, University of Sheffield
 
Anne Templeton, University of Sussex
 
Paula Hearsum, University of Brighton
 
Alice Gibson, Library assistant, University of Sussex
 
Hannah Elsisi, Alumnus

Times:

Captains ‘are responsible at all times for ensuring that play is conducted within the spirit of the game as well as within the laws’
Sir, Whatever the merits of “witty” sledging, the preamble to the laws of cricket states clearly that “to direct abusive language towards an opponent or umpire” is against the spirit of the game.
For Test cricketers, of whatever nation, to indulge in language in breach of the spirit of the game must be firmly stamped on. As the preamble states, “any action which is seen to abuse this spirit causes injury to the game itself.” If Test cricketers are heard using foul language, recreational cricketers will think it acceptable and there is anecdotal evidence that its use in local league cricket is putting some young people off playing the game.
Captains “are responsible at all times for ensuring that play is conducted within the spirit of the game as well as within the laws”.
Michael Clarke and Alastair Cook, please take note.
David Lamming
Chairman, North Essex Cricket League
Sir, It is wrong for English players and management to be condoning what is taking place on the pitch, from both sides — “we play hard but fair” — yet getting worked up over an inane comment from David Warner at a press conference.
One small quibble, though. Matthew Syed (“War of words is cowardly form of combat”, Nov 27) seems to regret the demise of clapping an incoming batsman to the crease, which is surely a schoolboy or village-green attitude. By all means applaud them when they leave, especially if they have made a good score, but not when they have done nothing to earn it — this demeans genuine congratulation or applause.
Richard Merricks
Rye, E Sussex
Sir, Was it not the greatest Australian cricketer Sir Donald Bradman who described sledging as “cheating”? And was it not Sir Donald Bradman, as chairman of the Australian selectors, who declared that he would not select in the first place any player who had a habit of sledging and throw out any who did so during a Test Match?
All players of the great game should take a good look at their behaviour and remember what really is “not cricket”.
Sir Robert Atkins, MEP
(Minister of Sport, 1990-92)
Garstang, Lancs
Sir, O ne of my abiding memories from one of the 1960s Ashes series was when the Australian top-order batsman Norman O’Neill was bowled by a beauty from Brian Statham. As he walked back to the pavilion, O’Neill could be seen clearly mouthing the words “good ball” to Statham. Sadly, that is something neither of the present teams could begin to appreciate.
John Peacock
Northallerton, N Yorks
Sir, If for no other reason sledging needs to be eradicated because it is ruining youth cricket. It is difficult enough to attract young people to the game, and soon it will be impossible. Is there any reason umpires cannot act more like referees and send the “culprits” off the field for an hour?
C. J. Price
Wareham, Dorset Sir, A simple rule change would stop sledging overnight. If a member of the fielding side makes a remark intended to demoralise a batsman, umpires should be empowered to add ten runs to the batting side’s score. For a second offence, 20 runs, for a third offence 30 runs. And so on.
Tom Stanier
London SW14

People in their twenties today face unprecedented debts from university fees, high unemployment and historically high rents
Sir, Lisa Brinkworth implies that the current generation of young adults who live in their parents’ houses are feckless, and says that she worked hard to own her own home in her twenties (Times2, Nov 25).
We all think we work hard, and that we earned our good fortune. In reality Brinkworth bought during the mid 1990s, when the average UK home cost less than three times the average wage. I doubt she could repeat the trick today, when that ratio is over five, and more than eight in London. This inflation has delivered huge benefits to the old at the expense of the young. It is propped up by a series of government policies and failures, including historically low rates of housebuilding, low interest rates, untaxed foreign speculation on property, and the new Help to Buy scheme.
People in their twenties today face unprecedented debts from university fees, high unemployment and historically high rents, which they pay to landlords whose average age is reportedly 53. These landlords benefit from significant tax breaks, and cheap mortgages, due to the unearned wealth already accumulated from house-price inflation.
Current forecasts show that the younger generation may be the first in the UK with a worse living standard than that of their parents. Yet they will be forced to pay off our national debt, and then provide an income, medical treatment and social care for a wealthy ageing population who have promised each other huge benefits without thinking to fund them. We should be grateful to the young, not rude, and pray that they do not turn.
Dr Ben Goldacre
London N6

For the Office of National Statistics, a graduate is defined as a person who ‘has a level of higher education above A-level standard’
Sir, You draw attention to the claim that almost half of recent graduates work in roles that do not require a degree (report, Nov 19).
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) report uses the word “graduate” in an inconsistent and misleading way. For the ONS, a graduate is defined as a person who “has a level of higher education above A-level standard”. This clearly includes people who have not actually been awarded a degree, a fact the ONS confirms when it says that “53 per cent of graduates had left full-time education with an undergraduate degree”. If, according to the ONS, only half of graduates have a degree, is it so surprising that only half of them have jobs requiring degree-level skills?
Dr John Robinson
Brunel University

The ever-decreasing gap between cyclists and motorists might well be at least partly due to the increasing size of the average car
Sir, You report (Nov 27) that the average gap left by a driver overtaking a cyclist has shrunk from 179cm in 1979 to 118cm in 2013. Could this be due to vehicles getting ever wider, with impact bars, broader seats and the like? Just look at the size of today’s Mini compared with the 1979 model. Increased driver comfort and protection have been provided at the expense of less road space for those on two wheels.
Malcolm Mort
Liskeard, Cornwall
Sir, Years ago my driving instructor taught me to allow a cyclist as much room as a small car.
L. Carleton
Ladbroke, Warks

Thomas Schelling showed that even a slight preference to move on the basis of some motive led surprisingly quickly to social segregation
Sir, The free movement of peoples is presumably a naive attempt to encourage, in the words of the Maastricht treaty, greater “economic and social cohesion” (“  ‘Nasty’ Britain told to toe line over migration”, News, Nov 28). Yet such personal freedom if anything militates against social cohesion. In 1971 the American economist Thomas Schelling showed that even a slight preference to move on the basis of some motive (in his example to be with ethnically similar groups) led surprisingly quickly to social segregation.
David Cameron should direct his ire at the EU as the architect of this contradiction. How can the EU claim to promote the “balanced development of economic activities” and at the same time allow valuable human resources to flow freely out of countries on the basis of their lack of development? How are such countries to compete? Ah yes, by having lower social standards — the EU’s own race to the bottom.
Roland Fox
Senior Lecturer, Salford Business School

Telegraph:

SIR – The correct term for a wine that is not as it should be is corky, not corked, which simply means that a bottle has a cork in it (“Many a slip: Britons’ biggest wine blunders”, report, November 22).
When a cork has tainted a wine, making the wine smell and taste off, it can be due to the cork weevil infecting the cork and making it become slightly crumbly.
But fine vintage wines can also have an unpleasant aroma when first opened; people can think that the wine is off or it has passed its best, but this smell soon passes, revealing the wine’s true pedigree.
A lot may be revealed by the humble cork, and it’s worth inspecting before tasting the wine. The shape of the cork, the degree of staining and the colour of the stain can reveal the wine’s age in red wines. Crystals on the bottom of the cork are an indication that the wine has not been well cared for.
Ian Burrows
Brighton, East Sussex

I was fascinated to see the management of cork trees in Portugal.
They have to number the trees and they can only harvest the cork from each tree after many years (30?) and then the cork starts to grow back again.
As for the problem of wine corks made of plastic, I doubt it makes a difference to overall cork sales – surely more goes to cork flooring and other products these days. Also very good for making anti-vibration mountings for rotating machinery. Also for the seals on brass and woodwind instruments. Many uses indeed.

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One Last Try
• 17 hours ago

The use of composite wine stoppers is causing untold damage to Cork Oak trees in Spain and Portugal, The trees are not having the bark stripped and jobs are being lost, as the trend is away from cork.
http://www.wwf.org.uk/filelibr…
The link above explains it, but it is a bit boring. We can all help though, by drinking lots of wine, with proper cork stoppers
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cynarch One Last Try
• 15 hours ago

It’s not just damaging the cork, it’s wrecking a whole ecosystem and ancient way of life. The best jamon serrano from Spain is raised in this area and fed on the acorns from the cork oaks.

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JDavidJ cynarch
• 9 hours ago

The funny thing is that intensively managed cork forests are a relatively new ecosystem, which supports a lot of wildlife. Letting it go “back to nature” would be a disaster for the ecosystem, so we must all drink plenty of wine (or spirits) and ensure that only cork-stoppered bottles are used.

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One Last Try JDavidJ
• 7 hours ago

Better than the DumLib way of going green

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One Last Try
• 17 hours ago

Modern ‘supermarket type wine’ does not stay in the bottle long enough to affect the cork. Recently, on the Eddie Stobbart show, there was a bit about a driver who picked up a container (we used to call them bowsers) of many 1000’s of litres of wine at a port. Drove it to a bottling plant, a quick check it was OK, bottled, cased and on the way to the supermarket shelves by the following morning
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SIR – For a Bulgarian to work in Britain, the individual requires a work card and, with certain very limited exceptions, his or her employer needs a work permit.
Work permits are only granted for roles that cannot be filled by a British-based worker. There are also skills and salary requirements.
Published statistics show that between 2007 and 2012, 17 per cent of Bulgarian applicants for a work card were refused.
Our management information shows that between 2007 and 2012, in 20 per cent of cases, employers were refused permission to employ Bulgarian nationals.
We are building an immigration system that works in our national interest and will continue to work hard to ensure that our policies benefit British nationals first, while still attracting skilled migrants, where needed by British business.
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The political chaos caused by a Scottish Yes vote could be reduced by delaying the general election
28 Nov 2013
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28 Nov 2013
Mark Harper
Immigration Minister
London SW1
SIR – The Prime Minister says EU migrants who come here to beg and sleep on our streets will be “removed” and “barred from re-entry for 12 months”.
Such a policy would have huge benefits for Westminster where residents often pay the social and economic price of such anti-social behaviour. Indeed, Westminster City Council has been calling for action for more than 18 months and stands ready to help turn the Prime Minister’s ambition into practical policies that work on the streets.
Mr Cameron will no doubt face opposition in this but I would ask him to hold his nerve and not waver in his determination to clamp down on those who abuse free movement within the EU.
That would be the best way to preserve the rights of those EU nationals who seek to work here for our and their benefit.
Cllr Nickie Aiken
Westminster City Council
London SW1
Stand and deliver
SIR – With reference to pointless meetings, the best way to make meetings short and to the point is to remove all chairs from the room, except one for the minute-taker. Even the latter can be dispensed with if the meeting is recorded. Meetings will be over in record time and at minimal cost, which can be offset by the sale of the chairs.
Richard Morris
Lutterworth, Leicestershire
NHS financial drain
SIR – Graham Ruddick writes that “tax from commercial property accounted for 11.6 per cent of total taxation, compared with just 2.4 per cent in Germany”.
One difference in Germany is that patients contribute to their health service using a system of insurance. Here, with a deficit of approximately £130 billion and the NHS costing £100 billion, the Chancellor is desperate to raise tax by any means. Additionally, one might conclude that the free NHS is being paid for on tick.
Thus, at budget time, the NHS is like a whale in the fiscal aquarium. Until politicians are brave enough to debate this problem and outline a solution, distortions will become even more grotesque.
Derek Coggrave
London N3
Badgering police
SIR – If Philip Johnston wants more police on the beat, he needs to arrange a badger cull in his area. The increase in police presence throughout the hours of darkness in north Gloucestershire has been most reassuring.
It must surely have effected a drop in rural crime, for which we should all be grateful to those badgers now deceased.
David Bainbridge
Dymock, Gloucestershire
Cutty Sark restoration
SIR – Dag Pike incorrectly says that the Cutty Sark was clad in green copper. Her hull was originally sheathed in Muntz metal to reduce fouling. It was right to restore her in this material and not to mock up her hull with artificial weathering.
The manufacturer is still able to supply the metal which, along with her lines, contributed to her legendary speed.
Maldwin Drummond
Chairman, Cutty Sark Trust 2009-2011
Southampton
Parking trap
SIR – On a visit to London, having parked my car, I got out to read the somewhat obscure instructions as to how to pay for parking by mobile phone. While trying to sort this out on the phone I got a ticket. Attempts to have the ticket rescinded failed.
Paul d’Apice
Dawlish, Devon
Morning activities that rely on the clock change
SIR – My friends and I prefer light mornings because three times a week, all year round, we meet to go sculling. We are in the boat by 8am, and finish by 10am.
Extending British Summer Time would hinder our winter sculling because it would be too dark to navigate. Sculling later in the morning would render much of the rest of the day wasted.
B N Bosworth
Blakedown, Worcestershire
SIR – Christine Morgan-Owen pities the poor dogs who have to be walked in the dark after work because of the loss of daylight hours in the afternoon. Starting work at 8am, I revel in walking my dog before work, watching the day break as we trot along the beach or seaside steps in lovely Torquay.
Why wait until after work?
Anne Penwill
Torquay, Devon
SIR – There has been a long debate since the last experiment in the early Seventies as to whether or not to put the clocks back in the autumn, and the resultant dangers to pedestrians, particularly young children, on their daily commute. However, this danger applies no matter whether the morning is dark or the evening.
Would not the obvious solution be to structure the academic year accordingly, and have a flexibly timed school day? Schools could close an hour earlier between October and March and open longer during the rest of the year.
Mark Wardle
Manchester
SIR – Of course, if the Scots do wish to be independent then the rest of us will be pleased to leave our clocks on summer time in order to allow lighter evenings.
Curly Hirst
Cowes, Isle of Wight

SIR – In the event of a Yes vote in September 2014, the Westminster general election planned for May 2015 should be rescheduled to March 25, 2016, the day after Scotland leaves the United Kingdom.
However unpalatable the prospect of extending the current Westminster coalition’s term in office for longer than is necessary, it is far preferable to the chaos inflicted by a short-lived Labour government whose majority was eradicated after just 10 months when it lost approximately one fifth of its MPs.
Christopher Healy
North Ferriby, East Yorkshire
SIR – The Scottish independence campaign estimates that the total UK debt will be £1.5 trillion in 2016-17, the year independence would take effect in the event of a Yes vote. If debt were split according to the per capita ratio, Scotland, with 8.4 per cent of the UK population, would take on £122 billion in the year of secession.
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An alternative calculation puts the figure at just £56 billion, and Alex Salmond has even suggested that Scotland might walk away from the debt altogether if it is refused the option of entering a “sterling zone”. Since the people of Scotland receive 20 per cent more from the Treasury than their English counterparts, shouldn’t this be reflected in their share of the debt?
Lawrence Gordon
Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire
SIR – It will be an odd form of independence if Alex Salmond wants to keep the British pound. Scotland’s monetary affairs will be entirely controlled by the Bank of England, limiting its scope for separate financial policies.
David Harris
London SW13
SIR – If Scotland becomes independent but retains our pound, surely we risk having to pay its debts if it is fiscally irresponsible, as Greece was with the euro?
David Blackford
Seaview, Isle of Wight
SIR – The Scottish nationalists claim that North Sea oil, whose large-scale exploitation began some 250 years after the Act of Union, is a Scottish resource.
In the same breath they claim that the Bank of England, which was founded 13 years before the Act (and presumably helped to fund the bail-out of a bankrupt Scotland at the time of the Union) is a shared resource.
Can Mr Salmond explain the logic of these two statements?
A D Barr
St Albans, Hertfordshire
SIR – My friends in the Orkney and Shetland Isles do not consider themselves as Scots. If the mainland votes for independence, but they do not, how will they be placed? And does the oil belong to them, not to the mainland?
Major Colin Robins
Bowdon, Cheshire
SIR – I am a Scot, born in Edinburgh, of Scottish parentage and grandparents. However, I have lived and worked in England for 32 years. If Scotland votes for independence, what will my official nationality become?
Will I be able to choose either a Scottish or English passport, will I be entitled only to a Scottish passport due to my origins or only to an English passport due to where I currently reside?
Peter Ferguson
Hertford
SIR – How many additional Border Agency staff will be needed to police our northern border with an independent Scotland to control the influx of foreign migrants?
George Noon
Fulwood, Lancashire
SIR – Who funded the pro-Scottish independence document launched by Alex Salmond?
Was it the SNP, as it should have been, or was it the British taxpayer?
John Allison
Maidenhead, Berkshire

“the people of Scotland receive 20 per cent more from the Treasury than their English counterparts” – Scotland contributes more to the Treasury per head than England.
“Scotland’s monetary affairs will be entirely controlled by the Bank of England” – Scotland currently owns 8.3% of the Bank Of England ( which is actually the Bank of UK and independent of government )
“If Scotland becomes independent but retains our pound, surely we risk having to pay its debts if it is fiscally irresponsible, as Greece was with the euro?” – the treaty of union between Scotland and England brought together both currency and fiscal systems and share these resources to this day where neither own the pound outright. All countries in the EU have different fiscal systems hence the Euro crisis when some were found to wanting. Scotland and England have similar fiscal system.
“claim that North Sea oil, whose large-scale exploitation began some 250 years after the Act of Union, is a Scottish resource.” – 90% of North sea oil and gas resides within the territorial waters of Scotland. Shared UK assets that are non-territorial are negotiable.
“Orkney and Shetland Isles do not consider themselves as Scots.” – indeed some Norwegian law applies there. Separate discussions on autonomy and regional controls are being discussed as part of an inclusive Scotland.
“official nationality” – Scots living outside the UK will have the option of a Scottish or dual nationality if they choose to reside in another country.
“How many additional Border Agency staff will be needed to police our northern border with an independent Scotland to control the influx of foreign migrants?” – same as now. As Scotland would not be part of Schengen Area and only applies to physical border with England where Scotland is their second largest trading country.
“Who funded the pro-Scottish independence document” – the same question needs to be asked of Westminster, who have employed the resources of the Civil Service in London over the last year to issue monthly papers on why Scotland could not make Independence work – Despite Cameron declaring it is a matter for the Scots while using English/Scottish/Welsh and N.I. taxpayers money to fund the No Campaign research.
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The Central Scrutiniser Marlketz
• 11 hours ago

What is the source of your information that Scotland contributes more per capita to the Treasury than England?
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Marlketz The Central Scrutiniser
• 9 hours ago

GERS Report.
This is one of the many misconceptions about Scotland that is quoted without challenge.
In the financial year 2011-2012 Scottish public-sector revenue including a geographical share of North Sea revenue was estimated at £56.9 billion (9.9% of the UK’s total). Scotland’s 8.4% of the UK population is doing more than its share of generating the country’s money.
The total public-sector expenditure of the Scottish government, local government, money spent “on behalf of” Scotland by the Westminster government and on Scotland’s share of UK debt-interest payments (up £400m to £4.1bn) was £64.5bn – equivalent to 9.3% of total UK public-sector expenditure.
As many people south of the border do not realise this, I have pointed it out before and the next question is usually that Scotland is overspending as outgoings exceed income. Remember we are in a recession and the UK does the same, and should be pointed out it is at a greater rate than in Scotland where the operating deficit ( not structural ) is reducing.

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The Central Scrutiniser Marlketz
• 5 hours ago

Ah, I see – when Scotland wants to grab a national asset it has a “geographical share” of it, but when the debt is handed out it only wants a per capita portion of it – despite the fact that per capita Scotland has been getting more than its fair share of investment courtesy of the general UK taxpayer.
Your accounting practices are no better than Gordon Brown’s were. I wonder why that might be?
I wonder how fair or sensible it is to be basing the justification for going it alone on claiming for yourselves a natural resource that has only been developed at all thanks to the investment put in by the general UK taxpayer – and which is already in decline so won’t support the Scottish economy for much longer?
What will you do when the oil and gas run out? I can’t imagine there is much of a world market for haggis or bagpipes.
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Irish Times:

Sir, – I am a parent with three teenagers attending a post-primary school in Clondalkin and they are enjoying their education.
In 2009 our school was among the top 50 schools in published school league tables, and now we are not even in the top 400. By any stretch of the imagination this is a worrying problem and yet I can’t find out why this has happened.
I am thankful to the press for publishing these results, otherwise I would not have known where our school stands in terms of results.
For what it is worth I would pay teachers double their salary if I thought they could enrich my children’s lives.
I left school at 15 and have regretted it ever since. Pat King from ASTI (Letters, November 27th) may not like the school league tables, but they are a fact of life. I congratulate The Irish Times on its Education pages each week: they are very informative. – Yours, etc,
PAUL DORAN,
Monastery Walk,
Clondalkin,
Dublin 22.
Sir, – While not dismissing the argument that “parents need transparent information on schools” (Opinion, November 26th), research I have conducted indicates that not all parents are convinced that such information should be in the form of school league tables.
Two-thirds of the 1,915 parents who replied to a national questionnaire either disagreed or were unsure that school league tables should be published. While there was a desire among a cohort of parents for greater accountability for schools and teachers, the majority argued that school league tables based solely on academic performance “lowered the aim of education to a very narrow focus” and did not provide the full story behind a school’s academic success. There was a fear that the publication of such tables would result in a further narrowing of the curriculum, even greater emphasis placed on academic achievement resulting in additional stress for students. These parents were concerned that the publication of school league tables would lead to further inequalities within the education system, create “more class distinctions” and “one-upmanship between schools”. It was suggested that this could perpetuate “academic snobbery”, “elitism” and a “two-tiered system” resulting in schools in underprivileged areas becoming “marginalised” and “negatively labeled”. Some parents were keenly aware that comparing schools was not always a fair process as “out of school grinds have a huge bearing on school results . . . money talks” – therefore you are “not comparing apples with apples!”.
While acknowledging that differing views may exist within a diverse parent body, the findings are none the less telling. – Yours, etc,
Dr ORLA McCORMACK,
Lecturer in Education,
Department of Education &
Professional Studies,
University of Limerick.
Sir, – Gráinne Faller (Opinion, November 26th) provided a well-balanced discussion of the merits of providing school attainment data (“league tables”).
It seems inevitable that the usual superficial arguments against such provision are trotted out.
The first thing to note is that a clear majority of parents want to know the exam results of schools – as shown in a survey commissioned by the Department of Education some years ago. Those parents who are not interested are free to ignore them. A hallmark of democratic societies is that people have free access to information that may be important for their decisions and they get to make their own mind up. History tells us that if someone wants to keep you in the dark, ostensibly for your own benefit, then you have every right to be suspicious
Second, a common argument is that comparing Leaving Certificate results across schools is not comparing like with like. This is a fair point and this is why it is necessary to compile more sophisticated “value added” data. Even without doing this, it is far from clear that imperfect data is worse than none. For example, we know that measures of inequality, public health, earnings, GNP, climate, etc, are imperfect but no one seriously suggests they should be kept from the public: we publish them while working to improve them. That’s what statisticians are for.
A third argument is that schools are multi-faceted and league tables ignore this. Nobody thinks that league tables tell you everything you need to know. But they do tell you something that some people need to know just as Whole School Evaluations provide other useful information.
Academic attainment in schools is, whether you like it or not, extremely important to parents and students. I saw an advertisement on the N11 recently from a well-known south Dublin school. Alongside its name it had “for personality and points”. It is hardly unique in seeing itself this way. There may well be individuals for whom the school’s milieu and its sporting activities are all important while exams are of no consequence, but I suggest that Ross O’Carroll-Kelly is not, in fact, representative of our young people. – Yours, etc,
Dr KEVIN DENNY,
School of Economics &
Geary Institute,
University College Dublin.
Sir, – Schools that send 100 per cent of their Leaving Certificate cohort to university are given the highest ranking in recently published league tables. This presumes that schools who managed to send all of their students to university are the best schools. I reject this assumption and consider its implication a disservice to education.
Schools which cater for their community have within their student cohort a range of abilities and aptitudes. Only some of these abilities and aptitudes are suitable for progression to university.
In any community there are children with special needs. Current policy and best practice is that these children should be educated in their local school. Schools are expected to set up facilities to include these students in mainstream education as much as possible. Some go further and provide a special class for certain categories of special needs.
Within any community there are children whose aptitudes are unsuitable for academic study. Many of them prepare directly for the world of work through programmes such as the Leaving Certificate Applied Programme. This and the traditional Leaving Certificate programme also provide vocational education leading to career paths in apprenticeships, post Leaving Certificate courses and the world of work itself.
The location of the nearest third-level college is a significant factor in students’ choice of further education. Schools along the Border will consider colleges in Northern Ireland. The North West Regional College in Derry has more than 20,000 pupils who have never been counted in any of these league tables. Schools in Donegal send many pupils to this college.

   
There is a strong tradition among Donegal people of emigration to Scotland for work. A similar tradition has developed in education, with many Leaving Certificate pupils applying to universities in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Welsh universities send representatives to advertise their facilities to my school. These students are not accounted for in these tables.
League tables do not reflect the needs of the communities which schools serve. All of the students must be served; not just those with the academic ability to attend university. Quality career guidance will direct students to the career path that suits them best and ignore tables that interpret Irish university entrance as the highest award.
As principals and teachers we are employed to educate all of the students in our community. To send all of them to university would be to fail many of them. A 100 per cent transfer rate to university would be to fail the students in my care. – Is mise,
ANTHONY DOOGAN,
Principal,
Moville Community College,
Co Donegal.
A chara,  – Dr LJ Haslett (November 27th) states that his school always publishes the average points score per candidate in the Leaving Cert for its students and suggests it is “regrettable” the average score is not recognised in league tables. He can’t seem to understand why other schools do not publish this information.
  Perhaps other schools don’t publish this information because it does not tell the full story of any cohort of students, their many talents and skills. It is simply one aspect of education. Behind every set of points there is a human being. A student who has done their best. For some students, achieving any number of points while overcoming disability, disadvantage, mental health issues or other obstacles represents a hell of an achievement  and on an individual level should be celebrated.
It is a mistake to fall into the trap of defining or valuing student or school achievement in terms of points. As Gráinne Fuller pointed out in her article in the Education pages (November 26th) there are many more holistic sources of information about schools available to parents which are more useful than a raw average which tells you nothing about the school or the students. –   Is mise,
CARMEL de GRAE,
Bóthar Chnoc na Fuiseoige,
Baile Átha Cliath 9.

Sir, – What a beautiful and moving tribute your reporter Miriam Lord wrote in (Home News, November 27th).
I first got to know Tom in my capacity as branch manager of an Irish bank in Luton. A more honest and honourable person I have yet to encounter. While there, I saw at first hand how far “the powerful elite” referred to in her article were prepared to go to break him. They provided false information to the Inland Revenue, in order to have him adjudicated bankrupt and his assets frozen. And this happened shortly before one Christmas thus rendering him penniless (order subsequently lifted when truth emerged).
When I returned to Cork our friendship grew stronger and I saw at first hand the campaign of vilification waged against him by the the same “powerful elite” – of property developers/politicians and their lobbyists/sections of media. At times, I felt almost ashamed to be Irish. But as his wonderful son Thomas said in his eulogy to Tom “he never wavered in his commitment to the truth”.
And what a privilege it was for me to be asked by his sister Una to recite his favourite poem The Touch of the Master’s Hand after his coffin was lowered.
Ní bheidh a leithéid aris ann. – Yours, etc,
NOEL O’LEARY,
Middle Glanmire Road,

Sir, – We wish to respond to your article “Illegal deportations of Syrian refugees by Greek border police” (World News, November 12th). Greece is a major gateway into the European Union, receiving almost 90 per cent of all illegal migrants from Africa and the Middle East. Greece is not the final destination of illegal immigrants, but the entrance point and transit country to the rest of the European Union.
Given its geographical position at the southeastern-most part of the European continent and EU, Greece bears alone the burden of guarding not only national borders, but also EU external borders.
The civil war in Syria caused a significant shift of Syrian refugees arriving from the sea borders between Greece and Turkey. Greece protects its borders – which are also the borders of the European Union – but at the same time ensures conditions for the reception of those fleeing Syria with respect to human dignity. The operational activities of the Greek border police are co-ordinated by Frontex – the European Union Agency – and at the same time closely monitored by human rights groups, so as to guarantee treatment of refugees in accordance with humanitarian standards. Since April 2013 a police order is in effect – an order acknowledged by the UN Refugee Agency as a very positive step – according to which “no Syrian is detained, but only a few days in order to undertake his nationality identification. There is a six-month suspension of return decisions, which is renewed until the situation in Syria is back to normal”. Despite isolated allegations and serious financial challenges, Greece is struggling to ensure Syrian refugees have unhindered access to Greek territory, safety and international protection.
Nevertheless, the migrant crisis is deteriorating and has often turned to human tragedy, with more recently the deaths of 12 illegal migrants – including four children off the Greek coast of Lefkada island.
Such tragic incidents confirm the need to immediately implement EU initiatives to deal with illegal immigration and human trafficking. The EU has to explore concrete ways of expressing solidarity, notably with a view to sharing the burden and protection responsibilities currently assumed by Mediterranean countries, such as Greece. For years Greece has been dealing with waves of illegal immigration but this is not only a Greek issue any more. There has to be a comprehensive European response. – Yours, etc,
VIVI GARGOULA,
Press Counsellor,
Embassy of Greece,
Upper Pembroke Street,
Dublin 2.

   
Sir, – Just for the record, your correspondent Patrick Freyne (Arts & Ideas, November 25th), states my brother Tara was a peer, which he was not. He was formally styled The Honourable Tara Browne because his father was Lord Oranmore & Browne, a peer of the realm.
My mother knew many celebrities, I think they did not include Samuel Beckett. – Yours, etc,
The Hon GARECH
BROWNE,
Roundwood,
Sir, – The article on the Gettysburg address incorrectly states “Lincoln was dedicating a cemetery to 51,000 soldiers killed at a battle four months earlier” (World News, November 20th). The total casualties at the battle of Gettysburg were 51,000 killed, wounded or missing, of which approximately 8,000 were killed.
A total of 58,220 American soldiers died in the Vietnam war.
It is not known how many Irishmen were casualties at the battle of Gettysburg but the Irish brigade under Col Patrick Kelly reported 202 casualties out of 530 who started the battle, of which 30 were killed. Many hundreds more would have been casualties in other regiments and on the Confederate side.
The total number of Irish killed in the American civil war is not known – some estimates put it as high as 30,000. – Yours, etc,
BEN WRAFTER.
Dooneen,
Crecora,
Co Limerick.

Sir, – The article on the Gettysburg address incorrectly states “Lincoln was dedicating a cemetery to 51,000 soldiers killed at a battle four months earlier” (World News, November 20th). The total casualties at the battle of Gettysburg were 51,000 killed, wounded or missing, of which approximately 8,000 were killed.
A total of 58,220 American soldiers died in the Vietnam war.
It is not known how many Irishmen were casualties at the battle of Gettysburg but the Irish brigade under Col Patrick Kelly reported 202 casualties out of 530 who started the battle, of which 30 were killed. Many hundreds more would have been casualties in other regiments and on the Confederate side.
The total number of Irish killed in the American civil war is not known – some estimates put it as high as 30,000. – Yours, etc,
BEN WRAFTER.
Dooneen,
Crecora,

Sir, – In 1995, when as a consultant to a World Bank project I started to engage with the Lithuanian state power system, it and the ESB shared the distinction of being among the few remaining state-owned vertically-integrated power monopolies in Europe. Now, nearly 20 years later, only one of these companies resembles a Soviet-era monopoly. No prizes for guessing which one it is.
As long as our Government lacks the stomach to move our energy supply out of the reach of long-established interest-groups, this vital part of our infrastructure will remain vulnerable to the sort of actions with which Irish electricity consumers are now being threatened. – Yours, etc,
PETER KELLY,
Sandford Road, Dublin 6.
Sir, – Fiona Gartland’s article (Home News, November 21st) was a most informative and welcome explanation for “how” and “why” the leaves on our trees turn from green to the most spectacular colours in autumn. This year the palette of colours could only be described as magical.
In many parts of the world there are only two seasons – the dry season and the wet season – whereas in Ireland autumn is an event.
Some years ago I experienced autumn in New England, which is reputed to own the classic ensemble of autumn colours, but ours could be regarded as rather exceptional for this part of the world. In Vermont the fall brings out thousands of “leaf peepers” – let us enjoy our special autumn trees before the show is over. – Yours, etc,
MARY RIGNEY,
Kilgobbin Road,

Sir, – Raymond Deane (November 27th) is quite right when he states that “unlike Iran, Israel has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), hence its nuclear installations, unlike those of Iran, are closed to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency.”
However he conveniently neglects to mention that unlike Iran, Israel has never referred to any other country as a “cancerous growth” and promised to wipe it off the face of the map. – Yours, etc,
CLIVE HYMAN,
Bridge Lane,

Sir, – I received my first personal Christmas card in the mail on Monday, November 25th. Is this a record? – Yours, etc,
MARY ROBERTS,
Rackenstown,
Dunshaughlin, Co Meath.

Irish Independent:

I’ve just calculated that between my wife and I, we each earn 1.6 times the average industrial wage. We drive a ’04-reg hatchback, we rent a one-bed apartment in the ‘burbs.
Also in this section
Letters to the editor: A moment of pause is needed
Same challenges today as before 1913
We’ve plenty more chances to be magnificent
We have no children. While we don’t live a particularly frugal lifestyle, neither would it be described as lavish — not by a long shot.
We have crunched the numbers and determined that there is no circumstance, save winning the lottery, that we could afford to buy a house in Dublin.
The current housing stock is abysmal. A standard three-bed family home in good condition within an hour’s commute of Dublin city is still unaffordable, while an affordable, yet dilapidated, house will be in such poor state of repair that the costs of refurbishing make that unaffordable also.
I read with envy of how those who drove up house prices in the years prior to 2006-2007 by simply not bothering to calculate their affordability levels are now hoping to achieve writedowns of their mortgages by way of the PIPs. Such intervention, forcing taxpayer-funded banks to write off debt, will deprive the more prudent, younger working taxpayer from ever achieving that status of homeowner so coveted by the preceding generations.
They are effectively pulling up the gangway behind them, ensuring that those who follow will never be able to afford any decent quality of life and ensuring that the urban sprawl continues into the far hinterland for generations to come.
Let the cards fall where they may. Let defaulters walk away without the mortgage debt following them, but they should have to leave their houses behind, like in any other country, rather than providing this grotesque hybrid of socialist housing policy where the “have-nots” must pay the debts of the “haves”.
BRIAN LENEHAN
ADDRESS WITH EDITOR
TEACHERS DO TOO MUCH
The threat by the Education Minister to refuse to pay teachers for extra work delivered (Independent, November 27) is very much a hollow one, considering that what the minister is actually demanding is that teachers do all this extra work (and more) for free anyway.
The majority of teachers that I have discussed this issue with simply cannot cram any more work into an already overloaded schedule and while not ideal, are prepared to take another set of pay cuts instead.
Second-level teachers are right to protect their working conditions and stand up against the tsunami of cuts.
Irish second-level teachers spend more time teaching per annum than their counterparts in the majority of other countries, and they work with the largest class sizes in Europe.
The workload, both teaching and administrative, has increased significantly in recent years.
It seems that every few weeks a new initiative is rolled out by the Department of Education, demanding more and more out-of-classroom work for teachers.
For decades, teachers have papered over the cracks in the under-funded educational system by volunteering for work that is the role of paid support staff in most other European countries. By twice rejecting the Haddington Road proposals, and hopefully by voting no again in December, ASTI teachers have protected both their working conditions and the quality of the education they provide to their students.
KEVIN P MCCARTHY
KILLARNEY, CO KERRY
PRAY FOR PAEDOPHILES
I read Colette Browne’s article today with interest. If ever there is a group of human beings who are regarded as pariahs and lepers in our society today, it is the sexual predators of children and rapists.
As Jesus was always the friend of the despised and the marginalised, would He not show compassion to that group? It is one of the great demands of Christianity that we exercise our compassion when it might revolt us to do so — how willing are we to embrace the new lepers in our society?
The love of God extends to all — to the rape victim and to the rapist. It is difficult for me to comprehend this love, but I would not leave God’s house when a priest asks us to consider extending God’s love and compassion to those we feel deserve it least.
We pray for our enemies, we pray for ourselves when we fail as human beings, we pray for those who hurt us and harm us. Only an infant or child could be expected to pray for those causes dear to their own hearts. A mature person who had more than a passing acquaintance with Jesus would not have a moral qualm about being asked to pray for those who society hates.
M MATTHEWS
ADDRESS WITH EDITOR
MEMORIAL FOR FR REID
 I write to support D O’Brien’s call for a public memorial in honour of Fr Alec Reid and his tireless pursuit of peace and reconciliation. Here in Killarney, we had to wait a full 50 years after his death before providing a long overdue public memorial to Fr Hugh O’Flaherty’s equally tireless work of rescue and reconciliation.
Perhaps Irish postal authorities would consider the issue of special stamps in honour of both internationally recognised heroic priests. And given the British dimension of both priests’ work, any stamp issue could perhaps be a joint An Post and Royal Mail initiative.
ALAN WHELAN
KILLARNEY, CO KERRY
PHIL HOGAN’S FROM MARS
I read Minister Hogan’s article (November 27) and then I read it again, and again, but I still couldn’t make head nor tail of it!! It seems that the minister writes, more or less, the same as he talks — in riddles.
It brought me back to a tip that I picked up on report writing: “Do not confuse the reader by using unnecessary jargon.” In fact, when writing for a general readership it might be a good idea to assume that the reader is from the planet Mars.
Unfortunately, in this article, the minister compiled the piece as if the writer was from the Red Planet.
RJ HANLY
SCREEN, CO WEXFORD
BRAVERY OF GILMARTIN
Edmund Burke said: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
There are many good men in our little country who’ve turned a blind eye for the sake of their sanity and position.
And there was one who said “Enough!” Tom Gilmartin, may he rest in peace, will be one of the few “good” men of this generation who will stand tall when history is written.
PAULINE BLEACH
WOLLI CREEK, NSW 2205, AUSTRALIA
Irish Independent

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