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8June2014 Post Office

No jog around the park I still have arthritis in my left knee, but I manage to get to the Post Office

Scrabbletoday, Mary wins the game, and gets just under 400 perhaps Iwill win tomorrow


The Rt Rev John Baker – obituary

The Rt Rev John Baker was a bishop who ruffled feathers with his stance on the police, gay clergy, battery hens and the Bomb

The Rt Rev John Baker, Bishop of Salisbury

The Rt Rev John Baker, Bishop of Salisbury Photo: PETER ORME

5:32PM BST 05 Jun 2014

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The Rt Rev John Baker, who has died aged 86, was Bishop of Salisbury from 1982 to 1993, having previously been rector of St Margaret’s church, Westminster, and Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Baker was the most able theologian among the bishops of his time, and although primarily an Old Testament scholar he applied his learning to a wide range of subjects, and was a useful member of many committees charged with the production of reports on social questions.

Until his consecration as a bishop, Baker was generally regarded as fairly conservative, both theologically and politically. His most important book, The Foolishness of God (1970), now regarded as a classic, was a sympathetic study of 20th-century questioning of the Bible and traditional Christian beliefs, but its conclusions were reassuring to the fearful and uncertain. An individualistic element in his personality had, however, been evident ever since his school days — and once he became a bishop he turned to a variety of controversial issues with sometimes electrifying effect.

Baker was chairman of a committee charged with examining the theological and moral aspects of nuclear warfare, and when its report, The Church and the Bomb (1982), advocated unilateral nuclear disarmament by Britain he found himself at the centre of a heated public debate. This hardly endeared him to the military personnel — active and retired — of Wiltshire; and no sooner had peace between the bishop and the colonels been restored than he launched an attack on battery farming which immediately aroused the ire of the farming community. Baker was, however, soon recruited as patron of Chicken’s Lib and later became president of the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals.

An invitation to give a Christmas address at a service attended by the Wiltshire police force provided an opportunity for the castigation of the constabulary for what Baker regarded as the insensitive handling of anti-nuclear demonstrations. Meanwhile, his public criticism of his own cathedral’s Dean and Chapter for their fundraising activities caused much offence.

The Rt Rev John Baker on the spire of Salisbury Cathedral (ROGER ELLIOTT/SALISBURY JOURNAL)

In 1990 Baker became chairman of a House of Bishops’ working party set up to consider “Issues in Human Sexuality” — primarily the matter of homosexuals in the Church. The report proposed, controversially, that while homosexuality might in some circumstances be acceptable in the laity, it could never be permissible among the clergy. Soon after his retirement, however, Baker declared that this distinction had been a serious mistake, and said that gay clergy should enjoy the same freedom as the laity and be encouraged to marry. The then Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, responded with a statement asserting: “Bishop John Baker’s conclusion suggests a very significant departure from the Church’s current mind and teaching.”

Baker was a fine preacher and teacher who took great pains over everything he spoke and wrote. Standing 6ft 4in tall, he had a commanding presence, and his gaunt countenance added dignity to great occasions in cathedrals and parish churches. His pastoral care of the diocesan clergy was exemplary, and when three children died in a fire at a vicarage he took the parents and the surviving child into the bishop’s house for several weeks.

But Baker was less good at caring for himself, and until illness intervened he drove himself much too hard. Only a few months after undergoing a hip replacement operation he climbed the spire of Salisbury Cathedral to inspect restoration work. He seemed incapable of writing a short letter, and it was surprising that one who was never physically strong stood the pace of episcopal life for so long.

John Austin Baker was born in Birmingham on January 11 1928. His father was a company secretary, but three of his uncles were clergymen and an aunt was a nun. At Marlborough, he was keen on languages and considered a career in the Diplomatic Service, but by the time he was 18 he had decided on Holy Orders, and went up to Oriel College, Oxford, to read Classics. A disappointing result in Mods, however, led him to switch to Theology, in which he took a very good First.

After two years at Cuddesdon Theological College he was ordained, and stayed on as a tutor in Old Testament studies at the college and as curate of the parish church. It was now plain that he was destined for an academic career. He was an assistant lecturer at King’s College, London, from 1957 to 1959 (he would return there as a visiting professor, from 1974 to 1977), then spent 14 years as Fellow, Chaplain and Lecturer in Divinity at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Baker also taught at Brasenose, Lincoln and Exeter Colleges. He was a diligent teacher, and in addition to writing The Foolishness of God he translated several theological books by German and French scholars.

In 1973 Baker was appointed to a canonry at Westminster, and a year later became Treasurer of the Abbey, a demanding post which revealed his financial acumen — though his proposal that the Abbey’s world-famous choir should be closed down to save money did not find support among his colleagues. In 1978 he was made Sub-Dean, and in the same year became rector of St Margaret’s and Speaker’s Chaplain.

A heavy workload in Westminster and elsewhere would not permit him to undertake much more than the formal duties required in the House of Commons, but Baker threw himself into the pastoral work of St Margaret’s and revitalised its life. As always, his preaching was greatly admired, and he arranged a notable series of lectures on the problems of Northern Ireland. His own contribution to this subject took him to Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, where he said in 1995: “England should repent publicly of the wrongs it inflicted on Ireland in the same way that Germany did over the Holocaust.”

Baker’s appointment as Bishop of Salisbury added much-needed theological weight to the bench of bishops, though inevitably it made further sustained writing impossible. None the less, he contributed chapters to symposiums on a variety of subjects, including the ordination of women, racism, peace, Northern Ireland and animal welfare.

Strong relations were established between Salisbury diocese and the Anglican Church in war-torn Sudan, and he made several visits to that country, offering support and encouragement to the suffering Christians.

Baker was chairman of the Church of England’s Doctrine Commission from 1985 to 1987, and a member of the Committee for Theological Education; the standing committee of the World Council of Churches Faith and Order Commission; and of the Council of Christians and Jews. He also served on the governing bodies of several schools, though he did not favour independent education.

He was awarded a Lambeth DD in 1991.

In retirement Baker became an honorary assistant bishop in Winchester diocese, where he was a much-appreciated preacher and lecturer, and wrote a number of books on the Christian faith.

He is survived by his wife, Jill, whom he married in Westminster Abbey in 1974 and who strongly supported him throughout his ministry and a long period of ill health.

The Rt Rev John Baker, born January 11 1928, died June 4 2014


The only way forward for Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats is to go back to the liberal socialist manifesto for sustainable growth on which we fought the last election (“This may surprise you, but Nick Clegg is a very lucky politician“, Andrew Rawnsley, ). He should form an electoral pact with Labour to stop splitting the progressive vote, in order to achieve the electoral and constitutional reform that is our only hope of arriving at a government fit to run a 21st-century economy.

He needs to work with Labour to undo the swingeing cuts to local government that mean they cannot build enough housing, repair roads or properly care for the elderly, and to end the scapegoating of immigrants. Austerity has been falsely peddled as a means of cutting the deficit, when the real reason was to give tax cuts to the millionaires who govern us and who do not need to use public services.

It’s not too late for Clegg to work with Labour before the next election to make it illegal for the corporations in receipt of public money for running public services to be registered offshore for tax avoidance purposes and thereby reclaim our public realm.

Margaret Phelps


Vale of Glamorgan

Don’t malign Machiavelli

I was disappointed to see a review of the book Compelling People used by Iain Morris (New Review) to repeat the libel on Machiavelli that he favoured authoritarianism or even tyranny, though it was not clear whether that was the reviewer’s view or that of the authors of the book. Machiavelli was in favour of a democratic, republican, united Italy, well before those ideas were taken up more generally. The fact that he analysed different methods of persuading people to do things did not mean he advocated harsh methods of persuasion, let alone compulsion, though he did deal with the problems of persuading people in positions of power to do what was for the general good, when they saw greater advantage in doing what was primarily for their own good.

Those who would blame Machiavelli for those who extrapolated his work into harmful compulsion is like blaming Ernest Rutherford for the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Tony Pointon

Emeritus professor

University of Portsmouth

Islington pride

What a shame that Rachel Cooke seems embarrassed to use the “dreaded ‘I’ word” (“Enough of this anti-London bile“, Comment). Despite being regularly mocked by commentators who should know better, Islington is as socially mixed, traditional yet modern, vibrant and politically progressive a place as can be found anywhere. In fact, it stands for all those London qualities she applauds. And Arsenal have just won the cup.

David Sutherland (Ex-Angel Boy)



More landscape artists, please

The argument about building in the countryside goes on (“Lakeland ‘under siege’ as budget hotel threatens to spoil the view“, News). There is no suggestion that existing (old) buildings should be removed, so we should consider why new ones are so hated. It seems to me that there are two factors that make new buildings unattractive. One is colour, if brick is used. Brick is a violent red or orange colour, which shouts out. The other is geometry. Sharp, straight lines and angles perhaps do not fit well into a landscape that has weathered over many years.

Cannot builders use imaginative materials and designs that would fit the landscape as old buildings do? There might be a higher cost but those who want these facilities must be prepared to pay for them and not think they are doing a favour to the local economy by patronising it for a couple of weeks.

Geoffrey Bailey



Roadmap to the future

Driverless cars as described by John Naughton in his article “Is this the end of the road for car ownership?” (New Review) present a once-in-a-lifetime chance to change radically our use and ownership of cars and avoid future massive road congestion. The government has to take seriously this heaven-sent opportunity to plan how we use our roads so that traffic can move freely and efficiently. Toes will be trodden on and lives will be altered, but our obsession with the car has to change.

Derek Dod



Clive’s clever quips

Robert McCrum is right about Clive James’s criticism being funny and rarely wounding (“Clive James defies illness with bravura performance“, News). Reviewing a production of Otello, which starred Montserrat Caballé and Luciano Pavarotti, heavyweights with stupendous voices, he wrote that “Otello had apparently been to Cyprus, but it was clear to me that they had both been at the refrigerator”. Indeed, the lovers were so large that they were unable to even attempt an embrace. Who cared: the singing was wonderful and his comment was just funny.

Jane Kelsall

St Albans

Welcome to Britain? Passengers queue at Gatwick’s passport control. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

We are concerned that proposals to restrict the freedom of movement of people in the EU are gaining traction in the UK (“Labour must take tougher line on ‘mass migration’ from Europe, Miliband told“, (News).

Free movement is a right exercised by millions and has made a major contribution to the prosperity of Europe over the past 30 years. It is the key to Britain’s continued economic recovery. Competition with Ukip for the anti-immigrant vote threatens to undermine support for Britain’s continued membership of the EU.

What is needed is a more realistic approach to migration in the context of broader social change. Younger people, including young EU expats, enrich and sustain our economy as we age. Many Ukip voters have children and grandchildren who will benefit from the chance to study and work abroad. They should be careful what they wish for.

Movement of people will continue to ebb and flow as Europe emerges from recession. However, the migratory peaks of 2005 have been left far behind. We need to sharpen the public policy response to migration.

If Britain stays in the EU (and the opinion polls are moving that way), then free movement must be embraced. There is no prospect of restricting the right to free movement through treaty change.

Roger Casale Chair, New Europeans; Frances O’Grady General secretary, TUC;

Roland Rudd Chairman, Business for New Europe; Juliet Lodge Emeritus professor of European studies, University of Leeds;

Simon Hix Professor of European and comparative politics at the London School of Economics; Dr Julie Smith Director, European Centre at Polis, Cambridge University; Don Flynn Director, Migrant Rights Network; Dr Majella Kilkey Reader in social policy, University of Sheffield

The free movement of people within the EU is not immigration, any more than the free movement of people between the different countries of the UK is immigration. EU membership works both ways. The number of EU citizens in the UK (around 2.3 million) is largely comparable with the number of UK nationals who have themselves exercised their right to free movement to live and/or work elsewhere in Europe (2.2 million). If the UK decided to put in quotas, other EU member states would follow suit. This would cause real harm to these individuals.

Matthew Evans

Director, Advice on Individual Rights in Europe, London WC1

There is a problem with telling the British people that immigration “enriches” them (“Immigration should not be blamed for our woes”, Observer editorial). If you mean economically, they have worked out that while it may enrich the rich, it impoverishes the poor. If you mean culturally, you are suggesting that Britain’s 64 million inhabitants are somehow culturally inadequate. There is a similar problem with advocating a principled stance. The electorate have to assume you mean you consider that while your opinions are principled, theirs are not.

In the end, they are likely to suggest that politicians take their morals and principles into a (presumably enriched) private life and turn to someone else in the hope of finding some actual answers.

Imogen Wedd

via email

Congratulations on your excellent editorial, a stark contrast to the letter from seven Labour MPs with their crude stereotype that “the benefits of mass migration have been served in abundance to many wealthy people”.

Instead of the Labour leadership’s current broadly negative and apologetic approach to immigration, they should be leading with an alternative vision of Britain as a plural, multi-ethnic society.

We as a nation have relied on British ex-colonial citizens, immigrants and migrant workers to staff our hospitals, care homes, railways and hotels, to pick our fruit and to man our football teams and Olympic squad – and on overseas students to help support our universities through their fees and research skills.

Gideon Ben-Tovim

Senior fellow in sociology

University of Liverpool


The Liberal Democrats’ problem is that it is no longer clear what they stand for (“Clegg survives a coup…” 1 June). A core of historic Liberals and Social Democrats will appreciate the idea of a moderating influence in coalition, a third voice. But is that enough to remain a significant force? I doubt it.

Those of us who believe in that third voice, its critical role in what otherwise risks becoming a two-party state, might say there is a responsibility on the Lib Dems not just to resort to the “we’ve been here before and recovered” cop-out.

The responsibility is to do all we can to ensure that third voice survives, strong and articulate. The media personalise this as an issue about Nick Clegg – but that’s wrong. The issue is much more fundamental – what do the Lib Dems uniquely stand for? What is their special contribution? Why do they deserve our votes and deserve to survive? There’s intellectual space for this, and an exciting opportunity to stake it out – but time is short.

Chris Naylor

Lib Dem councillor, London Borough of Camden, 2006-14, via email

Margareta Pagano rightly calls attention to the pitifully low turnout at the European elections (“How to win the voters back”, 1 June), but her arguments for changing our “paper-based voting system… to an electronic one” are deeply flawed. We are daily regaled by articles showing the fallibility of computer programs, and of state surveillance of our systems, and it is clear that a reliance on such systems would lack the necessary security.

French elections regularly have a higher turnout than ours, even though all postal voting was banned in 1974 – in favour of proxy voting – because of the evidence of abuse. The presidential election of 2007 had a turnout of 84 per cent for both rounds, and the 2012 contest had a turnout of 80 per cent. It is up to politicians to attract voters rather than searching for some magic bullet.

Michael Meadowcroft

Leeds, West Yorkshire

In contrast to her usually warm and insightful thoughts, Ellen E Jones tars all “incels” (involuntary celibates) with the same brush in the wake of Elliot Rodger’s massacre. I believe passionately in gender equality, and that parity is the solution to this and countless other problems. Rodger was a murderous misogynist, but the wider media have failed to diagnose the fact that its worship of sex and money as the highest possible social achievement contributed as much as anything to what Rodger became. The Independent on Sunday’s Happy List was a welcome counterweight to this.

Michael Johnson

Billingham, Teesside

When will your reporters get this right (“Paxman’s starter for 10…”, 1 June). Not all supporters of independence are nationalists. The debate here is not about identity but about the control we have over all our affairs, free from Westminster.

Bob Orr


The Scots do not hate the English, Mr Paxman; they just hate being patronised. Nor do they like the message of the No camp: “We love you, we need you, we’re better together – but if you do leave, we’ll make you suffer for it!” I think that’s called an abusive relationship.

Carolyn Lincoln


Regarding Nick Clark’s “There will be blood” (1 June), over the top theatrical productions with excessive fake blood – it used to be called Kensington Gore – are nothing new.

Well over 30 years ago I took my eldest daughter to the Old Vic to the first night of Macbeth, starring Peter O’Toole. Even by the first interval the actors were rolling in blood and the audience was rolling with laughter – hardly what the Bard intended!

It came to a climax when Banquo’s ghost, whom no one but Macbeth is supposed to be able to see, appeared at the banquet, in the substantial form of Brian Blessed, covered from head to toe in blood and winking at everyone!

Michael Hart

Osmington, Dorset


Mohamed bin Hammam and Sepp Blatter have been criticised over the bid Mohamed bin Hammam and Sepp Blatter have been criticised over the bid (Mohammed Dabbous)

Blowing whistle on Qatar bid won’t make Fifa play fair

THE allegations against Fifa (“Plot to buy the World Cup” and “Fifa files”, News, and “The greatest sporting event ever sold”, Editorial, last week) remind me of an investigation your paper undertook into the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 2010.

The following week, as the new environment minister, I attended the annual meeting of the IWC in Morocco. I was naively expecting a flurry of resignations and the eating of much humble pie.

What took my breath away was the attitude of many of the national representatives, which was to express fury that any newspaper should have the temerity to question their practices. It was even suggested that this was a plot by the UK to impose “colonial governance” on others.

I hope Fifa members take a different attitude, but I won’t hold my breath.
Richard Benyon (Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries 2010-13), House of Commons

They think it’s all over

Here’s proper investigative journalism — well done, The Sunday Times. The enterprise has served only to bring Qatar into disrepute when it was a chance for it to engage with the modern world. Combined with the country’s use of indentured labour, this must surely be the final nail in Qatar’s coffin as far as this ill-fated jamboree goes.
Chris Mayhew, Horley, Surrey

Lines of inquiry

I would welcome a full inquiry by a body such as the FBI to determine the existence and scope of any illegal activity that may have occurred, and to allow any necessary sanctions to be imposed.
Robert Jones, Glasgow

No result

Even if former Qatari vice- president of Fifa Mohamed bin Hammam was not connected to the bid, his alleged activities corrupted the process and thus the result should not stand.
Don Mackinlay, Woldingham, Surrey

Substitutions at the top

Sepp Blatter’s position as Fifa’s president is untenable, as is that of the executive committee system. How to replace them is the question; transparency is needed.
David Walton, Dubai

Kicked into touch

What some of the critics forget is that bribery and corruption are part of the culture in Middle Eastern countries and throughout African states, though that’s not to say it doesn’t exist elsewhere.

This scandal is set to explode and rightly so. I, for one, would want to see Fifa dismantled: Blatter and his cohorts cannot provide the regulation to eliminate what we have witnessed over the years.
Stephen Mulrine, Via email

Net gains

I am glad this topic is being raised but, let’s face it, any right-minded person already knew that Fifa is corrupt. What surprises me is the sums involved. If these figures are accurate, $5m (£3m) is a very good price given the financial benefits a host country can expect to receive.
Sebastian Cargutt, Leeds

All to play for

Now the story’s out, let’s just get on with rebidding the tournament to countries that respect football. What’s startling, though, is the alleged level of corruption in a state strong on religious belief.
Manjit Khosla, Via email

Undone deal

The only people who can stop this are the sponsors. They have the power to create a new Fifa.
Chris Gott, Rossendale, Lancashire

First 11 fail to score

Eleven pages devoted to the “corrupt” selection of Qatar for the World Cup. I buy this publication to read meaningful world news.
Tom McKirdy, Largs, Ayrshire

Home advantage

One solution to bidding corruption would be to select a single “home” for the World Cup. Such a strategy would also remove the need for the winning host nations to build complex infrastructure such as stadiums, hotels and function venues. Internationally, this surely represents a wasteful duplication of resources.

As things stand, I can’t imagine top football clubs risking the health of their most valuable players in heat predicted to be 40C-50C.
Elizabeth Oakley, Dursley, Gloucestershire

Hot shots

Any corruption is, of course, a scandal but what does it say about Fifa that it only recently conceded playing football in summer could be a problem because of the heat? So at no point previously did it consider this? Never mind corrupt, how about incompetent?
Martyn Westbury, Monksilver, Somerset

Banning burqa in public a step in the right direction

JENNI RUSSELL makes a strong case in favour of a burqa ban (“We rage at a stoning there yet turn a blind eye to the burqa here”, Comment, last week).

Whichever country you choose to cite, we see the barbaric treatment of women by misguided, cowardly, bigoted and often simply criminal men. There should be no question of this being tolerated in Britain, and imposing a ban on the burqa and its equivalents in public places would be both a symbolic and tangible start.
John E Chamberlin, Ashbourne, Derbyshire

Mind-forg’d manacle

I think the burqa should be banned. The place we have to start fighting repression is in our minds — and now.
Maria English, Southsea, Hampshire

Dress code

I agree with Russell. In fact I would go further and insist that all schools should ban any religious or cultural items of dress or ornament to integrate all our ethnic groups and prevent extremism.
Elizabeth Roe, Chelmsford

Taking liberties

The article reminds me of a parishioner who once told me that he would get rid of all violence in society by bringing back caning in schools, the birch for teenage louts and hanging for murderers.

To say “we must stop funding, encouraging and permitting illiberal behaviour” and then to proceed to call for a ban on faith schools and the wearing of the burqa belongs to the same form of tortured logic.

The threat to liberty in this country does not lie with a few extremists but with vocal and unrepresentative secularist fundamentalism — the antithesis of true liberalism.
The Reverend Jim Wellington, Nottingham

Alan Bennett letter created a drama of its own

YOUR profile of the playwright Alan Bennett (“The teddy bear’s claws draw literary blood”, May 11 ) reminded me of the time several years ago when my daughter took the central role for a leading amateur dramatic society in one of his intimate one-act plays. On the off-chance of a favourable reply, she sent Bennett an invitation to attend and received a charming, handwritten letter graciously declining but including a number of salient tips on some of the work’s hidden nuances.

Over the moon, she took the letter along to the next rehearsal, only to be told by the feisty female director: “Who does he think he is, telling me how to direct?”
Jeremy Brien, Bristol

Folly of excluding creative arts at GCSE

IT WAS striking to read the opera company general manager Michael Volpe’s account of his schooling (“Why opera really isn’t just for toffs”, Culture, last week), which saw culture as “a crucial part of life’s intellectual necessities”. In the same newspaper, however, I learnt that the exams watchdog Ofqual may decide drama and the creative arts do not now make the grade as part of the “GCSE brand” (“‘Soft’ GCSEs face axe”, News). What will this brand be worth that might exclude some of the cornerstones of our culture as not sufficiently “academic”? If the creative arts are excluded from courses offered at GCSE, this will lead to them not being taught in most schools. Then the chances of producing another opera boss from a tough inner-city estate will be remote, and opera may just be for toffs after all.
Clarissa Farr, High Mistress, St Paul’s Girls’ School, London


Looks familiar

Atticus amused last week with his story about Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Clement Attlee’s responses to those who told them that they looked like the people they actually were. The Queen was once approached by a tourist who said, “You look just like the Queen.” Her Majesty allegedly replied, “How very reassuring.”
Neville Lloyd, Portishead, Somerset

Political designs

In a review last week Edwin Lutyens was attributed with designing “the vast, Roman- style parliament building” as well as the Viceroy’s House in Delhi (“How little pieces of Britain met the world”, Books). The co-architect of the parliament building was Sir Herbert Baker.
James Offen, Oriel College, Oxford

Border incident

Peter Fieldman (“Britain’s got problems”, Letters, last week) complains of a “loss of national identity” and says it is illegal immigration that is “transforming towns and cities”. It is legal immigration that allows Fieldman to live in Madrid. Has Spain been transformed by his presence?
John Bell, Wrexham

Praising Singapore

In the correspondence headed “Singapore is no place to look for a model of democracy” (Letters, May 25) Roy Hollingworth compared Singapore to North Korea and Syria, while in “Eastern promise” Malcolm Roderick suggested that its dissidents are confined to underground jails, but conceded this was rumour. Having lived there for 15 years I know the ruling party is not perfect, but it has converted a poor nation into one with a high standard of living for its multicultural society with education, health services and a retirement scheme which are the envy of many. To compare this with regimes where mass killings are attributable is an insult.
Malcolm Kelsey, Sainte-Maxime, France

In pocket

Hunter Davies recalling his lack of pocket money as a boy (“Stilettos are fine but kittens remain the cat’s whiskers”, Money, last week) reminded me of my own negotiations with my father. When I was nine, I got him to agree to give me a penny a week for every year of my age. I was chuffed as it meant a half-crown every week when I was 30!
George Pritt, Moor Row, Cumbria

Word to the wise

Can someone kindly explain why “f****** pleb” is so dire an expression as to justify such fury and litigation (“Emails reveal police laid Plebgate trap”, News, and “A trap was laid for Andrew Mitchell”, Editorial, last week). The first word is so commonplace that, almost uniquely in our language, it can serve as a noun, a verb or an adjective, and is uttered daily by multitudes. The second denotes a commoner in ancient Rome, and was an occasional playground taunt in the 1950s, but rather faded away when Latin became optional.
Stephen Garford, London NW6

Poles remembered

AA Gill (“The UKIP tache has Tories twitching”, News, last week) on the Newark by-election kindly mentions the 397 Polish servicemen buried in the town. General Wladyslaw Sikorski, Poland’s prime minister and commander-in-chief, killed in a plane crash off Gibraltar in 1943, lay there for 50 years until 1993, when he was taken back to rest among other national heroes in Krakow Cathedral. Also buried on English soil there are three Polish presidents-in-exile. The Warsaw Air Bridge monument close to the graves commemorates the sacrifice of RAF, South African and Polish aircrew killed flying supplies to insurgents in the Warsaw uprising.
Michael Olizar, London SW15

Corrections and clarifications

An article last week (“Human traffickers made victims collect clothes for bogus charity”, News) was illustrated with a photograph of David Walliams and an unidentified child at an event organised by Dreams Come True, the charity whose name the traffickers were using without its knowledge. We apologise to the child, his family and the charity for using this photograph without permission, and regret the distress caused. Dreams Come True is a bona fide national charity with a mission to “bring joy to seriously and terminally ill children”.

The article “Is a longer life really good news for all?” (Money, last week) suggested that married pensioners live longer than single pensioners. In fact the data shows that married couples and single people have a similar longevity. We apologise for the error.

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 Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web, 59; Kim Clijsters, tennis player, 31; Ray Illingworth, cricketer, 82; Joan Rivers, comedian, 81; Bonnie Tyler, singer, 63; Derek Underwood, cricketer, 69; Kanye West, rapper, 37


632 Muhammad, founder of Islam, dies; 1929 Margaret Bondfield becomes first female cabinet minister; 1949 George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four published; 1999 former Tory minister Jonathan Aitken jailed for perjury


Many shops do not supply half sizes, or accommodate shoppers who need a wider fit

Best foot forward: a bronze statue at the Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, on Italy’s Amalfi coast

Best foot forward: a bronze statue at the Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, on Italy’s Amalfi coast  Photo: Christa Knijff / Alamy

6:59AM BST 07 Jun 2014

Comments197 Comments

SIR – My feet stopped growing when I was 14, at size 10½. My father had a last made for my school shoes; the rest of the time I wore men’s shoes.

One thing that I have noticed over the years is the lack of half sizes: usually I can only get a 10 or an 11, but even for these I mainly have to travel or shop online.

Val Pallister
Cirencester, Gloucestershire

SIR – The problem isn’t only with large sizes. I wear a 6½ to 7, depending on the make. But I have had endless problems buying shoes to fit my wide feet.

For years I was told by exasperated shoe shop assistants, as the boxes piled ever higher, that “the shoes will stretch with wear”.

I always ended up with blisters.

Angela Walters
Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire

SIR – Why did all the real heroes of the day have to sit out in the hot sun (or it could have been in the pouring rain), while the big-wigs had more comfortable seats sheltered from the elements?

June Mundell
Castle Cary, Somerset

SIR – At this time when we remember our losses in two world wars, can we also spare a shred of pity for all the fallen, on whichever side they were fighting?

Brenda Bywater
Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire

SIR – For Operation Neptune, the invasion fleet of British and American ships, 796 civilians were specially selected. One was a 17-year old school boy (Bill Shonfield) who lied about his age, as did Norman Thompson, born in 1879.

All served with the Royal Observer Corps, and were temporarily enrolled as Petty Officer (Aircraft Identifier). Their sole role was to recognise both friendly and hostile aircraft approaching the fleet, both to alert the defences and to prevent casualties through friendly fire.

Ten were mentioned in despatches, but their wartime service is largely unknown.

Dennis Bates
Bromley, Kent

SIR – Indeed bicycles were issued for the D-Day landings (Letters, June 6). My father, recounting his memories of 72 Field Company, Royal Engineers, mentions how he was issued with a bicycle for forward reconnaissance. It was the first bit of kit he lost, while going up the beach.

He lived for many years in fear of a bill from the War Office for the loss.

Richard Moore
London SE21

SIR – There are British D-Day veterans and widows still alive in Commonwealth countries. Because they have retired abroad to be close to their families in places such as Australia or Canada, they suffer a frozen British state pension. Yet had these British veterans retired in the United States, Israel or EU countries, their UK state pensions would be indexed each year.

Sir Peter Bottomley MP (Con)
London SW1

SIR – In a recently screened German series about five young people in the Nazi era, D-Day is mentioned thus: “One hundred and fifty thousand American troops have landed in Normandy.”

John Rook
Enfield, Middlesex

SIR – A shot of D-Day often shown on television is of British soldiers disembarking from a landing-craft, one of whom is shown looking to his right and out to sea.

I have often wondered what happened to him and if he survived the day. Does anyone know?

Diana Goetz
Donhead St Mary, Wiltshire

Irish Times:

Irish Independent:

Sunday 8 June 2014

New party invite

Published 08/06/2014|02:30

Madam – We are now witnessing the rise of nationalism and socialism among our electorate.

History shows us very clearly that this combination is potent, and has the potential to create extremely dangerous outcomes for our country.

France is certainly not a socio-economic model to follow. The French have not balanced their books for over 40 years, and the country has lost some of its brightest and best to London where well over a million French citizens now work and reside.

By supporting the rise of Sinn Fein, we will sleep-walk into trouble.

In order for Ireland to recover, we must be led by people who have the skills, knowledge and experience of working in the real economy.

Career politicians, of which there are many, quite simply do not understand the life of an SME and therefore are no longer required to represent us.

Thankfully, in our hour of need, there are very talented TDs such as Shane Ross and Stephen Donnelly who have come from industry and have clearly demonstrated that they understand the workings of the real economy.

More importantly, they are not afraid to speak out against the establishment, and will make the required change.

We need both Mr Ross and Mr Donnelly to now come together to form a party, along with other individuals such as David Hall, Lucinda Creighton, Jonathan Irwin, Diarmuid O’Flynn and Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, to lead us back to prosperity.

Olivia Hazell,

Clane, Co Kildare

Sunday Independent


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