16 November 2014 Walking
I jog around the park I still have arthritis in my left toe I am stricken with gout. But I manage to get to the Co op and post office,
Mary’s back much better today, breakfast weight down rabbit for tea and her back pain is still there but decreasing.
Lady Wardington was a model who was considered ‘too beautiful for the BBC’, and later compiled the Superhints series of books
Lady Wardington with Sir Malcolm Sargent (left) and Alec Guinness
5:41PM GMT 14 Nov 2014
Lady Wardington, who has died aged 87, was a 1950s cover girl of striking beauty, the founder of a financial management course for women, and the compiler of a series of “Superhints” handbooks — compendiums of ideas “personal, perspicacious and practical” — which she published to raise money for her local hospice.
An only child, she was born Margaret Audrey White on November 2 1927 in Bradford. Her father, a commercial traveller, left his family when Audrey was young and she was brought up by her mother, Eva, in north London, where they sat out the Blitz with their cat, Luftwaffe.
Audrey attended Henrietta Barnett School in Finchley, taking her school certificate exams in the middle of the first doodlebug raids. The girls were allowed to get under their desks if one cut out overhead, at which point they would often try to whisper the answers as they hid.
She left school aged 16 and found a job at the Elizabeth Arden salon in Bond Street as general dogsbody to the woman giving facial treatments. There she was spotted by one of the salon’s clients, Phyllis Digby-Morton, the editor of Woman and Beauty, who asked her if she would like to have her photograph taken for the magazine. Audrey’s manager grudgingly allowed her the afternoon off on condition that she would not mention the fact she worked at the salon.
At the suggestion of the photographer at the session she became a professional model. Described by one journalistic admirer as a “raving beauty … with a smile as fresh as spring and the playful eye of a puppy”, Audrey White became a well-known face in the newspapers of the early 1950s, appearing as a bride in a series of National Savings posters and taking small parts in a handful of films.
In 1951 she hit the headlines when the BBC refused to give her a job as a stand-in television announcer in case her loveliness “alarmed timid men from Wigan and country districts”. “Too beautiful for the BBC!” ran a banner headline. But the BBC was right, argued one commentator: “Could you watch Miss White taking about depressions over Iceland and absorb what she was saying?”
Audrey White accepted defeat gracefully: “I don’t want to scare any timid male viewers,” she declared.
Lady Wardington: ‘too beautiful for the BBC’
Audrey dated the future Doctor Who star Jon Pertwee and the actor Anthony Steele (their romance ended when she fled from a taxi in which he had drunkenly escorted her home, as he got out to pay on the other side). In 1953 she married the theatrical impresario and former racing driver Jack Dunfee, one of the famous “Bentley Boys”, 25 years her senior. “Mrs Jack Dunfee leaves London airport for a week’s holiday in the South of France,” ran a typical newspaper report. “She wears a mushroom-coloured outfit.”
The following year she was made fashion editor of Housewife magazine, after meeting the magazine’s managing editor, Marcus Morris (a former vicar turned “insatiable womaniser”, by her account) at a cocktail party. She worked for six years on Housewife and for two years on the magazine Go.
By this time her marriage had broken down, and in 1964 she married her second husband, Christopher Henry Beaumont (“Bic”) Pease, the 2nd Lord Wardington, a stockbroker and noted bibliophile, with whom she adopted three children.
At their Oxfordshire home, Wardington Manor, a substantial medieval-Jacobean house near Banbury, she and her husband worked together to embellish the garden and supported numerous charities, Lady Wardington helping to fight the closure of the village school, getting involved in local clubs and activities and delivering Meals on Wheels.
As her husband became increasingly involved in the world of rare books, the Wardingtons were enthusiastic attendees at international congresses and colloquia of the Association Internationale de Bibliophilie in continental Europe.
When her husband suffered a heart attack in his late forties, Lady Wardington was so shocked to realise how little she knew about money that she set up a financial management course for women. “I called it Capital and Savings Handling [CASH],” she recalled. “It was about savings and pensions and the stock market, and was aimed specifically at women. It was quite a success.” She ran the course for eight years until the Equal Opportunities Commission warned her it might take action if she continued.
Lady Wardington, wife of the 2nd Lord Wardington
She was moved to start compiling her Superhints books in 1991, when a former secretary was dying of cancer in a hospice. At that time, funds were being raised in Banbury for the Katherine House Hospice. “I wanted to help them raise money and so, being a great corner-cutter, I hit on the idea of these Superhints books,” Lady Wardington recalled. “I simply wrote to about 3,000 people, asking them to donate a hint.”
First came Superhints; then Superhints for Cooks; then Superhints for Gardeners; and finally Superhints for Life. A large proportion of her contributors were titled, and their “hints” were often rather less practical than they were revealing of their authors.
The best way to pacify an angry child, suggested Lady Dashwood, was to “whisper gently into his ear and he will stop crying to hear what you are saying. This is also 100 per cent effective with husbands.” Lady Cobbold commended paper knickers because “it saves washing and they are good for lighting the fire”. Lord Hanson cautioned readers never to “stand up in the bath without pulling the plug out first”. Princess Margaret’s solution to a red wine spill on the carpet — sloshing white wine on it to remove the stain — perhaps proved only that she had never had to do it herself.
The Wardingtons’ happy life at Wardington Manor came to an end in April 2004 when a devastating electrical fire swept through one of the two wings of the house. They were abroad on holiday, but their daughter Helen, with the aid of villagers, managed a dramatic rescue of Lord Wardington’s priceless collection of books, including volumes containing some 60,000 maps produced between the 15th century and the present day. The collection was saved intact and unharmed. The house, however, was gutted.
Stoic in the face of disaster, the Wardingtons embarked on a full-scale repair, for which a model Wardington had made as a boy proved a useful guide. But Lord Wardington died the following year, his health possibly affected by the shock, and although work on the house was well advanced by his death, Lady Wardington decided to sell the manor and to live in a smaller house in the village.
She is survived by her son and two daughters.
Lady Wardington, born November 2 1927, died November 8 2014
Party politics have become too presidential, say some, as controversy continues over Ed Miliband’s leadership of Labour. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA
British politics has become too presidential with far too much emphasis on individual party leaders instead of policy (“Miliband in new crisis as senior MPs back leadership change”, News)).
Labour’s problems stem from urging their leader to stick to the centre ground for fear of frightening floating voters with too much radicalism at a time when the centre has been so imploded by austerity that the old two-party game is over.
The Scottish referendum is just the start of irreversible progress towards a new federal constitution that the Tories cannot stem, either with their undemocratic call for English votes on English issues, when there are no such issues that will not affect Scotland and Wales; or with one elected mayor for Manchester with a budget well below the level of funding cut by devolving austerity to local councils in England and Wales in a classic divide-and-rule manoeuvre.
The real Tory agenda is not deficit reduction, otherwise they would not have wasted billions on needless NHS reorganisation and on their botched welfare “reforms”.
The only way to prevent this is for Labour to make common cause with Liberal Democrats, who have always been consistent on the need for constitutional and electoral reform; they must make clear they will have no truck with a Tory party that has lurched so far to the right
Vale of Glamorgan
Daniel Boffey was probably right when he wrote: “The headlines (relating to the Labour leadership) are distracting from significant problems currently facing David Cameron.”
They certainly seem to have distracted him and his colleagues on Sunday’s paper from writing about Mr Osborne’s dissimulation with regards to the UK’s payments to the EU. In the Observer this important issue was conspicuous by its absence.
However, this edition of the paper did devote the title page and four other pages to a leadership struggle in the Labour party in which the principal heir has specifically refused to stand now or ever.
All of this was inspired by some gutless wonders so confident in their stance that they were afraid to express their views openly.
I turn the page from Ed Miliband and the Labour party’s squabbling and read that carers for vulnerable disabled people have – after 90 days of strikes with support from the Unite union – done a deal with the privatised Care UK that will see their wages “edging towards the living wage” (“After 90 days of strikes, Care UK workers celebrate new pay deal”, News). And Labour’s shadow ministers are muttering about Miliband instead of fighting about issues they can win an election on? Now that makes me despair.
Labour’s lack of credibility is far more serious than its leadership.
Thanks to our crazy electoral system, rather than fighting the Rochester and Strood byelection to win the seat with a higher turnout and divided rightwing vote at the next general election, Labour have decided to fight on as narrow a front as possible.
Locally in Chipping Barnet, having in May won 11 out of 21 council seats, we have not seen a single leaflet introducing their prospective parliamentary candidate and so we have no reason to consider voting tactically .
Such campaigning would give their supporters hope and stretch Tory resources. Without this, Labour will fail to make many gains and not just in Scotland risk being outflanked.
New Barnet, Herts
Improving transport is not a zero-sum game of investment in the north at the expense of investment elsewhere (“Wherever you build new infrastructure… build it in the north”, News). Investment is actually needed by cities across the country to drive economic growth. These economic benefits can only be realised if cities have greater financial flexibility. Investment should be evaluated on the strength of economic payback through the creation of jobs, housing and business growth. For example, improvements to London’s transport and the construction of Crossrail support almost 58,000 jobs and apprenticeships outside the capital.
The current system of funding is too centralised. Just 5% of taxes raised in Britain are controlled by cities themselves, compared to 30% in Germany. This is not a question of investment in the north versus the south. We need the flexibility to do both.
Sir Peter Hendy
Our dubious dependencies
As well as hammering Jean-Claude Juncker and Enda Kenny, shouldn’t we also be looking at Britain’s own dubious dependencies, such as the “British” Virgin Islands, Jersey and the Isle of Man (“Ireland insists it can still be hi-tech hub despite axing ‘double Irish’ loophole”, News)? Is Ed Miliband so scared of not seeming “business friendly” that he doesn’t press David Cameron about these three tax havens. Something for him to do when he discovers his “inner radical”?
Assisted dying is unacceptable
Dr Kailash Chand’s arguments in favour of the assisted dying bill are, at best, confused (“Assisted dying will be made legal in UK ‘within two years’”, News). He attempts to equate physician-assisted suicide, which is what this bill proposes, with dignity in dying, which is an entirely different concept.
He also shows scant respect for his colleagues if he thinks that around 80% of them would oppose this bill publicly while privately supporting it. If this bill becomes law, no judicial oversight could ever provide a safeguard for vulnerable people (or “unnecessary life”, as Chand chillingly puts it) implicitly offered a choice of ending their lives if they felt they were a burden on others.As deputy chair of the BMA, Chand must be aware of the possibility of an underfunded NHS hiving off or withdrawing funding for palliative care if a cheaper alternative was available. No change in the law is the only option.
Dr Barry Cullen
True love ignores the years
In 1982, I met my second husband on an anti-apartheid demonstration. He was a single, vegetarian, academic of 29. I was a 42-year-old divorcee, a parent of three teenage children and carnivore (“I find older women attractive. I decided that youth doesn’t stop at 30”, last week).
After a few months, we decided to live together and eventually get married. Our wedding was the best Labour party meeting that I and my comrades ever attended. Our honeymoon was spent at a grim hotel on the M62 where I was being grilled by media hacks in preparation for the European elections in 1984.
When he died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 54 some eight years ago, the day after I had been cleared of cancer, my friends witnessed my utter devastation. All I can say is those near-24 years were the happiest and most wonderful I have ever experienced.
Yes, there were difficult times, which were not helped by people asking us stupid questions such as: “Is he your toyboy?”, a term I loathe. Even worse was: “Is he your son?”. I say “good luck” to anyone facing a relationship with an age difference, but isn’t it sad that the adverse comments are usually in relation to an older woman and younger man?
Speed up on the speed cuts
Local authorities try to look at three years’ worth of data before deciding on the impact of 20mph (“Limitations of speed limits”, Letters). Road accidents will continue to happen, whoever is at fault, but mistakes can be designed out of the system as far as possible. Cutting speed is a simple and cost-effective measure but on its own may not be enough. Other solutions, such as infrastructure, crossings, segregated facilities for cyclists and road design are also key factors.
The suggestion that speed restrictions should only be implemented in certain “sensitive” areas (around schools, near to hospitals) ignores the fact that all our streets are thoroughfares to somewhere else and used by everyone, including vulnerable people. All the evidence shows that reduced speed works much better on a community or borough basis, otherwise it is more confusing for pedestrians and drivers alike and is more costly. To suggest that lower speed limits may actually cause more harm through drivers’ frustration is to imply that anything that holds up a driver is wrong.
Too often missing from this debate are the many public health benefits of introducing slower speed, which can lead to an increase in cycling and walking, reduced obesity, improved air quality and adapting our public spaces for an ageing population.
The earthbound examples of human endeavour in your editorial (A triumph for human imagination and ingenuity, 13 November) did not mention the programme of manned moon landings, which took place more than 40 years ago. With hindsight, this was perhaps the last hurrah for the idea that the conquest of space was simply an extension of terrestrial exploration. Space is too big, the distances too far, the journey times too long and the costs of maintaining a human-friendly habitat too vast for the human exploration of space. What the Rosetta mission has so successfully done is to put the final nail in the coffin of the idea that only human explorers can offer a feasible solution to the problem of making future extraterrestrial discoveries.
• We have landers on Mars and now on a comet, all adverts for the amazing power of science and technology. Yet some of us in the scientific community are disappointed that these landers are not actually looking for life. The world’s space agencies have become fixated on searching for the “building blocks of life”. What the public (ie taxpayers) really wants to now is – does life itself exist in space? Like Nasa, the European Space Agency has presented us with an amazing achievement and at the same time an incredible missed opportunity.
Professor of astrobiology, Sheffield University
• Your editorial salutes the human imagination and ingenuity of the Rosetta mission scientists, which is undoubtedly a great achievement. The vocabulary you use, however, startled me. Was the landing of a bit of high tech on a rock on a “heroic scale”? Can that bit of high tech be heroic? It isn’t human, like Magellan or Edmund Hilary. Do the scientists have “courage” in “thinking the unthinkable”, or perhaps delusional fantasy? The commander of the International Space Station tweeted that the lander was “poised to rewrite what we know about ourselves” (Report, 13 November). Will it really? I am frankly alarmed at such hyperbolic nonsense.
It seems to me that, as with Richard Branson’s narcissistic space-tourism project, the shades of Icarus and Ozymandias might give us pause. In The Advancement of Learning, Francis Bacon hoped that new inventions would be applied to relieving mankind’s misery and needs.
What a waste of intellectual, scientific and technological expertise this space thing is. Science has lost its purpose and its way, and all we can do is gawp at it.
• Not only is the Rosetta mission a superb scientific achievement, but its leading scientist, Jean-Pierre Bibring, has given us two comments worth bearing in mind for more mundane day-to-day living back on Earth (One giant heartstopper, 14 November). Referring to Philae’s present precarious position on the comet, he says: “What’s really impressive here is not the degree of failure but the degree of success,” and “We are running against the clock. Don’t put the emphasis on failure – it is gorgeous where we are.”
• A small step for mankind, and a very large step for the European community. No US help, no Russian help, just a combined effort by the 20 member states of the European Space Agency. What a symbol! United, we’re a force. Divided, we’re a bunch of petty, squabbling children. Let the word go out: a united Europe matters.
• “We are there … we are on the comet” (Report, 13 November), but we are also here, on the planet, where £1bn could have been so much better spent, combating climate change, so that the human race could continue to live here.
• The European Space Agency has spent £1bn to learn something about how we got here in the first place. Well, we are here, we’ve been here a while, and we have some pretty pressing problems. Over the past week, debate has taken place in your pages about the aetiology, treatment and reporting of serious mental disorder, and if nothing else has reflected the scandalous underfunding of research – especially the necessary interdisciplinary research – in this area. Right next to the story of the Philae lander, you report that the Treasury has gained a £1.1bn windfall from fines imposed on banks for rigging the foreign currency markets (Report, 13 November), but hasn’t decided how to spend it yet. I have a suggestion – and it ain’t rocket science.
Professor David C Sanders
• In your otherwise excellent account and photographs of the Philae landing, you failed to mention the comet’s size. I am forced to guess. The size of Wales? Half of Wales? Just a little bit of Wales? Wales and some more?
I have visited several youth prisons in Spain to explore models for urgently needed reforms in Britain (Tough love, Weekend, 8 November). Inside the prison gates in Spain, almost all the adults in sight are professionally qualified teachers, whose primary purpose is to prepare the children for crime-free adulthood, acceptance by their families and readmission to their local schools, preferably even before final discharge from custody.
What a contrast to Britain, with its under-trained and under-paid prison officers and misguided focus. The system here fails most young offenders as well as the wider community, with 73% being reconvicted within 12 months of discharge. In Spain it is a fraction of this.
Despite the examples of good and successful practice in many EU member states, I am ashamed to say that the Ministry of Justice and Youth Justice Board plan to build a giant, 600-place prison or “secure college” in the East Midlands, at which most of the children will be detained hundreds of miles from home. Do they never learn?
• Paul McDowell’s position as the chief inspector of probation is unsustainable (Grayling pledge over probation conflict of interest fears). His inspectorate is charged with assessing the performance of Sodexo in its new role of supervising thousands of offenders. He may send in inspectors other than himself to assess the performance of his wife’s company, but the final report on Sodexo is the chief inspector’s, just as when Nick Hardwick reports on a prison inspection. He cannot escape the charge of personal interest, whatever the outcome of a Sodexo inspection.
Grayling needs to be squeaky-clean at the outset of these fundamental changes in managing offenders; letting McDowell remain in post looks like an early own goal of his own making.
It was revealed in your newspaper (9 November) that some Jewish supporters were refusing to donate to party funds because of the party’s Israel-Palestine policy. As I understand it Labour’s policy is to support the continued existence of Israel and its right to defend itself, but to oppose the continued persecution of Palestinians in their own land, such as roads on which they are not allowed to travel, theft of their land and homes, and harassment by illegal settlers. If I understand that rightly, then I am more encouraged to vote Labour, even though we will have to struggle along without Maureen Lipman.
The religious financial donor who declares he does not want to “see Mr Miliband in Downing Street” illustrates the reason for supporting Miliband all the way. Miliband is a democrat, above price, and who should be sent to Downing Street by democrats and not donors. The religious donor who cannot accept the authority of a democratic party must consider joining the political party where power and authority, responsibility and justice, are bought and sold.
The story claiming that “Jewish donors and supporters” are “deserting” the Labour Party invokes a largely mythical British “Jewish community” supposedly united in lockstep support of any policy undertaken by the Israeli state. As a British Jew myself, I can assure you that – thankfully – no such uncritical endorsement exists of Israel’s illegal aggression in Palestine or its institutionalised racism to Arab-Israeli citizens. British Jewry is a diverse constituency ranging from ultra-Orthodox communities to secular leftists like myself, with a large middle ground whose interest in Israel is inevitably intense but whose attitudes predictably diverge widely.
Ellen E Jones should stop feeling guilty for being grammar-school educated (9 November): it was her parents’ decision and it is perfectly honourable to use educational advantage to better oneself. The important thing is how we use our advantage. Do we just perpetuate a system that benefits the few, or do we use our influence to improve the lot of the many?
It is a pity that DJ Taylor chose to take a cheap swipe at those who wish to remove religion from Remembrance Day, especially as he begins his piece describing a good and godless example of such an event (9 November).
The Service of Remembrance is an act of worship in the Christian tradition, little understood by, and alien to, most of the people who join together on a Sunday in November to remember friends, family and fallen comrades, and to give communal thanks for their sacrifice. The most meaningful and moving parts of the ceremony, the laying of the wreaths, the Last Post and the reading from Binyon’s “The Fallen”, are not religious at all. The “service” element of the occasion, I believe, does not serve the purpose of the day, but rather hinders it.
Todmorden, West Yorkshire
Rodric Braithwaite mentions “Margaret Thatcher and the Americans” encouraging Solidarity, but how could he possibly not mention the overt encouragement given by John-Paul II to Lech Walesa? (“The wall fell because of Gorbachev”, 9 November.) Without the influence exerted by John-Paul, Communism in Poland would not have fallen when it did and the Berlin Wall would have stood for a little longer.
Rev David Clemens
Saffron Walden, Essex
Matthew Engel’s Round England Quiz (9 November) held Shropshire the only county without a direct train service to London… news to Isle of Wight travellers I’m sure!
M L Hunter
The celebration of British beauty spots such as Lindisfarne must be balanced against the needs of country-dwellers (John Woodworth/Getty)
Preserving countryside in aspic is no help to us who live there
THE plan of Sir Simon Jenkins, the former chairman of the National Trust, for listing the countryside reveals his London-centric, urbanised view of our rural areas, a position shared by all too many of our influential town-dwellers and pseudo-country-dwellers (“PM ‘has wrecked beautiful Britain’”, News, last week).
The countryside is not a leisure facility for the benefit of towns and cities. People who live and work here also suffer from a lack of affordable housing, a problem partly caused by our urban compatriots wishing to move out of cities and now seeking to preserve our working and living space in aspic.
The countryside needs to respond to today’s needs. A small increase in homes in our villages would have an enormous impact on the nation’s housing supply, while contributing to the survival of rural communities and their much depleted services. I can only assume Jenkins bases his proposal on his experience with the National Trust — another lover of aspic.
GREEN AND PLEASANT LAND
It was very heartening to read Jenkins’s comments on the ruinous effect the government is having on the countryside. I do not see that those of us who value green spaces can vote for any of the main parties.
It can only be hoped that the coalition hears what he is saying. It should be made extremely difficult to build on greenfield sites, whether or not they are of exceptional beauty. Developers need to be restrained for the sake of future generations. We should be creating green areas, for air quality and all our wellbeing.
Countryside protection is at the heart of what we are doing to reform planning. Our nation is still largely countryside, often beautifully so. This is why we have safeguarded protections for the green belt in England, so it can continue to offer a strong defence against urban sprawl, as well as safeguarding national parks and other designated rural land.
And we have shifted power from Whitehall and the town hall to local people, so councils can determine through local plans where new homes should and shouldn’t go. We are proud to be building more homes but in a way that recognises the importance of protecting the environment.
Housing and Planning Minister
When the Brecon Beacons national park planning guidance note declares that the countryside is “a place with no potential to accommodate any level of growth”, we should be wary of heeding calls for any further restrictions on appropriate development of rural areas.
Stop dithering over grammar schools
LAST week the home secretary, Theresa May, an alleged aspirant for the Tory party leadership, issued a statement in support of more grammar school places. However, an aide quickly made clear that her support was limited to a satellite extension to a grammar school in her own constituency and was not of national application.
Boris Johnson, another leadership aspirant, has also made vague rumblings of support, but when invited by the National Grammar Schools Association (NGSA) to identify with a proposed campaign for a new grammar school in a London borough, his response was obfuscation and to wish the project every success.
The Conservative party’s volte-face on grammar schools under David Cameron has not been acceptable to many in parliament and the constituencies. Now that Ukip has made it an electoral issue, the support of these elements might prove crucial in any leadership contest. As a result, an early positional marker — even if equivocal — might be important.
Nigel Farage may be ahead of the game with his unequivocal support for selective education as a matter of parental choice and his demand for a grammar school in every town. The embargo on new grammar schools must be removed.
Robert McCartney, Chairman, NGSA; Professor Colin Lawson; Steve Backley; Nick Catlin; Samantha Murray; Chris Woodhead
Remembering fallen from the other side
IS IT not time to rethink how we remember the First World War (“Lest we forget, there’s a war memorial even finer than this field of poppies”, News, last week)? Should we not have compassion for the thousands of German soldiers — also sons, fathers and brothers — who were killed by our own? We honour our dead as heroes and forget that the people they killed also left grieving families.
The Irish ambassador Daniel Mulhall’s presence at the Cenotaph this year was very welcome: a timely and grown-up gesture of reconciliation as well as fitting remembrance of the huge numbers of Irishmen who served in the British armed forces.
Perhaps one day we will include those such as the Poles and other eastern Europeans. The subsequent integration into British society of those who survived and stayed on suggests that anxiety over European migration may be exaggerated.
Dame Denise Holt
Like Sheila Hutton, the nurse who discovered a Great War medal in a field (“‘Disillusioned’ soldier’s medal found”, News, last week), I found a 1914-15 Star medal in my garden. The inscription on the back of it is Gunner GH Lowe 774 RFA.
Internet searches unfortunately yielded only a copy of his medal index page showing that he received the Star, British and Victory medals and that he served in western France and was discharged on July 17, 1916.
Bramber, West Sussex
LESSONS OF HISTORY
I agree with the author Michael Morpurgo that every schoolchild in the UK should be given the opportunity to visit battlefields and museums in Belgium and France (“Let every school saddle up for a war course”, News Review, last week). His description of an exuberant school party becoming quietly absorbed in the task of seeking the grave of Private Peaceful at a cemetery near Ypres was heartening.
Sadly, however, on a battlefield tour earlier this year I witnessed a group of English schoolgirls, who were on a trip to a restored British trench, shouting, taking selfies and showing no respect to other visitors wishing to reflect quietly on the site of the deaths of our nation’s soldiers.
TO DINE FOR
My thanks to the Vogue editor, Alexandra Shulman, whose anger over the restaurant review of Spring (“Unpalatable criticism”, Letters, last week) by Camilla Long drew my attention to the critic’s tour-de-force dissection of the venue. I expect more letters will follow, but take no notice — indeed, long live Long. The most engaging of The Sunday Times’s scribes, she follows a proud and fearless tradition.
Women are not freely offered to businessmen in Hong Kong alone (“Drugs, drink and girls on tap in Asia’s Wild West”, Focus, last week). Once, my husband, my young son and I were at a booking desk in a family shopping area buying tickets for the hovercraft to Macau together with an overnight stay in a hotel. A brochure was pushed in front of us from which to choose a woman — or women — to visit us in our room that night. Our teenage son’s eyebrows shot up, but we declined.
COURT TIME IS MONEY
I sit in a magistrates’ court in London, and although cutting legal aid may appear to save money, it costs a great deal more in court time (“I cheered legal aid reform but now it can rob parents of their child”, Camilla Cavendish, Comment, last week). We are instructed to help an undefended defendant as much as possible, which takes time. We often have to wait while they consult the duty solicitor, and cases frequently have to be adjourned because the defendant has not had proper disclosure from the Crown Prosecution Service. When such factors are taken into account, I suspect these so-called cuts are actually costing rather than saving money.
SECOND AMONG EQUALS
Cavendish is right to state that the bluntest cuts in family law should be reversed. This is an equalities issue too. It is not impossible for a father to represent himself in most circumstances if his case is: “I want to see my kids.” It is different for the financially disempowered mothers, who are now expected to bring cases to court with technical, legal and practical challenges that can vex qualified lawyers. The so-far hidden statistics are the minimal costs to the public purse, as funding is only a loan, not a grant, and the fact that family lawyers settle 95% of these cases without a final hearing.
Anthony Gold Mediation
IN THE HOT SEAT
In assuming that the Muslim 5% of the population is more electorally significant for Ed Miliband than the less than 1% of Jewish voters, your correspondent Mike Newton overlooks the key fact that the vast majority of Muslims live in safe Labour seats (“Lipman misses her cue on Ed Miliband”, Letters, last week). As a result, of the 20 seats with the highest percentage of Muslims, only one is on Labour’s 106-seat “battleground” target list. Of the 20 with the highest Jewish percentage, five are on the list.
I am astonished that Mayer Hillman of the Policy Studies Institute (“Carbon date”, Letters, last week), or anybody else for that matter, can take seriously the warnings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that precautions to combat global warming need to be taken within 16 years. This is the blink of an eye in climate terms and the IPCC’s prognostications have proved in the past to be unreliable.
Your story “Top graduates to pour into failing schools” (News, last week) appears perversely to celebrate graduates with just six weeks’ experience. Imagine running the same article about, say, nurses, paramedics or electricians. Teaching is a skilled job. A recent BBC series showed how hard it is for new entrants, with many not lasting the course.
Professor David Oliver
When I joined the police service in 1972 my shirts all had detachable collars that I duly starched and ironed (India Knight, Comment, November 2). However, I cannot say I liked them. They made one’s neck sore and clearly the message was that the shirt itself was intended to be worn for more than just one day. Softer collars and a daily hygienic wash get my vote any day.
I never fail to be amazed that columnists such as Rod Liddle appear to believe that migration is a one-way process into Britain (“Sure, mate, if your beer mat sums say immigration is fab . . .”, Comment, last week). Where did the 1.5m Britons who live and work in other EU states come from? Where did the 5.5m British-born citizens who live worldwide come from? Are they the imaginings of yet another academic study by people who may have strange-sounding foreign names and don’t fit in with Liddle’s own particular paranoid inclinations?
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Corrections and clarifications
The vessel portrayed in the article “‘Negro’ discreetly cut from war headstone” (News, last week) is not the SS Tuscania that was torpedoed off Islay in February 1918, but its namesake, which was built in 1922 by the same owner, the Anchor Line. We apologise for the error.
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Peter Boizot, founder of PizzaExpress, 85; Frank Bruno, boxer, 53; Willie Carson, jockey, 72; Bonnie Greer, playwright, 66; Maggie Gyllenhaal, actress, 37; Diana Krall, jazz singer, 50; Griff Rhys Jones, comedian, 61; Paul Scholes, footballer, 40; Sir Magdi Yacoub, heart surgeon, 79; Waqar Younis, cricketer, 43
1857 24 Victoria Crosses are awarded at second relief of Lucknow, the most in one day; 1914 US Federal Reserve Bank opens; 1938 LSD is first synthesised by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann; 1979 Sir Anthony Blunt named as the “fourth man” in the Cambridge spy ring; 1988 Estonia defies Soviet Union by declaring sovereignty
as international matchmaking agency
Gatwick has restrictions on the number of planes that can fly at night, but noise pollution remains an issue in neighbouring areas Photo: Alamy
7:00AM GMT 15 Nov 2014
SIR – As a financial journalist, Jeremy Warner was right to give the strong monetary and political argument why a new runway at Heathrow will never be built.
But there are more compelling reasons why a third Heathrow runway is a non-starter. The existing noise and pollution problems are bad enough, and recent trials by the airport have shown that these can easily overspill into outlying areas.
Heathrow’s promise of “quieter planes” is pie in the sky. So is the eradication of night flights, which begin as early as four o’clock in the morning and disturb many thousands of people.
A new runway at Gatwick will affect fewer people and is the best political option for the major parties.
Laurie A Anders
SIR – Jeremy Warner’s article misses one very important consideration, which is what the airlines want.
No major airline has come out in support of the case for Gatwick expansion. Even easyJet, Gatwick’s major customer, has reserved its position on the case for Gatwick. Any decision taken without considering the views of these companies would be an unsound one.
Crawley, West Sussex
SIR – Jeremy Warner observes that Gatwick “fits… into the political zeitgeist – with its emphasis on encouraging competition, different business models, low-cost alternatives and keeping the bill for connecting transport infrastructure to manageable levels”.
How then does he account for our politicians’ devotion to HS2, which fails on all these counts?
SIR – Our Victorian great-great-grandfathers would never have wasted time patching up Heathrow. They would have gone for Boris Island with at least four major runways.
A British firm built Hong Kong International Airport in just two years. Surely we can do it here in four.
Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire
SIR – There has been much talk about the capacity of Britain’s airports, with rarely a word about the skies above them.
Those skies not only have to cope with traffic to and from Britain – there are also many civil and military aircraft which overfly the country. I have a radar picture, taken at five in the afternoon in August two years ago, which shows there were 8,245 aircraft flying over Europe at that moment.
I would welcome the views of those unsung heroes, the air traffic controllers. In my many years as an airline pilot, I have always held them in high regard.
Overseas aid choice
SIR – It is ludicrous to propose enshrining British overseas aid in law, or even to ring-fence the amount as a percentage of GDP (Letters, November 14). The sole criterion for providing aid should be whether it is in Britain’s vital interests to do so.
There should be no moral priority or charitable considerations to this expenditure of taxpayers’ money. Many national and international organisations, such as Oxfam, the Red Cross and Save the Children, are wholly and expressly structured for providing aid funded by voluntary contributions – and the British people devote significant amounts of their own (taxed) income to such causes.
It is unacceptable for the taxpayer to be forced to fund aid other than that which is deemed to be essential to Britain’s defence, home security, diplomacy and trade.
Photo: David Rose/The Telegraph
SIR – I have spoken directly to a worker in the office distributing poppies who said that stems will be included with the ceramic heads (Letters, November 14); but not necessarily the stems seen at the Tower of London.
East Guildford, Surrey
SIR – I donated £25 for a poppy from the Tower of London, knowing the money was going to help our servicemen and women of today, and at the same time recognising the sacrifice those of earlier generations made during the First World War.
Those who feel hard done by because a different stem may be sent with their poppies should be ashamed of themselves. The display of poppies at the Tower of London was a huge tribute to the almost 900,000 servicemen and women who died and I doubt whether anyone who visited the display failed to be moved to tears. When my poppy arrives, it will still be treasured.
Waste in space
SIR – While I admire the scientists working on the Philae lander, could we not have spent the £1.1 billion more wisely?
SIR – I admire the success of the Rosetta space mission thus far, which illustrates the high level of engineering ability throughout many European nations. To maintain contact and control of the craft and module over a distance of 300 million miles is an amazing achievement.
Some years ago while travelling by hydrofoil across the Mediterranean, my tour guide received a mobile phone call. All around was sea – no visible land at all on the horizon in any direction. If I am approximately 10 miles north of my house I am out of mobile phone contact.
M G Watkins
SIR – What has caused the outbreak of clapping that seems to be sweeping the country? People now clap at funerals, during one-minute silences, when a golfer holes a putt for a triple bogey, and when they answer successfully a question on a television quiz show.
Last week, for the first time, I noticed contestants on University Challenge clapping themselves, and applause even broke out at the Remembrance service at the Cenotaph.
What lies ahead for the residents of Brookfield?
Felicity Finch (Ruth Archer) and Tim Bentinck (David Archer) (BBC)
SIR – What are they doing to The Archers? I’ve put up with a lot of the recent storylines, but the final straw must be the selling of Brookfield and the move to Northumberland.
It simply would not happen. The owners of a family farm, which has been in the family for generations, would find a way to manage the building of a new road.
It’s fanciful to think a whole family would uproot to be near a mother with failing health. Common sense says she would move to be near them.
I, for one, will not be listening to The Archers if David, Ruth and Jill leave Brookfield. I suspect I will be joined by other loyal fans.
SIR – Dame Jenni Murray, the Radio 4 broadcaster, need not worry. I suspect that there’s about as much chance of the Archer family leaving Brookfield as the pickled remains of Darrell Makepeace being unearthed in the Grundys’ cider shed.
Ambridge’s only homeless person is yet another character to have disappeared off the radar – or, more accurately, the radio.
SIR – I am thoroughly enjoying the new quicker-paced Archers. It is keeping me alert and the ironing is done faster.
In a past life, my husband and I ran a village pub and, believe me, what country life appeared to be on the surface belied what lay beneath.
So cheerio to Ruth, David and the children, and hello to a new era with fewer Archers.
Though Jill will really have to stay.
Camps and woodcraft still prevail in the Scouts
Scout’s honour: a Belizean stamp honours the movement’s founder, Lord Baden-Powell (Alamy)
SIR – I have no doubt that badges such as public relations, circus skills and IT are becoming popular with the current generation of Scouts, but I do doubt whether they are more popular than badges for more adventurous pursuits such as camping and hiking.
Furthermore, community service has always been at the heart of scouting. It is true that leaders need to be more versatile now than at any time in the movement’s 107-year history, but it is the traditional activities for which most young people join scouting, and skills such as knot-tying have many applications.
Adult Leaders in my Scout county continually ask for more training in the practical skills such as camping, woodcraft and survival because they know that these teach young people how to be resourceful, self-reliant and to show initiative.
Christopher C Dean
Deputy County Commissioner,
Greater London South West Scouts
SIR – Nicola Fifield is right to point out the disgraceful underpayment of London’s dancers, which is an issue that affects the vast majority of performers in the capital.
However, it is wrong to compare this with the wages of box-office staff, who do a completely different, yet important, job.
The chronic problem of low pay is best solved by tackling the employers and the industry itself, rather than pitting different sets of workers against each other.
Daniel de la Motte-Harrison
Young Vic, London SE1
Hidden calorie content
SIR – There seems little point to food labelling when retailers can use it to mislead the buyer.
I recently purchased a “snack size” packet of fruit and nuts, with the nutritional information clearly stated on the label. However, on closer inspection, the statement “A typical 25g serving contains” was barely discernible in small dark letters. The pack weighed 60g. So my “snack” contained not the 107 calories most prominently stated, but closer to 260 calories.
Attitude to engineering
SIR – Margaret Stamper has my sympathy over the failure of fellow professionals to recognise her husband’s engineering qualifications (Letters, November 13).
As a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, I was once told by an eminent doctor during a medical examination that a “career of heavy lifting” had probably contributed to my medical condition.
Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales
SIR – It would appear that the Telegraph has yet another use: that of international matchmaking agency.
Following a letter I had published on September 18, a charming gentleman contacted me as he had enjoyed my sense of humour. We arranged a rendezvous near where I live in Brittany and this retired group RAF captain, my husband and I are now good friends.
So thank you for that.
Beganne, Morbihan, France
Madam – So, Bob Geldof is re-running the Band Aid single, Do They Know It’s Christmas?
Did you know that the combined wealth of the new generation of Band Aid singers is circa €3bn? More interestingly, the combined wealth of the original Band Aid singers is fast approaching €20bn.
No doubt Bob would say that personal wealth isn’t the issue.
But it is, Bob, it certainly is.
What we need today is a firebrand public figure, to rally a call to confront the astonishing and fundamentally immoral, world-wide wealth gap, between the desperately poor and the complacent rich.
I have no doubt that bored pop singers feel good when they ask others to throw a few coins at starving and desperate Africans. But that approach was seen to be an abject failure 30 years ago.
So, come on Bob, it’s time to twist Bono’s arm for a three hundred million euro donation. Get Sting and David Bowie to hand over five hundred million.
You know they will still have more money than they could ever spend after your finished with them. After all, it’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid of putting your vast wealth where your mouth is.
A choral treat in store tonight
Madam – This very evening at 6.30 in the magnificent Titantic Building in Belfast, the final of the School Choir of the Year Competition will take place.
Watching this competition on the last few Sunday evenings on RTE has been an absolute joy.
The talent of all the choirs performing has been wonderful and of a very high standard. And the short introductory films of school life by the pupils themselves before each performance, brought tears to my eyes, as such a school life is alien to what I experienced back in the 1960s. I do not recall one happy day of my long school life.
So, to today’s generation I say enjoy your school life and be happy. For be assured, from the evidence of your own excellent film-making, all aspects of school life have improved beyond my expectations, and for the better.
Having such wonderful memories of last year’s competition, I can guarantee a real treat of music and song for all who tune in this evening. I wish all the finalists the very best.
Brian Mc Devitt,
Glenties, Co Donegal
Madam – The ghastly scenes that rounded off the latest series of Love/Hate shocked even the most hardened fans.
But I wonder how many viewers actually make the link between the images of violence, terror, and intimidation that characterised the series and the reality of gangland that confronts our society?
Fair enough, it’s fiction, and the primary aim is to entertain. But watching it I couldn’t help but think of the heartache, trauma, and human misery that criminals are wreaking on already hard pressed communities nationwide.
What I liked about the drama was that the characters that many viewers sneakingly admired have now been shown up as evil predators.
And who would seriously want to end up with either a long prison stretch or summary “execution” at the hands of rival or fellow hoodlums?
So, next time anyone has information that might help the fight against organised crime, let’s think of that stomach-churning Love/Hate finale, and tip off the gardai.
John Fitzgerald, Callan, Co Kilkenny
Enda’s big risk over water costs
Madam – What does it take to get Enda to realize that water charges are a loser? Is he willing to decimate his party in trying to force this charge on us? When members of his own party are in open dispute and some have already jumped ship what does it take to make him see the light.
When 150,000 protesters take peacefully to the towns of Ireland to protest this unfair charge why can he not listen? Will he be prepared to jail those who will not pay this charge as has been done to some of those who have not paid their television license fee? If so they had better start building a lot of new jails fast.
The Labour party for some reason has carried on as if this is none of their business. They are very wrong and will be wiped out as the Green Party was.
Killarney, Co Kerry
Memories of the well and barrel
Madam – With all the debate at the moment on water charges, it gets me thinking back to days when we had no running water.
I remember my dad making a large splash each morning as he ducked himself in the barrel of rainwater that stood under a down pipe at the back of our house. Indeed I can still recall him breaking the ice in the barrel on frosty mornings.
Ice baths are used now by many sports teams to refresh and invigorate the members, so my dad must have been a pioneer in that regard. Indeed there was a barrel at every neighbours’ house to catch the precious rainwater which was lead, copper, iron, manganese and ecoli-free.
Boiled, it was perfect for a cup of tea or cooking vegetables, though we mostly used the water from the local well for those purposes. The only treatment the well got was a yearly dose of lime.
Today we are going to have to pay for our water, and some of it isn’t even fit to drink.
Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo
Water chaos will hit business
Madam – It is estimated that almost half the water that runs through our mains is lost in leaks spread across the entire network. The mammoth task to trace and repair is certain to cause chaos throughout the country. Yet Irish Water has provided neither a programme nor a method statement to show how it proposes to carry out these works.
For businesses these works can cause a loss of valuable income. It is generally accepted that the best time to carry out large disruptive infrastructural works is during times of economic buoyancy, something we are certainly not experiencing at present.
Dunleer, Co Louth
Broadford is up to the challenge
Madam – Last Sunday’s story of emigration and separation in Broadford, Co. Clare, is entirely true but it only represents half of the truth of Broadford.
It is also a home of spirited people, a community that has always refused to lie down, that in recent years has fought, successfully, to retain its post office, has rejuvenated its handball club after years of decline and whose hurling club continues to develop its underage structures. This year it won its first underage title at “A” grade.
The purpose of this letter is not to claim credit for any government for the community’s triumphs. None is due. It is merely to dispel the image of Broadford as a community of passive victims of the recession from which we may now be finally emerging. The people of Broadford are, and have always been, ever prepared to meet any challenge (on or off a pitch), including, but not only, the challenge of going abroad for a period to work.
Michael McNamara, TD,
Scariff, Co Clare
Trichet letter was a blunt threat
Madam – After reading the letter sent by the former President of the ECB, Jean-Claude Trichet, to the late Brian Lenihan, I am of the view it wasn’t a request, but a threatening demand by the bullyboys of Europe.
I am under no illusion as to what caused this country to end up in financial disaster. However, that doesn’t excuse the outrageous threatening behaviour of the ECB which enrages me, especially now knowing Mr Lenihan was under tremendous strain both physically and mentally on account of his serious illness which eventually led to his demise, Lord rest him.
The onus is now upon this government to secure a huge write-down of our massive debt, and immediately separate sovereign and private debt.
Killucan, Co Westmeath
We should take ECB to court
Madam – The ‘secret letter’ of the ECB’s Jean Claude Trichet written to Brian Lenihan, now needs to be brought to the European Court of Human Rights and entered on behalf of the Irish people as a ‘crime against humanity’.
Irish citizens were asked to pay an unfair and unjust price for the recklessness of both an Irish and a European private sector ‘problem’ which has resulted in the enforced emigration of an entire generation of young Irish people and six years of austerity.
It was clearly the political framing of this financial crisis through a combination of oppressive responses – the secret letter from the ECB, the political ambitions of the German Chancellor and the G8 leaders at the time – as being exclusively Irish and exclusively due to Irish government fiscal policies, that makes this an issue of human rights and moral rights for the Irish people.
Geraldine Mooney Simmie,
Faculty of Education & Health Sciences,
University of Limerick
Martin never ever forgot small defeat
Madam – I am a past pupil of St Patricks NS, from the north side of Cork city, who crossed over the bridge to the South Side to complete my secondary education in Colaiste Chriost Ri back in the day.
Chriost Ri had many talented footballers and hurlers who went on to play with Cork down through the years but none more so than the group who competed from 1968 – 1970. In the football final in 1970 they were up against huge favourites St Malachy’s of Belfast who had current Irish manager, Martin O’ Neill, in their ranks. Malachy’s led all the way right up to the final minutes, but Chriost Ri hung on and never let them get too far ahead.
Near the finish, famous Cork dual player, Martin Doherty, hit a long clearance up the field and the hero of the hour, Noel Miller, blasted it to the net to put Chriost Ri ahead. The ball was kicked out and the referee blew the final whistle. To say the Malachy’s players were distraught is an understatement.
I was at a dinner some years ago where the speaker was none other than Martin O Neill who won two European Cups with Nottingham Forest, was capped 64 times for Northern Ireland and managed, among others, Celtic. He was asked what was his greatest disappointment over his career to date. Without hesitation he recalled that game against Chriost Ri in Croke Park over 45 years ago. He could still remember the tears and disbelief, still hurting, wondering how they ever lost that game.
Co-president and founder of Mayfield Utd, Cork
Is modern Ireland anti-Catholic?
Madam – We must be grateful to the Sunday Independent (9 November) for uncovering the apparently countrywide targeting of Catholics in universities because they are against homosexual practises and pro-life in all respects. So much for modern Irish culture.
Quinn, Co Clare
Anti-Catholic bias is “conjecture”
Madam – The article last week on “Catholic fear and loathing in our universities” is wholly based in conjecture. There is no evidence of any campaign to marginalise third level students who are informed by their Catholic faith. This is an attempt to attribute the cause of the decline of participation of religious students on secularism, rather than recognising that general disillusionment is caused by clerical sex abuse scandals.
SF emboldened by poll results
Madam – Your front page story (Sunday Independent, 9 November) that Mary Lou McDonald was defending Gerry Adams’s sick joke may have surprised some – but I’d ask why?
Maybe the fact that Sinn Fein/IRA have risen a few points in a poll, makes them more confident to admit things they previously would have remained silent on. I wonder if they jump another point or two in the next poll, will Gerry Adams suddenly remember he was in the IRA.
We have short memories of past
Madam – I had to put in writing my disgust at the way Gerry Adams can so flippantly mention guns, threats and newspaper personnel in the one sentence.
Independent Newspapers lost two quality reporters in shocking atrocities and there was not a mention of this in his speech. We must make sure that his likes do not get into a real position of power and lessen our international standing, and we must do it for all those who lost loved ones too.
We seem to have short memories about some of the things that happened in our country not so long ago. And must we be forever grateful for the “peace process.” It’s the least we might have expected after 30 years that destroyed a generation.
I also must praise Eilis O’Hanlon for her outstanding and quality articles of late in your newspaper.
Kilcoole, Co Wicklow
Where are young women of SF?
Sir-It was shocking to read the disgusting contents of Gerry Adams’s twitter account chronicled by Eilis O’Hanlon in last week’s Sunday Independent.
It would be a matter of shame for any normal decent father or grandfather to be involved in such salacious material which is insulting to women, particularly those who suffered abuse.
It is disturbing, however, that the article elicited so little reaction from those who are always ready to pounce on any deviation from political correctness around women.
It also tells us a lot about the so-called young educated women of Sinn Fein who appear to acquiesce in all of this.
Monkstown, Co Dublin
Warning on rise of Sinn Fein
Madam – Over the past months the Sunday Independent has been very critical of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his Government.
Some of it is justified. Enda Kenny himself has admitted mistakes were made. Other criticisms were unwarranted and little credit was given to the government’s achievements.
At no time has Enda Kenny threatened the staff of the Independent or suggested that your printing equipment be smashed up. Whatever your views on Enda Kenny one thing cannot be disputed – he is a democrat and believes in the freedom of the press.
I am concerned at the startling similarities between Sinn Fein and the rise of the Nazi party. Both started as a small insignificant party and used the economic situation in their respective countries to gain support. Both used their private armies of thugs and bully boys to stifle opposition and the Nazis did indeed smash up printing presses of newspapers that were critical of their actions.
Sinn Fein claim to be the heirs of the men and women of the 1916 Easter Rising. Nothing could be further from the truth. Think about them beating children, the fate of Jean McConville and the treatment of Mairia Cahill.
I warn my fellow citizens that if you want a future that your children and grand children can look forward to with confidence, we need a stable government with prudent economic policies and, most importantly, freedom to express our opinions, then you must ensure that Sinn Fein does not get its hands on the levers of Government.
Sutton, Dublin 13