In Brief

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Sir: Peter Sayers (letter, 20 April) assumes that the National Lottery was designed with common sense. More people winning smaller sums - enough to pay a bill or settle a debt - would, indeed, be socially useful. Unfortunately, the purpose of the lottery is the age-old one of providing a route to affluence for a very few. Whilst this chance exists, poorer people can be soothed by it, while society remains unchanged.


Cropton, North Yorkshire

Sir: Alan J Page (letter, 20 April) says it should be an offence to prescribe the Pill to girls under the age of 16. If Mr Page believes that being refused the Pill will dissuade a girl from having under-age sex, he is naive. The law has little or no influence against the force of peer pressure and the desire to appear adult. Cigarettes and alcohol are illegal to sell to under-age people because they cause physical harm. The Pill is legal because it is a force for good: namely the prevention of unwanted pregnancies.


Godalming, Surrey

Sir: Your review of Bella Bathurst's book The Lighthouse Stevensons (17 April) states that the line ended with Thomas's son, the writer Robert Louis Stevenson. This may be where the book ends, but another two generations served the Northern Lights: RLS's cousins David A and Charles, the sons of Thomas's brother David, were succeeded by D Alan, the son of Charles. (See A Star for Seamen by Craig Mair, John Murray, 1978). No wonder RLS was proud of his family's achievements.


London SW4