Letters: In Brief

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Without wishing in any way to detract from the Scots' proper sense of national pride in the former magnificence of St Andrew's Cathedral, ("The largest church in Britain may rise again", 17 August), to describe it at 355ft in length as "Europe's biggest church after St Peter's in Rome" overlooks Cluny. Cluny III measured 187.31 metres or more than 600ft in length from 1228 until its demolition commenced in 1798.

John Webb, Bath

Sir: Since Professor Leech is fatalistic about Americanisms invading the English language ("We're gonna havta go with the flow - official", 13 August) and is quite prepared to throw grammar out of the window, I, for one, believe he ought to be shot. He may not like the idea, but I shall look forward to it. Should he protest - as I think he will - "Needs must" is my answer. And boy, I'm gonna shoot straight.

Monty Berchten, Garston-Watford, Hertfordshire

Sir: Tom Lake, who does not believe Italians are good at taxation (letter, 16 August), pokes fun at the new Commission's Italian President, Romano Prodi, for proposing "a compatriot" as Taxation Commissioner. More serious observers will know that the new Taxation Commissioner is in fact a Dutchman, Frits Bolkenstein, and that the other Italian Commissioner, Mario Monti, who was responsible for taxation in the previous Commission, will now be taking on the key portfolio of competition. Such, I fear, is the grasp on reality of many Eurosceptics.

David Wyllie, Brussels

Sir: I am relieved to learn of the release in Liberia of the abducted aid workers, including my friend, midwife Sara Nam (report, 14 August). To ignore the part our own "developed" countries play in these unstable regions would be to betray her ideals. Global economic systems help enslave entire populations in poverty. Add exported Western arms, a weak, underfunded and under-supported UN, and there is a dangerous mix. Today's children, if they survive at all, easily become tomorrow's disaffected rebels and kidnappers.

Dr Marko Kerac, Central Middlesex Hospital

London NW10