Can we please have an answer over Heathrow and Gatwick?

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The Independent Online

Can we please have a definitive answer from the Prime Minister, and not allow Gatwick to blight us for years to come by suggesting potential expansion in 10 or 20 years’ time

Gatwick simply is not the answer, and never has been since it was the fog alternative for Heathrow. It should have remained a racecourse – it would have provided fun rather than the blight that it has on everyone that lives in a 30-mile radius now.

Ted Heath got it wrong: he should have built Maplin Airport (Boris Island) when he had the chance as none of this would have been necessary.

Sally Pavey

West Sussex


Some good news, please

With the arrival of child migrants to join their settled families in the UK it would be nice to hear some good news on how having settled the host families can accommodate and support their relatives without further recourse to public funds. I’m sure many readers would love to hear a positive story of asylum seekers and how having been granted leave to remain they have developed new lives where they make a net positive contribution to the economy of the UK.

Nigel Jones



Grammar school preparation for all missed the point

I understand what Janet Murray is saying about preparing all pupils in primary schools for the 11-plus, to create an even playing field rather than only those who can be tutored getting in. However, this misses the point. Grammar schools are divisive in communities and in families. Friends are separated and children in a family can end up going to different schools with those who don't pass an exam feeling like failures. I would never send my children to grammar schools on principle. Whether children succeed at school is often a matter of confidence and belief that they can. Putting kids in the school for the grammar school “failures” is not likely to foster these attributes.

Nicki Bartlett



‘A’ woman

Hannah Fearn makes an interesting and persuasive argument about latent misogyny. But then she slips up by concluding that “Hillary's biggest handicap ... her being a female”. Oh no, drop the 'a', she is female and has a set of other characteristics all her own.

Adding the “a” suggests that there are some special characteristics in addition to gender that define females, and it often causes offence. Probably from common usage as a way of implying some form of inferiority to the speaker, and I am sure Hannah Fearn didn't intend that.

Geoff Richardson



Questions remain on Brexit

We may have voted narrowly to leave the EU, but we were given a binary choice without specifics, so before the nuclear button – Article 50 – is pushed one key question needs to be asked of the British people to clarify the referendum result: do we want the maximum possible access to EU markets for our goods, services and people at the expense of immigration controls, or is controlling legal immigration from the EU paramount?

John Cameron

St Andrews


As a casual observer in Australia, I am bemused by the reaction to the Brexit vote. The result can only have one of two consequences.

The UK will suffer serious economic loss both in the short and long term. This would have the effect of causing other nations to seriously think twice about going down the same path and thus creating a stronger and more united European Union.

The UK will survive the vote and come out of it a much stronger nation. This would cause other nations with similar intentions to follow the same route and which could cause the total demise of the EU itself.

Judging by the comments of German, French and other EU officials, it is plainly clear that they are all totally convinced by the second option will be the result but are doing everything they can to cause the first outcome.

The only way this will happen is if the people of the UK do not believe in themselves and the future of their nation and allow such comments to influence the situation. Britain has faced greater potential catastrophes in the past but has stuck together and got through them. I am sure they will do so again.  

Derek Smith



The Haitian people need more support

Although I am extremely grateful for your article highlighting aid recently delivered from to those suffering in Haiti (17 October), I need to clarify that this was very much a team effort. The article seemed to imply that all of the aid was a personal donation. The truth is that there were many UN agencies and NGOs involved in supplying the aid – all members of the International Humanitarian City in Dubai founded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum. As he has on many occasions in the past, His Highness provided his personal aircraft and final delivery of these goods.

The International Humanitarian City (IHC) is one of a number of United Nations Humanitarian Response Depots (UNHRD), all of which house and assist UN agencies, NGOs and companies involved in providing aid. The IHC coordinates and facilitates the delivery of aid.  The IHC and its UN and NGO members share a common goal – to mobilise relief quickly and help those who need it the most.

The Haitian people urgently need help and support. With a team effort by the UN, NGOs, the IHC and His Highness, we have made a contribution. There must be many more from all over the globe. 

Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, Chairman, International Humanitarian City