IoS letters, emails & online postings (14 February 2010)

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Your front page on the fossil fuel money funding the climate sceptics implied that ExxonMobil are the main culprits. While there is plenty of evidence to support that view, there is another side to the story. In 2006, for the first time in its long and distinguished history, the Royal Society took the unprecedented step of asking a corporation to change its behaviour; specifically to stop funding "organisations that have been misinforming the public about the science of climate change". The corporation, ExxonMobil, agreed to its request. ExxonMobil promised to stop funding climate sceptics again in 2007, and in 2008, and again in 2009. I'm sure that, if asked, it would yet again promise to stop funding sceptics. The teething troubles they seem to be having in implementing this new policy should not be allowed to cast any doubt on the sincerity of their public statements.

Robin Oakley

Head of Climate, Greenpeace UK

London N1

The usual reaction of big business under threat is to sue. ExxonMobil has repeatedly been accused of trying to undermine climate science, for example in George Monbiot's book, Heat, and in Climate Cover-up by Hoggan and Littlemore, yet it has never sued, as far as I know. Is this an admission of guilt?

Roger Plenty

Stroud, Gloucestershire

Cadbury is sold to the Americans, the Port of Dover to the French (probably), and now we hear the £6bn search-and-rescue helicopter (SAR-H) PFI contract is to go to the Soteria Consortium, the preferred bidder of this private finance initiative, which has Royal Bank of Scotland as its only British member. It seems we can't give away the family silver fast enough.

Defence minister Quentin Davies sounded positively flippant when he said last week: "A smaller number of helicopters will do the trick." Deeply reassuring – if you're hanging off a cliff-edge by your fingertips. The new Sikorskys may be faster than the old workhorse Sea Kings, but the "smaller" figure Mr Davies refers to is just over half the number of all SAR helicopters now run by the RAF, Navy, and Maritime and Coastguard Agency – that's from 40 down to 24.

In losing SAR, the RAF will also lose a big part of its public visibility (and there's been talk of axing the Red Arrows). What a nifty political by-product of the deal – laying the groundwork for a reduced air force so, a few years down the line, we won't notice so much when our RAF gently morphs into the European Air Force, UK Arm.

R Henry

Stanford, Lincolnshire

Commander Ali Dizaei has received four years in jail for abuse of public office and perverting the course of justice. Previous Met chiefs had appeased this man because of his position as president of the National Black Police Association (NBPA). Now is the appropriate time to disband the NBPA and the Muslim Police Association, which are divisive, not inclusive.

Clark Cross

Linlithgow, Lothian

Tony Paterson, in his article about Roman Polanski, tells us that "Even his former victim" has made an attempt to allow Polanski to be tried in absentia ("Polanski misses Berlin accolade...", 7 February). I'm familiar with the over-used phrases "former girlfriend" and "former mistress", but in what sense is this woman a "former victim"? Does the fact that Polanski has paid her $500,000 in settlement mean that she is no longer a victim of the rape that he admitted inflicting on her when she was 13 years old?

Dee Quinn


You quote a bond analyst as saying of the credit crunch in Greece, "Democracy began in Greece and the welfare state will end here" ("Stock markets declare war on the politicians", 7 February). Wasn't it greedy, bonus-fuelled bond analysts and traders who created the global economic crisis in the first place? Why should the neediest suffer?

Christopher Clayton


After all this child protection hoo-haa, wait until the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 comes to the fore. Section 59 states ("McKellen speaks out against vetting scheme", 7 February): "A person is a vulnerable adult if he has attained the age of 18 and... he receives any form of health care. Health care includes treatment, therapy or palliative care of any description." To my mind that includes almost everyone.


posted online

Well done, Emily Dugan! The glimpse she provided from behind the scenes at the Big Brother auditions was priceless ("The exhibitionists' exhibitionists" 7 February). That these people should put themselves through all that, be rejected, then queue up for a second go beggars belief. Emily captures the humour and the desperation in equal measure.

Belinda Fox

Arundel, West Sussex

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