IoS letters, emails & online postings (17 January 2010)

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When Lady Ashton, newly appointed EU First High Representative for Foreign Affairs, was "grilled" in the House of Commons last week, she was asked, as a former treasurer for CND, whether she still supported unilateral nuclear disarmament by the UK. I was shocked by the dismissive and disparaging way in which she replied that she had had no connection with CND for 29 years, as if those who continue to support this cause are either simple-minded innocents or traitorous outcasts. If only those "innocents" who marched to Aldermaston in 1958 had been listened to in the first place, the world nuclear scene might not be what it is today. However, it is hoped Lady Ashton does support multilateral nuclear disarmament, and, if involved in the important 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference taking place in New York from 3 to 28 May, she will give full support to any measures for the reduction of nuclear weapons worldwide and for the safe storage of nuclear materials. In doing so she would be helping to start the process of President Obama's dream of a nuclear-free world.

Eileen E Brown

Wallasey, Merseyside

As a retired lecturer in social policy, I was apoplectic to read that sick people who have been given industrial injuries disablement benefit (IIDB) find themselves little better off, no better off, or even worse off ("Dying workers robbed of life and of their compensation", 10 January). IIDB should be disregarded when assessing the means-tested benefits that older people may receive. Pension credit, council tax benefit and so on would be paid as before. The recipients of IIDB would then all genuinely benefit from the payment, as they were surely intended to do.

The Department for Work and Pensions should commission a cost-benefit analysis to determine just how much money is being saved by the current inhuman situation. My hunch would be that, overall, the amounts are trivial. Not trivial, though, is the physical and mental cruelty inflicted on mesothelioma sufferers and others by the present ludicrous rules.

Lorraine M Harding

Steeton, Near Keighley, West Yorkshire

Joanna Moorhead rightly chastises obsessed parents for whom children are "an extension of their own success" in her article on pushy parents ("Want your children to get on?...", 10 January). Yet she regales us with examples of her own life where her darlings play the piano and paint beautifully, as a result of her example as she pursued her connection with a surrealist artist. This liberal middle-class idyll where your children breeze into university by sheer force of the good example that you set is not reality for most people. I fear the point she may have been trying to make, that there are limits to your capacity to influence your children and a point beyond which any effort is counterproductive, was lost.

Richard Gillingham

via email

By Thursday night the world had raised £200m in relief aid for Haiti. A day or two earlier we had learnt that the world's bankers were going to share out £60bn in bonuses. One British banker's bonus was to be £6m, the same figure as Britain's contribution to Haiti relief.

How can things be so out of balance? The Government, media and people should unite in shaming the arrogance and greed out of these people and force them to donate the great majority of their undeserved and unneeded riches to those truly in need.

Peter Milner

Welshpool, Montgomeryshire

I am surprised that none of the three people who got rid of all their worldly possessions considered giving their possessions to more needy people (The New Review, 10 January). This act is eco-friendly, good for the soul and charitable.

Kartar Uppal

West Bromwich, West Midlands

Griff Rhys Jones has not been replaced as the presenter of the BBC series Restoration ("Restoration saved..." 10 January), a series which has not been on air since 2006. Endemol's new series is about people buying and renovating listed buildings to live in, working title Restoration Homes. Griff continues to be a highly respected and popular presenter of BBC programmes.

Jo Ball

Commissioning Editor, BBC Vision

London W12

Rocket science is easy ("Why the Met Office got it wrong – again", 10 January). China has understood the science for a millennium and Newton explained it to the West. It is rocket technology that is difficult.


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