IoS Letters, emails & online postings (27 September 2009)

Share
Related Topics

Phil Bloomer of Oxfam is right to concentrate on the effects of the recession on the world's poorest ("No green shoots for poor countries", 20 September). He is especially right to endorse French President Nicolas Sarkozy's proposal for a special tax on currency transactions.

Ever since the ending of the US dollar's convertibility to gold in 1971, and the break-up of the Bretton Woods system of fixed currencies, global currency markets have been free to buy and sell national currencies without hindrance. The threat of their currency being either overvalued or undervalued, has meant that governments have not been able to run deficits (with the exception of the United States) to finance spending on education and health. Currency markets have been effectively able to dictate economic and social policy to entire countries.

If the Tobin tax can discourage such currency speculation, it would free countries to spend once again more on their social and economic development.

Shouvik Datta

Orpington, Kent

A tax on currency transactions designed to raise $30-50bn would be fortunate to raise $3-5bn per annum: banks would find ways round it. There is a much larger pot of money available to poor countries much closer to home. The African Union has calculated that $150bn drains out of the continent every year through corruption. If African governments started to implement policies on good governance while cracking down on corruption, progress in reducing poverty on the continent would be colossal.

William Reid

just1world

High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

The president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is from an area historically Zaidi ("The land with more guns than people", 20 September). Zaidism is a very early form of Shiism – completely distinct from the branch of Shiism known as Twelver, of Iran and Iraq. It is legally close to Sunnism but philosophically and intellectually open to debate in a manner inadmissible in Saudi Sunni Wahhabism.

As a military autocrat and not a religious figure, Saleh and his Congress party built power in an alliance with the late Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar, head of the Hashid confederation, and his Islah party closely tied to Saudi Arabia. Thus, it is false to portray the conflict as Sunni versus Shia.

Furthermore, Hashed and Bakil are not "tribes" but confederations of tribes of a contractual and political nature. And "khat" ( Catha edulis) is not a narcotic; it is an amphetamine with mild hallucinogenic qualities, and not on the international list of narcotics.

These are important distinctions to make in reporting on the tragedy unfolding in North Yemen.

Martha Mundy

Professor of Anthropology London School of Economics

London WC2

Whilst as you rightly claim the Liberal Democrats have long been by far the most sincerely green of the main parties ("Lib Dems: Credit where it's due", 20 September), they so far lack substantive policies to fund vital technological research. If they are to enter the election on a mandate of ushering in a truly green technological revolution, they must recognise that this revolution has to be primarily led by government. If they make the error of over-relying on venture capital, they are merely picking up litter and insulating lofts.

Bill Haymes

Coventry

Janet Street-Porter's report that the Tories would close BBC4 raises great concerns ("A slimmer Auntie would be even more attractive", 20 September). This channel is a shining light in bringing us intelligent programmes instead of the puerile dross shown on many of the mainstream channels. Surely the content on BBC4 is exactly what the BBC charter calls for.

Mike Cornick

Caldicot, Monmouthshire

Nicholas Taleb did not coin the term "black swan" (Interview, 20 September). It was the Roman poet Juvenal (around AD100) who came up with the term: "rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cycno" – "a rare bird anywhere and very similar to a black swan" (Satire 6, line 165). He was writing about the likelihood of finding a perfect wife.

Terry Walsh

Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

Have your say

Letters to the Editor, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF; email: sundayletters@independent.co.uk (with address; no attachments, please); fax: 020-7005 2627; online: independent.co.uk/dayinapage/2009/September/27

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

CRM Developer (MS Dynamics 2011/2013, JavaScript)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: CRM MS Dynamic...

IT Teacher

£22000 - £33000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: ICT TeacherLeedsRandstad ...

Graduate C#.NET Developer (TDD, ASP.NET, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Graduate C#.NET Developer (TDD, ASP.NET, SQL) Su...

Junior SQL DBA (SQL Server 2012, T-SQL, SSIS) London - Finance

£30000 - £33000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior SQL DBA...

Day In a Page

Read Next
On alert: Security cordons around Cardiff Castle ahead of this week’s Nato summit  

Ukraine crisis: Nato is at a crossroads. Where does it go from here?

Richard Shirreff
Mary Beard has helped her troll get a job - and a new start in life  

Mary Beard's troll-taming is a lesson for us all

Katy Guest
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution