IoS letters, emails & online postings (28 March 2010)

Share
Related Topics

It is shocking that more than 50,000 people in Britain each year are dying prematurely due to air pollution ("Britain. A breath of foul air", 21 March). You point out that one of the main causes is car pollution. One way to reduce premature deaths would be to reduce the absurd distances that people travel to work. The RAC Foundation reported in 2003 that British commuting times, at an average of 45 minutes, are the longest in Europe, and that most of these journeys are by car.

If more of us lived near to our workplaces, we would have more leisure time and all get fitter by walking or cycling to work. Employers would benefit, because people could get to work even when there were transport strikes or heavy snow. Everyone would gain from cleaner air and less congestion and traffic noise. Fewer oil imports would even help the balance of payments.

The Government should encourage employers to discriminate in favour of local candidates, and instead of subsidising drivers with free parking spaces, employers, particularly in the public sector, could provide free secure parking spaces for bicycles and showers, and stop insisting on impractical workwear such as suits and ties.

Richard Mountford

2 per cent for the planet

Hildenborough, Kent

Your article on Colombia did not explain the political and economic causes of the ongoing imperialist war ("After the revolution", 21 March). You omit to mention the heavy involvement of the United States, the past and present mass human rights abuses committed by the right-wing neo-liberal Uribe government, and its deep involvement in backing the murderous right-wing paramilitaries in collusion with the Colombian military. This has been armed by both the US and British governments and ably assisted by their military "advisers", the Medellin drugs cartels and western oil and gas multinationals such as BP.

What of the thousands upon thousands of Colombian trade unionists assassinated, the hundreds of journalists, student leaders, human rights defenders, indigenous activists and progressive lawyers killed, tortured and disappeared and the "forced displacement" of millions of Colombians by the Colombian state?

All this and more is happening as part of a state terror policy and the growing, US-backed multibillion-dollar counter-insurgency programme against the Colombian people, also threatening to attack and destabilise progressive left-wing governments in Venezuela and Ecuador and beyond.

Patrick Black

Framlingham, Suffolk

The United States not only gives billions to Israel, it has to support Egypt and Jordan to keep them sweet ("Cut off the cash, and Israel might behave", 21 March). If the US had spent only a tiny part of this in helping to resettle Palestinian refugees, a lot of the friction would not have happened. I wonder how long American citizens will put up with this.

Viv Griffiths

Swansea

Of Britain's train service, Janet Street-Porter employs the journalistic boilerplate mantra "The dirt, the waiting, the filthy trains..." ("Travel is great in the UK – as long as you are a bat", 21 March). I travel regularly on the East Coast, the South East lines and the London Transport trains and buses. For the most part, the facilities are clean to the point of spotlessness, trains run on time and arrive within reasonable timetabling. Bearing in mind the numbers of persons involved, the shortage of litter bins, the profusion of free newspapers and the grazing habits of the average individual, the resulting maintenance of cleanliness is exceptional. The few hours of packed commuter transport may not come up to scratch, but this is surely an impossible task.

At the age of 75, I can only remember things getting better since the demise of steam. Travel on the rail systems of other countries, with a few exceptions such as France's TGV, is usually worse and certainly scruffier.

Ian Dunn

Chatham, Kent

A train going from A to B should not have to wait for another train passing by, going from C to D, running on the same track or even crossing it. It is not only dangerous but an aberration which we do not know on the Continent. In my native France, we have trains going from A to B and back, end of. A minister such as Lord Adonis may be Cambridge or Oxford clever, but he is certainly not Brunel.

Jacqueline Babinet

Kingston upon Thames, Surrey

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/2010/March/28

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Magaluf remains a popular party destination for British holidaymakers, despite a growing reputation for street violence in recent years.  

What happens in Shagaluf no longer stays there

Ellen E Jones
Simon Laird (left) and Sister Simon Laird, featured in the BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets  

Estates of the nation: Let's hear it for the man in the street

Simmy Richman
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?