IoS letters, emails & online postings (5 September 2010)

Share
Related Topics

Which language does Katy Guest suggest we learn and maintain for the two weeks out of 52 that we may need to call upon it ("What's the Spanish for 'lazy Brit'?", 29 August)? My "dos cervezas por favor" would be greeted with equally blank looks in the bars of Mykonos, on a terrace overlooking the Adriatic or in a leafy Breton cafe.

It's a myth, peddled by the middle-class press, that we are a nation of drunken, boorish "tattooed lobsters" (Jeremy Laurance in your Travel section) and that all foreign nationals are flowingly eloquent and articulate in our mother tongue. I don't expect the people I meet while abroad to be fluent in English, and after decades of continental holidaying, I can honestly say they are not. Most of the local people I converse with when purchasing goods and services communicate in a hotchpotch of pidgin English combined with a series of shrugs and grunts or simply shove a hand out as the cash register pings. English is taught in Europe because it is the language of business. Money talks, regardless of the dialect.

Mark Coyle

Coventry

The length of hedgerow in Britain has remained largely stable for the past decade, compared with previous ones ("Are we losing the fight to save our hedgerows?", 29 August). There has been a small decline in countryside hedges but house and road building have contributed to this. The most significant "loss" in hedgerows during this time has been a result of what are classed as classic shrubby hedgerows developing into lines of trees. Farmers recognise their responsibility to protect and manage the countryside. England has some 550,000km of hedgerows: 82 per cent of farmers cut their hedges at specific times to avoid harming nesting birds and almost half now adopt a two- or three-year cutting regime which provides important berries and nuts for wildlife.

Dr Andrea Graham

Countryside adviser, NFU

Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire

If David Miliband is right that the Labour Party yearns to move on from Iraq, he ought to recognise that as its leader he would make this more difficult for the membership than someone who was not an MP at the time of the crucial vote, or who voted against the war ("I can build a coalition across the party", 29 August). Not only would the election of such a candidate draw a clear line in the sand, while sending a strong message of apology for such a massive error of judgement, but it would be born out of something that the voting public no longer believes is possible for any politician: self-sacrifice.

Bill Haymes

Coventry



A Labour government created legislation which required all local authorities to provide permanent sites for travellers ("Government to give cash to councils that build travellers' sites", 29 August). This was rescinded by the next Tory government. But now, at a time of financial difficulty, we pay for something from our taxes which was once already in place. The lesson? Don't make changes when first in power to please the most vocal. You will only live to regret it.

Roger F Fisher

Croydon

Paul Vallely states that a VAT increase will affect the poor more "because they spend a greater proportion of their income on goods and services than do the rich". ("There's nothing 'progressive' about poverty," 29 August). I suspect that by the time they have paid their rent (non-VATable), food (zero-rate VAT) and heat and lighting (5 per cent VAT, not increasing), the problem for the poor is that they have very little left to spend at all.

Pat Johnson

Hexham, Northumberland

You report that the backdrop to the Chilean mine disaster was a lack of safety measures by mine employers and the legacy of fascist dictator Pinochet in terms of weak or non-existent employment law. Do those Tories who praised Pinochet as a robust leader and who don't think that health and safety is important have any thoughts now?

Keith Flett

London N17

We applaud efforts by young people to get involved in blogging and politics ("The internet comes of age", 29 August). But the decision to close a Westminster play scheme referred to in your article has nothing to do with Westminster Council. This was taken by an independent company.

Mike Potter

Head of Commissioning, Parenting & Early Intervention, Westminster Council London SW1

As Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman had no children, whoever David Campbell Bannerman is descended from, it is not "C-B" ("Who is mad enough to lead Ukip?" 29 August). C-B was something of a Europhile, speaking French, German and Italian and holidaying on continental Europe. From his actions and inclinations it is hard to think that he would have had any time for Ukip.

Brian Jones

Garforth, Leeds

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/September/5

React Now

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

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Pokot woman holds a razor blade after performing a circumcision on four girls  

The campaigns to end FGM are a welcomed step, but they don't go far enough

Charlotte Rachael Proudman
Our political system is fragmented, with disillusioned voters looking to the margins for satisfaction  

Politics of hope needed to avert flight to margins

Liam Fox
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game