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

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


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


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


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: (with address; no attachments, please); fax: 020 7005 2627; online:

React Now

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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour leader Ed Miliband unveils Labour's pledges carved into a stone plinth in Hastings  

Election 2015: Smash two-party system! Smash the voting system!

Armando Iannucci
Tactical voting is a necessary evil of the current first-past-the-post system, where voters vote against what they do not want rather than in favour of what they do  

Election 2015: Voting tactically has become more fraught in the new political order

Michael Ashcroft
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power