IoS letters, emails & online postings (11 October 2009)

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The Conservative energy spokesman, Greg Clark, pledges that combating climate change is as big a priority for his party as it is for the other two main parties ("Global warming is not on our back burner", 4 October). More than 5 million British households spend more than 10 per cent of their disposable income on trying to keep warm in winter.

Will Mr Clark take a portion of the billions of pounds due to be raised by auctioning permits under the EU carbon trading scheme – one of the policies increasing fuel prices – and use it to improve the homes of the fuel-poor? No, his only declared beneficiaries will be companies building experimental projects to capture and store carbon. These are the oil giants like Shell or BP, or electricity companies like E.ON and RWE. All are making large profits, from which they could easily fund such research.

Rather than helping the least privileged, the Conservatives intend to lavish public money on wealthy multinationals. Who can believe they have changed?

Darryl Croft

Hockley, Essex

Greg Clark complains that Labour is stealing the Tories' green policies, and that the Tory programme to enact them would be swifter. In the 2008 Henley by-election I was the Green Party candidate. The first Tory campaign broadsheet accused the Greens of "wanting to take us back to the 17th century" then paraded some green Tory policies. Strangely, most had appeared in the Greens' Manifesto for a Sustainable Society on which we campaigned in the 2005 election.

The problem with borrowing policies to adopt a green veneer is that such policies are not adopted from principle but because it is convenient. They then can be just as easily forgotten about.

Mark Stevenson

Green Party candidate for Henley Dorchester on Thames, Oxfordshire

Within hours of their arrival, the UK search and rescue teams got to people cut off north of Padang after the recent earthquake in Indonesia ("British rescue teams arrive 'too late' to help in Sumatra", 4 October). They cleared routes, giving basic medical aid and surveying buildings. Our aid flight, although delayed by a breakdown, carried 386 shelter kits and 2 million water purification tablets. We have now committed £500,000 to the International Federation of the Red Cross. While the search and rescue phase may be over, a UK team is still on the ground for the next phase of assistance.

Gareth Thomas MP

Dept for International Development

London SW1

Katy Guest rightly balanced the benefits of HPV vaccine against the consequences of HPV infection of the cervix ("Cheaper brand of vaccine is a false economy", 4 October). But she did not highlight the higher and longer-lasting antibodies from Cervarix compared with Gardasil or its better cross-protection against cancer-causing strains of the virus where there is no specific vaccine available. The saving from purchasing Cervarix has allowed this life saving vaccination programme to be extended to hundreds of thousands more young women.

Professor David M Salisbury

Department of Health

London SW1

By focusing on the closure of the steelworks in 1978 and the rolling mill in 2000, Nick Coleman failed to convey the massive regeneration in Stoke-on-Trent in the past 20 years ("They're all fired up for tourism in the Potteries", 4 October). Two schemes have provided over £370m of investment and created 10,000 jobs, and Trentham Estate and Gardens, now in the sixth year of a 10-year, £100m restoration attracts 2 million visitors annually.

Mike Herbert

President elect, North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Professor Bernard Lamb's comparison of the writing of 18 British and 10 overseas science students is too small to be representative ("Overseas students are better at English", 4 October). He cites word-level and sentence-level mistakes; an expert in grammar and discourse structure would do a proper analysis.

Catherine Walter

UK Committee on Linguistics in Education, Oxford

Professor Lamb could have added to his list of howlers "they should of...", which he must have seen. I first noticed this now common error 25 years ago, in the work of a post-graduate student. He looked shellshocked when I explained his mistake. No one had pointed it out , being, we think, less macho,in his 20 years of education. He is now on the staff of a university.

Bob Knowles

London SW15

I agree with Janet Street-Porter on political wives, even though I am a 91-year-old male ("Superwoman is now supermissus", 4 October). In Spain, a married woman is called Señora plus her own surname, not her husband's. Marriage in Britain seems to lower the wife's status.

George Barker

Ringwood, Hampshire

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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/October/11

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