IoS letters, emails & online postings (27 February 2011)

Share
Related Topics

Robert Fisk asks how Arab leaders mistake secular revolts for Islamist ones and adds, "The Shah made an identical mistake in reverse. Confronted with an obviously Islamic uprising, he blamed it on Communists" ("These are secular popular revolts – yet everyone is blaming religion", 20 February).

These "stable dictatorships" have enjoyed the support of Western powers, particularly the United States, for many years. When faced with uprisings, they want to maintain that support. But the protesters are demanding things that the West claims to support: political freedom and democracy. That's why the current ones are painting themselves as being at the cutting edge against Islamism while the Shah, in 1979 Cold War days, cited communism. They choose to misrepresent what they are facing for the purposes of self-preservation. Totalitarian regimes know their manors rather well, and the despots that head them are capable of lying to the outside world.

Ian Griffin

Sheffield

The Prime Minister's judgement in touring the Gulf states to promote arms sales, in the wake of unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, is highly questionable. We need to know whether the UK sold the weapons and riot control equipment being used by various regimes.

The coalition promised us foreign policy with a conscience, but selling arms to trouble spots will inevitably inflame conflicts. Rules on arms exports must be tightened, and strong safeguards put in place to guarantee exports are not used against protesters.

Alex Orr

Edinburgh

David Cameron thinks "saving my local pub and church hall" is a valid contribution to the community ("So, what do you do for the Big Society? 20 February"). That is patronising to the army of volunteers to which I belong, filling roles over several decades of volunteering that would have never attracted government funding, while holding down a full-time job and bringing up two children.

It must be a great luxury for Mr Cameron and his Cabinet to lord over lacklustre token efforts towards the "big society", but it is no luxury when voluntary roles become an essential part of the social fabric in deprived areas because his coalition government is removing funding for some of the most vulnerable.

Catherine Learoyd

Marske by the Sea, North Yorkshire

Gordon Brown is right to raise the alarm regarding youth unemployment worldwide. However, the fact that 20 per cent of young people in the UK are looking for a job merits serious, urgent attention from politicians and business alike ("We risk wasting an entire generation", 20 February). As an employer I find young employees are not constrained by existing perceptions, bringing enthusiasm and offering creative solutions. The Government should set an example to other countries by unlocking the potential of the next generation.

Dave Allen

Managing Director, NetApp Limited

Formal contact with the youth justice system is criminalising and stigmatising ("Lib Dems clash with Tory right over child justice", 20 February). The younger a child is when they are drawn into the system, the more likely they are to continue to offend. Raising the age of criminal responsibility will be good for society and good for children. Children who commit serious crimes, thankfully few and far between, could still be detained and held accountable for their actions, while thousands of others, who currently face a system based on an adult model, could and should be diverted from counter-productive formal systems.

Pam Hibbert

Chair, National Association for Youth Justice

Malvern, Worcestershire

Unfortunately for the people of Oxfordshire, there is no reprieve yet for our libraries ("Nimby? Cameron accused", 20 February). We wait to see if the Save Oxfordshire Libraries campaign can reverse the proposals.

Judith Wardle,

Friends of North Leigh LibraryWitney, Oxfordshire

The carbon footprint of carrier bags is only one aspect of the harm plastics do ("Carrier bags 'not eco-villains after all'", 20 February). Plastic does not biodegrade. The flotsam in the oceans photo-degrades into nanoparticles small enough to be ingested by marine organisms, entering the food chain. Plastics that decompose can leach potentially toxic chemicals; some cause hormonal disruption. These too enter the food chain. The oceans, like the forests, are an essential part of the processes that remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. Making judgements solely on the basis of carbon footprints will not do.

Sandra Walmsley

Weeting, Norfolk

A plastic-bag-free 2012 Olympics ("the greenest ever games"?) would show the world that life without plastic bags is possible.

Marilyn Mason

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/2011/February/27

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
With an eye for strategy: Stephen Fry’s General Melchett and Rowan Atkinson’s Edmund Blackadder  

What Cameron really needs is to turn this into a khaki election

Matthew Norman
An Italian policeman stands guard as migrants eat while waiting at the port of Lampedusa to board a ferry bound for Porto Empedocle in Sicily. Authorities on the Italian island of Lampedusa struggled to cope with a huge influx of newly-arrived migrants as aid organisations warned the Libya crisis means thousands more could be on their way  

Migrant boat disaster: EU must commit funds to stop many more dying

Alistair Dawber
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own