IoS letters, emails & online postings (15 April 2012)


Regan Doherty carefully analyses the very difficult situation of family unions in the Middle East ("First-cousin marriages come under scrutiny", 8 April). This is far from being confined to this region, and it is an issue which needs treating with great delicacy here at home within British South Asian communities.

One of the powerful arguments for retaining the paediatric cardiac surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary, rather than it being transferred to Newcastle, is that 23 per cent of the children who have had surgery in Leeds in the past five years have come from the South Asian population in and around the West Yorkshire region.

To a significant extent this arises from close-knit families arranging matches for their sons and daughters. Congenital heart defects are not the only medical problems arising, and education and counselling within the community on the potentially disastrous effects on children coming from first-cousin marriages is clearly important. It does, however, require considerable sensitivity.

Michael Meadowcroft

Leeds, West Yorkshire

Research by Alan Bittles, a geneticist at the Centre for Comparative Genomics at Australia's Murdoch University, found in 2008 that the infant mortality for children born within first-cousin marriages was 1.2 per cent higher than the general population, and birth defects were 2 per cent higher than the general population. It is not surprising that first-cousin couples are reluctant to get screening, when any potential problems could damage the marriage potential of the individuals. It seems the unborn child takes the risk.

Kartar Uppal

West Bromwich, West Midlands

Having had wild flowers around family graves strimmed away on the basis that this is the accepted maintenance regime, and that "it is what people want", I sympathise entirely with David Randall ("Where have all the flowers gone?", 8 April). The other worrying side to this is the increasing lack of care for our playgrounds, recreation areas and sports pitches, often excused on grounds of costs, which ignores all the other benefits they provide. More and more public sports facilities are neglected, and thus at risk of attack from speculative planning applications. We have also lost that accumulated professional horticultural expertise. In an Olympic year, this is a legacy that should also concern us.

Robert W Fletcher

Ingatestone, Essex

Not only the "British commentariat" but also the main political parties have failed to grasp that George Galloway's victory in Bradford is a turning point in British political life ("Galloway won for some very good reasons", 8 April). It shows that, in the internet age, you do not need large party political backing, huge funding or the support of a national newspaper to win an election. A new, healthier, more democratic form of government is opening up. If we could only see it, George has set us free and pointed the way to the future.

Dorothy Forbes


Alan Titchmarsh is critical of the Prime Minister for suggesting that gardening is an unskilled occupation ("Titchmarsh says...", 8 April). If the Tories fall out with the nation's gardeners, they're doomed.

Keith Flett

London N17

It was the Jews who chose Christ to be put to death, over Barabbas, and not Pontius Pilate, who washed his hands of the responsibility of putting an innocent man to death ("The cross is a symbol of cruelty, not a club badge", 8 April). The Romans merely carried out the crucifixion based on the wishes of a section of the Jewish people.

Patricia Lewis

Blackpool, Lancashire

Ian Holloway states that they "don't allow petulance at Old Trafford" and suggests that Alex Ferguson would never have allowed the Balotelli and Tevez antics as everyone at OT is "scared stiff of him", ("Mancini mistaken in bringing back Tevez and splitting dressing room", 8 April). Is this the same Ferguson who, when Wayne Rooney (not long ago) suddenly announced that United didn't match his ambitions and he was considering a move, panicked and capitulated instantly, offering him what he wanted in terms of an improved contract within days, and begging him to stay?

Ignacio Glynn

Knutsford, Cheshire

While I applaud loudly everything Katy Guest wrote last week following the Samantha Brick brouhaha, men's insecurities can be profitable too. Suspicious of Facebook, I did not tell it my gender when I created my account and whenever I log in I receive ads for penis extensions, indicating that they are sent to everyone who is, or could be, male. I can imagine that many men, when getting these ads, think: "How do they know?"

Natasha Hill


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

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

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron's 'compassionate conservatism' is now lying on its back  

Tory modernisation has failed under David Cameron

Michael Dugher
Russian President Vladimir Putin 'hits his foes where it hurts'  

Dominic Raab: If Western politicians’ vested interests protect Putin, take punishment out of their hands

Dominic Raab
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform