IoS letters, emails & online postings (2 December 2012)

 

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The political power of the Church goes back to Henry VIII and before that, the political power of the Pope goes back to Constantine (Joan Smith: "This squabbling sect has no place in the Lords", 25 November). It is totally out of place in a modern democracy. Disestablishment would not only solve the problem of women bishops but that of gay marriage. A private religious group can make whatever silly rules that it likes about men and women – but a government body (the establishment of the Church makes it precisely that) is not private. Disestablishment would remove any concern by the Government about the Church breaking up – probably into a church that accepted women bishops and one that did not. Similar considerations apply to their beliefs about gay marriage, which would no longer be of concern to the Government.

The Queen would no longer be the head of the Church but a member of the congregation as she is in Scotland. Future coronations would be secular with participation from all religious groups, as would events such as Remembrance Day. Breaking the tie would be very straightforward. The Anglican Church would then be free to govern itself in any way it saw fit as it does in other countries. And Anglican bishops would no longer sit, ex officio, in the Lords.

John Day

Port Solent, Hampshire

***

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME is a debilitating condition affecting some 1 per cent of the UK population (“ME: bitterest row yet in a long saga”, 25 November). We believe this serious illness needs improved treatments and care, and that research is central to making this happen.

However, researchers in the field have been the target of a campaign to undermine their work and professional credibility. This harassment risks undermining research in the field, preventing the development of new treatments and discouraging specialist clinicians from entering the field. We fear that this may have resulted in patients not receiving the best treatments or care – staying ill for longer and not being able to live their life to its full potential.

So it is with sadness that we read in The Independent on Sunday reports of false allegations made against Simon Wessely - one of the few UK clinicians with a specialist interest in treating CFS/ME and someone who has done pioneering research in the field. Ironically, it was because of accusations like this that Professor Wessely received the award in the first place.

Professor Peter White, Professor of Psychological Medicine, Queen Mary University of London

Professor Michael Sharpe, Professor of Psychological Medicine, University of Oxford

Dr Esther Crawley, Reader in Child Health, University of Bristol

 Professor Stephen Holgate CBE, MRC Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology, University of Southampton

 Professor Rona Moss-Morris, Head of Health Psychology, King’s College London

Dr Charlotte Feinmann, Reader , UCL

Professor Hugo Critchley, Chair in Psychiatry, Brighton and Sussex Medical School

Dr Brian Angus, Reader in Infectious Diseases, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of oxford

Dr Steven Reid, Clinical Director for Psychological Medicine, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust

 Professor Patrick Doherty, Professor of Rehabilitation, York St John University

Professor Paul Little, Professor of Primary Care Research, University of Southampton

Dr Maurice Murphy, HIV Consultant, Barts Health NHS Trust

Professor Tim Peto, Consultant in Infectious Diseases and General Medicine, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford

Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, Chair, Public Health Wales, Cardiff University

Dr Alastair Miller, Consultant Physician, Royal Liverpool University Hospital

Professor Diane Cox, Professor of Occupational Therapy, University of Cumbria

Professor Jonathan Sterne, Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, University of Bristol

Dr Margaret May, Reader in Medical Statistics, University of Bristol

Professor George Davey-Smith, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, University of Bristol

Dr Jade Thai, Senior Research Fellow, University of Bristol

Dr Gabrielle Murphy, Clinical Lead Physician, Fatigue Service, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Hazel O'Dowd, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and CFS/ME Team Leader, Frenchay Hospital Bristol

Dr Brian Marien, Director, Positive Health

Professor Willie Hamilton, Professor of Primary Care Diagnostics, University of Exeter

Dr Selwyn Richards, Consultant Rheumatologist, Poole Hospital NHS Trust

Professor Alison Wearden, Professor of Health Psychology, University of Manchester

Professor Trudie Chalder, Department of Psychological Medicine, King’s College London.

***

Flooding is becoming more and more prevalent across the nation. Why then is the Environment Agency approving development proposals in areas of risk? A housing development is proposed in our village by the River Calder. The river flooded extensively in June and runs by the development site, yet the EA feels that, as the flooding was a once-in-100-years event, there is no risk. Head, sand and bury come to mind. We are storing up problems to satisfy the drive to restart the economy by building houses in inappropriate places.

Nick Walker

Whalley, Lancashire

***

As we contemplate the legacy of the Olympics, I find no significant coverage of any Olympic event except football in last week's IoS. Shape up, media UK!

Sally MacDonald

Via email

***

Dom Joly poses a good question, and I think the answer is that his chickens are not safe from foxes during the day. From my experience, foxes are true to their reputation, cunning, crafty and always around. Dom should think about an electric fence if he wants his hens to have some freedom.

Nicci Fairbank

Cobham, Surrey

***

The Chambers Dictionary defines cider as "an alcoholic drink made from apples" and perry as "fermented pear juice" ("Pear cider boom angers purists", 25 November). Bizarrely, just after reading your article today, I spotted in a local supermarket "apple cider". Next: "cherry kirsch" and "orange orange juice".

Christina Jones

Retford, Nottinghamshire

***

D J Taylor is unhappy with the syntax of "walking wonderland", but is it different from "walking holiday", "swimming pool" or "reading room" (25 November)? There are many similar constructions in English. The Kerry Way doubtless provides a wonderland for walking in and has maybe inspired a song for drinking to.

G Davies

Tavistock, Devon

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Letters to the Editor, The Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF. Email: sundayletters@independent.co.uk. Online: independent.co.uk/dayinapage/2012/December/2

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