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


Joan Smith was spot on: while Tony Nicklinson's predicament was tragic, the old adage "hard cases make bad law" is apt ("Tony Nicklinson's legacy: his case will save lives", 26 August).

Family feuds are not uncommon, and the prospect of inherited money can bring out the worst in people. Subtle pressure can be put on vulnerable people (such as the elderly or infirm) to convince them that they would be "better off dead".

It is almost impossible to legislate for the many and varied circumstances that face people with chronic illnesses – which may not be fatal – and the moral dilemmas faced by relatives. As a retired surgeon, I know that doctors go into medicine to save lives and to heal; to kill a patient is the antithesis of their training. There is an enormous difference between allowing a terminally ill patient to die peacefully and painlessly and actively murdering them. Many patients would wonder whether their treatment was designed to cure or to kill.

If the law is to be changed to allow "assisted dying", then I suggest the deed be done by a public executioner − not a doctor.

Malcolm Morrison FRCS

Swindon, Wiltshire

An informed public debate should help overcome existing inhibitions about discussing death, even with those closest to us, and create greater intolerance of neglect and malpractice. The argument is not about "a handful of tragic individuals". It's about extending our humanising concerns to the increasing numbers facing unacceptable deterioration in quality of life. It's about our fear of being left to fend for ourselves and denied support when it's most wanted. But any debate should be as much about why, how and when society has a duty to assist. And it should be about how best to render accountable all involved in the care of the disabled, terminally ill or demented.

Richard Bryden

Llandudno, Conwy

Mo Farah is not "the first Briton to win an Olympic distance event" ("The schoolboy who defied all odds", 12 August). My grandfather Emil Voigt holds that honour, winning gold for England at the 1908 London Olympic Games in the five-mile race, a record he held for 104 years. He was very proud of his win, and put a lot back into the sport, setting up the Amateur Athletic Union and trying to improve conditions for runners and cyclists.

Emil Voigt went on to win many British records and titles, as well as international ones. He was also the first Olympic vegetarian champion in the modern Olympics, and his Olympic record still stands: the five-mile race was replaced after the 1908 Games with the 5,000m and 10,000m.

Robin Voigt

Kurrajong, Sydney, Australia

I do not know how I would be classified by others, but I do not regard myself as black, nor as one of the ethnic minorities ("PM told: 'Minorities are the key'", 26 August). I would not vote for a parliamentary candidate put forward on grounds of skin colour or crinkliness of hair, or because he belonged to a religion whose adherents want a co-religionist to be in power.

Dr J K Anand

Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

Rugby league may have suffered a decline in the number of participants, but the game is not "a prisoner of the M62 corridor" (Sport, The Last Word, 26 August). The National Conference League and its supporting pyramid has more than 100 clubs outside the M62 corridor, where once there was none. Rugby league is played in every English county – 20 years ago it was played in perhaps four. There are national leagues in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Only Leeds, Hull and Wigan have more teams than London – Greater London has more than 100 adult teams. More than 1,000 teams entered this year's rugby league Champion Schools competitions, up from a handful at the first competition in 2001.

Bradford Bulls may be in financial crisis, but to use the Bulls as a touchstone for the health of rugby league is to ignore the success that has taken place below professional level since 1995.

Michael O'Hare

Northwood, Middlesex

If helium is in short supply ("Up, up & away!", 26 August), perhaps people should blow up their own balloons, as my generation had to.

Tim Mickleburgh

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

Have your say

Letters to the Editor, The Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF. Email: Online:

React Now

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

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
F D R and Eleanor, both facing camera, in Warm Springs, Georgia in 1938  

Where are today's Roosevelts?

Rupert Cornwell

Now back to the big question: what's wrong with the eurozone?

Hamish McRae
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam