IoS letters, emails & online postings (24 February 2013)


The invasion of Iraq was not, as Sir Menzies Campbell writes, "the biggest mistake since Suez" ("Have the lessons of Iraq really been learnt?", 17 February). Iraq was not a mistake – it was a crime, and one of aggression, considered by many as the most appalling it is possible to commit. It got the support of Parliament on the basis of lies told to Parliament by the then Prime Minister Blair.

There are many around the world who want the criminals involved brought before the International Court of Justice to answer for the million dead. Nor is it the worst such crime since Suez. It is immeasurably worse than Suez by virtue of the numbers dead, the ruination of a great and historic land, the alienation of a vast region and proud peoples.

Jim McCluskey

Twickenham, Middlesex

Menzies Campbell makes a fair point about those who marched to stop the Iraq war in February 2003. The war was not stopped, but politicians' assumptions of automatic public support for wars were challenged and remain so. Even so, as Campbell must know, the politician's trade involves finding ways to do things that may appear to be unpopular. So while he says no government could go to war without securing a parliamentary vote in favour, in fact this is exactly what David Cameron has done in Mali by the simple device of not calling it a war.

Keith Flett

London N17

The Queen's Government is to introduce a "bedroom tax" on unoccupied bedrooms of those people supported by public money. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh receive some £12m of public money in property grants. It would be an interesting fact to know how many spare bedrooms the Queen and the Duke have in their five palaces, and how this Government will recover the amount due on these unoccupied bedrooms.

Derek Hanlin

Gilfach Goch, Porth, Glamorgan

You report that Lady Judge has been drafted in to help "assure the residents of Fukushima that its reactors are safe" by Tepco, owner of the nuclear plant that exploded on 11 March 2011 after the earthquake and tsunami hit the nation's north-eastern coastline ("Japan's smart nuclear weapon", Business, 17 February). Despite being a former chairwoman of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, Lady Judge is a business lawyer, not a nuclear expert. She is an unreconstructed atomic advocate, not an analyst, and as such cannot provide any credible reassurance. If I were a Japanese citizen I would not be very sanguine about Lady Judge giving advice on nuclear safety in my country.

Dr David Lowry

Stoneleigh, Surrey

It is good that the BBC is planning a programme about the late Delia Derbyshire ("BBC celebrates Doctor Who's musical genius", 17 February), who arranged the show's theme tune with such good effect. As the practice of cutting into this and other music, and credit lists, with someone rattling on about the next programme causes viewers and probably the composers and people on credit lists some annoyance, this should be one programme where the music is heard in full, or what is the point?

Mary Hodgson


The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea doesn't belong on your list of councils that failed to do any food sampling last year ("Public confidence drops as food goes untested", 17 February). In fact, 29 samples were taken for food standards, placing us in the top half of the London league table. The tests were in addition to 53 other food hygiene tests. The misunderstanding arose because we reported all tests as one total to the Food Standards Agency instead of in two categories.

Councillor Fiona Buxton

Cabinet member for Environmental Health

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

London W8

Why shouldn't people have to pay to get into the Tate galleries? ("Arts cuts so deep even the Tate is worried", 17 February). Many of us in the North object to subsidising so many London-based arts venues, especially when we don't have a single decent-sized art gallery or museum on our doorstep. What's more, many visitors to the Tate are foreign tourists, who at the very least should be made to pay admission charges.

Tim Mickleburgh

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

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