IoS letters, emails & online postings (24 June 2012)

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Ed Miliband's mission to break the European "grip of centre-right austerity" is a desirable aim, but now that confidence in the Opposition leader and Shadow Chancellor exceeds that of Cameron and Osborne, he must set out a radical plan for growth ("Cameron is the last gasp of the old guard", 17 June).

Support will come from the vast swathes of disillusioned workers who have dropped out of the political system. Real cuts in the cost of living for ordinary families will increase consumer and thus corporate spending and investment. Heavily subsidised childcare, significant reductions in fuel duty and VAT, cuts in transport fares, and energy price controls could be included. New Deal-style construction projects should also be introduced, including renewable energy projects and the building of a million new homes to regenerate the housing market.

Plan A has pushed the nation into recession. There is no alternative to stimulus. It is Labour's duty to offer us this option; backing their words with deeds. Let us hope Mr Miliband is brave enough to do so.

Jack H G Darrant

London SW2

It is disingenuous of industry representative Richard Laming to suggest that soft drinks are not a factor in obesity (Letters, 17 June). Such drinks are a source of calories but do not provoke a sated reflex. This, and the hungry reflex, is controlled by the antagonistic hormones leptin and ghrelin. If the hunger hormone is too powerful, the individual is misled into eating too much. There is also increasing evidence that excess antibiotics play a role in obesity. The human body's microorganisms are essential to health. Some in the gut digest fats. The excessive use of antibiotics in medicine and animal husbandry has led us all to have fewer microorganisms in the gut. In the US, where a third of births are performed by sterile Caesarean, babies are not picking up the microorganisms they should from birth. To suggest that more than half of Americans follow an unhealthy diet and are not exercising enough stretches the bounds of credibility.

Terence Hollingworth

Blagnac, France

If the Home Office is sending people back to countries with repressive regimes on the tacit understanding that they must then cease any political activity, it is denying a fundamental human right ("Asylum-seekers are told: 'Go home and lie'", 17 June). It is also ensuring that the power of the dictators that these people have tried to resist is assured. The Home Office is wasting the sacrifices made by people prepared to suffer for the principles of democracy and human rights.

Jackie Fearnley

Goathland, North Yorkshire

Trident is not an independent nuclear deterrent ("Government set to announce £1bn contract for reactors to power next generation of nuclear submarines", 17 June). Control was handed to Washington when the decision was made to use an American missile delivery system. The French equivalent of Trident, in contrast, does not use American missiles. It is genuinely independent. Upgrading Trident amounts to a hugely expensive exercise in make-believe.

Yugo Kovach

Winterborne Houghton, Dorset

Prince William, who is reported to have inherited £10m on his 30th birthday last week, is patron of Tusk Trust, a wildlife conservation charity, so he could donate some of his inheritance to the charity's anti-poaching campaign. But he is a keen blood sports enthusiast himself, and enjoys stag hunting and pheasant shooting with Kate. It seems the royals have a mixed-up attitude towards sentient creatures.

Susan Smith

London N4

The advertising jingle "Just one Cornetto" may well have been based on the 1898 song "O sole mio" ("All together now ...", 17 June). But most people knew the tune from "It's Now or Never", the 1960 Elvis million-seller that had the same melody.

Tim Mickleburgh

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

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