IoS letters, emails & online postings (25 July 2010)

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The Scottish legal system pre-dates the Act of Union; it is separate and distinct from English law ("An extremely murky business", 18 July). As such, criminals in Scotland can only be released on, for example, compassionate grounds by a Scottish minister.

If anyone in the United States Congress or elsewhere has any credible evidence to suggest that BP and/or the British government put pressure on Kenny MacAskill MSP to allow Abdelbaset al-Megrahi to go back to Libya to die in return for access to Libya's oil resources, then let them bring it forward immediately.

If not, I suggest the conspiracists cease their mutterings – and brush up on their knowledge of the devolution settlement while they're at it.

James Maxwell

Edinburgh



***

Amidst critical clamour from US politicians, the one possible but unspoken motivation for the release of the so-called Lockerbie Bomber is that Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill is a decent human being who, while constrained by our political and legal system from actually saying so, recognises that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is a totally innocent victim of Scottish "justice" and endeavoured to release him at the first available opportunity. I certainly hope that this is the case.

John Hein

The Liberal Party in Scotland

Edinburgh



***

I am baffled by Joan Smith's article pitching heels against burkas ("Heels show the humanity burkas lack", 18 July). She seems to associate high-heeled shoes with the freedom-loving, highly cultured West, while a burkha is somehow simply the preserve of the poor, uneducated, uncivilised people of Islam.

As a Muslim man who considers himself working class, I don't know of a single woman in my family (that's at least 15,000) who wears a burkha. But I do know of the many hours I've spent searching for the "perfect" high heel with my sister. I also know "upper" class Muslim women who choose the burka.

While I am offended that Joan Smith should turn on her own sex, I would like to congratulate Nina Lakhani for winning the Dario D'Angelo Prize for her reporting on the plight of neglected children.

Wasim Yunus

Via email

***

Janet Street-Porter makes a strong case for supposing that antisocial behaviour contributes to a sense of unease, even though UK crime figures are at their lowest for 30 years ("The disaffection that created Moat is what matters", 18 July). Anti-social behaviour order, or Asbo, figures were hardly ever released until quite recently; identity fraud and online scam figures are not included in Home Office figures or in the British Crime Survey; unreported rapes add to the unease. These and other hidden statistics pile on the pressure; in the UK there are 26,000 victims of crime every day.

Crimes against the person should be investigated promptly and due action taken. The recent suggestion that up to 60,000 police officers could lose their jobs as a result of government cuts will add to the sense of unease, even with the publication of optimistic diminished crime-rate figures.

Ian Herne

Uxbridge, Middlesex



***

An obsession with style contributes to unnecessary carbon emssions ("UK's emissions could be cut at flick of a switch", 18 July). Properties in makeover programmes and magazine features are often a blaze of light, their gardens decked out with barbecues but no washing line. If houses became family homes again, and not show homes, it would be good for the pocket and the planet.

Ella Posten

Lichfield, Staffordshire



***

The point of the two, similar dreams that I related to Susie Mesure was not that I was blanked only by women I had danced with, but also that I was blanked by numerous men and women with whom I talked ("Dream academy", 18 July). It was a general social rejection. I thought I got on well with everyone but got on well with nobody.

I was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in November 2007, at 58. Before then, I was much less aware of my social difficulties and not very interested in overcoming them, so such dreams were very, very rare. These new dreams were dreams of anxiety exaggerating social situations in which I did badly, and I think they indicate a greater social awareness. They also reflect a typical difficulty of people with Asperger – dealing with those who are not as they seem.

Peter Cox

Via email

***

In his review of Matt Haig's vampire novel The Radleys, Tim Walker says, "Haig has retained the Bram Stoker standards of fangs and blood-sucking, but his vampires can survive sunlight". But in Stoker's Dracula, the eponymous Count could walk around in daylight, though it does weaken him. It wasn't until 15 years after Dracula's publication that FW Murnau's silent film Nosferatu, itself a thinly disguised adaptation of Dracula – first added the fatal effects of sunlight to vampire lore.

Martyn P Jackson

Cramlington, Northumberland

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