IoS letters, emails & online postings (26 February 2012)

Share

Nick Clegg writes about the immense damage caused by the global arms trade, but is blind to the UK's complicity in this trade ("We can lead from the front in disarming", 19 February).

The UK's substantial arms industry includes the arms giant BAE Systems. Arms exports are subsidised and supported by the Government, which actively promotes arms exports. Saudi Arabia used British armoured vehicles to suppress protests there, but the UK still sells arms to the kingdom. It has also sent arms trade missions to Nigeria, Libya, Kazakhstan and Vietnam.

Yet Nick Clegg compares countries with few regulations with the UK's "tough national regime". The Government did revoke some licences in the immediate aftermath of the Arab Spring, but arms exports have since gone back to previous levels. Despite a savage crackdown on protesters in Bahrain, the UK approved over £1.3m in military exports in 2011.

Mr Clegg states that "ministers will be able to immediately suspend licence applications to a country where stability suddenly deteriorates", but this power has always existed. The Arms Trade Treaty would not stop trade with repressive regimes. Deals with Saudi Arabia, Israel, India and Pakistan would go on unabated.

Kaye Stearman

Campaign Against Arms Trade

London N4

To one who has no faith in political parties, the suggestion that these self-serving bodies should be state funded is offensive (D J Taylor, 19 February). If this were to be the case, it should be on an individual voluntary basis, declared on tax return forms.

M A Timms

Iver, Buckinghamshire

The select committee report into marine renewable energy hails a bright future for offshore energy projects but underlines the critical importance of ensuring this does not harm our precious sealife ("Britain must act fast to rule wave-power world", 19 February).

It is easy to think of the sea as a homogenous landscape, with marine wildlife scattered across it. In fact, the UK's waters are as diverse as its land, and there are many sites that act as important breeding and feeding grounds for a vast range of species. The committee has concluded that industry and government must collaborate on a systematic survey of marine habitats, in order to protect the most valuable sites from the start.

Ministers must commit to this as soon as possible so that we can forge ahead with a new era of clean energy that is produced off our coastline, while safeguarding our sealife.

Martin Harper

Conservation director, RSPB

Sandy, Bedfordshire

Athens has again been called "the cradle of democracy", but it is only the place where democracy landed in Europe as it migrated from its cradle somewhere in Africa. It also trudged southwards, passing through Mvezo, the village where Nelson Mandela was born. In his autobiography, Mandela wrote: "Majority rule was a foreign notion. A minority was not to be crushed by a majority." The new South Africa has incorporated many features from the Mvezo variety of democracy in its constitution and the country is doing rather better than Greece with its majority rule.

Peter Hutchinson

London SW15

The solution to binge drinking is much simpler than David Cameron's minimum pricing (Janet Street-Porter, 19 February). In the Fifties and Sixties (and before then, of course), there was no such thing as a "supermarket", apart from the good old Co-op, and "off-licences" were simply the back or side door of the local public house. Pub landlords would never sell alcohol as a loss-leader. So, we should take away the licence to sell alcohol from all supermarket chains. No complicated government legislature, no complicated discussions with the breweries, and no more cheap booze for binge drinkers and misguided, or unguided, youngsters in our modern, booze-fuelled society.

Jimmy Bates

Ledbury, Herefordshire

Have your say

Letters to the Editor, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF; email: sundayletters@independent.co.uk (with address, no attachments, please); fax: 020 7005 2627; online: independent.co.uk/dayinapage/2012/February/26

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions