IoS letters, emails & online postings (29 March 2009)

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Unemployment will disproportionately affect young people, with 15 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds already out of work – the highest of any age group ("Why don't we take to the streets over job losses?", 22 March). Youth Fight for Jobs will be taking to the streets on Thursday 2 April, at the G20 meeting in London. In an echo of the Jarrow march, we will be marching through unemployment black spots before rallying at the G20 meeting. Youth Fight for Jobs demands that companies shedding jobs open their account books so workers can see where the profits of the boom years have gone. Young people should not be made to pay for someone else's crisis.

Sean Figg

Youth Fight for Jobs, London E11

This Thursday, the leaders of the G20 will meet in London. High on the US agenda will be obtaining commitments from European nations to send more troops to Afghanistan. As Obama escalates the war, we urge European leaders to withdraw their forces, and urge your readers to join the "Die-in for Nato's Victims in Afghanistan" at Britain's military nerve centre in Northwood on 27 May – second anniversary of the US massacre of Afghan civilians in Haji Nabu.

Iain Banks
John McDonnell MP
Robert Newman
John Pilger
Michael Rosen
Mark Steel

www.stopbombingafghanistan.org, London N1

Your article "Sex matters: Disabled youngsters and relationships" (22 March) has nothing to do with relationship issues and Down's syndrome young adults. It is about procuring sex for the socially challenged. There is a huge difference between a relationship and sex for the experience of sex, between love and using a girl as a means to an end. How would we react if this mother were speaking of a genetically normal but socially challenged child? How many of us would buy pornography or solicit a prostitute for that child? If you would not do this for your genetically normal child, you should not consider it for a Down's syndrome child. The multitude of challenges for young adults with Down's is huge, but I draw the line at pimping and soliciting.

aea48, posted online

In my country – Nigeria – even a casual relationship with the physically challenged is seen as taboo. I can understand how Ben feels, and his mother has been quite fantastic in understanding his needs.

ozahga_007, posted online



In your report on the rise in self-harm among young women, the psychologist Rufus May observed that young people "demonised by the media ... in terms of their looks and appearance" use self-harm as a release ("Self-harm: A British disease", 22 March). How disappointing, then, that on the next page an item on Jayne Torvill noted that "a reinvention has seen her shed frumpy size 14 clothing to emerge in outfits at the size 8 of her youth". Your many size 14 women readers now stand condemned as "frumpy". The Independent on Sunday needs to decide whether it is condemning or joining the media who demonise women's appearance.

Sylvia Wilbur, via email

You rightly pointed out the results of studies by the WHO and Mental Health Foundation which revealed a strong link between income inequalities and poor health. A "citizen's" or "basic" income of at least £120 a week for people with health problems, with enhancements for more severe conditions, would help alleviate these problems. It would also be one step towards a decent basic income for all.

Robert Heale, Brighton, East Sussex

The article "Forgiven: The belated rehabilitation of Jeremy Thorpe" (22 March) epitomises the sad propensity of the intelligentsia to overlook the actions of someone and welcome his rehabilitation because he was "perhaps the most charismatic figure in British politics since the war". Perhaps the decision by the Lib Dems to welcome this privileged old man back into the fold will herald the Liberals' return to the diminished state they were in under Thorpe.

Eddie Dougall, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

As a pensioner, I don't feel that an increase from 40 per cent to 45 per cent in tax paid on an income above £150,000 is drastic ("Tories squabble over top rate tax ...", 22 March). I can't see entrepreneurs leaving the country like rats leaving a sinking ship because of it.

independen_mind, posted online

Surely we want rich folk like the Gerrards to keep buying cars and hairdos so that fewer car workers and hairdressers end up on the dole (Janet Street-Porter, 22 March). The last thing the Gerrards should do is economise.

Ian Barge, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

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