<i>IoS</i> letters, emails &amp; online postings (15 May 2011)

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It was a great relief to read that your campaign to save allotments has worked and that David Cameron has pledged to protect them (" IoS campaign buries plan to close allotments", 8 May). But this victory felt too easily won, like the reversal of the decision to sell off forests.

It is as if the Government is throwing unacceptable cuts and privatisation policies into the mix to see how the public reacts. It can then retract them, making it look sensitive and caring and at the same time gauging the public's pain threshold. This is also a great distraction: it's like a butcher who throws scraps to the dogs while he deftly turns a prize animal into prime steaks for his best customers.

Alan Mitcham

Cologne, Germany

How refreshing to read Janet Street-Porter's analysis of the damage that supermarkets do to our towns and to suppliers who get sucked in to dealing with them ("Supermarkets need reining in, not royalty", 8 May). But there is another guilty party in the erosion of our high streets – our greedy landlords. Despite the falling number of consumers, and therefore retailers' profits, landlords are still looking for rental increases of up to 40 per cent. Even in these volatile economic times, a standard institutional lease has a clause allowing for "upwards only rent review". How easy it would be to get our high streets back to their vibrant best if landlords would accept reasonable rents.

They could adopt the US system of a smaller base rent topped up with a percentage of turnover. This is fair: both prosper when times are good, and share the pain in a downturn. If our high streets were full, that would create jobs across the UK. Many entrepreneurs would welcome a chance to start their own local business, and their employees would have money to spend – at local shops.

Chris Richardson

via email

Many share Janet Street-Porter's loathing of supermarkets' efforts to appear socially aware while exploiting suppliers' low pay overseas. A tea picker, for example, makes just 1p for each £1.60 box of tea bags sold in a British supermarket. If the Lib Dems want to win back voters, their consumer minister, Ed Davey, should stop dithering and create a strong, proactive watchdog to stop this abuse.

Greg Muttitt

Campaigns and policy director

War on Want, London N1

Nick Clegg did not need to sign up to the coalition ("Clegg's sacrificial strategy", 8 May). Alex Salmond has run a successful minority government in Scotland, which has worked because legislation needed genuine agreement with Labour. No one was obliged to vote with the SNP. Cameron, given no alternative but a repeat general election, would have had to do as Salmond has done. Clegg's stupidity and lust for glory allows Cameron to be further to the right than a minority government could ever be.

Eddie Dougall

Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

If a government keeps breaking international and moral law with impunity, the narrative itself – the fiction of civilisation that underpins the Western system – is threatened ("We needed a trial, not an execution", 8 May). The US killed Osama bin Laden using the hunter's patience and animal strength. But if we block our ears to the repercussions, although we kill as many as stand against us now, we will have no future as human beings. Our flags look cheaper and more threadbare today than they have for decades.

Alexander Williams

Weymouth, Dorset

It was unfortunate that the choice of a football stadium as the venue for a key health conference had such a negative impact on the behaviour of certain representatives of Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust ("Fury erupts over plan to close heart hospitals for children", 8 May). Their rude rants and personal attacks on the integrity of the panel had more in common with terrace hooligans than with senior healthcare professionals.

Name and address withheld

In the absence of cheques, there would be no way to make small unsolicited payments to charities, family and others ("Cheques to decline further as guarantee system ends", 8 May) Customers should call the banks' bluff. Withdraw pre-printed cheques, and we will continue to present the bank with instructions to pay money to third parties, written and signed on any medium we choose, whether paper, or as described by A P Herbert in Misleading Cases, 1935, the side of a cow. Let the banks milk that, if they can.

C Sladen

Woodstock, Oxfordshire

In your interesting piece "Battle to save remains of 400-year-old wreck" (8 May) you mention the timber's endocrinology – the study of its glands and hormones. I think you meant dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating.

Patrick Cleary

Honiton, Devon

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Letters to the Editor, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF; email: sundayletters@independent.co.uk (no attachments, please); fax: 020 7005 2627; online: independent.co.uk/dayinapage/2011/May/15

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