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<i>IoS</i> letters, emails &amp; online postings (6 June 2010)

The murder of humanitarian aid workers aboard the Mavi Marmara in international waters is the latest tragic example of Israel's relentless attacks on human rights.

But while violently preventing the free passage of medical, building and school supplies to Gaza, Israel continues to pride itself as a highly cultured, highly educated state. We therefore appeal to British writers and scholars to boycott all literary, cultural and academic visits to Israel sponsored by the Israeli government, including those organised by Israeli cultural foundations and universities. We also ask that writers, poets and British funding bodies actively support Palestinian literary events.

Israeli universities are key players in the creation and dissemination of government policy, and appearing as an international guest at all such Israeli cultural and academic events helps to divert attention from and normalise Israeli war crimes in Gaza and its recent, abhorrent military actions at sea. As Britons and British residents, we believe that we have a historical and moral obligation to support the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people in their struggle for long-denied peace, justice and self-determination.

John Berger, Jenny Diski, Naomi Foyle, Thomas Pakenham and 33 others

British Writers In Support of Palestine



Legalising prostitution would be a great step forward both to enable the provision of more security measures for the women and to make it easier for those with information on attacks to come forward ("The prostitute murder mysteries", 30 May). If the trade were to be legalised, then accommodation could be legitimately provided and security back-up given if at any time the woman feels threatened. It must be possible to eliminate, or at least drastically reduce, the danger they put themselves in every day of their working lives.

Pauline Hall

via email


There is a recreational drug already available that does infinitely more harm than going for a run (Letters, 31 May). Every weekend, week in, week out, there are deaths, hospitalisations and paramedics called to ferry drunk people for medical treatment, at enormous cost to us all. At the Edinburgh marathon, by contrast, spectators enjoy themselves, charities benefit and most participants also enjoy and benefit from the experience.

Dr Martin Pucci

Ellon, Aberdeenshire


I'd like a partner to have kids with, maybe after a couple of years of married life where we just enjoy being a couple and get used to what that means ("Boost your career chances and have those babies first", 30 May). Add a year's engagement, and a couple of years of dating and I'm down five years already. I'd better get my skates on and meet the love of my life pretty soon, before I'm 25. But most guys my age would run for the hills screaming if you suggested kids. We women might be ready for them early, but some of us would like to wait for a steady loving relationship first.

Mary Wickenden

Posted Online


I have every sympathy for gay men who wish to keep their sexuality private, but there was no compulsion on David Laws to make fraudulent claims to achieve this. He chose to effectively steal from the public purse: £40,000 is a huge amount of money to the vast majority of the electorate. To see someone who doesn't need it claiming such a sum for personal convenience is particularly galling. Mr Laws should think himself lucky that he has only lost his ministerial appointment and as yet faces no criminal charges.

Tim Matthews

Luton, Bedfordshire


I was puzzled by Julian Knight's comments on store cards ("Better news on store cards," 30 May). Experience overseas shows interest rate caps restrict competition and raise prices, as the market tends to converge on the "official" rate. And the Government's suggestion of a new seven-day cooling-off period is unnecessary, since the new EU Consumer Credit Directive already gives consumers a 14-day right to change their minds when taking out credit. Superfluous new measures make credit more costly and harder to get, and push people into the arms of loan sharks.

Stephen Sklaroff

Finance and Leasing Association

London WC2


Thanks a million for giving away the ending to Gran Torino in your "Eastwood at 80" spread (30 May). I was looking forward to seeing it.

Jeremy Q Sleath

Leamington Spa, Warwickshire


Local Hero does not tell the story not of the locals' attempts to thwart a Texan millionaire in his efforts to buy their land (Janet Street-Porter, 30 May). It is about their canny attempts to screw him for as many millions as possible, while pretending to be unwilling to sell – that is why it is one of my favourite films.

Michael Casey


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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/2010/June/6