In your article on the disappearance of the hen harrier from the English uplands (“Fight or flight? Rare hen harriers are disappearing from their nests near grouse-shooting estates’,” 14 June) the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is quoted as calling on the RSPB to sign up to the draft Hen Harrier Recovery Plan, with the implication that it is intransigence on the part of the RSPB that is somehow responsible for the crisis facing this beautiful bird.
The sticking point is over the inclusion of “brood management” in the plan, which means removing chicks from nests, rearing them in captivity, then releasing them elsewhere. Left to themselves hen harriers are perfectly capable of rearing their own chicks, and the only possible benefit of this measure for the species would be if it was accepted as a concession by the grouse industry in return for giving up persecuting hen harriers.
We do not normally allow criminals to dictate terms for giving up crime and it would be immoral and unacceptable for the RSPB to do so in this case.
Newcastle upon Tyne
Sir John Chilcot is quoted as saying “As of today [back in February] I have no reason to think that anyone in the Maxwellisation process is seeking to spin out the time for any reason,” (“Iraq war report ‘unlikely to be published for another year’,” John Rentoul, 14 June). And a spokeswoman said: “It’s wrong to say Tony Blair is the reason for the delay. He has as much reason as anyone for wanting the report published... it gives him a chance to defend himself.” Rentoul also reports: “David Cameron is under pressure to scrap the inquiry.”
All this suggests the report will never see the light of day unless the “Maxwellisation” process, invented to accommodate the interests of Robert, the media mogul, is struck from the legal implements available for barristers to exploit.
The suggestion by Lord Morris to “set out a mechanism for an interim report” has to be the answer. Or what is clearly a plan for the report’s findings to be shredded will go ahead.
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Labour’s Chuka Umunna argues that “if Britain is to succeed, it needs to become a... higher savings... economy” (“We must own our past to own the future”, 14 June). But that’ll only happen if we stop this obsession with keeping interest rates low. What is the incentive to put more aside when the returns are so derisory?
My view is that Labour lost the election because they were “not Labour enough” (Letters, 14 June). Ed Miliband lost because he was too timid, maybe because he remembered what happened to Michael Foot.
But times have changed and after 36 years of a Tory government (yes, Blair is a Tory in Labour clothing) the pendulum has swung too far the other way.
The honours system is an anachronism (“Have a gong, and leave your principles at home”, 14 June). Let’s have a relevant, honest system which rewards people who truly deserve it or we will never move on from deference and sycophancy.
I like books too (“Ella may be for wellness, but Delia is for keeps”, 14 June), but I wonder how Katy Guest will feel about her own culinary history splashed and smeared over her own cookbooks when she’s 55?
After the “Twitter storm” over Nobel scientist Tim Hunt’s light-hearted but ill-advised remarks on “girls” working in labs, University College London forced him to resign his post. Speaking as a “girl”, I’m far more offended by UCL’s unjust, sanctimonious response than by what he said.
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