<i>IoS</i> letters, emails & onine postings (3 May 2009)

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The Independent Online

Emily Dugan's special report "Inside Yarl's Wood" (26 April) rightly identifies the cruelty inherent in picking up without warning and imprisoning children of all ages in the deportation centre near Bedford.

I first read about the boy in the article, Dominic Mwafulirwa, back in March. I sent him a BBC comic in the hope that it might provide some distraction. His mother, Cecilia, had remarked how withdrawn and upset her eight-year-old son had become when he had realised that they were not wanted in Britain. He had thought Britain was his home.

Then, out of the blue, Cecilia wrote to me to say that she and Dominic were back in Nottingham, after 50 days' imprisonment. I met them for the first time last Sunday. Dominic said little. Cecilia says he is aware of the vulnerability of their situation.

As you point out, Dominic is one of 2,000 children imprisoned in Yarl's Wood each year. This has attracted the critical attention of the Council of Europe. The European Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, is very explicit in his recommendations to our government. In September 2008, he urged that "Detention of accompanied children in the context of asylum and immigration should be expressly proscribed by law and take place only in exceptional circumstances which should be precisely detailed in law, in accordance with the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights and United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child." Is Mr Brown listening?

Anthony Simpson


Well done on your 1,000th issue. It is an achievement to still make a paper that stands out from the crowd, and provides news stories that people want to read rather than the dross and pointless speculation that other papers provide.

I was born on 28 January 1990, the same day as this newspaper. So while you are celebrating your 1,000th edition, I am celebrating my 1,000th weekend (give or take a few Christmas days!) A toast to us both don't you think?

Keep up the good work.

Scott Bryan


Geoffrey Lean's support for coal-fired power plants fitted with carbon capture technology is slightly misguided ("We are one step closer to clean coal", 26 April). The same can be said of support for diesel-powered cars. Sure lower carbon dioxide, which is important, but more NOX (mono-nitrogen oxides) – sub-micron particulate matter that is causing increased asthma, allergic reactions and cancers. We must try harder at a truly healthy, environmentally beneficial power supply.

Paul Garrod


Janet Street-Porter blames the class system for British spite ("Our bitching and bullying is a form of class warfare", 26 April). In my view, people of every walk of life in Britain are intolerant and shallow. They seek only uniformity and the predictable.


posted online

As an IT professional who worked on a "millennium bug" project, I am fed up with people saying it was made up and there was never going to be a problem (The 1,000th Issue, The New Review, 26 April).

There were no exciting failures of IT systems to write about because a lot of companies spent a lot of money (and a lot of people did a lot of overtime) so that systems were ready. Now I wish that the IT industry had selected a major international corporation as a sacrifice and not converted any of its applications. Then we could have said, "I told you so", and journalists would have had the catastrophe they craved.

Chris Wooding

via email

The Diary of 26 April wrongly states that Margot Asquith was the great-grandmother of Helena Bonham Carter. Margot Asquith was the second wife of her great-grandfather, Herbert Henry Asquith. His daughter Violet married Maurice Bonham-Carter and the actress is descended from that family. There is no blood-tie with Margot Asquith, née Tennant.

Peter Donnelly

Malton, North Yorkshire

As Dom Joly is cruising Indochina having dietary epiphanies ("I am going to eat like an elephant for a year", 26 April), please, let us get this right: real vegetarians do not eat anything with a face (including fish, and jelly babies made from real gelatine, but with the possible exception of chocolate bunnies and Santas). If you eat fish but not meat, you are a non-meat eater or pescetarian. By the way, the secret to kicking the bacon habit is well fried halloumi cheese – 65 per cent of halloumi cheese is fully veggie.

Fiona Mackenzie

Liff, Angus

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