Your coverage of last Saturday's protest rally and march, headlined "Three arrested as Gaza marchers clash with police", highlighted the trouble outside the Israeli embassy. My son and I were at the protest for over three hours, and witnessed no trouble. Thousands of us stood in freezing temperatures in Hyde Park, listening to speaker after speaker. Silence came over the huge crowd as Michael Rosen read his heartbreaking poem and children read the names and ages of some of the more than 200 children who have been killed. After the speeches, we formed an orderly procession.
A weakness in the American political structure is the near three-month hiatus between the election and inauguration of the new president. The Israelis have timed their military action to take advantage of this power vacuum, which has been manifested by Obama's unwillingness to intervene or comment while Bush is still in the White House. Surely this situation needs to be changed, so that a future American president can assume full powers at once.
The messages my generation received about achievement were vital to our self-esteem ("New mothers have a job already", 11 January). But they devalued the job of raising secure and happy children.
How will people on low incomes be helped by the proposals of Peter Ainsworth, Tory spokesman on energy? ("The planet has to pay for every boiling kettle", 11 January). It is mainly the wealthy who can invest in renewable energy. What is needed is major investment in homes to ensure energy efficiency. Microgeneration of electricity could be integral to new housing, yet the Tories made this difficult when they restricted the growth of social housing. They also privatised electricity and gas companies, without safeguards for those on low incomes or promoting incentives to conserve energy. They failed, too, to regulate the companies, allowing unfair tariffs, charges for pre-payment meters and excessive price increases.
An electric fan heater can use 1,500 to 3,000 watts. Are they to go next?
When I chose a new 26-inch LCD set, people were amazed that I was not having a 42-inch set ("Giant plasma TVs face ban...", 11 January). But then, look at the number who transfer their washing from washing machine to tumble dryer rather than hang it outside where it can be dried for free and at no cost to the environment. If we carry on with such profligate energy use we will very quickly run out and our children's future will be very bleak indeed.
The Metropolitan Police is expanding professional healthcare teams across London in the custody areas, with faster access to forensic medical examiners (FMEs) ("Stations face closure over police surgeon contracts", 4 January). The new contract provides for FMEs to work on a sessional basis, rather than being called out when required, which can lead to delays. All 32 boroughs will now have cover from existing FMEs who have signed the contract, or by FMEs provided by an outsource contractor. It is not the case that stations face closure, nor will nurses replace doctors, as Dr Michael Wilks claims in your article, nor has the GMC advised against the contracts.
Commander Paul Minton
Territorial Police Headquarters
Being Pakistani is about being a member of a race, not just a nationality ("Prince Harry called a fellow soldier his 'little Paki friend'", 11 January). You can be British Pakistani. This is a racist remark.
If an elected MP had used such language they would have been asked to resign. So should Prince Harry.
Where will former PM and peace envoy Blair hang his congressional medal ("Unveiled: Tony Blair, medallion man, 11 January)? Not, surely, where it might be seen by others – that would only induce gales of hysterical laughter.
Morris dancing is not dying out (The Bottom Line, 11 January). The reason the Morris Ring has trouble recruiting is that it is the only Morris association not to accept women. The other two do – a more attractive option for the young male dancers.
I lost my hair 20 years ago through chemotherapy and tried out the wig the hospital gave me ("Yes, you'll go bald, Jade...", 11 January). My five-year-old said, "Mum, take that off. You look daft." I bought turbans, and the children tied string to the wig and trailed it along the floor, calling it "the puppy". I'm not sure what happened to it, but I'm still here.
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