IoS letters, emails & online postings (12 September 2010)

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The Independent Online

Emily Dugan's excellent article uncovers the tip of an iceberg ("Our patronising approach to 10 million Britons", 5 September). As one of the 50 per cent of disabled people in employment, I expected to work until I was 60. A few months before retirement, I was advised by doctors to discontinue working. My employer chose to accept the advice of the pension fund's consultant, who, having seen me for an hour at most, felt that I was using my disability manipulatively, rather than that of three doctors, two of whom had know me for a combined total of almost 50 years.

If disabled people are to be employed, employers must recognise that while disability is not an illness, the impact of daily living with a disability may itself cause illness and this needs to be taken into account if a disabled employee is unable to continue to work until our ever-increasing retirement age. It has taken over two years, three appeals and the intervention of the Ombudsman to remedy, at least in part, the injustice done to me and the matter is not yet fully resolved.

I wonder how many have given up the fight because it is so wearing and time-consuming.

Name and address withheld

Disabled people form the only group targeted before birth for screening and elimination. Instead of the state looking for cures or treatment for the major genetic disabilities, the lives of those with Down's syndrome, cystic fibrosis, spina bifida and many other disabilities are snuffed out. If society targeted girls or certain ethnic groups for elimination before birth in this way, it would be clear that those groups were not wanted in society. Abortion for disability shows the underlying discrimination against disabled people which is legally sanctioned before birth and is rife in our culture after birth.

Janet Secluna Thomas

Dinas Powys, South Glamorgan

Russ Ramsey is not "suffering" from Down's syndrome: he happens to have Down's syndrome. If attitudes towards disability are to change in our society, the terminology we use is a powerful catalyst.

Katharine Unwin

Southsea, Hampshire

The coalition plans to turn the clock back 40 years with its policy to segregate disabled people by removing their right to attend a local mainstream school with their non-disabled peers. This will result in greater segregation between disabled and non-disabled people. It is only when all children learn, work, play and live together that society is inclusive for all, and research shows that disabled children attending mainstream schools are better included in society than those who attend special schools.

Simone Aspis

Campaigns and Policy Co-ordinator, Alliance for Inclusive Education (Allfie)

London SW9

On hearing I had MS, one of my male friends replied: "What a waste of a good woman." Needless to say, he did not remain a friend for long.

Jane Pick

Sutton cum Lound, Nottinghamshire

In Wales, the incidence of bovine TB has already been reduced by 62 per cent without killing one badger, through improvements to animal husbandry ("Ministers braced for animal lovers' anger over badger cull plan", 5 September). The English government's intervention is all to do with the cow as a money-making milk machine and nothing to do with animal welfare. The Government and farmer should devote more time, energy and money to reducing the number of cattle lost to lameness, infertility and mastitis, all largely preventable. Six cattle are lost for these three reasons alone for every cow contracting bovine TB. This is a scandal.

Derek Hector

Whitchurch, Cardiff

In your Blitz special, there was not a word about Plymouth, where 1,172 civilians were killed and 4,448 injured. A total of 3,754 houses were destroyed and a further 18,398 seriously damaged. Two shopping centres and most civic buildings were destroyed, along with 26 schools, eight cinemas and 41 churches. For its size it was the most bombed city in Britain.

Clive Coombes

Plymouth, Devon

Also missing from the Blitz map were the south coast ports of Portsmouth and Southampton. Manchester and Cardiff were the targets of heavy raids too.

Geoff Sherratt

Via email

After my war service, I traipsed through the streets of Exeter, many still derelict, as an undergraduate. The city suffered one of the notorious Baedeker raids, as did Bath.

Jim Snell

Chippenham, Wiltshire

Blitzkrieg means "lightning war" and is a mechanised form of attack made infamous by the Nazi German mechanised army. It should not to be confused with the bombing raids we call the Blitz.

Sean Moore

Via email