IoS letters, emails & online postings (16 March 2014)

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I would never normally support the antics of The Sun, but, whatever the validity of some of the points raised by Stella Duffy ("Dear 'The Sun', breast cancer isn't sexy", 9 March), I am disappointed that the article failed to distinguish between its gripes with The Sun, and a new approach to increasing breast awareness in young women.

For their "Check 'em Tuesday" campaign, The Sun is working with a group called CoppaFeel!, an extremely successful website ( and campaign begun by Kristin Hallenga who was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 23. Her aim was to "get the word out there" in language that more younger women are likely to connect with.

Far from sexualising breast cancer, the aim is to talk to all members of the public, from the widest possible range of backgrounds. We and many other charities and patient groups have adopted the same kind of awareness methods with testicular cancer. Health awareness comes in many guises but one size does not fit all. Well done CoppaFeel! for a new approach that is welcomed by many.

Sue Brand

Germ cell clinical nurse specialist and chair of It's in the Bag, Supporting Men with Testicular Cancer

I'm puzzled that both barristers and solicitors have held their second court walkout over the cuts in legal aid ("Legal aid cuts force more people to represent themselves", 9 March), but judges have remained silent. Has our judiciary forgotten that its main role is to ensure justice is achieved in every case? How is this possible with people representing themselves?

Kartar Uppal

West Bromwich, West Midlands

Pippa Lewer (Letters, 9 March) rightly deplores the regional prejudice that irks Northerners so much. I was born in Wakefield and raised in Stockton-on-Tees. I've lived in London since 1981. Northerners in London and "back home" have assumed that I "must be rich", that I probably work in the City, that I own a house and a car and that I can spoil myself visiting London's top attractions and restaurants. None of which is true.

It's even been insinuated that I'm a traitor for having left the North-east to study and find work. Such provincialism is just as depressing as Southern ignorance and makes the North-South divide even wider.

Rik Ward

London SE13

Your political editor Jane Merrick sets out six very good reasons why the "Better Together" campaign is failing (9 March).

The principal reason is that the three disparate London-based parties are all only interested in Middle England's vote. What possible hope do Scotland's 59 (proposed reduction to 52), or 9 per cent of all MPs, have of getting a fair deal for their constituents against the 91 per cent blinkered, middle England parliamentarians, as at present.

The Scots want a democracy and we want parliamentarians with broad varied backgrounds. When Scotland leads, the other regions will follow. The London clique's days are numbered.

Ron Wynton

Fortrose, Ross-shire

If the Scottish people can vote for independence, then why cannot those in Crimea be given the chance to vote to become Russian? ("Labour urges Cameron to take tougher action against 'calculating' Kremlin", 9 March.) In proposing sanctions against legitimate Russian aspirations, Douglas Alexander is agitating to turn our lights out, which will guarantee that Labour loses the next election.

Malcolm Howard

Banstead, Surrey

The main barrier to flexibility in the workplace ("Free childcare from 12 months should be our aim", 9 March) isn't a lack of legislation. The issue is a cultural one. Employers are often concerned that family-friendly working practices will be an administrative burden. Employees, on the other hand, may worry about the impact on their career. The upcoming extension of the right to request flexible working to all – not just those with children – should go some way to taking away the stigma of requesting flexible working.

However, for a real transformation to occur, the attitudes of employers and employees need to change, not just the laws that govern their relationship.

Andrew Crudge

Solicitor, Thomas Eggar LLP

Southampton, Hampshire

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