IoS letters, emails & online postings (17 November 2013)

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The fact that "An end to ageing?" made it on to the front page (10 November) emphasises the anxiety people have about growing old. Dr Richard Walker pointed out that "biological immortality is in my mind possible, but improbable."

Overcoming the fear of ageing might be something that we can tackle. At the moment older people are being shunned and finding themselves isolated, lonely and depressed, or placed in ghetto-like settings where their only companions are other older people. We are not respecting older people, and are wasting the experience and desire to help others that many of them possess. Our fear of ageing is so pervasive that even older people themselves are becoming ageist, feeling that they do not deserve help, have no meaningful rights and do not complain about poor care.

We may be able to delay ageing and improve quality of life, but fear of ageing we should try to conquer. It would produce a better society for us all.

Dr Chris Allen

Consultant clinical psychologist

Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

So some churches wants to stop 16-year-olds from joining the Army do they? Why would a disaffected and utterly unqualified youth with no interest in education want to join? What would he do?

At 15, I left the useless job I had, sawing planks on a machine for eight hours a day, and found myself driving trucks, map reading, walking all over Snowdonia, experiencing the discipline that stopped me from carrying on down the borderline criminal path I had been treading, firing machine guns and canoeing.

It taught me the basic maths and English that school had failed to, and gave me the confidence to think that I could, as I did, go to a university and gain a degree. Why on earth would anyone want young people to go down that road?

Vaughan Thomas

Usk, Monmouthshire

Janet Street-Porter seems to have suffered a touch of metropolitan parochialism in asking "when is Zaha Hadid going to build a landmark building in a UK city?"(10 November). Glasgow, a biggish sort of place not far north of the M25, is proud host to Hadid's amazing Riverside Museum. A tourist magnet. And, so far, still in the UK.

Ian Taylor


While I think that cynicism towards voting in elections is understandable I agree with John Rentoul (10 November) that to take scepticism as far as not voting hardly helps any kind of democratic process.

There are specific occasions when it may be appropriate to boycott a particular election of course, but that is a rather different matter.

At the same time voting is not enough. Voting and taking to the streets in protest is the ideal democratic combination.

Keith Flett

London N17

I was astonished to find, in "Quinoa" (10 November), the sort of opprobrium normally reserved for dictators and despots directed towards a harmless cereal (or "pseudo-cereal").

If people who choose to eat well are "tossers", as the anti-quinoa wag seems to assert, we must assume that the keys to continual and repeated sexual satisfaction lie in consuming vast amounts of pies, a fiction which is no doubt perpetuated by butchers and validated by the England squad in its previous incarnation.

Veggies always attract criticism, but we will have the last laugh – when the production of meat becomes unsustainable, we will be more than happy to share our recipes with the pie-eating tossers.

Andrew Gow


What excellent advice to M&S from Katy Guest (Comment, 10 November). Some years ago I was invited to a preview of the Classic Range where we gave our opinions of the designs shown. To a woman, we told them that their designs were old-fashioned, ageing, and would not tempt any of us. When we said we did not like elasticated waist-bands, the young man seeking our advice told us that his grandmother always chose them. And he was supposed to be a fashion adviser!

Brenda Robb

Keighley, West Yorkshire

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