IoS letters, emails & online postings (18 May 2014)

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The Independent Online

An investigation into Nigel Lawson's so-called charity, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) is long overdue ("Lawson's charity 'intimidated' environmental expert", 11 May)

It was launched in 2009, just before the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, and Lord Lawson used the hacked emails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia to cast doubt on the science of global warming and the independence of key researchers.

Subsequently there were five official inquiries into "Climategate" including three in the UK, none of which found any evidence of scientific misconduct or manipulation of data, but these inquiries took years and allowed climate-change deniers to argue that the science of global warming was suspect.

Lawson also criticised Professor Phil Jones and his colleagues at CRU for failing to provide data following Freedom of Information requests, but has himself refused to declare who is funding GWPF, a stance that has been criticised by the editors of both the Lancet and the BMJ.

Finally it is richly ironic that a trustee of GWPF should accuse Bob Ward from the London School of Economics of "not being an academic", whilst Lawson himself has no scientific credentials of any sort.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones

Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire

Tim Mickleburgh (Letters, 11 May) correctly claims that Inheritance Tax reduces the amount received by beneficiaries who have done nothing to earn it. The tax does however remain pernicious!

It must be pernicious not to discriminate between the ways in which wealth has been accumulated. It must be right to collect tax from the transfer of those assets which have not been taxed in the hands of the donor. Equally it must be wrong to tax again those assets on which the donor has already paid tax.

This could be achieved by abolishing the illogical seven-year rule; the source of much avoidance. The donor should then be assessed for tax on all asset transfers but have the right to claim double taxation relief on any assets which can be shown to have arisen from taxed income.

Clive Georgeson

Dronfield, Derbyshire

For those who condemn Inheritance Tax, the simple response is: "For those in receipt of money or property gifted to them by inheritance, 60 per cent of something is better than a 100 per cent of nothing!" Just be grateful.

David Culm

Littleover, Derby

Michael Calvin fears Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff's "successors in the England team have been browbeaten into becoming corporate clones" (Sport, 11 May). Given Flintoff's natural cricketing successor is Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was sent home from an England Lions tour for enjoying a drink rather too much and who is currently unable to play because of a broken wrist sustained by punching a locker, Freddie's legacy appears to be in safe hands.

Martyn P Jackson

Cramlington, Northumberland

Paul Vallely is quick to trivialise the question of halal meat – an attempt to silence those of us who want the law on stunning enforced (Comment, 11 May). This law was brought in to save animals suffering. Meanwhile full labelling on all meat sold/served should be enforced. Consumers have a right to a choice and the Food Standards Agency should act.

Jenny Bushell

London SW19

Hamish McRae argues that thousands of job losses at Barclays are an inevitable result of changing times in banking (Comment, 11 May). One thing that does not seem to have changed is Barclays ethical position. Having been a part of a banking crisis that brought society to its knees, while it carried on handing out bonuses to its top people, it now proposes that the taxpayer should pay again, in the form of benefits, as it sacks many which it might more reasonably have redeployed.

Keith Flett

London N17

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