The political power of the Church goes back to Henry VIII and before that, the political power of the Pope goes back to Constantine (Joan Smith: "This squabbling sect has no place in the Lords", 25 November). It is totally out of place in a modern democracy. Disestablishment would not only solve the problem of women bishops but that of gay marriage. A private religious group can make whatever silly rules that it likes about men and women – but a government body (the establishment of the Church makes it precisely that) is not private. Disestablishment would remove any concern by the Government about the Church breaking up – probably into a church that accepted women bishops and one that did not. Similar considerations apply to their beliefs about gay marriage, which would no longer be of concern to the Government.
The Queen would no longer be the head of the Church but a member of the congregation as she is in Scotland. Future coronations would be secular with participation from all religious groups, as would events such as Remembrance Day. Breaking the tie would be very straightforward. The Anglican Church would then be free to govern itself in any way it saw fit as it does in other countries. And Anglican bishops would no longer sit, ex officio, in the Lords.
Port Solent, Hampshire
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME is a debilitating condition affecting some 1 per cent of the UK population (“ME: bitterest row yet in a long saga”, 25 November). We believe this serious illness needs improved treatments and care, and that research is central to making this happen.
However, researchers in the field have been the target of a campaign to undermine their work and professional credibility. This harassment risks undermining research in the field, preventing the development of new treatments and discouraging specialist clinicians from entering the field. We fear that this may have resulted in patients not receiving the best treatments or care – staying ill for longer and not being able to live their life to its full potential.
So it is with sadness that we read in The Independent on Sunday reports of false allegations made against Simon Wessely - one of the few UK clinicians with a specialist interest in treating CFS/ME and someone who has done pioneering research in the field. Ironically, it was because of accusations like this that Professor Wessely received the award in the first place.
Professor Peter White, Professor of Psychological Medicine, Queen Mary University of London
Professor Michael Sharpe, Professor of Psychological Medicine, University of Oxford
Dr Esther Crawley, Reader in Child Health, University of Bristol
Professor Stephen Holgate CBE, MRC Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology, University of Southampton
Professor Rona Moss-Morris, Head of Health Psychology, King’s College London
Dr Charlotte Feinmann, Reader , UCL
Professor Hugo Critchley, Chair in Psychiatry, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
Dr Brian Angus, Reader in Infectious Diseases, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of oxford
Dr Steven Reid, Clinical Director for Psychological Medicine, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
Professor Patrick Doherty, Professor of Rehabilitation, York St John University
Professor Paul Little, Professor of Primary Care Research, University of Southampton
Dr Maurice Murphy, HIV Consultant, Barts Health NHS Trust
Professor Tim Peto, Consultant in Infectious Diseases and General Medicine, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford
Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, Chair, Public Health Wales, Cardiff University
Dr Alastair Miller, Consultant Physician, Royal Liverpool University Hospital
Professor Diane Cox, Professor of Occupational Therapy, University of Cumbria
Professor Jonathan Sterne, Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, University of Bristol
Dr Margaret May, Reader in Medical Statistics, University of Bristol
Professor George Davey-Smith, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, University of Bristol
Dr Jade Thai, Senior Research Fellow, University of Bristol
Dr Gabrielle Murphy, Clinical Lead Physician, Fatigue Service, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
Dr Hazel O'Dowd, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and CFS/ME Team Leader, Frenchay Hospital Bristol
Dr Brian Marien, Director, Positive Health
Professor Willie Hamilton, Professor of Primary Care Diagnostics, University of Exeter
Dr Selwyn Richards, Consultant Rheumatologist, Poole Hospital NHS Trust
Professor Alison Wearden, Professor of Health Psychology, University of Manchester
Professor Trudie Chalder, Department of Psychological Medicine, King’s College London.
Flooding is becoming more and more prevalent across the nation. Why then is the Environment Agency approving development proposals in areas of risk? A housing development is proposed in our village by the River Calder. The river flooded extensively in June and runs by the development site, yet the EA feels that, as the flooding was a once-in-100-years event, there is no risk. Head, sand and bury come to mind. We are storing up problems to satisfy the drive to restart the economy by building houses in inappropriate places.
As we contemplate the legacy of the Olympics, I find no significant coverage of any Olympic event except football in last week's IoS. Shape up, media UK!
Dom Joly poses a good question, and I think the answer is that his chickens are not safe from foxes during the day. From my experience, foxes are true to their reputation, cunning, crafty and always around. Dom should think about an electric fence if he wants his hens to have some freedom.
The Chambers Dictionary defines cider as "an alcoholic drink made from apples" and perry as "fermented pear juice" ("Pear cider boom angers purists", 25 November). Bizarrely, just after reading your article today, I spotted in a local supermarket "apple cider". Next: "cherry kirsch" and "orange orange juice".
D J Taylor is unhappy with the syntax of "walking wonderland", but is it different from "walking holiday", "swimming pool" or "reading room" (25 November)? There are many similar constructions in English. The Kerry Way doubtless provides a wonderland for walking in and has maybe inspired a song for drinking to.
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