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IoS letters, emails & online postings (27 May 2012)


Your interview with Melvyn Bragg carried the claim that he is supported by a "massive research team" on In Our Time ("Good to be back?", 20 May). While the programme's scope is almost without limit, its resources are rather more finite. The programme actually has a staff of two – an assistant producer and me – and Melvyn's contribution is considerable and central to the series' success. [See item 14 June 2012.]

Tom Morris

Producer, In Our Time, BBC Radio 4

The media coverage of last week's Draft Energy Bill, announced by Energy Minister Ed Davey on Tuesday, focused on the need to "keep the UK's lights on", as if the Winter of Discontent of yore would become a permanent feature as we travel further into the 21st century. This was encouraged by Davey's announcement itself, which emphasised that the £100bn investment needed would "keep the lights on", as well as helping us meet green targets. However, the simple route was not emphasised, which is to encourage reduction of electricity usage. This is something in which everyone can play their part: reducing individual carbon outputs reduces collective outputs – and energy bills. Demand reduction is a crucial part of the reforms to the energy market; its importance must be given prominence at every opportunity.

Robert Sansom

Energy Pane, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, Stevenage

Matt Chorley's piece "Government to backtrack on fracking" (20 May) is in contrast to recent statements by Lord Smith and the Department of Energy. Of course, we would all love to think that the money-grubbers really had decided to shove off elsewhere, having noted the high cost of fracking in Europe due to something in the order of three times the population density of, eg, rural Pennsylvania and the likely ongoing opposition at local level. Adverse effects of fracking are also likely to be surfacing in the period leading up to the next general election.

David Nordon-Angus

via email

I agree with Paul Vallely that Europe needs a Marshall plan approach to the debt problem ("Greek lessons that Cameron really should heed", 20 May).

We thankfully have not suffered a war, and if we are to avoid the seeds that may lead to such an occurrence, Europe needs leaders and the world bank to implement a repayment plan and time scale that helps our youth, elderly and families have a life worthy of the 21st century.

Too many of our leaders have supped from silver spoons and lost touch with the reality of life.

Mark Maryan


A new biography on Prince William may prove to be a success, but was bringing up Princess Diana's trouble once again really necessary (Interview, 20 May)? We have heard it all so many times before and there is still much ill-informed, emotive comment surrounding the sorry Diana/Charles/ Camilla love triangle that Penny Junor should have known there could be a hostile and critical reaction by bringing it all to the surface again. Why is anyone interested any more? Let it go, and let everyone get on with life. The past cannot be changed.

Emilie Lamplough

Trowbridge, Wiltshire

Looking at royal biographer Penny Junor's porch in Jason Alden's gorgeously lit photograph, I couldn't help thinking, from what we know of Prince Charles's views on architecture, how much he would hate it.

Chris Moorhouse


In Invisible Ink No 124 on Hans Fallada, Jeremy Crowe asserts that Every Man Dies Alone and Alone in Berlin are his greatest late books (Books, 20 May). But "they" are one and the same novel. Jeder stirbt für sich allein is the German title, and Every Man... is the literal translation of that. Alone in Berlin is the title of the book's English translation.

Michael Clarke

Godalming, Surrey

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Letters to the Editor, The Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF. Email: sundayletters@independent.co.uk. Online: independent.co.uk/dayinapage/2012/May/27