IoS letters, emails & online postings (28 December 2014)

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The Independent Online

Jane Merrick's article ("Peer pressure", 21 December) was the best argument yet for reform of the House Of Lords. It should be compulsory for Lords to hear all sides of a debate rather than relying on their own experience and view, and be there from start to finish of a debate.

Scrap the rule that says they have to be there from the start of a debate? No way Jane! Bring on a second elected chamber as soon as possible.

Jim Elliott

Norwich

It's such a shame that the BBC Sports Personality of the Year has already been chosen ("Amir Khan condemns the Taliban", 21 December). We could have had a really worthy winner instead of a tax exile driving a better, very expensive, racing car than everyone else.

Jan Wiczkowski

Prestwich, Manchester

I enjoyed the Walk of the Month, including the nice comments about Cromer ("The perfect start for a coastal odyssey", 21 December). I am surprised that Mark Rowe did not notice the Pavilion Theatre in front of the lifeboat station, especially as it hosts the last end of the pier show in Europe!

Sheilagh McGowan

Cromer, Norfolk

In your article "Air passengers avoid London connections" (21 December) you say that "Heathrow remains the most popular hub for regional travellers only when flying to North America".

I have been flying to Canada to visit relatives since the late 1970s when we actually had the luxury of a choice of carriers providing direct flights from Manchester. Since this option disappeared we had been using flights out of Heathrow, with the prospect of queues in the Flight Connections Centre and a bus trip between terminals, on one of which the bus (standing room only on a hot summer's day) was stationary in a jam for 45 minutes.

This year we decided to try KLM via Amsterdam, despite the prospect of heading east rather than west for the first leg of the journey. No bus trips, nor change of terminal, and in our case a 15 minute walk to our next flight's departure gate. It is unlikely that Heathrow will be considered for future trips.

One further factor which could explain avoidance of the London airports: there are no longer any flights from Manchester to Gatwick, so any international flight from there would require a train journey and possibly an overnight stay in a hotel. Or – horror of horrors – a flight to Heathrow and bus or train transfer to Gatwick. What a prospect!

Ray Jennings

Ormskirk, Lancashire

John Rentoul is right to criticise coalition austerity hypocrisy over the employment of special advisers in government, and right, too, to suggest they are needed ("Who needs special advisers? We all do", 21 December). Running the country is a complex matter and if there is to be an appropriate balance between civil servants and elected politicians the latter need support. That said one does wonder if the 20 special advisors Nick Clegg has provide value for public money.

Keith Flett

London N17

Unlike John Rentoul, I don't think we need a plethora of special advisers. For each Cabinet post holder and member of parliament has the back up support of people who helped to get him or her elected, individuals with the constituency knowledge needed in order to enable Westminster to function without being unduly biased towards one part of the country. Such men and women are voted in as local councillors up and down Britain, and will be glad to give their advice free of charge without adding to the nation's payroll costs.

Councillor Tim Mickleburgh

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

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