<i>IoS</i> letters, emails & online postings (31 October 2010)

Paul Vallely denounces conspiracy theories on the day that we read WikiLeaks' revelations about one of the biggest conspiracies to deceive that the 21st century world has known ("Why we all love a good conspiracy theory", 24 October). I do not follow David Icke or Dan Brown, but your own excellent Robert Fisk. From his dogged reporting over many years I have reached this "obvious" conclusion: the main reason people do not believe "the obvious" is because powerful people lie, and not enough politicians and journaists bring these usually wealthy intriguers to account until their crimes are committed and their victims long dead.

Eddie Byrne

London NW2

The US and UK governments have condemned the WikiLeaks exposures because they could endanger the lives of US and UK service personnel and their allies. However, the statistics revealed in these leaks show that this Iraq conflict caused the deaths of less than 5,000 coalition forces at the expense of over 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians killed directly in violent incidents. We should applaud Wiki-Leaks for exposing the truth and, thereby, helping to prevent such crimes in the future.

Edward Horgan

Castletroy, Limerick

Thank you for your leader, "The 'unknowns' were knowable" (24 October). Now I know what it feels like to be "vindicated", as one of the hundreds of thousands who marched against Blair's war in 2003. But if this is what vindication feels like, give me guilt any day. If being vindicated sets the world to rights, why is Blair earning £160,000 a speech while I am unemployed? More to the point, why are so many dead?

Colin Standfield

London W7

The Chancellor is counting on the private sector to save the country, and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up 99.9 per cent of UK businesses. After the Chancellor's spending review, more than 1,000 of our members participated in research. While more than half believe public sector workers have been pampered and protected for too long, 72 per cent believe the reduction in public spending will have a negative impact on their sales. Also, 56 per cent believe a double dip recession is now more likely. These figures will make worrying reading for the coalition.

Dave Sumner Smith

Programme Director, The SME Hub

Farnham, Surrey

The Government has taken leave of its senses by intending to cut expenditure on policing. Do they not realise that a much thicker "thin blue line" will be needed to keep the lid on the social unrest and crime caused by the high unemployment levels which will be a consequence of their other policies? This is something that Mrs Thatcher well understood.

John Eoin Douglas


Last week, you announced on your front page that I was broke. This is untrue and has caused me much embarrassment. I am £9m in debt. This leaves me, thankfully, still with many millions of pounds at my disposal which are not impinged upon by this debt. Matthew Bell said in his most amusing article that I had been engaged several times. This upset my fiancée Geraldine Lynton-Edwards, who was not aware I'd been engaged prior to becoming engaged to her. Nor was I! Geraldine is very special, not one of a group. It was only when I decided, at the age of 72, to get engaged that I was suddenly in the unique position (for me) of having a fiancée.

Michael Winner

London W8

The reservoirs I walk round near Nidderdale suffer more from lack of water rather than upkeep, and their access roads do not concern to me as a walker (Janet Street-Porter, 24 October). All landowners, not only Yorkshire Water, have broken or chained gates and collapsing fences. Its website offers over 40 detailed walks, a health and recreational service that occurred only since privatisation.

Allan Friswell

Cowling, North Yorkshire

Andrew Martin is guilty of musical snobbery ("When politicans get down with the kids..." 24 October). Why cannot somebody derive enjoyment from different genres of music? I'm 69, and the music on my MP3 player includes Mozart's concerto for 16 wind instruments, Gogol Bordello's "Immigrant Punk", Britten's War Requiem, Amy Winehouse's Back To Black, Sinatra's Songs For Swinging Lovers and Wagner's Tristan and Isolde. I get equal pleasure from these and find no difficulty in having them, as Andrew puts it, co-existing in my mind.

Bob Sampson

Hassocks, West Sussex

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