IoS letters, emails & online postings (4 May 2014)

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The Independent Online

Rather than wasting money on vanity projects such as HS2 and new roads, there should be investment in an integrated public transport system that would effectively support local businesses, commuters, families and visitors to the regions ("High speed ahead", 27 April).

This is best achieved by public ownership of the railways, and investment in the regional lines. This includes more electrification and a reopening of disused lines, and creating a system more resilient to flooding so that, for example, a washout at Dawlish does not cut off Cornwall. It's also time for more investment in bus lanes, community car clubs and safer cycle routes. Local bus services should be re-regulated and local councils should be able to save subsidised bus services on the basis of social need.

The massive House of Commons vote in favour of HS2 shows how detached Parliament has become from the views of the public.

Rupert Read

Green Party transport spokesperson


In his discussion of the decision to award Cornwall national minority status, DJ Taylor cites a 2011 survey which showed that 41 per cent of pupils in Cornwall regarded themselves first and foremost as Cornish ("There is a bit of the Cornish separatist in all of us", 27 April). This is not necessarily to be applauded. When I worked in Plymouth not many years ago, I had many dealings with Cornish schools. My enduring memory of their pupils was meeting teenagers in their GCSE year who had never left Cornwall. What these children badly needed was the opportunity to broaden their horizons, not least their British ones, and thereby to enhance their options as adults. The last thing Cornwall's pupils need is the award of a status that will foster feelings of separateness and parochialism.

David Head

Navenby, Lincolnshire

A school in Birmingham, allegedly influenced by extreme Salafist or Wahabi theology, is under investigation – reported to have taught that men are superior to women, that wives have a duty to "obey" husbands and may not refuse sex. The teacher concerned is still teaching.

At the same time, the Government calls on women living in households influenced by this sort of ideology to speak out if their men are thinking of travelling to fight. It must realise they have little power to do so.

The best way to counter such extremism is to empower and educate women and girls, advising them of their rights, providing the tools they need to control their own lives, and refuge and protection if they or their children need it. A national helpline able to offer practical advice to women and children would be a good place to start.

Jean Calder


Replying to your front page "Will nothing sink Farage?" (27 April), am I right in thinking that a lot of those who intend to vote for Ukip in May don't really know what they are voting for, and want to give the Government a political kicking regardless of the consequences?

Martin Webb

Swindon, Wiltshire

If Scotland does become a petty little foreign country on 19 September, I, as a British subject living in Scotland, will have been forced into exile. It seems that David Cameron was misguided and may regret ever agreeing to a Scottish referendum.

James ryden

Scone, Perth

It is hardly fair to single out Tony Blair for failing to make any criticisms of Saudi Arabia ("Demented Blair recites the Saudis' creed", 27 April). When was the last time that any leading politician in the West did so? Saudi Arabia has long been a lucrative source of profits in the oil and arms industries.

Ivor Morgan


Why do newspapers have a blind spot regarding the geography of Gibraltar? It is not an island, but a peninsula.

Chris Elliott

via email