<i>IoS</i> letters, emails & texts, 14 September 2008

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The Independent Online

Jonathan Neale ("Lifestyle choices won't win the battle against global warming", 7 September) makes some important points about the need to build a mass movement to force governments to take action on climate change. However, his suggestion of banning flights within Europe and allowing each of us one (presumably long-haul) flight a year elsewhere, while a welcome first step, doesn't go nearly far enough to address the ever-growing problem of aviation emissions (which constitute 13 per cent of the UK's contribution to climate change).

A return flight from London to New York produces 1.2 tonnes of CO2 per passenger: exactly the quantity which each of us will be entitled to emit each year if we cut our emissions by the necessary 90 per cent (although there is increasing evidence that even 90 per cent is insufficient). Our happy delusion that we can continue to fly around the world while still being "green" is leading to death and misery on a vast scale for millions of people who will never in their lives set foot on a plane. We need to stop flying, now.

Andrea Needham


Jonathan Neale's article argues that rail travel can and ought to replace flying for much medium-distance trans-continental travel. It is easy for London-based journalists to say this, as they can just hop on Eurostar which gives them easy access to a high-speed European network. However, the rest of us must go to, through and past London. This is time-consuming and expensive, and it adds to the physical and emotional stresses of travelling.

Eurostar was going to be the Holy Grail of modern transport between Britain and mainland Europe. But the promises to extend Eurostar across the UK were broken. Eurostar goes only to and from London, by courtesy of the myopic London-based planners and policy-makers.

I promise to do my best to be on the first direct train from Nottingham to Milan. Until then, I will take the short bus journey to my local airport and relax in the knowledge that London does not figure in my itinerary at all.

Sam BooteNottingham

It seems ironic and unfortunate that only the daughters of the religiose lunatic fringe may be denied the benefits of the cervical cancer vaccine ("Ministers ignored parents' fears over cervical cancer jab", 7 September). I have a simple question to refute their parents' concerns: Does this vaccine protect against HIV, genital warts, chlamydia or unplanned pregnancy? No? Then it can have no effect whatsoever on promiscuity.

Peter Greenhouse FRCOG

Consultant in Sexual Health, Bristol

The stock-market computer crashes and costs the country billions in lost trade. New Labour and the Home Office want to place all our details on their massive computer database through which all our transactions must pass.

Imagine the damage when the Government's computer crashes. The whole country will stop, all transactions halted. It will make the stock-market computer crash look trivial. And yet New Labour and the Home Office still press ahead, like lemmings to the cliff. They are barking bonkers.

Barry Tighe

London E11

Margareta Pagano argues against a higher tax rate for those earning over £100,000, ("You're not 'super rich' on £100,000...", 7 September) trotting out the tired old assertions that this would "send professionals overseas", and act as a disincentive to work. I wonder just how many of our "professionals" would up sticks in this way, even supposing there were eager employers waiting to welcome them? Is there any evidence to suggest such an exodus would take place?

As for an incentive to work: well, we all do it in order to be paid; but I suspect I am not alone in being motivated also by the extent to which I support the values of my employer, feedback from peers and managers, my own perception of the usefulness of what I do, etc. I think any human resources manager would confirm that this is typical for most employees.

John Craythorne

Uffculme, Devon

As you report (7 September), floods have left hundreds dead, but this was in Haiti. It does rather put the rain in Britain in perspective. It might be miserable but we still have a mild climate compared to many.

Keith Flett

London N17

To manoeuvre himself "over the lintel" of the closet door ("Congratulations, Sir Cliff: yours is the soundtrack of Middle England", 7 September), the Bachelor Boy would need not only serious gymnastic skills but also the quality of subtility, attributed by theologians to the resurrected body, to pass through a solid wall. The lintel sits over the top of a doorway; it is the threshold that people cross.

David Crawford

Bromley, Kent

Respect mums at home, please

I must take issue with Janet Street-Porter's comment about women choosing to clear up baby sick over running a business.

No Janet, we didn't choose to clear up sick; our choice was to stay home and bring up our children. Sick comes with the package but we can argue that it's as rewarding to bring up a family as it is to run a successful business.

The reason why women are failing to chip away at the glass ceiling? Too much time fighting among ourselves, over working mums vs full-time mums, when we should concentrate on respect and advancement for all women.

Julie Tye

Milton Keynes