Letters in brief

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Tim Hilton rightly fails to be duped by Robert Mapplethorpe's photographs (Review, 29 September). But where is his nonsense detector over Antony Gormley's daft installation of 35,000 figurines? A big idea, making "one think of how many people there might be in the world", or merely familiarising us with the familiar?

David Rodway, London SW1

I WONDER if Bishop Roderick Wright's opinion on birth control is on record?

Edgar Mehl, London NW8

LOUIS De La Foret's plaint (Letters, 29 September) that popular usage still defines celibacy as meaning "no sex", applies with even greater force to the popular definition of atheist. Dictionaries define similar usage of the "a-" prefix as meaning neutral: amoral means neither moral nor immoral; apolitical means "indifferent to political affairs". An atheist is, correctly, one who takes no sides in the "God, anti-God" confrontation.

Len Clarke

Uxbridge, Middlesex

I AM not surprised by the lack of esteem for British Gas ("How British Gas became a national joke", 29 September). I use the "quantum" pre- payment system, the modern equivalent of the coin-operated meter. A recent inquiry in one of the few British Gas showrooms still open revealed that their own showrooms no longer recharge pre-payment cards! If they will not provide such a basic service to those who pay over the odds, why should they be trusted to supply gas?

Name and address supplied

THE inappropriately titled "Bloodbath in Israel" (29 September) ignored the significance of Israeli settlement activity in creating the desperation that led to protests and, ultimately, the bloodbath in Palestine. Since the Oslo accords, over 70,000 acres of Palestinian land in the occupied territories have been confiscated by Israeli authorities. Moreover, Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to expand these settlements. Is it a surprise that Palestinians are fearful and angry?

Rob Kent, Birmingham