LETTERS IN BRIEFBriefly

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l NICK Cohen's suggestion that we will be compelling prison officers to undergo drug tests is wrong ("Prison officers face drugs tests", 24 March). We would be negligent in our duty if we did not examine every aspect of drug misuse within prisons but we do not have any such plans.

R R Tilt, HM Prison Service,

London SW1

l ILLTYD Harrington advises us that in eight years London will have a population of "7.3 million, or twice that of Northern Ireland" (Letters, 31 March). This is alarming. When I left Northern Ireland last November, its population was little more than 1.5 million. I hope the Child Support Agency isn't chasing me.

Michael Mullan

Bradford, West Yorkshire

l IAN JACK seems embarrassed by the closing lines of Braveheart, that those who died at Bannockburn "fought like Scotsmen" (31 March). How then did they fight? Like dervishes? Ian Jack writes like, I don't know ... a Scotsman - where's the shame in that?

James Kincaid, Nottingham

l GOSSIP may be a modern form of grooming ("Have you heard the latest?", 31 March) but a better way of explaining how we now relate to each other is by the kind of muttering or mumbling that the anthropologist James C Scott has identified as a form of resistance in peasant society. The next time the boss asks how you are, mutter something horrible at him and smile nicely.

Keith Flett, London N17

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