Letters: Prince speaks out on climate

 

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The comments by Dr Benny Peiser (report, 24 November.) on Prince Charles's alarm at global warming are outrageously irresponsible.

Prince Charles's strong comments are needed to wake up a civilisation that is in comfortable denial. Even if they turn out eventually to be extreme, better that an alarm is sounded with strength, than not at all.

It is a moral issue at base – the lives of future generations – and the Global Warming Foundation would appear to be conveniently in denial not only of the mass of scientific evidence, but of their own social responsibilities.

Tom Baxter

Stratford-upon-Avon

While Prince Charles's public prominence will always get him a hearing, if he were first in line to reduce his personal, right royal, carbon footprint, his views might actually be heeded. Sadly, yet another case of "Don't do as I do, do as I say."

Dick Penfold

Fetcham, Surrey

Recent studies indicate that the costs of climate change (as seen in higher food costs due to poor harvests, for example, as well as in more extreme weather events) are already starting to exceed the costs of reducing emissions.

With the loss of Arctic sea ice accelerating, and with low-carbon technology poised to become one of the major growth areas of the UK economy, now is not the time for the Government to backtrack on emissions targets.

Now that the American people have had the good sense to reject the climate-change denier Romney, there is a real chance for international action too.

Mike Wright

Nuneaton, Warwickshire

How to exert our influence inside Europe

David Cameron has probably done the right thing in the EU this time, in contrast to the previous occasion when he ended up using the veto in a minority of one. However, he needs to be careful not to overplay his hand if he wishes this country to remain in the EU – and I think he does.

Britain is a principal net contributor, along with the other northern European nations, and Mr Cameron is right to insist that this money is well spent and not wasted on too much bureaucracy. I think most of us in this country do not sufficiently appreciate that, because of its history (for which, in contrast to some places elsewhere in Europe, we have nothing of which to be ashamed), and the extent to which our views are respected, we do, in fact, have considerable influence in Europe, but we must be prepared to compromise and understand other points of view, even if we do not always agree.

So our freedom to act as a sort of devil's advocate only goes so far. The alternative is to adopt the views of extreme eurosceptics.

Peter Giles

Whitchurch, Shropshire

Was launching the Great British Bluster Bomb in the general direction of Brussels last week the best way to achieve anything other than a deal of spluttering and some local irritation? Maximum annoyance, minimal effect. Isn't it time for our diplomacy to be done by someone who knows what they're doing?

David Penn

Kendal, Cumbria

It is astonishing that Matthew Norman (21 November) should dismiss the idea that being in the EU results is a loss of sovereignty as a "half-baked meme" on the same plane as "forcibly straightened cucumbers". I think Mr Norman should ask the Greeks who now have to dance to the tune of Brussels and Berlin if loss of sovereignty is a half-baked meme.

Fawzi Ibrahim

London NW2

You are right in your leading article (26 November): a pact with Ukip wouldn't help the Tories win a majority. The Tories failed to win a majority at the last election not because they weren't right-wing or Eurosceptic enough, but because more centrist floating voters didn't quite trust the Tories. It's highly probable that at the next election "the right" (Tories and Ukip) will poll around 40 per cent, yet Labour, on say 35 per cent, could end up the largest party.

John Boylan

Hatfield, Hertfordshire

If the Tories had supported the "yes" side in the AV referendum, and it had passed, they would not now be agonising over the Ukip threat.

Alan Pavelin

Cheslehurst, Kent

Press faces MPs' revenge

The Independent's painstaking investigation into MPs all-expenses-paid globetrotting (23, 24 November) is as timely as it is revealing, with Lord Justice Leveson widely expected to recommend some form of statutory press regulation when he reports on Thursday.

Doubtless there will be many MPs resentful of the newspaper shining a bright light into the frequently murky world of questionable "fact-finding" missions to states with disgraceful human rights records and a tendency to outlaw critical newspapers or toss their journalists into jail.

As Leveson reports and an even fiercer battle begins between pro-and anti-regulatory lobbies to win political and public opinion, the public would do well to recall that when a newspaper secured a stolen computer disk to expose the parliamentary expenses scandal, the initial reaction of too many of our MPs was to demand that the newspaper, and its whistleblower, should be gagged and prosecuted.

It was only in the face of public outrage, together with the warnings of more principled colleagues that this wasn't the time to shoot the messenger, that they reluctantly beat a retreat.

Doubtless there are those, still smouldering with resentment, who would regard backing a Leveson plan that introduces statute into press regulation as a measure of revenge.

PAUL CONNEW

St Albans, Hertfordshire

Threat to a happy workforce

While we support the idea of employee ownership schemes, which have proved to be a highly successful model, we do not support the artificial trade-off the Government has prompted with employees' rights. As responses to the consultation on "implementing employee owner status" are considered, we strongly urge the Government to abandon these plans.

Inviting employees to sign away their basic rights will not deliver the motivated, high-performing workforce that small firms need. A growing evidence base demonstrates that improvements in employee engagement are linked to enhanced customer satisfaction, and productivity gains. Companies that value and invest in their people are more likely to succeed in the long term.

Good management accounting is about evidence-based decision making. We believe policy making should operate on the same principles, and there is no evidence that these proposals will have anything other than a negative impact on UK plc – and specifically on the collective reputation and employer brand of the small business sector they are intended to support.

Charles Tilley

Chief Executive

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

Peter Cheese

Chief Executive

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

London SW1

Right way to greet a friend

I cannot answer Rosalind Grant's question about the use of the phrase "Y'alright" (letter, 22 November), but I know she would hear and appreciate a wonderful nuanced use of the word if she was to walk down the street in Derry/Londonderry and overhear a conversation such as the following. A rough translation is provided.

Two people meet in the street:

A: Right! (Hallo there!)

B: Right! Right? ( It's your self then. How are you keeping?)

A: Right. Right? (I am keeping pretty well. And how are you?)

B: Right. (I am pretty good as well – but, depending on context, it could also mean, I am soldiering on, in spite of my problems.)

A: Right. (OK then, I had better be getting on.)

B: Right. (Yes. Good bye. )

A (as they separate): Right. (See you then.)

Clem McCartney

Limavady, Co Londonderry

Dangerous dog owners

The tragic death of a baby, killed by a grandparent's dog, highlights a serious problem. Recently when visiting a friend I was bitten by a neighbour's dog in an unprovoked attack.

I learnt that this dog had bitten a postman and another neighbour. The owner has two small children. She refuses to muzzle the dog or get rid of it, yet expressed concern for her children.

I believe there has been a massive rise in dog ownership. Often, the dogs are of very unsuitable breeds, which have the potential to do serious damage. They are not trained and often run uncontrolled.

As someone who has owned and loves dogs, I know they should be trained and care taken in their contact with young children. The the time has come for tight controls to be imposed. All dogs should be tagged, and ownership should be limited to those who show they know how to control them.

Michael Lloyd

London N4

NHS waste

I was recently with an older friend when he was waiting for a member of staff from his local pharmacy to come to remove three plastic shopping bags of unused or out-of-date drugs. At the same time, she delivered 20 new boxes, each containing 28 aspirin tablets. As he knows that I take one of these daily, on my GP's recommendation, he passed 10 of these boxes on to me. I am now well set up for the next nine months.

J Michael Walpole

Selly Park, Birmingham

Rare names

Further to Henry Spyvee's letter (20 November), one way of preserving rare or interesting surnames is to use them as patronymics. In our family, for a number of generations, we have used the Salopian surname Sambrook for boys and girls. No relative now bears this surname but it lives on as a middle name.

David Ashton

Shipbourne, Kent

Strange weather

Travelling by bus through Lea, near Malmesbury, I could see much mist over the low-lying flooded damp fields. However, most of the hedgerows near the houses appeared to be giving off steam. Can anyone explain this curious micrometeorological phenomenon?

Nicholas E Gough

Swindon, Wiltshire

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