Phillip Schofield's approach to coming out didn't seem that brave to me

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Saturday 08 February 2020 17:11
Comments
Philip Schofield on telling his family about his sexuality

As a gay man who has been “out” for nearly 50 years I derive no comfort whatsoever from Phillip Schofield‘s announcement. Far from supporting the LGBT+ community or displaying bravery, he emphasised his dread and reluctance to admitting to being this frightful thing called gay, thereby sending a very negative message, especially to young men.

A friend of mine was thrown out of his home by a hateful mother when she discovered he was gay aged 17. But he coped with very little support, certainly without Schofield’s healthy bank balance. Now that is what I regard as true bravery!

Name and address not supplied

Home Office fails again

Leaving aside its repugnant strands of racism and fascism, the Home Office’s desperate attempt to find ways to deport “foreign” criminals (Johnson says deportation of Caribbean nationals must go ahead, News, Thursday), who have served their prison sentences is a glaring admission of failure on its part.

Those released from prison have, very literally, served their time. They should, in any competent justice system, be rehabilitated and ready to play a productive part in society. Adding enforced exile to the retribution already exacted by their prison terms is manifestly unjust.

D Maughan Brown
York

Take your pick

With regards to Tom Peck’s article, I don’t understand why we should be more worried about Chinese technology capturing our data than we should be about US technology capturing it. We know from people such as Julian Assange and Edward Snowden that the US illegally or legally captures and uses/misuses the planet’s data. In my honest opinion, the current bullying US administration is as much a threat to us as the current Chinese one.

Des O’Brien
France

BBC bother

In a recent letter concerning the BBC going commercial, the main comment was that people would miss the “no advert breaks”. If you listen or watch the BBC, there are as much advertising for future programmes as the time taken up by the commercial channels selling products. Is this the BBC warming us up for them to accept monies from businesses instead of the poor old public who have no choice at the moment but pay up regardless of whether or not they watch or listen to the BBC?

James McKenzie
Eglwysbach

Uncertainty in France

Yesterday we had an unexpected visit from our local mayor. The purpose was to deliver to my husband a copy of a letter from the Prefecture informing him that his name was to be struck off the electoral register as a consequence of Brexit. He was offered profuse apologies, accompanied by an expression of incredulity that this act of disenfranchisement is a direct result of the British government failing to guarantee the democratic rights of its permanent resident citizens, even in the transition period.

It is worth remembering that the EU immediately offered a reciprocal binding agreement to maintain all existing rights of citizens who are permanent residents in EU countries in the wake of the referendum result. This was rejected by the British government, preferring instead to use us as pawns in their negotiations.

Confirmation of my husband’s pending French citizenship cannot come soon enough.

Dominica Jewell​
France

Eco anxiety

As someone with a scientific background, and a convinced believer in man-made climate change, I must nevertheless take issue with some of the points made in Donnachadh McCarthy’s latest article.

I believe that the way forward in terms of climate change must be threefold: To bring the issue firmly to the fore, and keep it there; to convince the wider public of the reality of climate change and its cause; and to offer solutions which will disrupt the lives of the population as little as is humanly possible.

In the first, Extinction Rebellion has been moderately successful, but in the latter two it has been at best woefully inadequate, and at worst counterproductive.

The government’s labelling of Extinction Rebellion as “extreme” was heavy handed, but one can follow their reasoning. The psychology appears to be similar: if you beat enough people over the head long enough and hard enough, they will eventually come around to your way of thinking. Most of the rest of us know that such is not the case. If you disrupt the lives of people enough, so that they believe that their livelihoods may be in jeopardy, they stop listening to the message you are sending. Then they conclude that because you have resorted to such actions, you have already lost the rational argument.

There can be no going back. Our only hope is to continue to encourage our government, both in the ballot box and the media, to make resources available to develop carbon-free technology.

Hopefully this will enable us to continue having useful and rewarding lives whilst keeping our effect on the environment and our carbon emissions as low as possible. Unfortunately, when such solutions do arise, they meet objections from the very people who should be encouraging them. HS2 is a case in point. It is only by developing terrestrial rapid transport systems, which are electrically driven by sustainable sources, that we can hope to lure travellers away from the aeroplanes that are so damaging to our environment. Stopping them from travelling really isn’t a realistic option.

Richard Swinney
Tyne and Wear

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