The sugar tax will not be such a positive development for those with type 1 diabetes

Please send your letters to letters@independent.co.uk

Wednesday 04 April 2018 17:04
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The introduction of the sugar tax on 6 April is undoubtedly a positive move to help reduce the excessive quantities of sugar in everyday foods and drinks. However, for those who live with or care for young children with type 1 diabetes, quick access to a fizzy drink or sugary food can be a life saver, and the change is likely to create a new challenge.

People with type 1 diabetes must regularly monitor their blood glucose levels. If levels drop dangerously low, they will experience hypoglycaemia and need sugar. For many, instantly reaching for a favourite fizzy drink can be what it takes to stop them going into a coma. They know the exact sugar content and exactly how much they need to drink.

All this changes as drinks manufacturers bring in new recipes and new cans of the same fizzy drink appear on the supermarket shelf alongside the old cans. The certainty of what they are taking is lost.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition which affects more than 30,000 Scottish adults and children (and 400,000 in the UK). It cannot be prevented, and is not linked to lifestyle. Awareness of the challenges associated with type 1 diabetes is increasing and the impact on them of the new sugar tax needs to be acknowledged and tackled both with understanding and good communication.

Catriona Morrice
Aberdeen

Why are we focusing so much on Corbyn’s Jewdas seder visit?

Jeremy Corbyn is guest at a local left-wing Jewish group’s Passover seder. That apparently is more confirmation of his antisemitism. His attendance is highlighted by Guido Fawkes and right-wing groups strongly opposed to Corbyn’s left-wing policies. That apparently shows that there is no political stirring. The matter receives more media attention than the Gaza/Israel border conflict, with Palestinian deaths and injuries. That apparently shows how fine our media’s reports, objectivity and sense of priorities are.

Peter Cave
London W1

Jeremy Corbyn’s meetings with different Jewish organisations are all welcomed

Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) was founded to challenge the view that communal bodies such as the Board of Deputies and, more recently, the unelected Jewish Leadership Council reflect the views of the community as a whole, particularly in respect of the dire situation in Israel/Palestine.

Many Jews, including IJV, are highly critical of the “mainstream” organisations that claim to represent us but our perspective is systematically marginalised by the media and politicians from outside the community who presume to police the boundaries of political acceptability for Jews.

Few voice these criticisms as entertainingly and incisively as Jewdas, an irreverent group who are deeply embedded in the community and unflinching in their opposition to antisemitism. We wish to express our support and gratitude for their work and contributions to the community and our steadfast opposition to attempts to slander them. It was entirely appropriate for Jeremy Corbyn to attend their seder as a local MP.

We note that he was equally criticised for taking part in a Chanukah ceremony arranged by Islington Chabad. We totally reject the attempt by community leaders and others to determine who is the “right kind of Jew” and welcome his attempts to engage across the community. We support the Labour Party’s expressed determination to counter antisemitism, call on the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council to respond to Jeremy Corbyn’s invitation to meet him without preconditions and demand that other political parties take the issues of racism equally seriously.

Independent Jewish Voices
London

Why not teach about cancer symptoms in school?

The concept of having a quick diagnosis unit to improve the UK’s cancer survival is to be commended, but the devil is in the detail. Our current bowel “fast track” system where the patient must be seen within two weeks demonstrates that nearly 19 out of every 20 patients do not have cancer (but the 19 people are very stressed by the suggestion they may have cancer).

Of course with even vaguer symptoms referred to a new one stop clinic we would expect the pick up of cancer to be even lower than this. The symptoms suggested, such as abdominal pain, are rarely due to the common cancers and if weight loss is due to cancer it is usually too late to cure it by then.

If the powers that be wanted to improve cancer survival then teaching the worrying symptoms of human cancers at school (rather than dissecting frogs) and encouraging the public to use the current screening for bowel cancer (which is declined by nearly half of those invited) would be money better spent.

GF Nash, NHS cancer surgeon
Address supplied

Newton taught us there were many colours

Isaac Newton must be turning in his grave. Your article describing the new-fangled way of illuminating Newton’s room with “the seven colours of the rainbow” reiterates a common error due to the oversimplification of the description of the refraction of light by a prism which Newton discovered.

As a teacher of physics for 40 years, I repeated that demonstration in my darkened classroom, emphasising that while the colours of the rainbow ranged from red to violet, they did so continuously so that there was effectively an infinite number of colours across the rainbow.

The picture accompanying the article clearly shows that Newton’s room is now illuminated by seven distinct colours, and the line of demarcation between each is obvious. In the real rainbow spectrum no demarcation can be seen.

This is why I taught my pupils that a better way to describe the colours of the rainbow was that they went from “deep red to red, to orangey-red, to reddy-orange, to orange, to yellowy-orange, to orangey-yellow, to yellow, etc” which comes to around 21 colours – and even this is a simplification of the reality.

What next? Set up a demonstration of an apple falling from the tree, but attach a parachute to the apple so that it doesn’t accelerate and get bruised?

Aidan Cooke
Dungannon

What do scientists know anyway?

Now that UK experts cannot prove the novichok nerve agent used on the Skripals came from Russia, will the demonising of Jeremy Corbyn’s “traitorous” call to “wait for the evidence” now stop?

I don’t think so. After all what do the scientists know compared to the combined intellect of Boris (conclusion within minutes), May, Williamson and the procession of right-wing Labour MPs and former ministers?

Russia may well turn out to be the source, but as Jeremy Corbyn has said from the start: wait for the evidence. The world is now in a more dangerous state than for decades as a result of expulsion of diplomats, actions which could turn out to be misguided. Wait for the evidence.

Eddie Dougall
Bury St Edmunds

Good TV is a must for a night in

Most supermarkets stock tamarind paste so you don’t have to drive miles to a deli, but I loved your article on a night in, jammies and slippers.

No good if though if you can’t access your favourite programmes!

Suzie Taylor
Pitchcombe

From a confused millennial

Re: Millenials getting to know the country.

Could someone tell me where the M25 is please?

Doug Flack
Derby

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