SIR – So there we have it: a former Hamas military leader comes to Britain, is granted citizenship and provided with a council house, and begins organising fellow supporters (“Ex-Hamas chief behind pro-Palestine protests”, report, November 7).
The worry is: how many more are plotting in this way?
SIR – Pleading with fanatics has never worked (“Met begs activists to halt Armistice protest”, report, November 7). That a poppy seller can be attacked (report, November 7) is testament to the police having lost all credibility in protecting our citizens.
SIR – I thoroughly object to Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, continually referring to the pro-Palestinian protests as “hate marches”.
It is an affront to the many people genuinely and peacefully protesting against the killing of thousands of innocent Palestinians caught up in the fighting between Israel and Hamas.
SIR – If the demonstrators were marching and calling for Palestinians to be freed from Hamas, I might join them.
Yet history also teaches us that unconditional surrender is often the successful route. A case in point is the Second World War. The Allies’ aim was not a negotiated settlement but total destruction of the machinery of Nazi Germany, together with the imprisonment or execution of its cheerleaders at Nuremberg. Mr Lander goes on to say that “even if Hamas is destroyed there will be others to replace it”. But the Nazis were never replaced.
I have no idea how the conflict in Gaza will end. Looking to history for answers is understandable, but it does not provide a slam-dunk case for a ceasefire or for talks between the warring parties. Hitler never wanted to talk. For him, it was win or lose. I fear Hamas has the same mindset.
SIR – While the Hamas attack on Israel was barbaric, Israel’s response – killing a reported 10,000 people in Gaza, including at least 6,000 women and children – is disproportionate.
Meeting violence with violence achieves nothing. There must be a ceasefire for humanitarian reasons, if nothing else.
Insipid King’s Speech
SIR – Yesterday’s King’s Speech was rather like those low-fat spreads that pretend to be butter. Did it really contain what people are asking for?
The smoking ban, panic over AI, abolishing A-levels, driverless cars – I am not sure these are the things people want to hear about. The things they do want, however, were barely mentioned by the King: lower taxes; cheaper food; better roads; an end to the relentless persecution of motorists and landlords; a more robust police force; tougher sentencing for shoplifting and eco vandalism; tougher laws to combat hate crime; facing up to the absurdity of the proposed gender and trans laws in Scotland; a more efficient NHS; a self-sufficient, long-term energy policy; not to mention stopping the profligacy of giving millions to India and China – or, nearer to home, HS2 and net zero.
A golden opportunity to close the gap with Labour before the next general election has, I fear, been lost.
Dr Martin Henry
Good Easter, Essex
SIR – Richard House describes the delay in diagnosis of his subdural haematoma (Features, November 6).
His account follows frequent reports in the media of delay in the diagnosis of cancer, sepsis and other infections, as well as many common and rarer diseases, with disastrous consequences.
When I arrived in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1982 as a new “fellow” in medicine, my chief, an immensely wise clinician and researcher at Harvard, who had practised in Britain earlier in his career, offered some advice: there is a long list of symptoms covering all diseases, whether trivial or life-threatening. In best American medical practice it is assumed that all patients could have a serious illness, and it is the primary task of the doctor to exclude this possibility before planning further care.
In Britain, he suggested, the initial assumption is that any group of symptoms has a trivial explanation (which is, of course, statistically likely), and this inhibits early and appropriate investigation. His philosophy of medicine was not concern for legal consequences but for early diagnosis and rational treatment.
This active approach adds costs up front, but may save money and lives in the longer term.
Dr Adrian Crisp
Weston Colville, Cambridgeshire
SIR – I applaud the NHS for rolling out the drug anastrozole to combat breast cancer (report, November 7).
This, together with statins, will help people live longer. I hope the Prime Minister is making sure that the NHS and the care system are able to look after us all.
Skipton, North Yorkshire
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SIR – Ed Cumming (Comment, October 28) says “good riddance” to gravy, a “testament to our bad cooking” and only needed to enhance “flavourless meat and vegetables”.
Any meat, when removed from the pan in which it has been roasted, leaves behind some nutritious juices and fat. A good gravy uses all these highly flavoured juices with the simple addition of flour, water drained from par-boiled potatoes, and a little salt and pepper.
Far from being “a bore to cook”, gravy is one of the joys of home cooking. Mr Cumming is missing out and should give it a try.
Fernhurst, West Sussex
SIR – During a brief visit to the North, it became obvious that the lack of electric vehicle infrastructure (Business, November 7) will have a huge impact on those who live on narrow streets with no driveways or garages. How anybody will be able to access their own charging points – let alone those being installed in out-of-town locations – is a serious issue.
The same is true in Cornwall’s old mining villages. Has anybody really considered the consequences for small communities? Cables across pathways? Cables running the length of streets?
SIR – Your report (October 30) says “it is estimated that EVs will soon cost an average of 4p per kilometre to run, compared with almost 10p for cars with combustion engines”.
This seems to ignore the significant difference in purchase and resale prices for equivalent vehicles, with the EV being much more expensive to buy, like for like, and potentially having a lower residual value, given fears regarding remaining battery life.
I would suggest that the overall lifetime costs still favour the combustion engine, without even considering range anxiety and insufficient charging infrastructure.
SIR – Can anyone enlighten me as to why we have a two-tier postal system when a correctly addressed letter with a first-class stamp took seven days to travel six miles?
SIR – At the beginning of April this year I was notified by Hove sorting office of an unstamped item of post addressed to me. The item proved to be a Christmas card that had been sent from four miles away.
Hove, East Sussex
SIR – When encouraging men to wear a baseball cap, will Stephen Doig (Features, November 7) also please encourage them to take it off occasionally? Wearers seem to regard them as part of their heads. I have even seen them firmly attached at formal occasions, such as in church.
Don’t make assumptions about dogs on leads
SIR – As the owner of a dog that can react badly to other dogs, I must take issue with Sophia Money-Coutts’s claims about those of us who own such animals.
“Reactive” dogs are often this way because of fear, following an attack by another dog. Owners who place their dogs on leads when they are approaching others are helping their dog to remain calm, as well as protecting another dog from a potential attack.
We are trying to ensure that our pets live their best possible life, while selecting appropriate dogs for them to interact with so they can build their confidence.
I would urge Ms Money-Coutts not to judge when another dog is approaching on a lead, but instead to consider that there may well be a very good reason for this.
Bosham, West Sussex
Mental health and police protection of life
SIR – As a former chief inspector, I take issue with George Kelly (Letters, November 6), who argues it is not the job of the police to deal with incidents associated with mental health.
During my career I was guided by the dictates of Sir Richard Mayne, the joint first commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. According to him, key duties included protecting life and property, as well as preserving peace and both detecting and preventing crime. Police are often the first at a mental health incident, and I believe that protecting life includes talking a person out of taking their own life.
R E Bracey
SIR – Even the most callous-minded individual, or one who has enjoyed a prosperous and stable upbringing, could perhaps acknowledge that mental health problems can result in “street sleeping” (“Braverman’s homeless rhetoric splits Cabinet”, report, November 7).
Meanwhile, the NHS appears to distance itself from this issue, and even a simple initial diagnosis can take years.
SIR – Peter Hitchens (Letters, November 7) is right: every time someone drinks alcohol or takes recreational drugs, they make a decision.
For those who are psychologically addicted, it is extremely hard to decide not to indulge, but not impossible.
While it is tragic that people destroy their own and other people’s lives in this way, I do not believe they are without a choice in the matter.
Hastings, East Sussex
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