Dear Editor, There seems to be an air of impending doom with each and every news bulletin we see at the moment.

We've had earthquakes, tidalwaves and monsoons with loss of life in biblical proportions. Tensions in the Middle East have resulted in a destabilised world, with terror threats and racial disharmony.

On Thursday night the news agenda was topped by the population explosion.

Apparently current levels of population growth are pushing 100 million people into hunger.

On the domestic front oil prices are rising leading to costs being passed on to supermarkets and energy costs in the home are going through the roof.

A credit crunch, caused by unwise mortgage lending in America, has bought banks and the housing market to its knees.

Global warming, apparently, is responsible for the flooding that we seem to be continually witnessing up and down the land

And last, but not least, the New Labour spin machine, that well-oiled doctoring of news that was one of the few things that most of us have begrudgingly come to rely on, has fallen apart.

Gordon Brown must be wringing his hands with despair.

For all of his faults most would admit that he held a reasonably firm hand on the economic tiller for the last ten years but from the moment he took that much-prized walk from number 11 to number 10 he seems to have had the Midas touch in reverse.

Everything he touches turns to (how can I put it delicately) manure.

The Crewe and Nantwich by-election is just the icing on the cake for him I'm sure.

Gordon's main problem is that he is now seen as a loser and I suspect that no amount of spin or luck reversal is going to rid him of that with the general public.

After all of the aforementioned calamities in the world there is only one thing left to be said: "Gordon, for the sake of all humanity, go."

* Buildings of character can be refurbished

Dear Editor, Your editorial "Architects who built back their reputation" (Post, May 30) is very confused.

We are told that the architects in the 60s and 70s gave us "a flood of timid buildings".

Surely the writer doesn't mean buildings such as the bold and unapologetic 1974 Central Library, the work of Birmingham architect John Madin, that was featured in the RIBA's Guide to Modern Architecture in 1984, or the iconic Rotunda originally designed by another local architect James Roberts in 1965, now refurbished and highly praised by commentators.

Buildings with character are being imaginatively refurbished by people with vision.

Fort Dunlop was once described as a derelict eyesore but is now up for a RIBA prize. Philip Davies of English Heritage says of St Pancras Station that "for too long, Scott's dening work was dismissed as posing only problems rather than possibilities. - it is through the imaginative vision of London & Continental Railways that the potential for reincarnation has been realised".

Similar negative language has been used by the City Council to justify knocking down the Central Library. But rather than condemn a building just because it belongs to a certain era the writer should admit that there is good and bad in every era.

However, it takes imagination to spot the best and determination to exploit its full potential.
ALAN CLAWLEY, Birmingham

* Informed debate not false pictures

Dear Editor, I was interested to see the advertisement by Liberty (Post, May 29) comparing periods of pre-charge detention in Britain with those of other countries.

Unfortunately, like the report on the subject they published last year, Liberty's presentation of the gures falls below the high standards the group expects from others.

Informed debate not mere campaigning zeal, is required for matters as weighty as the increase in the maximum period of detention before charge.

The advertisement would have us believe that in France suspects may only be held without charge for up to six days or be released.

Yes, the French do charge suspects after a maximum of six days detention; they charge them with the offence of association de malfaiteur (criminal association), an offence risibly vague, which can detain suspects for up to a year without any trial taking place but which gives the authorities ample time in which to conduct their investigations.

The charge of association de malfaiteur can then be replaced in cases that reach trial by far more serious accusations or the suspect is released - after a year.

Liberty is again diminishing the debate by offering a false picture to the public of a very different continental system. What other so called "comparisons" in Liberty's advertisement are also misleading?

Hon Alderman DENNIS MINNIS, Birmingham