Dear Editor, Once again our religious leaders are attempting to destroy advances in medical science with claims they are "against God's law" and "contrary to nature". We have also witnessed wildly inaccurate statements regarding the actual science involved.
I remember identical claims and predictions being made by the same groups in 1967, when Dr Barnard carried out the first heart transplant. The protests they organised and reports they produced could, if acted on, have set the progress of transplant surgery back decades, or even have stopped it. There are similar, well-documented accounts of their opposition to blood transfusions, chloroform, dissection of corpses, even the cutting open of the human body.
Religion has always regarded science as its enemy. as the more one learns the more difficult it is to keep faith.
I accept that some people are content to accept the explanations of ancient texts, but more of us believe that we were endowed with brains in order that we may seek answers to the mysteries of the Earth and the universe as a whole.
Science may not always get it right, or produce the results that we want, but without it mankind will only stagnate.
B GARDNER, Wythall
Little action from our regional ministers
Dear Editor, Since his appointment as Minister for the West Midlands, Liam Byrne has faced numerous calls for him to show action, substance and accountability for the regional ministry which he holds – as well as his other government positions – rather than just the weasel words and spin that the governments he has represented have infamously become known for.
In appointing regional ministers, Gordon Brown sent a message around this country that regional economies and communities mattered and with some scepticism they were welcomed and seen as a positive way forward.
However, those who accepted their new government roles have enjoyed numerous photo and speaking opportunities but have shown little or no action. Some have turned these roles into party campaigning roles rather than government roles. Liam Byrne is one such Minister, as can be seen in how he has dealt with issues concerning Shropshire and Daniel Kawczynski MP in particular.
This approach to governance is wrong.
The Government itself fares no better: its own constitutional reforms (Regional accountability disappears from agenda, Post March 27) have dropped regional select committees from its proposals, an issue which its own Green Paper trumpeted as a way forward. We even have the absurd challenge from civil servants "that regional select committees will make their jobs harder". This being the remark made by civil servants to a House of Commons Committee chaired by the Commons Leader of the House Harriet Harman, whose role is to surely promote the how best MPs can scrutinise and promote both their constituencies and regions.
So who is actually making the decisions for our country? Manifestos and the Queen's Speech outlining the government's business seems to mean nothing to this Labour Government.
Liam Byrne, like many of his Government colleagues, has shown himself to be happy to take or leave accountability to suit his mood, even though he has repeated many times his liking for "debate" and "accountability". The only trouble is he is not approachable and does not actively welcome – either by other parliamentarians or the electorate of the West Midlands – accountability. Happiness seems to be in words and spin.
This style so readily adopted by the Labour Party at both national and local levels lacks the honesty, let alone the spirit of positive action for the regions.
Time to step up or ship out?
PAUL BURKE, Sutton Coldfield
Are we really so weak and snivelling?
Dear Editor, As an Englishman who has worked in both Germany and France, who has enjoyed their welcome, benefits and their courtesy, together with, yes, over 1.5 million other Brits, I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry over such prejudices and errors as those spilled out by June Alexander (Smothering our traditions and freedoms, March 25). Apparently, our culture, our everything, is being destroyed by Europe, by immigrants, by Poles seeking benefits, etc.
What a whining letter. Are we really so weak, so snivelling?
She makes the ridiculously erroneous declaration that the civilised world emulated our Magna Carta. Does she not know that this was a charter designed by the nobles for the nobles, and not for the people who remained still in feudal bondage?
But is the real irony totally lost upon her? Instead of attacking Europe, she should show some humility, belonging, as she does, to the race which, with hypocritical self-righteousness, dominated almost two thirds of the globe.
George Orwell spoke of the "unbreakable tyranny of the Raj", the "despotism of our Empire", adding that every Englishman in lands we have seized "is a small cog in our imperial tyranny".
Furthermore, recently, Channel 4 mentioned 47 national cultures devastated and destroyed by our imperialism. When we invaded nearly two-thirds of the globe we simply took everything over. The dominant language we imposed was military. We inflicted psychological terror upon the indigenous populations of our seized lands, who became non-persons in their own country. Our white racism told black people that the white person was superior. Black people thus became mere commodities, mere chattels of the whites.
And we are still at it. Some 20 years ago one of our most disgraceful contemporary imperial acts was the forced depopulation of the Chagos islands in the Indian Ocean. To this very day many thousands of those dispossessed inhabitants still remain unbelievably rootless, shelterless in other lands, having been chased from their homes and homeland by the English who wanted their land.
The exiled Chagos leader declared: "What upsets me most is that for the English we are invisible. We just do not exist." What a cover-up! Magna Carta?
June Alexander also sneers at what she calls "the totalitarian regime run by France and Germany". These two countries she so denigrates were the first ever in Europe to voluntarily renounce parts of their national autonomy solely in the interests of peace and understanding in Europe.
Finally, as she cries over her fragmenting island and a past that never was, let her, perhaps, sweep away the opaque fog of error and national prejudice to see that the aggressor, if aggressor there be, is not Europe but the machine.
Today it is technology which dominates man, which invalidates his valued local cultures and which is reducing the world to a global village. Technology it is that has created this mass mobility of all the populations of our global village.
HAROLD NASH, Wythall
Taking the advice of Sir Humphrey
Dear Editor, Two items in a recent Post proved the dead hand of Sir Humphrey still reigns supreme.
The first was the recommendation to Ministers that they should drive greener cars. Longbridge Conservative Ken Wood is wholly wrong to blame it on Labour. This is classic Sir Humphrey. If the Tories were in power, Mr Wood would get the same advice, except Sir Humphrey would use different words. I am sure there is a version for the Liberals.
The second was the proposal to rebuild the Birmingham part of Solihull.
Again, classic Sir Humphrey. The real issue is whether wards which are clearly culturally part of Brum should be part of the Holy City again. I believe that they should be re-united – just as there is a strong case for returning Solihull and Sutton Coldfield to Warwickshire.
CHRIS YOUETT, Coventry
It is a question of space
Dear Editor, Eileen Price has got it absolutely right when she surmises that my colleague David Hart failed to review the CBSO's performance of Bach's Cantata no. 21 last week because of space-restrictions (Post Agenda, March 26).
Our reviews are always written to a specified length, and sometimes, because of the nature of the programme, one or more works must go unmentioned.
Taken to extremes, were a critic to mention every work in a "bits and pieces" concert, all the reader would get is a regurgitation of the programme and no review at all.
CHRISTOPHER MORLEY, by email
A terminal lack of leadership
Dear Editor, What a difference a day makes. For weeks now you could not watch a news bulletin without a director of BA or BAA bleating on about how wonderful Terminal Five at Heathrow was going to be.
Banks of executives lined up to be photographed alongside Her Majesty at the grand opening.
Then came the first operational day on Thursday. Willie Walsh, BA chief executive, made a brief appearance to welcome the first passengers then everything went wrong and they all dissappeared. TV cameras scoured every inch of the massive building to no avail – they had all vanished.
As a note of interest the new Terminal Two opened in Shanghai the day before to rave reviews and without one blip.
As a German officer once remarked about the British during the First World War: "Lions led by donkeys."
It has always been the case.
ALAN ARMSTRONG, Coleshill