Tatchell’s ill-founded claims are a disgrace
Dear Editor, I am incensed by comments made by Peter Tatchell in the Birmingham Post. What evidence does Mr Tatchell have that supports his claim that Cardinal Newman was having a sexual relationship with another priest - which he implies by his comments that Newman and St John lived like a husband and wife?
Whilst studying at the University of Birmingham I completed a dissertation on Cardinal Newman and the Oratorians and I was honoured to be given access to Cardinal Newman’s personal letters. At no point did I see any correspondence that even remotely hinted at anything other than a strong respectful friendship between Newman and all of his colleagues. If Cardinal Newman were alive I wonder if Mr Tatchell would have made the same comments and had them tested under libel laws?
It is an outrageous slur on both the Catholic Church and one of England’s great Catholics to accuse the church of grave robbery. No person ever dies believing they are going to be made a saint so why would Cardinal Newman have asked for anything other than burial with his close colleagues? It shows what a humble man Newman really was.
Sadly this whole affair overshadows the true story; the great things Newman and his team did for the people of this area. We should instead be celebrating the region’s leading role in the re-established English Catholic church. Newman oversaw the creation of three parishes that still exist today in Digbeth, Edgbaston and Smethwick. The Oratorians opened many mission schools and established St Philip’s Grammar school. They also administered to prisoners at Winson Green prison and Newman helped establish a University in Ireland. The first primate of the re-established Church, Nicholas Wiseman, came from Oscott College in Birmingham.
It is thanks to Newman, his Oratorians and many others in the West Midlands that Catholics are allowed and have the ability to practice their religion freely today. We should celebrate this and not let unsubstantiated claims detract from the fact that we in Birmingham have a lot to thank them for.
Streetly, Sutton Coldfield.
Stop carping on about drugs and be proud of our Olympians
Dear Editor I really feel I must try and defend our sportsmen and women from Mr Wathen’s one sided view “Olympics ideals swamped by drugs and commercialism” (August 25th).
Poor old Mr Wathen needs to realise we live in a far different world to that of the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. We should all be applauding our sports people whether they have won a medal or not. Those giving up their lives to compete for their country don’t choose how their sport is funded. Far to long for my liking they have had to survive giving up jobs and their potential input into their pensions only to retire from their sports with lost years of income.
Only a very few make it to the top of their sport and even fewer make a living out of the sport when their time in that sport is over. All those hours and hours of dedication that they and their families put in are no different to the days of yesteryear that Mr Wathen longs to go back to.
What is different is that there is big money to be made by the worlds media, Sky television for example, the big sports clothing manufacturers such as Nike and Adidas not to mention the banks via the plastic cards we spend our money through.
The endorsements that the top few Beijing athletes will get will be substantial and who can blame Paula Radcliff for not taking advantage of her talents in making some money out of her short career in athletics.
The money put in purely from the tax payer is relatively small, much has come from the Lottery that we choose to pay into – its not a tax Mr Wathen.
What I have an annoyance with is those sportspeople that abuse the financial contributions by not taking the chance that is given them, much like our Midland boxer coming back to the UK not even taking part because he failed to make the weight after four years!
I agree with Mr Wathens views regarding the IOC “head in the sand” attitude towards drugs and cheating and lets hope that that continues to change. I to think that some sportspeople are given Honours when perhaps they should not, you need look no further than our multimillionaire professional footballers. Does Mr Wathen object to Sir Ian Botham’s Knighthood? Now there is a sportsman who richly deserved that Honour not only for his cricket prowess but the millions he has raised for charity
I want to see a successful team of sportspeople funded correctly via the Lottery, endorsements and yes some of the tax I contribute. I like many millions of people in the UK have been very proud of our Beijing successes and hope that continues through to and beyond London 2012.
So ease up Mr Wathen, times have changed, yes lets keep an eye on the purse strings but please don’t blame the sportspeople for the times they live in.
Fears over incinerator health risk
Dear Editor, Are incinerators the next long-term health problem?
Incineration is being pushed as the main solution to landfill, because this Government and the EU do not accept its long-term health risks.
Independent researchers, such as Dr van Steenis, have shown that the very small, invisible particles emitted by modern incinerators cause an increase in infant problems from asthma, autism, allergies to respiratory infections and stillbirths (eg, his research shows that infant mortality is seven times higher in wards downwind of London incinerators than in the upwind wards), and, in adults, cancers, ME, MS, heart disease and strokes.
Similar statistics could be researched for several UK sites where there had been an old incinerator, where no incineration took place whilst a new plant was built, and where the new incinerator has since been in operation for several years.
In the public interest Government agencies should do this simple research, and you can petition Gordon Brown at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/UK-Incineration to call a halt to further incinerators until this research is carried out.
New incinerators will operate for 25 years or more: if we recycle more and produce less for them, these facilities will then need to burn commercial waste to remain economical: there are other, safer methods such as plasma gasification and anaerobic digestion. Remember the problems with leaded petrol and asbestos?
Will the invisible emissions from incineration become the next health scandal?