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June 17, 2007


Robert J

Front page is a bit strong. Did Churchill have similar nightmares? Thatcher? Eden?


I have serious issues with a lead UK politics piece: shoddy journalism, shoddy subbing, bizarre light on the paper's vaunted robust attitude to government spin. A major lapse, at first sight, from the journal's professed standards. How can I send a proper letter to the Editor from here, with the prospect of seeing it printed on the same double spread as the editorials? I'm not interested in blogging, or a meaningful exchange with a cuddly "I'm here for you" "Readers' Editor" (I didn't appoint you so how dare you presume to speak for me).

Or is the new presentation in part aimed at protecting the print journal from proper, traditional interaction with its readers? I can't see a "write to the Editor" link.



Which piece are you talking about Tom? I thought the politics pieces were strong today.



If you're a "reader" the answer is that I'm looking to get to the editorial team: no disrespect, but I'm not going to blog or chat online. If you're the Editor (or even an editor) answer my question, please.



I am indeed a "reader". If you're not going to blog or chat online, no disrespect, but what on earth are you doing posting here? If you want to write to the Editor, write to the editor.


I think Tom raises a serious issue. A blog should involve interaction between the writers/editors and the readers (see the BBC Editor's blog for example). If the IoS writers/editors are not going to participate then the 'blog' loses a lot of its point.


I'm no particular friend of the IoS staff but they've said they're going to respond. And there's no 'should' about how to run blogs. That's one of the great things about the cyberweb, no rules.


So where is the response?


I'd like to comment on the story about Gordom Ramsey's brother and make three points. The first is that this is a private, family matter and it is arguable that there is no public interest in knowing whether or not Ramsey funds his brothers defence.

Secondly, and many bloggers have made this point recently, the article is mainly about Ramsey as a celebrity. From the ludicrous first paragraph which suggests Ramsey is 'as famous for he is for restaurants', to the mention of the 'glamorous' wife, to the run through of the career. Nothing new or relevant there. Just celebrity padding.

My third objection is to the sloppily written final paragraph which confuses conviction with sentence. The fact that Indonesia has a death penalty for drug-related crimes says nothing about the likelehood of an acquittal, as the writers seem to believe. It may well be that conviction rates are high but because the writers preferred to concentrate on Ramsey the celebrity we never get to learn that. Much easier to pull a few press cuttings than do some serious research!

john problem

Do what the daily version does - crusade!!!

David McNickle

I emailled the readers' editor personally and got no response.

Fatima Ali

I was online when I came across the article 'Will this year's result be queried'. As a student and waiting for my A-level results I found it rather sad that a few students will not get the results that they deserve. I doubt that most people do not know how hard it is to be a student. When we are not worrying about the exams we are about to sit, we are worrying if we got the grade we want or even need. Do you know that we wake up in the middle of the night breaking into a sweat or suffering from migranes and stress. No wonder that most of the student population try out recreational drugs just to get away from it all. It does not help, that the people who we are supposed to trust on giving us the grades we deserve do not care less and continue to use machines instead of qualifed teachers and examiners. Do you then wonder and ask why so many students leave education as soon as possible?

richard maynard

Stop worrying about cruel and unusual punishment for the criminal.THEY COMMITTED THE CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNUSHMENT. lET THE PUNISHMENT FIT THE CRIME.The death penalty is DEFINITELY a deterrent to crime!

David McNickle

I was just wondering if anybody posting here used the Independent Argument forum before it was discontinued. This blog doesn't compare very well.


David, you are right. It doesn't compare well with any media blog I am aware of. Three problems, the plonking questions asked by the anonymous moderator, the refusal to allow readers to post autonomous questions rather than bundle them up here and most importantly, the failure of the journalists at the IoS to contribute. And as I am writing, where is the long promised 'response to suggestions' by the Readers Editor?

David McNickle

Clifford, As I said earlier, the Readers' Editor never responds to email sent directly to him either. I gave up trying ages ago. I do, however, get replies from columnists.

We will probably now be banned for talking to each other. Oh well, back to the ICC forum where a lot of former IA posters now reside.

Jane Air

Surpassing Orwell's imaginings, Jane Air puts the frighteners on her reader in her forthcoming trilogy. But who or WHAT is Big Brother ??? Are there more than one ??

Jane Air

'readers' - I will hopefully have more than one.

david probert

Your headline: Top Tory engulfs Cameron in BNP race row'does no credit to a 'quality'newspaper -it reads like the tabloid Mail/Express. Your language: engulfs-row-BNP -race -is pure tabloidese. Have you sold more copies?It is wrong of you to sensationalise legitimate attempts to discuss uncontrolled immigration. It is a major issue regardless of the political cowardice which prevents rational discussion.It is also not just an issue for David Cameron as you seem to imply.The enforced poiitcal consensus of deflection and silence on the subject stifles debate and ultimately will indeed swell the ranks of the BNP.

Firozali A.Mulla  MBA PhD

Russia promises retaliation if weapons deployed in space
US plan for air strikes on Iran 'backed by Brown'
Published: 02 October 2007
“A plan by the Bush administration to launch surgical strikes on Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps has won the support of Gordon Brown, according to a US report, although a presidential "execute order" required for such an operation has yet to be issued.”
In another English paper there is a fascinating tale of Mr. Brown moving shoulder to shoulder with Mr. Bush for attack on Iran.
Oh what a hypocrisy!
Tony Blaire fell for the WMD now this yet another farce.
This is then good news for Russia as Putin is kept out of the drama of ant type of attack on Iran.
In fact he had warned both before that going to Afghanistan and Iraq was fruitless as he had been there.
Honest. When will we ever learn ho to create democracy Mr. Bush is shouting about?

I thank you
Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD
P.O.Box 6044
East Africa

Solarsentinel, England

Who was wearing a seat belt in the Diana and Dodi crash?

Which of those not wearing a seat belt, habitually failed to wear a seat belt?

Who would be expected to survive a crash - those wearing seatbelts, or those not wearing seat belts?

Was the car equipped with a driver's airbag, and if so, did it go off?

If the driver had survived, would the flash from the paparazzi camera have provided him with an excuse for losing control of the vehicle?

Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD

Charges for Blackwater ex-guard?

Lawyer doubts it

The Seattle attorney representing a former Blackwater contractor under investigation in the high-profile shooting death of an Iraqi said his client is being pilloried by Congress and the media, and he questions whether criminal charges can ever be filed.

Not just the lawyers, sir, the whole world after Mr. Bush’s so many veto doubt about the whole farce of the Iraq war and the WMD. Tony Blaire gone the economy low, dollar slipping, only weapon left for the president is the magnificence stride of all sorts of veto like he just did for the kids.
Always veto. What is the democracy about?
I thought American where the firs to invent the word democracy, country of the, for the, by the people. And Mr. Bush tried and is still trying this in the Middle East that is not wanted. Middle East id Sheiks, monarchs, Emirs, rulers and anarchy, the family members have the say. The public do not count.
We have seen this.
Saudis hate the Rice coming to upset the balance of the Iraq war and Afghanistan is totally against the Bush's so called soldiers that die daily and the drug war lord are coming up the way never enriched like the gold miners.
One word Mr. Bush has to learn is to move away from the economist and to frank with the American and say,” Look I made a fool of myself. This war is costing me and you a packet never heard of. The Trade war is not working. While I am saying that Global Warming is bad I am not in this filed. I want all countries to measure the carbon in their country and buy or sell. China is not speaking. Why so I have to put my fingers in this?
Mr. Bush the time has come like Mr. Tony Blaire to own up and leave the podium for the better president. Even a lady will do. At least she has a heart.
I thank you
Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD
P.O.Box 6044
East Africa

Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD

Lady Di. The way I saw the picture and the news in the TV, is herself to blame.

I thank you
Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD
P.O.Box 6044
East Africa


This morning I heard on radio 4 that Sainsbury's supermarkets now have a policy of allowing Muslim employees to opt-out of handling alcohol, even at the check out, apparantly a non-Muslim will be called over to handle the alcohol. When I lived in Saudi Arabia most of the health problems were caused by Muslim's drinking alcohol. Also, I am aware of some Muslim owned shops in my area selling alcohol. I'm very confused.

Solarsentinel, England

Homosexuality is a perversion of the natural sex drive. That is a fact, and no amount of legislation will ever obscure the fact.

Labour is cynically ingratiating itself with self-interest groups in order to win votes and hold onto power, because it has destroyed its traditional power base - decent working class people.

Here is another fact about the spurious democracy we live in. If there were enough paedophile votes out there, Labour would be giving them the green light too.

 John Riches

He's a bit of a nutter isn't he?

Ok, if homosexuality is illegal, is anal sex between heterosexuals acceptable in his book - or even oral sex?; only there seem a lot of heteros that quite like both...

As for his 'fact' about paedophiles, it's obviously just his opinion/speculation - and a pretty stupid one at that - and not a 'fact' at all.

And, by the way, I'm working class, and I like to think I'm pretty decent too; I certainly don't go around saying something is unnatural when, plainly, by every historical account, homo- and hetero-sexual activity has always happened; it can't be unnatural if people have, naturally, always done it!

Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD

British people are the fattest in Europe, says Government report
By Jeremy Laurance
Published: 23 October 2007


It is of more interest when you read the book and see the movie “Super Size Me”, a film of epic portion that shows how The MacDonald’s do not answer your calls back .This movie with the book,” Shopped", show how the kids are given the play ground in order for the mom or dad to make shopping easier and less stressful.
The concept is simple, buy buy buy buy, we the giant super markets are taking care of your children while you shop”. And what is more we fall for this and keep buying>
It also shows how the American politicians work hand in hand with the GM products and that there is no people legislation, well not at least for the supermarkets shoppers and the students who eat all the junk food. The farce is,” You have to teach the children what t eat, we cannot do that”.
The ball is in your coat again.

Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD

There is more to what you state
Here it is.
When I went to Hajj, I noticed that there were no internet cafes and that the net was restricted to the public in Jeddah, Mecca, and Medina. The reign is in the hand of the family and this is passed on from father to son unless as in the history of |Arabs the son or the father would assassinate the other respectively and take the monarchism in his hands.
This is not ny more practisec. mnay be at least I do not lknow about this but the public has no say inthe econimicxs and poilitics in the Saudi. Simple. It is a kuingdom and nothing goes out of the house of the monarc. The freedom of speech is not there nor the expression to speech any word against the kingdom policies and the orders.
Therefore, the conclusions, even if there is slavery, who will tell? The poor labor force that comes from the poor countries is happy with the income they get and do not want to part with this in any manner. Therefore, they will not utter a word against the government policies.
They are satisfied or if not they, carry on living tight lipped or face a deportation.

I thank you

Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD
P.O.Box 6044

Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD

Suu Kyi attends junta meeting
Any breakthrough unlikely, say exile leaders
While I read this, I see in the TV the Pakistan fiasco and Bhutto having problem on her security. She is asking the West to help her. Why did she go there in the first place when she is quite aware that Perez Musharaff is the army man and that is what the Pakistani is used to living with, not the lady?
What also surprise me about the assistance from the West who has their hand full with the economy and politics at home? All seem to see the dollar drop and oil go to 90 plus.
West has many economical and other commitments, needless to say that IMF is in the hands of the West so is the World Bank and UN.
Suu Kyi will have no listening in the junta. Read about the Afghanistan heroine crop and the drug warlords who do not want to leave the crop to some amateur hand that liquidates their income.
Suu Kyi will listen to many promises and the chapter will close their, promises.
I thank you
Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD
P.O.Box 6044
East Africa


Japan kills 50 whales for research. How did they get away with it?

Frank Dean

Re: Government in Crisis (I): Victory to the traffickers: Heroin and cocaine prices on the street are at record lows as seizures plummet.

"The Government's own figures, released quietly last week, reveal there are an estimated 332,000 problem drug users in the UK – almost one in 10 of 15- to 64-year-olds."

Why isn't the catastrophic population decline in the UK to less than 4 million 15- to 64-year-olds a bigger story?

Amazing how reporters always seem to make arithmetic errors that grossly exaggerate problems rather than underestimate them!

Stigu Tolonen

Re, British wind power. This is an excellent plan.I seem to have read in the last two weeks about a European wide plan to produce wind power and connect to the European grid. A German idea,but UK were not interested,the only EU country,I believe.
Is there any possibility that this Free Wind Energy might reduce our electricity bills?I suppose that this will be a promise,far in the future,to be taken eagerly by the 'fat cats' when all is forgotten. Stigu.


I'd like to comment on Janet Street-Porter's claim that 'news has been confused with presentation and style…content has been cut by about half…infantile graphics'. No, she's not talking about the IoS but the BBC. Standards may have dropped over there but at least they didn't play the 'Jewish card', in the Abrahams affair, as the Reader's Editor accepts the IoS did.. For some reason he doesn't feel it necessary to apologise. Shortage of space, no doubt, as it was clearly important to point out that other newspapers had done the same.

Solarsentinel, England

Someone should tell New Labour that they are in power in order to govern the country, and not simply to ensure that they are returned to power next time around.

The country is not being governed, it is being groomed. The government should start passing legislation to help people behave in a manner becoming a civilised nation, and stop using the legislature as a vehicle for electoral campaigning.

Paul James

The Bishop of Rochester has received death threats for voicing his opinion on certain aspects of multiculturism and Muslims life in this country. If Islam does not approve of violence as some commentators assert why does it seem to use it as a method of dealing with situations in so many cases from the Middle East to Europe?

Solarsentinel, England

With the Credit crunch looming, and repossessions due to mortgage defaults expected to soar, today’s story about the DWP encouraging polygamy is worth a closer look

Mortgage problems put fragile relationships under pressure, so in an economic slow down, families should be supported. However, if the Benefit system provides financial incentives for couples to split up, family life is undermined, and the knock on effect is social disorder and crime, yet that is exactly what the DWP has been doing.

The question is, will it continue to do so during the forthcoming economic depression?

Under paragraph 7(7) of Schedule 3 of the Income Support (General) Regulations 1987, the DWP paid all of the mortgage interest for Claimants whose name was not on the mortgage, but only if their partner deserted them and left them to pay the bills. Rather than be evicted, along with their children, for mortgage arrears, many couples simply separated.

Paragraph 1(a) of the same Regulations states that a Claimant whose name is on the mortgage should have their mortgage interest paid too. That of course, applied to married couples who stayed together, but the DWP did not pay up, so many families were turfed out of their homes unnecessarily, with all that entails.

In this way, the DWP has been applying the rules, in place since 1987, in a way that directly discriminates against monogamous couples who are faithful to one another, and indirectly discriminates against Anglican and Catholic families. (or against Christian, Jewish and Muslim families who stay together because of their faith.)

Are they going to continue to behave in this way throughout the coming credit crunch?


IOS sunday 17 feb :

1. article titled "world's oldest page found"
--turns out it was world's oldest christian text page, not quite the same thing !!

2. Re strange facts page
--says "slinky" in swedish is sleek etc:
but there is no swedish word "slinky"


Firozali A.Mulla has an MBA and PhD!
With written skills that poor? The quality of writing is not just poor on the Indy blog; the paper itself employs people with substandard skills. Howard Jacobson's comment is a case in point; with 51% of the population being female one should not be using terms such as the 'common man' unless specifically referring to male only activities. Further, use of the word 'ideationally' - horrible, horrible English.


Don't be so pedantic. 'Common man' is completely acceptable useage and the way people write on blogs is a whole different ballgame. The writing on the Indyblogs is particularly good I think.

Joshua Burge

Every single company and organisation have laws making sure they do not sell or 'midlead' customers, if they do, they are brought to court. So why do MPs not have laws stopping them from lying or misleading the public?

Neil McGowan

Tibet is exploding. No news is coming out of Tibet, because there are few/no correspondents there, and the Chinese have imposed a news blackout and a curfew that suits their own ends.

Is Tibet not worth a discussion? Surely having a UK Foreign Secretary who is so far in the pocket of the Beijing Administration merits some interchange of views? The rest of the UK Press has spinelessly supported the Foreign Secretary. Miliband was on record during the "Burma Monks Crisis" as "demanding something should be done" (although, of course, he did nothing at all). Now we are seeing a crisis THREE TIMES LARGER, and we're accepting Miliband's view that Britain must give China a raincheck on shootings, detentions, and barricading the monks in their monasteries???

Or perhaps no-one in the UK gives a STUFF any longer and you're all licking yankee boots these days???????


Perhaps the reason the flowers scent doesn't attract the bees is that newer plants etc fruits and vegetables have been genetically engineered!


This is a marvelous news forum. It's the only one that puts all comments on immediately without political screening. Iv'e never had a comment passed by any online paper before, yet i have written hundreds of letters over the last twenty years. In the last ten minutes i have had two letters cleared immediately. Great stuff, lets have some live uncensored online polls now!!


Re: Breastfeeding and marketing of formula milk. From personal experience of four babies including twins, and shared anecdotes with scores of women over ten years, I can confidently say that the main reasons for giving up breastfeeding are: 1) Lack of good advice to mums. Most midwives, GPs, health visitors do not know enough about basics, especially position of baby and "latching on". Too many health visitors cause undue anxiety about weight gain, based on growth patterns for bottle fed babies.
2) Popular myths that sadly many health care professionals do not counter wisely. The following myths are often misunderstood by GPs and health visitors: Myth: some mums don't make enough milk. Myth: supplementray feeding is sometimes needed to top up supply. Myth: it's easier to bottle feed. Myth: bottle fed babies sleep more. Myth: you only need to breastfeed for a few weeks to get benefit.
We promote health benefits of breast feeding but do not train healthcare staff to deliver good adsvice and support. Many health visitors and GPs encourage switching to bottle as a first resort to any challenges. The real experts are Breastfeeding Network: their advice is great but the nhs staff give outdated and wrong advice.
So yes, don't let Nestle market their inferior substitute, but also train staff to support mums to actually do the breastfeeding successfully and happily.
Numbers breastfeeding would increase if all newly delivered mums and babies received 20 minutes GOOD training to latch on within the first day of borth, then had access to reliable, myth-free advice and support when needed.

james cooper

Surely you have confused Imperial and US gallons!

matt lary

what happened tothe weeklypedia?


Isn't is really time that a serious newspaper encouraged the government to stop avoiding the problem of dangerous world overpopulation. There are an extra one and a half million extra mouths to feed EVERY WEEK! There isn't a shortage of oil or food---there are just too many people!

Julian Doyle

Your review is hysterical.
I am an atheist. I do not believe in occult powers. I find films like Omen or Exorcist ludicrous and corrupting by pretending that a Christian God will save us or the Cross will protect us from Dracula. So what could I do when directing Chemical Wedding but have fun. Sending spells by putting pins in dolls is ridiculous and boring so I invented my own way of sending a spell - by masturbating onto runic writing and sending it by fax to the recipient. Funny! Get it? The sound man banned me from the set when Simon Callow and Jud were performing the - "shall we walk or shall I get the car" scene, because I was laughing so much. The film obviously went right over the heads of your reviewers. It should have dawned on them if they had noticed I was the editor of the Monty Python Films The laughs on you guys! Please let me know when you finally get round to write that 'Chemical Wedding' is a cult classic. As you have done with all the films I have been involved with after the event.

Andrew Walton

I was dismayed to see a double-page article of an interview with Richard Barnbrook in this week's Independent on Sunday.

While the reporter did not share Barnbrook's xenophobia and said that his face showed 'fear and anger', nonetheless a neo-fascist was given access to two pages of your newspaper. Why give the BNP the oxygen of publicity? It only helps it appear as a respectable political party.

By way of an excuse, the BNP were cited as getting their best ever result, with the caption "the rise and rise of the BNP". Only one London Assembly member was voted narrowly in, on only 5.3% of the vote and only as a result of PR rather than first-past-the-post.

You did not mention the protests outside City Hall as a response to his election. You have not profiled Dr Jackie Grunsell, who was elected in Huddersfield as part of a campaign to stop NHS cuts there with an 800 majority - or other anti-cuts campaigners who genuinely stand up for the interests of ordinary people. However, the fake populism of the BNP is publicised by your newspaper.

Where they previously had councillors, the BNP vote actually fell in many areas. Voters see through the BNP's empty rhetoric for the thugs that they actually are. They have voted for the same cuts in services as the main parties, and acted completely incompetently. The BNP do not deserve publicity in a national newspaper.

Andrew Walton
CNWP (Campaign for a New Workers' Party)


Your story headline says; Britain knew nothing of Mann plot, say ex-Minister. Is he serious who in their right minds believes that our intelligence services knew nothing about this plot, especially as the son of an ex-Prime Minister was involved. Sorry, but that stretches things way beyond the bounds of credibility.

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