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Letters: Survivors of attacks call for the public to stand firm against terrorism

Flowers are left on London Bridge following last Friday's terror attack
Flowers are left on London Bridge following last Friday's terror attack Credit: Alberto Pezzali/AP

SIR – Friday’s attack was an assault attack on innocent people going about their business. We who have been injured, or who have lost loved ones in terror attacks, know what those families will be going through. Our thoughts and love are with them. We would also like to thank the heroes who stopped the attack from continuing on Friday.

As survivors, we know how important it is that we all learn lessons from such attacks.

The first request is for the public. Don’t give the terrorists what they want. Don’t share their videos and views, and don’t blame whole groups for their actions or give in to feelings of hate. Many of us have felt supported by public solidarity and kindness, and it helps more than you can know.

The second request is for the media. Let the victims grieve and recover in private, and refrain from constantly sharing the goriest stories or splashing the attackers’ pictures on the front pages. Not only does this play into the hands of terrorists, it compounds the survivors’ suffering.

The third request is for politicians. We are sick of promises to look after victims, who then face months of delay for mental health support or years of waiting for compensation. We ask all parties to consult on and implement a new “survivors’ charter” that would guarantee them basic rights and services.

Finally, we ask that you pass Martyn’s Law, which would mandate all owners of events spaces to have in place a basic security plan.

Gina Van Dort
Survivor and wife of Chris Dyer, who died in the Tunisia attack in 2015
Jo Berry
Daughter of Sir Anthony Berry, who died in IRA Brighton attack in 1984
Charlotte Dixon-Sutcliffe
Partner of David Dixon, who died in the  Brussels attack in 2016
Brendan Cox
Husband of Jo Cox MP, who died in 2016
Travis Frain
Survivor of the 2017 Westminster attack
Figen Murray
Mother of Martyn Hett, who died in the Manchester Arena attack in 2017
Tony Scott
Paris Bataclan 2015
Justine Merton-Scott
Paris Bataclan 2015
Anna Woodbury
Manchester Arena 2017
Lydia Berkennou
Paris Bataclan 2015
Vicki Hillyard
London 7/7
Ruth Murrell
Manchester Arena 2017
Alex Marshall
London 7/7 2005
David Middleton
Manchester Arena 2017
Liz Campbell
Tunisia 2015
Marine Vincent
London Bridge 2017
Mike Haines
Brother of Isis Hostage David Haines, died 2014
Bethany Haines
Daughter of David Haines
Maggie Stephens
Mother of Neil Bowler who died Bali 2002
Sue Smith
Manchester Arena 2017
Rachel Crowcroft
Manchester Arena 2017
Joanne McVey
London 7/7 2005
Andrea Bradbury
Manchester Arena 2017
Richard Parry
London 7/7 2005
Jayne Drew
Manchester Arena 2017
George Roskilly
London 7/7 2005
Family of James McMullan
London Bridge 2017
Eloise Walker
London 7/7 2005
Geoff Ho
London Bridge 2017
Caroline Owen
Manchester Arena 2017
Mandy Ward
Manchester Arena 2017
Stephen M Flatow
Father of Alisa, murdered by Islamic Jihad
Lisa Fenton
Manchester Arena 2017
Jo Gittins
London 7/7 
Rachel Crowcroft
Manchester Arena 2017
Paige Smith
Manchester Arena 2017
Jo Aaron
Manchester Arena
Keith Chapman
Westminster 2017
Tim Coulson
London 7/7 2005
Karen and Emily Orchard
Manchester Arena 2017
Cheryl and Matthew Stollery
Wife and son of John Stollery killed in Tunisia, 2015
Claire Walker
Manchester Arena 2017
Lizzie Comba
London 7/7 2005
Mandy Ward
Manchester Arena 2017
Jennie Vaughan
Manchester Arena 2017
Garri Holness
London 7/7 2005
Diane Phillips
Manchester Arena 2017
Debbie Free
Tunisia 2015
Barbara Whittaker
Manchester Arena 2017
Marie Drago
London Bridge 2017
Mariesha Payne
Paris Bataclan 2015
Elaine Young
London 7/7 2005
Michelle Hussain
Manchester Arena 2017
Sudhesh Dahad
London 7/7 2005
Trevor Lakin
Father of Jez who died Sharm el Sheik 2005
Marie Henstock
Sister in law of David Dixon who died Brussels 2016
Zoe, Sheelagh and Barry Alexander
Family of Nick who died Paris Bataclan 2015
Lisa French
London 7/7 2005
Nadar Mozakka
Husband of Behnaz Mozakkawho who died London 7/7 2005
James Hodder
Partner of Kirsty Boden who died London Bridge 2017
Jacqui Putnam
London 7/7 2005
Zoe Thompson
Tunisia 2015
John and Angela Corke
Parents of Annalie Vickers who died Sharm el Sheik 2005
Anne Stuart
Parsons Green, London 2017

 

 

SIR – Initial praise for the security services following Friday’s London Bridge attack has moved on to criticism of their failure to track the terrorist involved and the reduction of their terror warning to “substantial”.

There does not, however, appear to be any suggestion that this known terrorist should have been detained for the protection of the public.

Usman Khan had previously plotted to bomb the Stock Exchange and was initially given an indeterminate sentence, with a minimum jail term of eight years. His appeal against this sentence was upheld by the Court of Appeal and replaced with a fixed-term sentence of 18 years, meaning that he was released after half his sentence.

Surely this policy should now be reviewed, so that terrorists who have been found guilty by our courts should be detained indefinitely.

John Stewart
Terrick, Buckinghamshire

 

 

Geographers’ defence

SIR – As a teacher of geography for more than 30 years, I take exception to Professor Danny Dorling’s comments (report, November 27). One of the subject’s great virtues is that geographers have to be both numerate and literate, and are therefore the great all-rounders of the academic world.

Geography was never a “macho” subject, as he claimed, as many of the girls in my mixed A-level classes went on to read it at universities, including Oxford.

I was also lucky enough to take school expeditions (perhaps chosen because of my name) to places such as the Hindu Kush, Borneo and Ecuador, and there were always plenty of girls on the teams.

Dr David Livingstone
Calne, Wiltshire

 

SIR – The butt of many jokes, geographers are to the academia what viola players are to the music world.

Fiona Wild
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

 

GP appointments

Patients should be able to get a GP appointment within 48 hours Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

SIR – Britain remains politically wedded to a “free at the point of need” health service, which means that patients now commonly wait two weeks for a routine GP appointment.

Inevitably, they resort to A  &  E departments, which indirectly benefits practices, as each GP’s salary is based on achieving a specified list of clinical targets. Bizarrely, these do not include appropriate access to appointments.

Surely an appointment within 48 hours should be top of the list. It would inevitably entail extra targeted incentives for practices, but these incentives could pay for themselves.

Dr Ron Thew
Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire

 

SIR – If the NHS is to buy medicine and equipment from suppliers in America (and many other countries), this does not mean it is for sale.

The RAF has bought F-35 jets from America (though some of the components are British-sourced) and, as far as I know, the RAF is not for sale.

Simon McIlroy
Croydon, Surrey

 

Banned boxes

SIR – Supermarkets don’t provide their cardboard boxes at checkouts (Letters, November 30) because health and safety deem them to be a fire risk.

Louise Bendall
Liss, Hampshire

 

British in Benin

Jesus College Cambridge is to return the bronze cock to Benin Credit: CHRIS LOADES/AFP

SIR – I worked in Nigeria in the timber trade in the early Sixties (Letters, November 29). In one of our logging areas, overgrown by jungle, we came across a monument to the traders massacred by the Oba of Benin in 1896 when he had disregarded an earlier peace treaty.

The attitude of Cambridge University shows a misunderstanding of the history of this affair and fails to see any of the benefits to the local people of a generally benign British presence.

Our Nigerian timber and sawmill business, which was run in a fully sustainable way, was active from 1928 to the mid- Seventies. It not only employed almost 1,000 people but also contributed widely to the local infrastructure by generating electricity, pumping water, maintaining roads and building bridges. We also built houses and developed the local school and church.

David Latham
Little Hadham, Hertfordshire

 

The cost of Uber

Uber allows people to travel swiftly and cheaply Credit: PA/Laura Dale

SIR – Like Jeremy Corbyn, David Isles (Letters, November 29) seems to believe that jobs are an end in themselves. In this case, Uber jobs exist because their customers cannot afford black cab fares, nor do they care, in an age of GPS, that black-cab drivers have an encyclopedic knowledge of London streets.

Black-cab drivers cannot expect jobs for life when they continue to charge more than their customers can pay. For the vast majority of people, price is the pre-eminent consideration when buying anything, not the wages of the person providing the product or service.

Wilf Anderson
Thetford, Norfolk

 

Tree-planting policy

Newly planted woodland in Giggleswick near Settle, Yorkshire Credit: Construction Photography/Avalon

SIR – Ten years ago, my wife and I planted 1,500 mixed broadleaved trees on one and a half hectares of our Cornish smallholding (Letters, November 26).

Following a visit from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2016, the woodland area we had planted was deemed to be ineligible for the Basic Payment Scheme, under the rules of the Common Agricultural Policy.

The amount lost is about £1,000 a year. For us, as hobby farmers, the money is unimportant, but for commercial farmers around the country the Common Agricultural Policy is a major disincentive to take the environmental action so  desperately required.

To support environmentally beneficial farming and specifically to encourage the planting of the millions of additional trees we need, only Michael Gove has acknowledged that Britain must leave the European Union and determine its own agricultural policy.

Peter T Ross
Helston, Cornwell

 

Single-sex schools

SIR – I was amused to read that the last single-sex school in Scotland, Notre Dame in Glasgow, is to go co-educational (report, November 30).

Some 38 years ago I was the lead speaker in a debate at the school, proposing the motion that “All single-sex schools should be banned”.

Needless to say, some 200 girls from the school tried to shout down my opening remarks and most of my speech. Perhaps the only attendee who did not heckle was my sister, who attended the excellent Notre Dame.

Andy Matko
Poole, Dorset

Top museums should charge foreign visitors

A life-size figure of a Buddhist monk from the Liao dynasty, from the British Museum Credit: Alamy

SIR – Mark Hudson (“How can we save our crumbling regional museums?”, November 22) contrasts the woeful underfunding of regional museums with the relatively buoyant situation in London.

Has not the time come when institutions such as the National Gallery and British Museum should charge tourists from abroad, who, unlike British taxpayers, have not contributed to their funding, so that the proceeds can be distributed to the regions?

Such practice is common elsewhere (the Hermitage Musuem in St Petersburg, for example) and is unlikely to deter the dedicated cultural visitor to the world-class attractions of our capital.

William Molesworth
Peterborough

 

Hollande’s socialism was a disaster for France

Former French President Francois Hollande Credit: KENA BETANCUR/AFP

SIR – It surprises me that in their line of attack on Jeremy Corbyn’s spending promises and socialist manifesto pledges, the Conservatives and the media at large have missed the opportunity to point out the single most historically and geographically relevant example of such socialism.

Venezuela, Seventies’ Britain and even communist East Germany have been deployed as examples of what such policies do to an economy and to society as a whole, but no one has pointed to the recent failure of François Hollande’s government in France between 2012 and 2017.

Mr Hollande’s administration provides us with a powerful study of the effects of outright socialism on a modern economy and society. Yet I have never heard a Tory speak of Mr Hollande’s socialist record: a flight of wealth created by his taxation policies, some of the most persistent structural unemployment in Western Europe exacerbated by his anti-business stance, or the weakest growth of any major Western economy, despite his failure to deal with France’s deficit.

Furthermore, the damage socialism caused to the fabric of French society through its economic failure is seen in the growth of fascist ideology, principally in the rise of Marine Le Pen and the National Front.

Surely this example of modern, relevant socialism provides more of a warning to voters than the evocation of an ever more distant era of unions and miners’ strikes, or economic crisis in a developing South American nation?

Timothy Flett
Perth

 

SIR – I am surprised that the Conservative Party has not made more of the fact that the Labour Party is funded by the unions to the tune of 98.4 per cent, which highlights where the true power really lies.

The RMT strike over Christmas is just a little taster of what to expect if Labour gets the keys to No 10.

Stephen Hitch
Ivybridge, Devon

 

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