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Greens see red
I expect the NS to be provocative, but your Green v greed issue (30 June) takes provocation to new heights of perversity by devoting itself to green issues without once mentioning the Green Party. The Green Party is the one party that has consistently campaigned against GMOs and for sustainable agriculture; which has lobbied strongly for no new airports on the grounds that demand for air travel should be managed and reduced; and that has the most comprehensive and far-reaching policies on climate change.
Dr Caroline Lucas MEP (Green)
The [pounds sterling]500,000 cost of the public debate on GM crops mentioned by Matthew Taylor ("No wiser and no better informed", 30 June) is a meagre amount. In the 1980s, the government of the day spent millions of pounds on TV and media campaigns to promote the wonders of wider share ownership in the newly privatised public utilities of water, electricity and gas, etc. GM is one of the most important environmental and public health issues of the day - decisions made now will affect future generations. Yet the average person would find it hard to access independent and reliable sources of information on the subject, never mind understand the issues.
Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management
Labour camps or Labour spin?
Mark Reeve's cartoon of Vladimir Putin headhunting Alastair Campbell's services (30 June) would have raised a sardonic smile for anyone familiar with Russia s tactics in suppressing troublesome journalism. I am sure that as a former journalist, Campbell would object to imprisoning journalists for merely pursuing their investigative work. Putin's Russia has sent such journalists to labour camps. While the Russian president was on his state visit to Britain last month, the only remaining independent Russian television station was closed down.
Director, Amnesty International UK
Paul Routledge (30 June) has it the wrong way round. Drs Cunningham and Reid are the real variety, PhD standing for doctor of philosophy. Medics, such as Howard Stoate, are mere bachelors of medicine and surgery - MB, ChB.
A qualified minister
Rosie Millard (The Back Half, 23 June) declares that I admitted to "know[ing] zero about the arts", and suggests that, perhaps, "the view from Downing Street is that, as arty ignorance is widespread, [my] lack of interest doesn't matter that much". For heaven's sake! First, what the NS describes as "the first interview" with me was a three-minute chat that I had with Rosie and other arts journalists at the end of a photocall. Second, at no point have I said I know nothing about the arts. What I have said is that, like most people, my personal preferences are stronger in some areas than others. I go to the cinema, I visit galleries and I read, but, no, I haven't seen as much opera or ballet in the past as I would have wished. But it seems a bit eccentric to suggest that I am disqualified for this wonderful job because I haven't spent enough time at the Royal Opera House.
Minister of State for the Arts
Michele Roberts (30 June) is wrong to suggest that nobody gets nostalgic about school dinners. I have fond memories of mine, served by the Mid-Essex Education Committee between 1958 and 1971. The roast dinners were fine, with green and not-overcooked cabbage, and we always had regular salads even if dressings were unheard of. In those days, pasta was bought only in blue packs by posh people (at Holland & Barrett), and olive oil stayed in the medicine cupboard for earache. …