Letters - December 10, 2019

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Flawed health advice used as a ‘free pass’

In the light of the accumulating evidence of ‘vaping’ induced lung disease, medical professionals wonder if Public Health England’s endorsement of e-cigarettes as ‘95 per cent safer’ than conventional cigarettes will withstand future scrutiny. However, ‘vaping’ is not the only issue of contention for PHE.

Over the last five years, Public Health England has failed to publish an appropriate update of their favourable 2014 report on fracking, notwithstanding several excellent peer-reviewed studies indicating adverse health impacts. The uncritical stance of PHE was then used by government as a ‘free pass’ to endorse this new industry.

The report described the impact on unfortunate local residents as ‘low-risk’ but this conclusion was flawed because no mention was made of the crucial factor in the UK of the proximity of homes to drill-sites.

An important article in the latest New England Journal of Medicine which is widely regarded as the leading medical journal in the world, makes a damning case against fracking. In addition to the fugitive methane emissions which contribute to climate change, there is now irrefutable evidence that the fracking industry is responsible for the contamination of ground and surface water, air, noise and light pollution, radiation releases, ecosystem damage, induced earthquakes and numerous adverse health impacts: the exacerbation of asthma and respiratory disease, increased risk of cardiovascular illness, increased risk of low birth-weight and prematurity etc, etc.

A future government may be empowered to drop the moratorium and proceed with fracking.

But will Public Health England now reconsider its exoneration of fracking?

Dr Frank Rugman MA, MB ChB, MSc, FRC Path, FRCP (London)

(Retired Consultant Haematologist)

POLITICS

The Tories just can’t be trusted

The Tories cannot be trusted with the future of the country. Ordinary working people witness on a daily basis the appalling effects of their elitist and uncaring policies, which are a disgrace in the world’s fifth largest economy:

* Fewer hospital beds than in the entire history of the NHS.

* Longer NHS waiting times in A&E, cancer treatment and surgery than ever before.

* More children in oversize classes since 2010.

* More homeless people on the streets than ever before.

* More deliveries of foodbank parcels than ever before.

* Child poverty is at almost four million. The Resolution Foundation predicts it will rise under a future Tory government to reach a 60-year high of 4.44 million children.

* A housing crisis caused by the Tory policy to sell-off social housing.

* A Tory party that made the ideological decision to introduce austerity. Austerity for the many whilst giving massive tax cuts to companies and the wealthy.

* A Brexit Tory party that promoted a new UK blue passport and then awarded the contract to EU companies rather than De La Rue, the UK manufacturer of passports.

For most people, this election is the most important in living memory. Ordinary people can choose to vote for a party that avoids scrutiny of their policies and believes benefitting the wealthy will trickle-down sufficient wealth for ordinary people to keep them in power.

Or, alternatively, ordinary people can choose to vote for a party that puts the people’s interests first and foremost with an end to austerity and an end to a laissez-faire free-market economy. Choose wisely as your future and your children’s future wellbeing depends on it.

Tony Jolley

address supplied

ELECTION

Stark choice in

the next election

I don’t recall a more stark option than the election of our next Prime Minister. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was born to oppose: an activist who I doubt would know what to do with high office if it were handed to him.

At best equivocal in his response to accusations of anti-semitism, the Palestinian cause is in his DNA, typically of the extreme left. One can only hope that fears that he will bankrupt the country will keep him out of office.

As for Boris Johnson, I can’t help seeing him as an amateur, privileged to be given a dangerous toy to play with. Don’t tell me that appearances can be deceptive: the shifty eyes looking round for approval, constantly playing to the gallery, the eccentric hair style – unlike Donald Trump’s but equally absurd. As a Lib Dem voter, I am hoping that Corbyn and Johnson will be prove to be Jo Swinson’s greatest asset.

Alex Surtees

via email

ELECTION

It’s all pie-in-the-sky

How does the leader of the Opposition think he’ll fund his reckless proposals?

He will spend billions on the nationalisation of rail and utilities. His pie-in-the-sky list of subsidies and freebies includes broadband, housing, healthcare, schools, no student fees etc. And where people want to pay for their own education, he will spend more billions on integration of private schools. A shocking violation of human rights anyway.

Claude Surtees

via email