Letters - March 27, 2019

Spare a thought for mother jailed in Iran

Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 1:24 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 1:28 pm
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her daughter GabriellaRichard PIC: The Free Nazanin campaign/PA Wire

Mother’s Day is around the corner and many people are buying cards and flowers, planning visits and days out with their mothers, and generally making this a special day.

This Mother’s Day we’re asking readers to spare a thought for one particular mother - Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian charity worker who’s already spent three years in an Iranian jail after a deeply unfair trial.

For three long years Nazanin has been separated from her young daughter Gabriella, who only gets to see her mother on short prison visits in Tehran.

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Recently, the Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced the Government was giving Nazanin ‘diplomatic protection’ status, meaning her case is now officially considered to be the cause of a formal dispute between our country and Iran.

This is welcome. It means the UK is taking her plight seriously and is committing itself to using all its international influence to gain her freedom.

Readers can show their support for Nazanin by adding their name to our petition - www.amnesty.org.uk/nazanin - to the Iranian authorities calling for her release.


Fylde Coast Amnesty 
International group


There will never be a perfect outcome

So thousands march demanding a second referendum. In Parliament the same demand emerges now and again from, misguided MPs. The cry is for a ‘People’s Vote’. Strange, I thought the referendum was a vote by people! I don’t remember my dog voting.

The thinking behind the demand is sloppy. It is a near certainty that a second referendum would result in a majority in favour of remaining in the EU, and it would be by a bigger margin than the first vote. Why? Because this time even a gullible public would not be duped by lie after lie, and false projections of a promised land post Brexit.

However, such a result would not be accepted by those who voted to leave in the first vote. And I fear civil unrest would occur.

Voters would, therefore, demand a third referendum in order to break a stalemate situation. All of this would take months to organise it would cost millions. I seriously doubt if even then both sides would be happy. In addition, democracy itself would be undermined.

We do not need a second referendum. Hopefully, the penny will drop one day that there is not and never was a perfect outcome to leaving the EU. Too many people still seem to believe it is akin to stopping your membership of a bowls or darts club.

If ever we do leave, don’t celebrate too soon because the problems will have only just begun. It will take at least six years before new trade deals and the necessary legal requirements have been finalised. But of course the public mustn’t be told this.

If you want a good analogy of the size of the problem that lies ahead read about the punishment King Sysiphus had to endure for deceitfulness in Greek mythology. He was condemned eternally to repeatedly roll a heavy boulder up a steep hill only to have it roll down again as soon as he reached the summit.

DR Barry Clayton

Thornton Cleveleys


Help stop the air 
gun threat to cats

As the UK’s largest cat welfare charity, Cats Protection is always horrified to learn of cases where cats have been injured or killed after being shot with an air gun.

Sadly, we regularly receive reports of horrific cases where cats have suffered agonising injuries – often fatal – as a result of the indiscriminate use of air guns. Cats that survive frequently sustain life-changing injuries from air gun attacks, such as limb amputation or loss of an eye. Furthermore, a 2016 Cats Protection survey of vets found that 46 per cent of reported incidents result in fatalities.

Many of your readers may be shocked to learn that air guns are unlicensed in England and Wales, meaning that they can be legally owned by anyone over the age of 18. This is in contrast with Scotland and Northern Ireland, which both have sensible, modern laws in place. It can therefore be no coincidence that over 90 per cent of the air gun attacks on cats reported in the press in the UK are in England and Wales.

Cats Protection is determined to change this, and our petition calling on the Government to introduce the licensing of air guns in England and Wales has gathered over 110,000 signatures. The Government launched a review into air weapons legislation in October 2017 but have still not reported their next steps.

In the meantime, your readers can help by signing our petition at www.cats.org.uk/airgunspetition

Jacqui Cuff

Cats Protection