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World at One Wednesday, 5 June, 2002, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Your say on the issues of the day

Welcome to the World at One letters page.

To have your say on the issues raised by the programme click on the link below - or e-mail us at wato@bbc.co.uk

Have your say

On the Jubilee coverage

The BBC has finally listened to the opinion polls and mostly dropped the required presence of yet another republican commentator.

David Dimbleby et al are almost reformed characters and as such we could actually have a celebration not another coup for the curmudgeons. Do these people actually know how to enjoy themselnes or did Marx or Lenin not include that section in one of their books?.

It was a joy to see all peoples and races, young and old showing their patriotic feelings for the Monarchy and in particular the Queen, without having to apologise for being either English or British which is what the PC folk deplore so much. Let them go form a grim republic somewhere else.


Brian Singleton

How I would have liked to have been part of a great celebration of all that is good about our country. What could have been a launch pad for more progress and reform was merely a display of childish fantasy, tin soldiers gold coaches and forelock tugging subjects, bolstered by tourists.

The progress we are making in all fields of public policy as we slowly struggle out of our dark centuries of political oppression, religious suppression and the dehumanising deprivations of feudalism and the industrial revolution, of our past, are worth celebrating. But the triangle of opportunity and privilege, in education, health care, pension provision, leisure and working conditions a hereditary monarchy at the apex is still with us, albeit slowly breaking down.

Supposedly an inclusive affair, we have had to watch the spectacle of sycophantic admiration between queen, princes, pop icons, and religious leaders, much of it paid for and promoted by the BBC. Those who have contributed most, and do most to the gradual civilisation of our state through progressive politics and pressure for secularisation - socialists, secularists and republicans could not take part in this monarchist jamboree.

The BBC busy reporting and counting the flags, did not bother to assess or even consider those who did not support this years pet project.
Anne Shaw

I think we should keep the Monarchy, as it is a bulwark against a dictatorship. It also means that we would only need to vote for our MPs every four or five years,and not the Head of State as well. A president could come from any walk of life, and might know nothing about politics.

The Queen, despite her weekly audiences with her Prime Minister,does not need to know anything political. She can't even vote. God save her, and her family as well.
Andrew Gosschalk

So much time has been spent to ensure that the Jubilee celebrations are inclusive of all beliefs, cultures and musical talents. Overall a wonderful celebration of British diversity. How un-fortunate it is that as a Republican I feel it would be hypocritical to celebrate an un-democratic monarchy. Effectively excluding myself and, I believe, many others from a true celebration of what could be Britain at its best.

The last four days have in some ways been a theft of British diversity and culture, using the 'Best of British' as a means of celebrating the monarchies own aims and objectives.
Mark Jolliffe

Congratulations to the Beeb for your excellent programmes of the weekend's celebrations. The concerts were wonderful and your coverage of the various processions and formal occasions demonstrated, yet again, your undisputed superiority in this field of broadcasting.

Just one teeny weeny criticism! Could you please provide each of your presenters with a pocket thesaurus so they could look up alternatives to the heavily overused "fantastic?" Check its meaning in the dictionary, it is not an ideal adjective for this type of event and with careless repetition its effectiveness, even when properly used, becomes seriously diluted. Thanks again .
Colin Gregory

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On Stephen Byers' resignation and the reshuffle

I hope the BBC and the Daily Mail are happy now. I've just heard the ghastly Nick Robinson on BBC News 24 saying that he 'had to go because nobody believed a word he said'. So the media told us, and kept on telling us until they got their way.

Personally, if the height of infamy is to say that someone has resigned when he had only agreed to resign, I wouldn't be willing to cast the first stone. The bloke took Railtrack into administration which is good enough for me. I am so angry about the persistent, negative, vicious destructiveness of the BBC these days.
Pat Oddy

So, it's true, you don't mess with the BBC and hope to survive. Is the BBC now going to make the trains run on time?
Stuart Litobarski, Bristol, UK

Stephen Byers has gone. Tony Blair has declared that "much of the criticism was unjustified". Isn't that a choice of words?
Not "all of it".
Not even "most of it".
Just "much of it".
Wouldn't it be nice to know which "much" Mr Blair thought was justified and which he didn't?
Alex Swanson, Furzton

Could you tell Andrew Marr to get the books out - Scots built most of the transport systems in the world and London is just a small part of the world.

Given that all the past Transport ministers seem to have been English - results speak for themselves - just maybe a Scot can whip Transport into shape once and for all.

I use the Underground regularly and I have to say The 'Clockwork Orange' seems to work better. You'll need to search for its location and head north.
Ray Bennett

Excellent. An item on Paul Boatang, our first black Cabinet Minister. And you also included a comment from Joel Edwards, the first black General Director of the Evangelical Alliance.

The EA got there before the UK Government, well done! The BBC has also set a good example, presenting blacks as achieving their positions by merit, rather than by discrimination.

Individual organisations, as well as the country as a whole, will benefit from involvement from people from different cultures. We welcome Messrs Boateng and Edwards, and many more from other cultures, as they play an increasing role in our lives.
Les Howard, Peterborough

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On Richard Desmond

World at One is wasting our time in getting a hard right Christian to criticise the Blair/Richard Desmond relationship.

Of course the Evangelicals hate sexually explicit material. Is this news? Most legal pornography gives and reflects adult pleasure and is therefore desirable.

A real Christian would be greatly offended at any contact between the P.M. and arms exporters - as am I. But that issue is too tough for the dim evangelicals to tackle, still less publicise
Martin Bright, Bracknell

A lot is being made of the fitness or otherwise of Richard Desmond to give money to the Labour party, due to his highly successful pornography business. Yet no one seems to be explaining exactly why pornography should be considered immoral or shady in any way. Perhaps it is too obvious to discuss, but I would welcome a short debate on the subject on the World at One.

Intuitively, I feel that pornography and those who make their money from it are in some way immoral, but I can't help wondering if that is just the result of social conditioning and archaic religious prejudices. When I try to construct a logical moral argument against pornography, I find it beyond me.

What exactly is morally wrong with a business which does no one any harm, which operates on a totally voluntary basis, which contributes to the economy and which apparently brings pleasure to large numbers of people?
Hector Macdonald

Why do these religious nutcases believe in their divine right to tell others, even governments, what to do?

Personally, I consider religion to be a far greater evil than pornography. Why am I expected to accept the egocentric illogicalities of religion when religious leaders attempt to deny people access to material of a sexual nature. i.e. pornography. Sex is the strongest drive for most of us, and essential for the continuation of the human species. Religion is simply a pathetic attempt by immature people to avoid acceptance of our individual insignificance.

Let people make their own decisions on what they find acceptable.
John Manning, Cardiff Wales

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Closing Sangatte

I think most commentators miss the underlying point why would-be immigrants and asylum seekers believe that the UK has got something better going for it than life in the other EU Member States. It is because the UK (who with Ireland, are alone as usual) refuses to sign the Schengin Treaty.

This treaty provides an EU protocol for cross-border mobility to non-EU members. If the UK was a signatory, then the refugees and others at Sangatte would be able to see for themselves that the UK is no Shangri-la, and its attitude towards asylum seekers was just as repressive as anywhere else in Europe.

It is hard to imagine how the British people will ever be provided with a source of dispassionate information about the Euro when, probably 90% of them, have never even heard of this fairly crucial piece of EU law. I think I've heard reference to it once on Radio 4, and that was when the French Ambassador to London mentioned it on the Today programme - before being told dismissively by John Humphries that it was an irrelevant point.

Wearily but sincerely
Mik Flood

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Your other e-mails

Why do you give so much time to Israeli representatives? How much time did you give to the Palestinian point of view today? Why do you call Palestinian terrorists but not call illegal settlements 'illegal'?

Why do you always let Sharon engage in this demonisation of Arafat. Is not Sharon personally responsible for serial murder? In case you did not know it is the Israelis who have invaded Palestine and not the other way round.

This bias is appalling.

The Israelis have stolen land. They have inflicted ethnic cleansing yet you refuse to face up to what is going on. More institutional racism Nick Clark!!!!!


Chris Cooper

Kashmir. "A de-escalation of troops" is the unlovely phrase I just heard from you. Does this mean "reduction" (or "decrease")? Why not try English? - it makes things so much easier.
James Holleyhead

Hands up all those who thought that India were buying British Aerospace Hawk aircraft for air-sea rescue, crop spraying and trips around the Taj Mahal.
Brian Christley, Penlon

I just wanted to say that it really annoys me that wato is only on for 1/2 hour. It's far too short a lunchtime news programme. It doesn't give you enough time to make lunch and sit down and eat it before some rubbish comes on at 1.30. It should revert to at least 40 mins if not longer.
Naomi Candlin

So Tony Blair now claims to be a champion of science, research and innovation. What wonderful news!

Can we therefore now confidently expect the Prime Minister to give his full, evangelical support to a recent, strongly-worded but scarcely reported recommendation from none other than his Chief Science Advisor Professor David King (Interview: Independent, Feb 17) that the Government set out, as soon as possible, a timetable and a California-style mandate for the phasing out of the Internal Combustion Engine and for its replacement with zero emission "electric and fuel cell" alternatives??
Paul Govan

Why does Nick Clarke always when mentioning your web site, say WATO and then proceed to repeat the individual letters? Surely the latter would suffice. I listen every day to what is an excellent programme but I always find this most irritating.
Chris Parlane, Widnes

It is not the fact that dogs are eaten in Korea that I personally find so upsetting but the way the dogs (and cats) are tortured and killed. Pain according to the Koreans make the meat sweeter and more tender.
J Edwards, Kettering

Why does Nick Clarke insist upon talking about Al KI eee Da when the "expert" being interviewed pointedly talked about Al KAY Da
Gordon Betts

The PM says he has no idea what to do with the funding of political parties. Surely the answer is simple: let those who want them pay for them. Companies should not able to make political donations until its shareholders have passed a specific resolution as to party and amount (surely such donations are in any event ultra vires? - I have never seen the power to make political donations included in any Company Memorandum and Articles of Association). Individual donations should also be capped at a low level - say 1,000. Parties would then have to concentrate on electorate, not lobbies. Your correspondent who suggested that there should be a residential qualification for MPs is also entirely right.
Richard Woods

May I say that on the occasions when I have heard your programmes I have been fascinated by the provincial charm that you bring to our national radio. Add the wit and wisdom of an undergraduate review and you bring back memories of those carefree days when in our naive ignorance we could indulge our anarchic energy.
Frank Quinn

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