Readers’ letters - January 19

Astronaut Tim Peake went on a space walk ' yet despite the 'space age', the world still has fatal accidents, climate change and conflict, says a reader. See letter

Astronaut Tim Peake went on a space walk ' yet despite the 'space age', the world still has fatal accidents, climate change and conflict, says a reader. See letter

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No benefits to space walk

As I watched Tim Peake’s space walk live, it was interrupted by an ad break. First came one for Save the Children: No Child Born to Die, where it asked for just £2 a month to ‘buy tools and seeds’.

Next came one for a TV documentary – Liberators of Dachau – where survivors of the Dachau concentration camp in Munich speak about their personal experiences on camera for the first time.

Given Neil Armstrong’s words – ‘one giant leap for mankind’ – on landing on the Moon some 45 years ago, why have we got so much poverty and starvation, global warming and a war against terrorists?

An astronaut, who’d already completed a successful space walk, compared this walk to a pyramid: Tim Peake ‘at the pinnacle’ and the support team on the ground being the base, where everyone worked together for a successful mission. He also used the terms ‘human ingenuity’ and ‘space age technology’.

Would it be fair to say that, in the so-called civilised world, the ‘human race’ is a ‘rat race’ which takes place on our roads? With some five people a day being killed on them in the UK, and over 1.5 million a year killed globally, why isn’t everyone working together and using ‘human ingenuity’ and ‘space age technology’ to prevent such killing?

In Britain alone, reducing road traffic casualties would save billions of pounds, which could then be used to ‘save’ the NHS, and give hospital staff a better deal than the one which has caused junior doctors to strike. If we can engineer DNA to save lives, why can’t we engineer cars and drivers not to kill?

Then take global warming, floods, conflict and millions of starving children, and I find it near impossible to see any benefit to humankind from Tim Peake’s space walk.

Allan Ramsay

Radcliffe

Star earned our respect

I was absolutely livid when I heard Ann Widdecombe was bemoaning the coverage of David Bowie’s passing, as if it was wrong to give it as much publicity as if it were a monarch’s death.

Well, excuse me, Mrs Clever Clogs, no monarch has ever inspired a nation’s youth with fantastic innovative music and art, nor offered ordinary people an inspiration to do something other than the expected. I, for one, am grateful that I followed Bowie from the early 1970s and learned more from his lyrics than I ever learned at school.

I do love the monarchy, they have a credibility, but you have to earn people’s attention and respect, and goodness he has more than earned the coverage he has received.

I, for one, thank the press and television for it, and Mrs Widdecombe, you are so wrapped up in politics and grandeur that you fail to see that we have a right to respect who we wish.

Jim Pomfret via email

Help save unit

The UK has one of the world’s leading policing teams tackling wildlife crime, the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU).

However, its funding is due to run out in March 2016. It is vital the Government continues to fund the unit so it can maintain its battle against domestic wildlife crime and serious international organised crime, and also investigates the illegal trade in live animals and animal products. Please write to Rory Stewart MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs, or sign IFAW’s letter online at www.ifaw.org/united-kingdom/get-involved/fighting-wildlife-crime-in-uk

Philip Mansbridge

UK Director of International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)