Readers' letters - February 12

Have protesters made the world a better place?
Have protesters made the world a better place?

Protesters have made world a better place

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Most of us question whether protesting makes a difference and does it influence decision-making on a wide range of important and sometimes controversial issues?
I was once told by a government minister that public opinion does count as newspaper editors, politicians, government and council officials are all aware that every individual protest represents thousands of people who may not actually come forward to voice their concerns but nonetheless share the same view.
Changing established and often out-dated practices is not easy and history has taught us that just causes and righting wrongs are invariably fought over a period of many years and only achieved after a long and hard struggle.
There are many examples such as the campaign to abolish slavery, civil rights, the Suffragette movement – for which we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the day women won the right to vote – and, in more recent times, the Poll Tax revolt.
Many protests often seem to end in failure. However, viewing them in the long-term, one hopes that lessons will be learned which will prevent similar mistakes from happening in the future. It is a sad fact that, over the years, people have been forced to use extreme measures such as taking to the streets in protest, or facing imprisonment.
Protesters have made the world a better place over the years and without their determination we would still be living with things that are unfair, unjust and detrimental to our whole way of life.
Susan Richardson
via email

What price a child’s life?
The parents of a child with a rare form of life-limiting Batten Disease are appealing to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, (NICE), to fund the £20,000 per week cost of the drug Brineura.
It’s a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ decision. With limited funds, and many other terminally-ill children, which child do they save?
Also, as a consequence of junior doctor Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba being struck-off for gross negligence manslaughter, following the death of six-year-old Jack Adcock, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has ordered a review into whether manslaughter laws in healthcare are fit for purpose.
Accordingly, with some 2,000 children killed or seriously injured on UK roads each year (some needing 24/7 care) aren’t their parents entitled to ask:
n Why aren’t lawless killer drivers charged with gross negligence manslaughter?
n Why aren’t killer drivers ‘struck off’ from driving for life?
Britain’s road policing chief, Anthony Bangham, recently called for zero tolerance of speeding drivers.
Given the pressures on the NHS and NICE, it’s surely a ‘no-brainer’!
Indeed, with the drugs/technology used to save lives, advancing by the day, there can surely be no logical reason not to use speed limiters, to stop drivers speeding/killing.
When the cost of insuring a sports car can be £20,000 a year, the cost of Brineura, to extend a child’s life, is £20,000 a week, and a speed limiter can be bought for as little as £150, why wouldn’t Jeremy Hunt see speed limiters as life-savers?
Allan Ramsay
Address supplied

Marking World Book Day

Every year, at the beginning of March, schoolchildren across the UK mark World Book Day.
Many will dress up as a character from a favourite book or be part of special reading activity – and families and schools will once again generously give to charity.
World Book Day is a worldwide celebration but, in many countries, children go to school with just a few tattered textbooks.
At Book Aid International, we send around one million books a year to thousands of libraries and schools.
Two-thirds of these books are for children. They are read by millions of young readers in 20 countries.
We can only support children around the world because families and schools choose to support us on World Book Day and I would like to thank all those who will do so this year.
If you are a parent or teacher looking for inspiration, please visit, where you’ll find fundraising ideas, fun activities and specially created free DIY dress-up guides (developed with busy parents in mind!) It costs just £2 to send a book, so every penny you raise will make a difference.
Alison Tweed
Chief Executive of Book Aid International