Trident replacement encourages others

So long as any state has nuclear weapons, others will want them.

So long as any state has nuclear weapons, others will want them. So long as any such weapons remain, there is a risk that they will one day be used, by design or accident. And any such use would be catastrophic." (United Nations Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission report, June 2006)

Over 40 years ago, the United Kingdom Government signed a treaty to eliminate its nuclear weapons and yet, despite urging other countries to support this treaty and condemning those who wish to acquire nuclear missiles (largely because some countries already possess them), MPs have voted to push through plans to upgrade the Trident weapons system. This breaks international law and encourages others to do the same.

Additionally, the cost to each British family over the lifetime of the system is estimated at £4,500.

Would we have acquired such a system if we did not already have one? 1 doubt it very much. Is it too much to expect our local MPs who sadly voted for this dangerous and illegal replacement to review the situation and change their minds?

JOHN SEVERS, Durham City.

Report was wrecked by too much spin

COUNCILLOR Mick Henry (In My View, April 21) displays great naivety in accepting the pronouncements of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at face value.

Mr Henry refers to the report involving the work of 2,000 scientists, but fails to mention the work of a considerable number of spin-doctors who make the material fit the political objective, after the scientists have been dismissed.

Following publication of the previous report, one of these scientists described how many of them left in disgust at what he called the shenanigans of the panel. At the foot of each page of the original draft report was an instruction that the information must not be communicated to the media.

He went on to describe how sentences were subsequently scored out and new ones inserted, and words altered to produce the desired "green" effect. He also offered to produce a list of 19,000 scientists who disagreed with the findings of the panel.

PHILIP WARREN, Gosforth, Newcastle

We have always had an elected dictatorship

WITH Tony Blair refusing to hold a referendum on European Union sovereignty over us, does this not lay bare the age-old conception that Britain is truly a democratic country?

What we have always had is an elected dictatorship, never more apparent since Brown and Blair came on the scene.

So-called New Labour gained power on false promises and the quality of life for the indigenous hoi polloi has been declining rapidly since 1997. The idea of another New Labour stalwart, Malcolm Wicks, to tag the elderly, coupled with an inner London Labour MP heading a campaign promoting heinous blood sports, indicates how morally bankrupt the party now is.

Not that present-day Tally-Ho Conservatism would be any better. The mere thought of Gordon Brown becoming Prime Minister makes one weep.

NORMAN WALL, Wallsend, North Tyneside

Would you like to see more needless wars?

WOULD you like to see Britain go careering around the world, starting more illegal wars resulting in countless deaths? Would you like to see your pensions robbed again?

Would you like to see your council tax doubled again? Would you like to see more drugs legalised and crime to continue to soar? Do you want to be punished by the police and courts for defending your own home while the burglars and thugs are given compensation and taken on holidays? Do you want all of this and much more? Then vote Labour at every opportunity.

PETER M HOGG, Morpeth, Northumberland

Why go to Teesside quickly - or at all?

THE proponents of the Maglev transport system have been beating the drum for a link to Teesside. To my mind, there are many factors which mean it is simply "pie in the sky".

The cost would be fantastic. Ironically, the demand from China for metals such as copper for electrical goods has doubled the price, and since Maglev uses metal coils for lift, the cost today would be much more than when the Shanghai system was built.

There aren't enough people who want to travel to Teesside (and vice versa), the cities aren't big enough, to justify the guideway. There are no compelling reasons why I need to go to Middlesbrough; the same shops exist in both cities.

And what route would this system use? House building on every bit of spare land in the North-East means that there is no obvious corridor through which the system could be installed, so some houses would have to be demolished, and how many people would be happy with a concrete runway at the bottom of the back garden or outside the front door? The sheer length of the public inquiries would stop this ever beginning. As to "the economic benefits of such a link would be incredible", I agree: it is incredible. I don't see that it would do anything to the economy.

This is not a railway. There are no freight facilities, and it is not compatible with normal railway infrastructure. The recent French speed record shows that conventional railways can achieve similar speeds to a Maglev.

As to a Maglev to London, all the same arguments apply, only magnified. Can anyone imagine the planning objections over nearly 300 miles of route?

DENNIS GRIEVE, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland

Unemployed actors

YOU are wrong in saying that Richard E Grant and Paul McGann were students in the film Withnail And I (The Journal, April 25). They were unemployed actors.

ALAN BURDIS, Wallsend, North Tyneside

Intolerant attitude of non-smokers

MRS P W Taberner ("Consultants can't open their windows", Voice of the North, April 18) will have to get used to it as from July 1 she will have to go through smokers and fag ends to get into any enclosed public space as a result of the intolerance of non-smokers.

Had the non-smokers been tolerant and allowed a place for smokers in all enclosed public spaces, there would be no problem. I hope she will give a thought in a year's time to the 20,000 bar staff who will be unemployed due to the intolerant attitude of her kind non-smokers.

ROY BELL, Hexham, Northumberland

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