Letters: Iran can only be emboldened by the West’s timid response to belligerence

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - Ebrahim Noroozi/ap

SIR – The West’s cowardice in refusing to confront Iran is shameful (Letters, April 20). Mealy-mouthed words from Joe Biden and Lord Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, will encourage not only Iran but also all of its proxies, who wage war on its behalf. 

Unless we confront Iran now and destroy its nuclear development sites, we will be staring down the barrel of another major world war.

Major Mike Mckone (retd)
Kirby Stephen, Cumbria

SIR – I will vote for any party that pledges substantially to increase expenditure on our national security.

An existential threat could come at any time from the Iranian ayatollahs, who aren’t motivated by reason but by religious fanaticism, or from Vladimir Putin. Both could be prompted to bomb us with rockets, drones or worse, as Britain is seen as a leading supporter of their alleged enemies.

For years we have concentrated taxpayer or borrowed cash on welfare, health, the environment and a vast list of non-essentials. Now is the time to get serious – and spending priorities must change at once. 

We need to build up our Armed Forces. And where is our “iron dome” of protection over the skies of our major cities and the sites of key services?

Tom Benyon
Bladon, Oxfordshire 

Pedestrians’ rights

SIR – Matt Briggs, whose wife was run down and killed by a speeding cyclist and who is seeking greater legal protection for pedestrians, is correct that the rights of those who choose to travel on foot are being ignored (report, April 14).

Pedestrians regard the Transport for London slogan, “Why not walk it?”, with weary cynicism, when pavements are being bisected to create cycle lanes that they must negotiate before they can reach the kerb to cross the road or board a bus. They must contend daily with cyclists who routinely ignore red traffic lights or travel on pavements. Footpaths and towpaths have now been incorporated into cycle routes, forcing walkers to take action to keep out of the way of riders who refuse to limit their speed.

Mr Briggs is right: legislation and enforcement to protect pedestrians is long overdue.

Julia Matheson
London E5

SIR – Jeremy Vine (report, April 8) entreats drivers to “Think Bike!” Perhaps he could also invite cyclists to “Think Cars!” 
In my area, along with many careful and considerate cyclists, we have those who ride in the middle of the road, persist in ignoring the cycle lane near the beach, use the very narrow road that remains since space was made for cyclists, and consistently ride through red lights all over the city. 

If we all employed a modicum of common sense rather than focusing on people’s “rights” to behave however they wish, life would be simpler and far more pleasant.

Marilyn Morgan
Southsea, Hampshire

SIR – Anne-Elisabeth Moutet may be correct about the behaviour of Parisian cyclists and the effect they are having on the city (Comment, telegraph.co.uk, March 17). I went to Paris recently, and there were certainly many more cyclists than I remember from previous visits. 

However, one thing I did see there, but have never witnessed during years as a cyclist and pedestrian in London, was two motorcycle gendarmes pulling over a cyclist for a traffic offence.

Perhaps if we don’t want London to go the same way as Paris, then the mayor should encourage the Metropolitan Police to visibly enforce the law for all road users – including cyclists. 

John O’Grady
Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

Serving after prison

SIR – I am a prison visitor at our local Category D prison, and come from a Naval/Army background. When I ask prisoners what they are going to do when they are “let out”, quite a few tell me that they would like to join the Armed Forces, as it would give them some sort of structure and discipline, allow them to learn skills and make friends, and, most of all, provide security – most of which they have never had. 

I made inquiries with the Army and was told that prisoners have to be crime-free for a year before they would be considered “suitable” to join any of the three Services. Who made up this ridiculous rule? The civil servants I expect. 

The Services could turn round some of the lives of these men and make them into people who want to better themselves, instead of being back inside within a year, which sadly happens quite a lot.

Not long ago, magistrates would give offenders the opportunity to join the Forces or go to jail. I imagine the recruiting process, which now can take a year, might prohibit this. I should think a Service person would cost less than keeping a prisoner in jail.

Rosemary Corbin
Zeals, Wiltshire

Football regulation

SIR – The Premier League’s profit and sustainability regulations (PSR), then known as financial fair play (FFP), were introduced in 2013, and were meant to control spending and prevent clubs going into administration. 

The League did nothing for almost 10 years, with not a single charge laid against any club. Suddenly, the charges against Manchester City (Letters, April 14) were rushed out on the morning the Government announced plans for an independent football regulator. Since then the League has been trying to show how strong it is by punishing Everton and Nottingham Forest.

The League has charged City with 115 offences. Of them, 54 relate to reporting inaccurate financial accounts, 14 to falsifying how staff were paid, five to breaches of Uefa FFP rules, 35 to not cooperating, and seven to breaches of PSR. The League is suggesting that City may have falsified its accounts, which is potentially criminal. These accounts are legally required to be prepared under UK Generally Accepted Accounting Practice, and to be audited by independent accountants.
However, HMRC has never challenged the club’s accounts or tax affairs, and there are also questions of double jeopardy for City, as it was proven at the Court of Arbitration for Sport not to have breached any Uefa FFP rules, but was fined for not cooperating. The League has a much higher burden of proof regarding these charges than with the Everton and Forest cases.

As a blue, if the club has cheated, it should be punished, tarnishing some of the greatest achievements ever seen on the pitch. But the only thing that is clear at present is that PSR stifles ambition, is not fit for purpose, and the League is making a mess of regulating itself.

Andrew Holgate
Wilmslow, Cheshire

SIR – Many fans of Premier League clubs act strangely. They think they own the club they support, which they don’t. They expect those who do own the club to spend vast amounts of their own money on world-class players, which they shouldn’t have to do. They want the club to buy the best players, who they often can’t afford. 

When the best players are signed, the same fans object to the salaries these players are paid. When the club fails to win a trophy, they blame the manager. And when all this has happened, they return to blaming the owners. They fail to appreciate that, if there is one trophy at stake, only one club can win it. 

It’s for these reasons that I support my local semi-professional team. I encourage others to do the same.

David S Ainsworth

Charging EVs

SIR – You report (April 14) that Jaguar is going to cease production of the I-Pace after only a few years due to poor demand. King Cahrles was an early fan of this car. 

The astonishing fact is that, notwithstanding the undoubted merits of the I-Pace, even today, six years down the line, finding a working EV charging point that can charge it at its design charge rate is quite a challenge. Anything less will increase the time it takes to charge.

In Blairgowrie in Perthshire, FOR:EV has recently proudly proclaimed that it has just installed four bays with 100kW rapid chargers. It neglects to point out that one of those bays is dedicated to a CHAdeMO connector, which is essentially obsolete (only a few cars, such as the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi Outlander, use them, and Japanese manufacturers now favour combined charging system connectors). 

It also neglects to point out that the highest charge rate offered only works on 800v EV cars, yet most EV cars run on 400v. Cars that do work on 800v typically require twice the charge rate offered. 

The net result is that charging an EV car in Blairgowrie will prove to be a very disappointing and frustrating experience, and will confirm to car users that they should have stuck with a petrol or diesel vehicle.

Douglas Clerk
Stanley, Perthshire

Bun worship

SIR – The best Chelsea buns (Letters, April 14) come from Fitzbillies bakery in Trumpington Street, Cambridge. 

In the 1970s, when I was working at Hobsons Press just down the road, we would sneak out of the office at about 10am on a Friday morning to buy the first buns out of the oven – soft, warm, tasting of cinnamon and dripping with syrup. We even had a saying pinned on our office noticeboard: Happiness is a Fitzbillies Chelsea bun.

Karen Powell

SIR – I well remember buying buns as a schoolgirl from the Chelsea Bun in the middle of Sloane Square. 

The buns were delicious, but there was a problem – we were forbidden to eat in the streets when in school uniform.

Joanna Staughton
Sarratt, Hertfordshire

SIR – Charles Mitchell (Letters, April 14) is right that lardy cakes are quite rare, but in London Street in Faringdon, Oxfordshire, they can still be found – and they are just as delicious as in his youth. 

Peter Cox
Launton, Oxfordshire

SIR – May I recommend the wonderful breakfast treat of a toasted Aberdeen Buttery (or two) with marmalade? They are equally tasty during the day with whatever one fancies. Originating in Aberdeen, this is a Scottish delicacy that must be experienced.

Deb Soutar
Ceres, Fife

Time to impose phone-free days at museums

A tourist at the Göreme Open-Air Museum at Cappadocia in central Turkey
A tourist at the Göreme Open-Air Museum at Cappadocia in central Turkey - ALAMY

SIR – Augusta’s admirable policy of banning the use of mobile phones by patrons at the Masters golf tournament (Sport, April 14) should be copied by our national museums – at least for one day a week.

This would allow visitors to enjoy exhibits without peering through a forest of phone screens held aloft while their owners jostle to collect images for Instagram, often with their backs to the object or artwork.

Our museums are increasingly and sometimes uncomfortably overcrowded, and while no one wants to see entrance charges reintroduced, surely a designated phone-free day would offer some respite for visitors simply wanting to look at art with their own eyes.

Martyn Downer
Buntingford, Hertfordshire

SIR – Your report (April 14) that a quarter of seven-year-olds now have their own smartphone confirms that there is a crisis in parenting. 

This is a tragic disservice to children. It also relates directly to the growth of the nanny state, which parents now rely on in every area, from phone use to smoking.

John Stewart
Terrick, Buckinghamshire

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