There can be harmony in the garden

From: Dulcie Jessop, Helmsley Road, Leeds.

I WRITE in defence of both birds and cats following recent correspondence.

We own six cats (four are rescued) and we are also fortunate to have more than 14 different species of birds in the garden.

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These include finches, siskins, goldfinches, bullfinches, great tits, coal tits, blue tits, sparrows, dunnocks, blackbirds, starlings, collared doves, wood pigeons and eight somewhat annoying feral pigeons. We also have two squirrels and the occasional woodpecker.

All our cats wear a bell on their collar (one of them even has two bells!) and – yes, it works. Our garden is small and the feeders are sensibly placed hanging from apple trees. There should, however, be no nest boxes.

All of this goes to prove that there can be harmony in the garden.

From: Paul Spivey, Church Street, Jump, Barnsley.

I AM reminded when reading Les Arnold’s letter (Yorkshire Post, June 4) of the renowned Australian feminist Germaine Greer’s comments on a related issue, namely saving the bluebell.

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Recently, she proffered the no doubt well-researched idea that by killing dogs that run around in the woods, the demise of the bluebell could be arrested as dogs are evidently responsible for its current plight.

Let us discuss why the Isle of Man supports 40 to 50 pair of Hen Harriers in its upland areas and the rest of the country manages four pairs. The clue is no shooting estates in one of the locations! The fake concern over the fall in songbird numbers is all too transparent.

If you want to help songbirds, start by learning what is really responsible for their current predicament – habitat loss, change in farming techniques and practices, seasonal changes, mass foreign human predation on their migration routes, loss of habitat on the same routes.

There is plenty to go at there – without resorting to trying to send some of our more successful birds in to oblivion for no other reason than the shooting fraternity do not like a bit of healthy natural competition.

Unlimited energy

From: Neil Craig, Woodlands Road, Glasgow.

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I SEE that Scottish Power is announcing up to 19 per cent increases in energy prices (Yorkshire Post, June 8).

I look forward to seeing the politicians, who have vied with each other to throw ever more of our money at windmills and similar foolishness, while opposing nuclear, which can supply at one tenth the price, telling us what a dreadful thing fuel poverty and how it is all the fault of the producers.

It is not only dreadful; it is completely unnecessary as they all know. The only things preventing us having cheap power are not the people producing it but these same politicians doing everything possible to make power more expensive.

Politicians, at least in Britain, repeatedly assure us that “the age of cheap energy is over” but meanwhile it is getting cheaper in other countries – the places where so much of our industry has moved to.

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As soon as the age of expensive politicians is over, we will see that energy is virtually unlimited and the age of humanity’s use of it has barely begun.

Church’s meddling

From: Philip Smith, New Walk, Beverley, East Yorkshire.

AS I look at the recent remarks of Rowan Williams (Yorkshire Post, June 11), I am reminded of the words of Henry II: “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” Jesus said: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

Do we see David Cameron meddling in the affairs of the Anglican Church? So why does Rowan Williams think he can interfere with politics? His hypocrisy knows no bounds.

The Church of England is in near-terminal decline and the sooner this whited sepulchre goes the better.

Children and poverty

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From: Malcolm Lamb, CAP Centre Manager for South and East Leeds, Bridge Street Pentecostal Church, Leeds.

MANY of your readers, who watched BBC1’s hard-hitting documentary on child poverty Poor Kids, will be feeling very sad for the families involved and asking: “What can be done?”

Sadly the programme showed what we already know to be true: for some, UK poverty is a hard reality. Thankfully, the local church is very active in this area, supporting and speaking up for those in need.

Debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty, which has local centres in South and East Leeds, sees families under enormous pressure who have either resorted to debt and seen it spiral or who have suffered sudden changes in circumstances that have knocked them off course.

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In our latest client survey, well over half of those with children said their debt affected their ability to provide for them, and a third said they were unable to give them three meals a day.

Don’t tax soft drinks

From: Richard Laming, Media Director, British Soft Drinks Association, Stukeley Street, London.

IT is wrong to draw sweeping conclusions from an experiment that involved only 12 subjects with no control group, consuming an artificially unbalanced diet (Yorkshire Post, June 10). The experience of millions of people every day, that soft drinks can be consumed as part of a balanced diet, still stands.

Fruit juice is a natural product and contains only the sugar that was in the original fruit. A glass of fruit juice can count as one of five a day and there is no reason to change this recommendation.

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Taxes on soft drinks do not achieve the intended objectives – they are ineffective and unfair. It is much better to provide the appropriate information and educate the public how to make the right choices. More regulation and higher taxes will not help. Empowering consumers and citizens will.