Christine Benson (Letters, 17 August) need not be concerned. Without the oversized and diseased horse chestnut casting shade over our home, we have enjoyed the lightest, airiest summer since we moved to Sheffield 24 years ago. Our replacement tree is thriving, and there are lots of mature trees remaining on our street. If ever we need any more shade, we’ve 4m other trees in the city.
• Ewen MacAskill’s description of Hamas as “the elected government of Gaza” is somewhat exaggerated. The last Gaza election was in 2006. There is, at long last, to be another one, though it remains to be seen how free and fair it will be.
Labour, House of Lords
• The hullaballoo over Jamie Oliver “culturally appropriating” a jerk dish takes the biscuit (Report, 21 August). “Political correctness gone mad” surely applies when a politician attaches a serious label to a trivial spat between TV chefs over the purist minutiae of an ingredients list. In 2001 the late Labour foreign secretary, Robin Cook, declared chicken tikka masala to be the UK’s new national dish. This was a celebration of modern British openness, diversity, inclusivity and multiculturalism. Had Robin Cook been here to say the same today, Dawn Butler would be demanding that he resign and the recipe writer be arrested!
Salford, Greater Manchester
• I read of North Ayrshire’s plans to provide free sanitary products in public buildings (Report, 18 August) and recalled my days at Eccles grammar school, circa 1968, when several of us know-it-all campaigning sixth-formers demanded the NHS provide us with free sanitary towels and tampons. Always knew we were ahead of the game.
Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands
• Rebecca Nicholson claims “a dog forces you into the world” (Why writers should own dogs, G2, 21 August). Compare the playwright August Strindberg, who said: “I loathe people who keep dogs. They are cowards who haven’t got the guts to bite people themselves.” But then maybe he was a cat person.
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