That anti vax letter
I wonder if you bothered to take a look at the web link at the end of Roger Guttridge’s anti-vax letter in the January issue (p.24 here). I did, and found a site full of mad conspiracy theories and dangerous lies about covid vaccines.
Just today it was reported that hundreds of doctors in the US had signed a letter describing an online platform used by one of the men quoted by Mr Guttridge as a “menace to public health”.
Another of his “experts” , Dr Mike Yeadon, is responsible for the lie that the vaccines make women infertile. This is the same Dr Yeadon who claimed covid would quickly fizzle out with fewer than 40,000 deaths. He also claimed there would be no second wave and declared the pandemic over, weeks before deaths hit 1,000 a day.
Publishing the views of extremists is not a matter of balanced debate. My own family has suffered as a result of this kind of disinformation. Don’t forget that people’s lives are still at risk.
(For verification, here are links to the report about the US protest and a Reuters article about Dr Yeadon’s false prophesies:
(We will not be running any further pro/anti vax debate – Ed)
On Cozmo Jenks:
Can I say how disappointed I was by the Random 19 interview with Cozmo Jenks (Jan issue, p.19)? I didn’t feel it necessary or appropriate for the BV to publish her fondness for marijuana as a past time, nor her swear-filled ‘favourite quote’ nor indeed her bad ‘wind’ habits. Really? She looks old enough to know better – even if those are the honest answers, a little social politeness might have served in her public responses.
Usually I look forward to this column as a fun, interesting and often thought-provoking read, but this one felt forced and deliberately provocative.
Do better, BV.
Lilla May, Sherborne
Bravo Cozmo Jenks! How refreshing to read the bare honesty of a woman ‘of a certain age’. The Random19 answers all felt utterly true, mildly bonkers and thoroughly fun – a telling insight into Cozmo’s own personality, I suspect, which is of course the point. And well done BV on not tidying up or sanitising Cozmo’s answers – absolutely brilliant, she had me laughing (not unusual in the BV, I do appreciate the fact you have a sense of humour) and cheering approval. I thought I’d write to support as I’m sure you’ll get complaints. For my own part, though I’m sure my mother wouldn’t have approved, I’m considering a new sign for my kitchen – “Fit in or F**k off”!
Eleanor Shaw, Verwood
What an absolute gem Cozmo Jenks is (and thank you BV for not editing her answers). I had no idea she lived locally – I hope you don’t get complaints about her unfiltered answers. The article was flowing with character, enthusiasm, positivity and a serene confidence in just being who she is. A lesson to all us ladies – let’s just be a little more honest. I’m not brave enough to try her ‘Friday Night In’ (yet!), but I’m adopting her favourite quote immediately.
Selina Gray, Wincanton
On Violet Cross
I refer to Roger Guttridge’s utterly fascinating article on the life of Violet Cross (Violet’s wars: the story of a Dorset heroine, Jan 22 issue).
I have gathered from the comments I have seen on your Facebook page that my wife and I were not alone in being inspired by her story.
We drove to the church in Hazelbury Bryan in order to view her memorial plaque – only to be completely dismayed, and rather angry on her behalf.
Thanks to the editorial comment on the image in the article, we entered the church expecting the plaque to be hidden from plain sight, and knew we had to look behind the organ – but even so, without determined perseverance we would never have found it.
As it was, my wife was not able to climb to it, and I had to navigate around the organ bench and over a wooden railing, squeezing down the very narrow gap beside the organ housing to view it myself.
Why on earth is a memorial located where no one may view it? I suspect that many of the regular church attendees have never seen it, let alone occasional visitors. Surely the point of the plaque is to remind people of Violet Cross’s life and her astonishing achievements? She apparently has no descendants, and to my mind the very least the village can do is relocate her plaque to a situation where others may pay their respects to her memory.
Alan Banes, Mere
Dorset Island Discs
I was very happy to see the new ‘Dorset Island Discs’ column; I’m a huge fan of the original radio show, and I’m so pleased you have kept the same simple format.
Dr Luckett (‘Don’t listen while driving’, Jan 22 issue) had a fascinating range – and just as it should be it allowed us an oddly personal insight into a local figure through their favourite music.
Just one request – please do select a wide variety of guests so that it’s not all classical music and jazz – and keep them honest. The one failing on the Radio 4 version is when the subject selects songs they think are suitably appropriate or impressive for a Radio 4 audience – it’s always obvious when it has been engineered, and the listener gains nothing.
Howard Borne, Shaftesbury
(I hope you’ll approve of this month’s guest variety – Blandford’s Cllr Nocturin Lacey-Clarke’s thoughtful choices are genres away from Dr Luckett’s! – Ed)
On local politics
I find it surprising that no one locally appears to be aware that our MP for North Dorset, Mr Simon Hoare, has had defamation proceedings begun against him, after sharing an inappropriate tweet by the UUP (Ulster Unionist Party) leader Doug Beattie.
Mr Beattie tweeted a joke that referred to the wife of political rival Edwin Poots and a brothel. Mr Hoare shared the joke, but then deleted his own tweet in fairly short order. Mr Beattie has since apologised.
But the agricultural minister Edwin Poots has now instructed solicitors to issue defamation proceedings against Doug Beattie and Simon Hoare.
I find it remarkable that our experienced MP, and the chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee, would engage in such poorly thought out behaviour.
G Harrow, Shaftesbury
I have almost put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard?) to you a couple of times in recent months to make a request: whilst I consider us exceedingly lucky in our local MP Simon Hoare, I am aware that there are other voices to be heard, and we should be hearing them all.
I was so pleased then, to see you give space and voice to other local political opinons in the January issue – I hope this is a permanent change?
Dorset may be solidly a Tory heartland, but that doesn’t mean we all voted blue – nor does it mean that those of us who did aren’t interested in hearing the other side of the debate on local topics.
K Greening, Marnhull
(the local politics column has been permanently expanded to hear voices from the local Labour, LibDem and Green Party – Ed)