FINNISH FUTURES 23rd May 2003 You say (“In fact,” June) that “the Finnish language has no future tense.” Of course, morphologically speaking neither does English. Nick Boalch University of Durham
SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP 4th June 2003 Kathleen Burk (Letters, June) implies that Britain was cut out of the loop of US security and military intelligence only during the time when Ted Heath requested no special favours in the 1970s. Does she not remember the US invasion of Grenada, a Commonwealth member, in 1983? About 36 hours before it happened, the state department and the Pentagon stopped talking to the British embassy in Washington on grounds of operational secrecy. Geoffrey Howe was on his feet assuring the Commons that the Americans wouldn’t invade as the marines hit the beach. That was at the height of the Reagan-Thatcher love-in. Rodric Braithwaite London NW1
DESECRATING SCRUTON 3rd May 2003 I watch Wagner’s Ring whenever I get the chance, have a certificate from an Icelandic college that says I know something about the Edda and Nordic mythology, and have now read Roger Scruton’s piece on Wagner (April) several times. I simply do not understand much of what he is saying and am irritated by the rest. Where it is possible to see through Scruton’s prose, the meaning is not particularly profound. He does not like modern productions of Wagner,? mostly because “the god-haunted, dream-enchanted landscape of the Ring is the first thing that modern producers hasten to airbrush from the story.” His position is identical with my neighbour’s, who won’t go to see Shakespeare in modern dress. But she is open about her preferences, and does not feel she has to defend them with references to Feuerbach and hunter-gatherers.
As a church organist I resent my faith being lined up with Scruton’s paranoiac and pretentious conservatism. Prospect thrives on the presentation of critical studies of the arts and of unpopular and controversial ideas, but its tradition is to have them presented by serious thinkers. Martin Axford Bridge of Weir, Scotland
JUSTICE GAP 1 5th June 2003 I read Jonathan Myerson’s article (June) with interest. Working as a GP on a poor estate in Halifax, I see the games that go on between courts, the probation service and some of my patients. One current favourite is the medical “get out of jail free” card. In this, a young, fit person on a community service order…