IN today's Viewpoint (Thursday) Jason Moore writes about defense cuts. Back in February was the last time I gave Letters to the Editor the benefit of my opinion on Government cost cutting. Within weeks Labour's Lord Mandelson (a hitherto unknown Daily B reader) had taken up my suggestion on changing the academic year. By increasing the 10 week terms from 3 to 4 a year, at a stroke university costs would drop by a third, Inland Revenue would gain an extra year of graduate income tax, unemployment would be reduced by temporary jobs would be taken up by the genuinely out of work not students on holiday and still leave a more than generous 12 weeks holidays. A rare win-win outcome.

Regarding the army why are we still in Germany? Initially our invading troops stayed to ensure our World War II victory continued and was translated into a democratized and peacefull country. This achieved the army then became the front line against possible incursions from the Soviet Union. That the breakup of the USSR occurred 20 years ago is proof enough that this treat no longer exists. As Jason notes the cold war is over so why do we have our soldiers there still? He quotes an expected reduction of 20'000 service personnel. This could be met entirely there plus the return of thousands of civilian staff and families would have them spending pounds into the UK economy rather than euros in Germany. Another win-win situation.

Let's hope that Mandy, the ex Secretary of State for Business, has passed his subscription for the Daily B on to the current coalition holder Vince Cable.

Mike Lillico
Playa de Palma