We should indeed “be shocked into action by the fact that wealth, class and geography still dictate life expectancy” (Paul Mason, G2, 1 December). Healthy life expectancy, as he reports, is 16 years less in Blackpool than it is a three-hour drive away in Wokingham. It’s a 12-minute drive from where I live in Newcastle to the council ward I represent, where life expectancy is 12 years less and which is served by the largest food bank in the country.
Labour, House of Lords
• Peter Clement (Letters, 27 November), has missed Robert Frost’s irony – Mending Wall satirises the neighbour’s “Good fences make good neighbours” refrain. The narrator speaks against unthinking isolationism: “Why do they make good neighbours? ... Before I built a wall I’d ask to know / What I was walling in or walling out”. Born in San Francisco to a Scottish immigrant mother, Frost was himself a migrant to the UK in 1912-15 before returning to the US.
Dr Huw Davies