I was alarmed to read that it took Ian McCartney (NS Interview, 12 July) 111/2 days ("a mega-second") to distinguish John Smith from his father on the telephone.

Perhaps it is just as well that the DTI's responsibility for science and technology is in the hands of McCartney's colleague, Lord Sainsbury!

Stephen Keevil
King's College, London

This article first appeared in the 26 July 1999 issue of the New Statesman, I took tea with Pinochet