Why the obsession with ‘calling it out’? | Brief letters

Calling it out | The pill in the 1960s | From coffin to bookcase | Unseasonable birdsong | Aurochsen | Yorkshire pud

The House of Commons is celebrating the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918 as I write, and discussing the abuse of politicians, naturally. Almost unanimously they describe discussion of this activity as “calling it out”. How did this phrase suddenly achieve the status of exclusive political correctness? Three or four years ago it was never used in this country. How can we get rid of it?
JS Brennan

• As I usually agree with Jenni Murray, my exact contemporary, I was surprised to see that she was mistaken concerning the availability of the pill in the late 1960s (G2, 31 January), stating that it was only available to married women until the 1970s. As an unmarried 18-year-old in 1968, I had no difficulty obtaining it wedding ring-free from my local family planning clinic in London, for which I will be for ever grateful.
Moira Doherty
Reston, Virginia, USA

• From bookcases to coffins or vice versa (Letters, 2 February)? I am the proud owner of a bookcase made by my grandfather in the 1930s. It is known in our family as the coffin bookcase. He was a salesman of ironmongery, including coffin handles, and I am reliably informed that the bookcase was made from “coffin boards” acquired from the local joiner in Camborne, Cornwall.
Rev Dr Liz Smith
Ilkley, West Yorkshire

• I loved Mark Cocker’s piece about unseasonable birdsong in Norfolk (Country diary, 6 February). Here in west London we’ve been listening since about November to what I assume is a blackbird singing his heart out in the very early hours. 
Patrick Russell

• Despite your headline (Letters, 6 February), there was never such a beast as an “auroch”, any more than an “oc” (ox) or “foc” (fox). A group of them should properly be aurochsen.
Robin Milner-Gulland
Washington, West Sussex

• As a true Yorkshire woman I winced at your five ways to eat yorkshire pudding (G2, 3 February). I couldn’t believe the last one. Leftover yorkshire pud?
Annette Dent
Keighley, West Yorkshire

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