It is right to question MPs’ experience

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From: Bob Watson, Springfield Road, Baildon.

ON a personal level, it is hugely worrying to find myself agreeing with anything said by Tony Blair.

However, I can but agree when he says (The Yorkshire Post, December 5) that there are far too many MPs with no real business experience.

Time after time we see party candidates who have come straight from university and worked as a researcher before entering the House of Commons.

We had a prime example here in Shipley where the previous MP, until he was thankfully removed by the electorate, was Labour’s Christopher Leslie.

This man had no business experience whatever, and seemed only intent on climbing the slippery political pole, making sure that he never blotted his copybook in the meantime.

Although eventually rejected in Shipley, sure enough he was then found a safe seat elsewhere. He has now risen to become Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, but what real experience has he for this role? Nothing like enough, I would argue.

This helps to encapsulate – and there are many other examples – just what is wrong with our current political system, and why so many view it so poorly.

Tony Blair also believes that pay for MPs should be substantially increased.

I would agree, as long as it ensured that the vast majority of MPs entering Parliament had varying degrees of experience in the outside world.

From: David McKenna, Hall Gardens, Rawcliffe, Goole.

SO Tony Blair has come back from working to find peace in the Middle East, to state that our Honourable Members are not paid enough compared with the private sector and that this restricts the gene pool of suitable candidates.

No doubt he is basing his assumption on the fact that he has earned considerably more in the private sector than when he was Prime Minister, although he is at pains to point out that, sadly, his considerable fortune is not as considerable as we might think.

However, a salary increase of some nine per cent seems pretty reasonable to me as this will raise the salary of an MP from £67,000 to £74,000 and this does not take into account the sundry benefits they and their families also enjoy.

Stop blaming pensioners

From: Jack Harwood, Doncaster.

i AM writing as an 88-year-old disillusioned male pensioner. I am, along with many other people of my age, sick and tired of the accusation that we are the cause of this country’s ills. I worked from the age of 14, for a duration of 47 years, and paid income tax and National Insurance throughout all of that time. I was earning much less than the average wage of people in work today.

During the 1960s, the working man’s dream was to earn £20 per week. I was also conscripted into the Army for three and a half years, serving mostly in the Far East. After watching the debacle of Black Friday on the television and the constant threat of stopping the winter fuel allowance, I am beginning to question why we even bothered to give our all in those lean years.

Why not blame the real culprits for the decline – the EU, some of our petty politicians, bankers – just to name a few? Also, the firms from overseas who are paying zero hour wages, minimum wage and no taxes. I, for one, after years of voting, will not be doing so any more.

Valentine’s can wait

From: Ruthven Urquhart, High Hunsley, Cottingham.

IN this fast, furious and impatient world, Christmas has not yet arrived but seems to have already been and virtually gone.

Valentine’s Day cards are now adorning the shelves of many shops. Another aspect on the subject of this glorious season is that very few Advent calendars depict the Nativity scene. Most of those I have seen feature Peppa Pig, Thomas the Tank Engine and the like. How sad!

Festive treat at Playhouse

From: Norma McNichol, Carlton, Barnsley.

I READ Nick Ahad’s review of White Christmas (The Yorkshire Post, December 5) at the West Yorkshire Playhouse with incredulity. After seeing a matinee, I expected it to get at least four stars, if not five.

If you get a chance to see the show it will warm your heart and the music of Irving Berlin isn’t bad either!

Gear stick 
or twist?

From: Brian H Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

I WAS intrigued by the correspondence on driving techniques. I passed my test in 1963 but, unlike Judith Kay’s husband (The Yorkshire Post, December 4) I was never taught to use side-mirrors when reversing. Reversing, asserted my professional instructor, was easy but uncomfortable because it required you to twist round in your seat.

On driving in general, the best piece of advice I ever received came from a graphic poster at the driving school reception all those years ago. It read: “Beware that moment of inattention.”