From: Les Arnott, Athelstan Road, Sheffield.
THE issue of refugees and migrants concerns me a great deal.
The first point is that the two terms are in no way inter-changeable. They are entirely different things.
Migrants are people attempting to move countries in order to live a better life.
Refugees are people making an essential escape from disaster.
Migrants in camps in Calais, waiting to break into the UK, are would-be criminals. Refugees in Calais who have moved across safe countries in order to attempt to achieve ‘a better deal’ have turned themselves into mere migrants.
On a wider scale, lie detector tests should be used to filter the real refugees from the huge numbers of con merchants.
Surely, we should all want to help the genuine. Interestingly, last year, of the 650,000 known immigrants into our grotesquely overcrowded nation, only four per cent were refugees.
From: Nick Martinek, Briarlyn Road, Huddersfield.
DAVID Cameron’s claim that the UK Government will admit 50,000 more migrants per year if the UK dared to leave the EU has to be contrasted with our treatment of Afghans and Iraqis employed by the British military.
The majority of these loyal people, who have put their own and their families’ lives in danger for us, have not been allowed asylum here, being instead given a measly financial brush off by Mr Cameron’s Government.
Given also that when we leave the EU there will no longer be free movement of people because we won’t be in the EU’s Single Market, Mr Cameron’s peculiar claims of increased migration appear to be neither fair nor likely. Surely he cannot merely be saying the first thing that comes into his head to support his desire for continuing subservience to the EU, can he?
From: Coun Tim Mickleburgh (Lab), Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.
GIVEN the age he is, I’m pretty sure David Cameron won’t remember how the electorate were made fools of by Harold Wilson’s so called renegotiation terms to the Common Market which preceded the “in” vote at the 1975 referendum.
But if he thinks that tinkering with the right of people to claim in-work benefits will convince people to vote for continued EU membership, then he’s more of a fool than I took him for.
From: Don Burslam, Elm Road, Dewsbury.
TO those who are sitting on the fence over the EU, I would like to make a few points to help them make up their minds.
One fact which even Europhobes cannot gainsay is its sheer popularity. Since it began in 1957 as the EEC, the Union has marched steadily on. It embraces some 20 states, some of which are former dictatorships which have united under a single democratic banner. Nations like Turkey would sign up tomorrow if they were approved for entry.
Its success is nothing short of phenomenal in the light of Europe’s tortured history over centuries of conflict. Peace for nearly 60 years must in no small measure be due to the stabilising influence of the Union.
Civil servants’ gift culture
From: Roger Backhouse, Orchard Road, Upper Poppleton, York.
I WAS shocked, but not altogether surprised, to read your report of generous gifts given to senior civil servants by Government contractors, including leading audit firms, as found by the National Audit Office.
When I worked in local government, all staff were instructed to refuse gifts except minor items like pens or calendars. I understand similar rules apply in the Health Service.
When an eccentric Nigerian gave me a bottle of whisky, I offered it back. When that was turned down, it went in the Mayor’s appeal raffle. An officer who rashly accepted a supplier’s offer of a trip to the races was rightly dismissed.
Surely we have a right to expect our top public administrators, who are not badly paid, to refuse all such presents?
Contractors aren’t stupid – they know that close working relationships with gifts increase opportunities of obtaining lucrative work.
What may be normal practice in business should not be acceptable for the public service.
There is an all too cosy relationship between major contractors or audit firms and Ministers or their Civil Servants. This leads to poor accountability and excessive charges.
These large firms use all their lobbying skills to secure deals and legislation that benefit them but not us, the long-suffering taxpayers.
Public service should be professional and neutral. Britain is not yet a ‘Third World’ country with blatant corruption, but the gifts process is insidious and should be stopped now.
Thanks for the rants
From: Felicity Webster, York.
AS an avid reader of your paper for many years, I am always delighted and amused to see a letter in your letters page from a certain James Robson of Kirkbymoorside.
He must surely be a “grumpy old man” with a pithy and acute sense of the ridiculous.
Could you not persuade him to contribute a regular column of “Robsons Rants” to your excellent paper?