Sort out abuse at top as well as the bottom

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From: Geoff Webber, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, North Yorkshire County Council.

I WRITE following the announcement of the award of £450,000 to George Entwistle, the former Director General of the BBC, following his “resignation”.

Mr Entwistle joins the ranks of those in top jobs who have comprehensively messed up and leave their jobs with their future financially secured.

He joins the previous Chief Constable of North Yorkshire who, having admitted to gross misconduct, retired with a package of £250,000.

Every week, individuals are fined in the courts for failing to pay for a TV licence. I do not excuse this, but many of these people are on such low incomes that a TV licence did not seem to them the top priority.

Why then should they be penalised when the top man walks away with nearly half a million pounds of public 
money?

Throughout my 50 years of paid and self-employment I have always accepted that if I screwed up to this extent I would forfeit gratuities/pay offs etc.

It seems to me that those in the top jobs have some unwritten agreement to protect their 
fellow top earners when they are forced out (never let it be said that they were sacked) through their own misconduct or incompetence.

This situation is exacerbated by today’s revelations from the Public Accounts Committee which revealed that despite making enormous profits from their operations in this country the multi-national companies Starbucks, Google and Amazon have paid little, if any, corporation tax in the past year.

Nothing illegal, they made clear – just judicious tax avoidance by making sure that their profits were manipulated so that they could be declared in low-tax countries.

The Tories in our coalition government seem determined to reform the welfare benefits system and I agree that it does need reform. Herbert Morrison would turn in his grave if he could see some of the abuses these days.

However, the Government should start by sorting out abuse at the top, not at the bottom, and seek provide social justice across the board regardless of income or social position.

From: Brian Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

Former head of BBC Yorkshire Colin Philpott (Yorkshire Post, November 13) is probably too 
old and wise to be appointed the new Director General of the BBC. In a few sentences he 
largely identifies where the Corporation has lost its way in recent times: “Maybe the BBC’s remit is too big, but the answer to that is not to reduce the commitment to news and current affairs but to forget the reality shows, quiz shows and other similar stuff that is already well served by commercial broadcasters”.

There are those who would also demand withdrawal of the licence fee, which would be disastrous. These people are the first to complain when their favourite programmes or sports are interrupted by seemingly interminable commercials on other channels

Most of all, however, the BBC needs to shake off its obsession with ratings which is probably at the heart of the reckless editing that got it in the mess in which it now finds itself.

From: G Simpson, Upper Denby, Huddersfield.

It is with anger that I write to you stating my disgust at the amount of “compensation” being talked about in respect of George Entwistle’s severance payment.

This man resigned from his post following the mistakes that had been made at the BBC. In my book this means that he has walked away from his emploment. Why, oh why, is he entitled to any compensation? If this was in “industry” no way would he have any chance of being entitled to such 
payments.

Perhaps Lord Patten should look at how and what contracts of employment have been given to employees within the BBC, because Patten has gone on record stating that had Entwistle not resigned and subsequently been sacked then he would have been entitled to more than he is to get now. Which moron(s) make up these contracts of employment? It seems to me that this again is a job in which one is paid to win or fail. Nice work if you can get it.

From: David “Dai” Woosnam, Woodrow Park, Scartho, Grimsby.

The decision of Chris Patten to unnecessarily give that chump George Entwistle a fortune for jumping instead of being rightly sacked from the top of the BBC brings to mind Calvin Coolidge, when he famously said: “Nothing is easier than spending the public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody”.

Well, dear “life of public service” (yuk!) Lord Patten, it does belong to somebody: it belongs to the licence fee payers. Abolish this crazy tax immediately. It is up there with Ceausescu’s typewriter licence.

My real life Corporal Jones

From: Harry Fletcher, Lodge Street, Hull.

following the death of Clive Dunn (Yorkshire Post, November 8), I was reminded of his Dad’s Army character Corporal Jones and how he rang true with me.

I left school in 1949 and my first job was to collect gear from the local plumber’s merchant for the men. Of course, being green you get things wrong, along with other lads. Well, one of the counter staff was an old soldier from the First World War and he’d take pity on us and help out.

He would say to me: “I used to have a mop of ginger hair like you. Why, I wasn’t much older than you when I was in France in the trenches”. Then he’d roll his sleeves up and show us his shrapnel scars. “They were tough them jerries, took some shifting, but they didn’t like cold steel, they didn’t like it up ’em!”

Arthur Tindall was his name. Long gone.