It’s time that politicians had a reality check

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From: David Davies, Burgess Road, Brigg.

WE should make a start by integrating the politicians, Whitehall and the “chattering classes” of the London-centred media into the experiences of the country at large.

Remember how the wretched Lord Adonis reacted to the misery of “ordinary people” who were compelled to endure the privations of standard class rail travel? He was appalled but nothing happened, of course.

Politicians and the like should be compelled to experience just how things really are in the country at large without the support of sycophantic “advisers” and sample Hessle Road in Hull and Freeman Street in Grimsby or the lodging houses in Boston.

They should be challenged to travel from Brigg to either Grimsby, Hull or Lincoln by public transport and get back again the same day.

They should spend a day – unannounced – at CAB in any of these places.

These people live in an affluent cocoon, shielded from reality, yet they feel compelled to spout meaningless platitudes about integration to the rest of us.

From: Godfrey Bloom, UKIP MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, Main Street, Wressle, Selby.

There seems to be much confusion by the body politic and indeed many of the electorate as to how an economy really works. There can be no public spending without taxation of the wealth-creating sector or borrowing (leave aside counterfeiting or “quantitative easing” pro tem).

Taxation is simply a system for government to take money from one sector of the population and apportion it arbitrarily to others. Subsidising Siemens in Hull, or holes in the ground for CO2 capture in Doncaster, means taking money from the genuine wealth creators.

There is no economic merit in taking heavy tax from the caravan, growing, steel or aircraft industries to give to other companies whose projects are unsustainable without government subsidy.

If there is money to spare, which there is not, reduce the tax burden on those in the private sector. Much better for our manufacturers to go back to a five-day week, have cheaper energy and less employment tax than support failed technology like wind and solar power.

Incidentally I hesitate to stir up the maniacal pseudo-religious fervour of the greenies but has anyone noticed there has been no significant measurable global warming since 1995? Perhaps the whole hypothesis of man-made global warming is misplaced?

From: Alan Davies, Heathfield Court, Grimsby.

SPENCER Thompson’s article (Yorkshire Post, December 14) is no doubt correct in saying that there is no room for complacency in the outlook for the UK economy, despite the recent welcome news on employment. There is, however, a worrying aspect which has received little or no attention.

UK current GDP is three per cent or more below the peak in 2008 with the workforce now the highest on record. To produce three per cent less with a larger workforce implies a fall in productivity of at least three per cent. This alone, is serious enough, but there is an even more worrying aspect.

Long-term productivity in the past in the UK has been about two per cent per annum, eight per cent over the period 2008-2012. If that had continued, there is a potential output gap of 11 per cent.

If any reader can clarify all of this, I would be more than grateful.

Prejudices in the job market

From: Dr Mohammed Ali OBE, CEO of Bradford-based ethnic minority national campaigning charity QED, Manningham Lane, Bradford, West Yorkshire.

IMMIGRATION is on the political agenda once more, and once more, we have to wade through the usual knee-jerk reactions – “foreigners don’t want to integrate”.

Ed Miliband’s “comprehensive strategy” for integration doesn’t address the real issue. Yes, ESOL is central to some elements of immigrant communities. At QED we put a thousand people a year through ESOL courses for better integration and also towards finding jobs.

But this focus on migrant communities as if they’ve just invaded British shores, unable 
to speak the language is misleading. It merely reinforces immigration anxiety, and risks fuelling racism and reactionary politics.

I welcome the sentiments behind Miliband’s One Nation concept. But one of the key ways to solve segregation is through employment. Rather than focusing on the small minority of people in jobs who can’t speak English well, it ignores the swathes of people who were born in the UK, whose parents or grandparents were born in the UK, but who are of an ethnic minority. They speak perfect English. As Ed Miliband, himself the son of an immigrant, illustrates.

At QED we advertised for an administrative assistant and received 70 applications, half of which were from graduates – some with first class honours.

The focus needs to be on job creation. The problem is not just unemployment but also under-employment for highly educated and skilled people. If you get a good job, it naturally solves segregation. In the workplace, we work together, mix together, socialise together.

A good job leads to better accommodation and access to different social circles.

More needs to be done to address prejudices in the job market. There’s a glaring absence of ethnic minorities in senior roles, despite the shifting demographic evidenced in 
the Census.

In the UK, the unemployment rate for young black men is now 55 per cent, Chinese graduates with better results have lower earnings than their white colleagues and black and Asian women face such difficult experiences in the labour market that some of them change their names on their CVs.