From: Raymond Lowthwaite, Westmoreland Street, Skipton.
APPARENTLY, I owe the country an apology. Born in 1946 and now a state pensioner, the Centre for Policy Studies (The Yorkshire Post, June 18) says young people “would end up paying the price of promises the baby boomer generation made to itself in terms of guaranteed and increasing pension payments”
Actually, I don’t remember being in a position of promising, or indeed being in control of, pension payments. But then, what do I know? I started work at 15, retired only last year and during that time paid all the required taxes and – as I was led to believe by the social contract and the National Insurance payments – paid for the pension I now receive. I have never been in trouble with the police, had minimum need of the NHS and never applied for any benefit other than a death grant for my father.
I am an apprentice-trained engineer with skills that are no longer deemed valuable and certainly can’t compete with a piece of paper from Toytown University. Anyway, my skills in this country are redundant as successive governments have allowed heavy industry to die and be picked up more lucratively by Asian and Far Eastern countries.
I have not been instrumental in sending young men and women to expensive (in lives lost as well as money) wars in places like Afghanistan where history had already told us we couldn’t win. Neither have I involved myself in the dealings of other countries for my own self-aggrandisement or inability to leave well alone, resulting in many of the problems which we now have to face and pay for.
Nor have I fiddled my expense account, enjoyed cheap booze in subsidised bars at work nor wasted £5m on a jolly with Angelina Jolie. But, hey ho, nonetheless it’s my fault. Sorry.
Religion and identity
From: John Fisher, Menwith Hill, Harrogate.
THE letter by Terry Duncan (The Yorkshire Post, June 20) succinctly states the problems of integration that face many Muslim communities in the UK. Muslims are defined by their religion which, unlike most of the religions practised throughout the UK, appears to have become an essential part of their national identity i.e. Muslim communities, Muslim police, Muslim Members of Parliament etc.
The demand in some Muslim communities in Britain for Sharia law appears to be a further complication to the concept of British national identity and it could also reduce possible future integration. It is not surprising therefore that when some young British Muslims are offered a Muslim country or caliphate with its own Sharia laws, it could appear to some like a promised land that is worth fighting for.
Greek visitors be prepared
From: David Hallam-Jones, Retired Nurse, Nottingham.
TOURISTS and visitors who are anticipating spending time in Greece in the near future might wish to consider having sufficient cash with which to pay for any expenses incurred as a result of having to use medical and dental services following an accident and/or an emergency.
For while the EHIC would normally entitle certain visitors to free medical care, but the current situation in Greece cannot perhaps be considered “normal” and therefore, if an up-front payment of a charge or fee were to be demanded unexpectedly, it would seem sensible to be financially prepared for such a situation.
Of course, tourists and visitors might also like some assurance that the sort of medical interventions that they might require would continue to be available.
Fracking facts concealed
From: Rosalind Field, Gilling East.
LAST week you reported that the Information Commissioner has ordered that the Government publish in full the Defra report Shale Gas: Rural Economy Impacts (The Yorkshire Post, June 18). This is the report that was heavily censored (or “redacted”), blacking out several sections including those on the rural economy, local services, house prices and “three major social impacts associated with shale gas activities”.
It seems likely that the Government will appeal against this order and do what it can to re-bury the report. However, our county councilors must have the information if they are to make informed decisions about the forthcoming application to start fracking in Ryedale. I hope that our MPs and councillors will urge the Government to act with transparency.
Failure to do so will leave us all to draw our own conclusions.
Dodd’s list of honours
From: Wendy Abbott, Hull.
GRAHAM Lund is “disappointed that there is still no major honour” for the comedian Ken Dodd (The Yorkshire Post, June 19). Ken Dodd was awarded the OBE in 1982 for his services to show business and charity work. In 1997 he was made an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University. A statue of him was unveiled in Lime Street Station Liverpool in 2009, and he is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Chester in November of that year.