Making the poor vanish from statistics

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From: Dr Glyn Powell, Bakersfield Drive, Kellington.

HAVING done much to impoverish further the most vulnerable in society, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is now giving serious consideration to making the poor disappear from statistics altogether.

This will not be achieved by either increasing welfare benefit payments or even restoring benefit levels to those that existed before the ConDem government’s savage cuts. Rather, it will be achieved by implementing root and branch ludicrous proposals from the Centre for Social Justice think tank entitled Rethink Child Poverty. The authors of this crazy report and the government believe that the definition of poverty should not be income- based.

Changing the criteria for poverty, therefore enables the poor to disappear and those in power to forget child poverty reduction targets! So although your readers and I may see those children whose families are struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads, the Government will insist that they don’t even exist.

Meanwhile inequality, or the massive gap in incomes between society’s top one per cent and the rest, is allowed to continue unchecked. This is not a healthy situation for society, as such massively unequal societies eventually implode, as they lack any sense of social cohesion, sense of community or fairness and morality.

Instead, therefore, of turning our backs on the poor, policies should be pursued that help the sick, disabled, mentally challenged and unemployed; as any decent society is one where the strong help the weak. This would be achieved by increased taxation, if necessary, to boost welfare spending and growth policies that create employment rather than the current vicious spiral of decline caused by the Chancellor’s austerity measures.

Fluent nonsense

From: Keith Wigglesworth, Mead Way, Highburton, Huddersfield.

I AM not in the least bit surprised that the National Union of Headteachers is objecting to the use of nonsensical, made-up words being used to test the understanding of phonics in five and six-year-olds (Yorkshire Post, June 18).

The English language is rich enough in real, usable words that would suffice to highlight the understanding needed for this test without recourse to made-up words which have no bearing on real life and must surely lead to confusion in young minds.

Just who are the people who dream up these ridiculous ideas? Perhaps they do this sort of thing in a desperate attempt to justify their own positions.

Going back 70 years when I was at this stage of learning, I seem to recollect that class sizes were much bigger then, but even the dimmest of pupils at that age had the basic ability to read and write.

My wife has the same recollections too and I have no doubt so do many more, so maybe it is time for a major re-think on basic education, stop all this meddling and return to a sensible and logical way of teaching our young children.

Ghastly waste of billions

From: Martin Whillock, York.

AS a country, we should bite the bullet and make proposals for Trident to be run down as soon as possible (Yorkshire Post, June 18).

It will be painful for all the thousands of highly skilled people involved, but they should be redirected into creative industries like green energy and nuclear energy.

This ghastly city-killing machine is not only useless politically, militarily and morally, but how can we afford the £25bn for the new system during these times of cuts? A good question to ask is when could it be used?

Would utterly destroying a city the size of Leeds and all its civilians make any difference to anyone who might threaten the UK?

Monarchy key to democracy

From: Martin Smith, Main Street, Elvington, York.

FOLLOWING the latest anti-monarchy diatribe (Yorkshire Post, June 13), I am compelled to write once more in defence of the status quo.

Malcolm Naylor’s case for a republic seems to be based on several assumptions, not least that there is currently enough republican support to demand a “real debate”.

This flies in the face, not only of those millions of the UK population who celebrated the Diamond Jubilee (not to mention an estimated one billion worldwide), but also contradicts every recent poll which has found broadly 80 per cent in favour of the monarchy.

Furthermore, it is ludicrous and rather patronising to suggest that the pro case is based solely on “a notion of Britishness”, whereas the real strength of the British monarchy is to provide a focal point for national unity and a feeling of continuity. This has been enhanced by the longevity of the Queen’s reign.

As for the “Royals are anything but British”, it is worth remembering that the Queen’s lineage can be traced back 1,000 years to Alfred the Great, hardly German therefore!

The final implied assumption is that somehow we will all be much happier with a republic as it will be fairer and properly democratic.

The system of constitutional monarchy, as it has evolved, is actually a bulwark to democracy for while being in many ways powerless itself, it is the power which it prevents others from having which is its ultimate strength.