March 23: Honesty is the best policy – not greed

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From: Mr D Talbot, Gipton Wood Place, Leeds.

IN the lead-up to this election, most political parties, papers and radio stations are discussing the economy, immigration and the regional devolution of power. We are missing the ‘real important question’.

When we were young, I remember the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. The majority went along, cheering the emperor’s new clothes. It took the simple honesty of a young boy to state the obvious.

What I believe we should be discussing is how greed is seriously and slowly damaging our society. As children, first our parents, then our teachers and finally our employers encouraged us in the saying ‘honesty is the best policy’.

Today we have replaced it with ‘greed is the best policy’. This has encouraged us as a society to lie and be dishonest.

Footballers will claim a goal, when it is pushed in the net by their hands. Many tradesmen are dishonest in their tax claims. Large companies and businesses find ways to avoid paying their fair amount of tax. Politicians generate ‘facts’ to support their cause and we are all aware of claims scandals.

Newspapers spying via phone hacking, with managers claiming they did not know about it. Solicitors finding ways to bend the law and accountants ‘completing the books’ of a bank, only to later discover that there is a large hole in their finances.

This is the sad state our society has reached today. Isn’t it time we returned to the old advice: ‘Honesty is the best policy?’

From: Michelle Appeah, Youth Ambassador for anti-poverty group ONE, Leeds.

I AM writing in response to the article ‘MPs hit out at “mad” failure to safeguard defence’ (The Yorkshire Post, March 4).

Defence spending is undoubtedly an important issue, but Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell is wrong to contrast it to the new law enshrining UK aid. It is not a case of ‘either/or’ with these two budgets, it is the case that UK aid saves millions of lives.

We are part of a global community. Last year 10.2 million children, including 4.9 million girls, were able to go to school; vital in fighting gender inequality and deprivation.

An estimated 19.3 million children under five and pregnant women were prevented from going hungry. Now the UK has the opportunity to save more lives. Spending just 0.7 per cent of the UK’s GDP on aid will increase the chances of poorer countries becoming self-sufficient. They are trapped in a vicious poverty cycle and aid is needed to break it. If we were in their shoes, we would want help from richer countries too.

The aid and defence budgets are not mutually exclusive; one does not need to cause the other to diminish. I urge Simon Reevell and others who are sceptical about aid, to realise the transformative power it has.

From: Hugh Rogers, Messingham Road, Ashby.

I UNDERSTAND that this years’ Comic Relief has raised over £70m. I am somewhat unfashionably horrified that so much money has been donated by good-hearted and trusting members of the public, few of whom can have the slightest idea where their money is going or what it will be spent on.

By all means be generous. But be canny, too. After all, it’s your money. No-one else’s. And you should know what it being done with it on your behalf. The safest way is to give, directly, to an established charity representing the particular cause or causes you want to support. Then everyone will be happy. Even me.

Clarkson hasn’t broken the law

From: Bob Nelson, Queens Road, Harrogate.

WHY all the fuss about Jeremy Clarkson (Miles Salter, The Yorkshire Post, March 17)? I agree with many of the things that have been said about him, but has he broken the law? If he has, why has he not been prosecuted?

I have to admit that I am far from being an academic but I fully support the ideas behind having literary festivals. There will not be a Clarkson supporter at the York Festival and the book lovers would go purple at the very mention of the words Top Gear. Clarkson will be praying that the BBC sacks him – think of all the pound notes that this would generate.

Miles Salter and all at the York Literature Festival can sleep safely knowing that there will not be any stormtroopers burning their books in the streets. We should all be grateful that these two examples are allowed to happen and are just things that I, at the age of nearly 88, dearly love in this country we live in.

Ale festivals help churches

From: David Treacher, Nelson Road, Hull.

SHORTLY there is a real ale festival in Hull, in Holy Trinity Church. This is the largest church in the city, if not the area. These churches take a lot of money for their upkeep.

These type of events are needed to keep the building for worship and without them it could lead to closure. Members of churches often object to real ale festivals for religious reasons. But it could end up putting religious principles before having any type of service.

The vicar of my local church objects to real ale festivals, but he has lost many church members and can’t afford to lose any more.

Many are fed up with living in the past.

Without such festivals the income of churches would be affected greatly and many churches may have to close so the worship will cease for ever.