Ed Balls and the flat-earth theorists

From: Gordon Lawrence, Stumperlowe View, Sheffield.

I AM occasionally in sharp disagreement with Vince Cable but I generally support his rationale (Yorkshire Post, March 26) in his defence of George Osborne’s heavily attacked 2012 Budget.

In particular, I concur with his castigation of Ed Balls who has been set up as some kind of Einstein in economics but the results of 13 years at the helm of Britain’s economy, as Gordon Brown’s chief adviser, suggests the two men are more akin to pre-Newtonian flat-earth theorists than pathfinders in economic development. The Business Secretary’s arguments on pensions certain seem to take the sting out of the furore that the Press has engendered.

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Another topic not discussed regarding the present economic situation by Mr Cable, or by any other influential politician, is fundamental to the debate – large scale immigration. It is as though there was no connection between the latter and economic wellbeing.

If population continues to grow annually by the hundreds of thousands, and economic growth remains minimal, income per head will fall. The pressure on education, the NHS and other public services will continue to grow, further weakening our chances of recovery.

It’s a sensitive subject that needs to be extracted from the issue of race but there seems to be too many vested interests and entrenched prejudices for this to happen, but without it, the welfare of our diversified society will fail to be optimised.

Cameron’s gamble

From: Mrs W. Abbott, Boulsworth Avenue, Hull.

YOUR correspondent Dr Paul Charlson’s letter (Yorkshire Post, April 4) supports the Government’s Health Bill and he painstakingly explains the improvements he envisages it will bring to us all.

However, it is not clear how we, the general public, will personally benefit from these changes.

We are assured that patients will be offered a far greater choice. Like all people that use the NHS, I am very grateful for the service. However, let us be realistic here, the choice is, and always has been, very limited.

Once the Health Bill is implemented, what beneficial changes can we expect to see when we visit our local GP that are not available to us already?

David Cameron is taking a huge leap forward here. Should the Bill fail, then so will he when it is time for the next election.

Parole must be scrapped

From: Roger Dobson, Ash Street, Cross Hills, Keighley.

IS it any wonder that our justice system is in the state it is?

Karen Matthews has been released into the community after serving only half of her eight year sentence of imprisonment for kidnapping her daughter (Yorkshire Post, April 6). This sentence was nowhere near being long enough. Life would have been nearer the mark with every day to be served.

It is about time that parole for good behaviour was scrapped and sentences handed out by judges and magistrates were served in full. If this was to happen then crime, especially serious crime, would I am sure, drop dramatically.

Action needed on dementia

From: Rosemary Bradley, Carrholm View, Leeds.

THERE are 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK, yet a new report by Alzheimer’s Society shows that three quarters of us don’t feel the country is geared up to deal with dementia.

The Dementia 2012 report has found that almost half a million people with dementia are battling depression, loneliness or anxiety.

Not only do they face a struggle for a diagnosis and support from the health and social care system, but everyday things we all take for granted – getting to the shops, spending time with friends and family, getting money from the bank, going on holiday – are made difficult by the lack of understanding of dementia in our communities.

We must face up to the fact that people with dementia and their carers are being failed. In the 1950s attitudes to cancer changed and in the 1980s we did the same for AIDS. Now is the time to begin a movement on dementia.

From Plymouth to Preston and from the boardroom to bus drivers, we all need to respond to the dementia challenge.

Charity begins at home

From: Raymond W Geldard, Skipton Road, Steeton, Keighley.

IN a report in the wake of the Budget, a young woman described her circumstances as earning £23,000 per year working for a religious charity (a remarkable piece of information in itself).

On an income of half that amount I am now classed as a “better off pensioner” simply because I pay some tax – but not enough evidently, as millionaire George Osborne feels I can still be squeezed for a bit more.

I have been a generous giver to charities in the past but in the light of this scenario it is time to haul up the drawbridge and apply the old adage that charity begins at home. I

f things become too dire, perhaps I should apply to the religious charity which seems to have money to burn.

Disgraceful decision

From: AW Clarke, Wold Croft, Sutton on Derwent, York.

WHENEVER I hear that that dreadful, cynical, opportunistic Alastair Campbell has been given yet another job by the BBC – he is to chair an episode of Have I Got News for You – I think of the words of Rudyard Kipling: “If any question why we died, tell them, because our fathers lied.”

In my view, it is a disgrace that a man who had a hand, at the least, in compiling the “dodgy dossier” over the Iraq war should be given work by our national broadcaster.