Low wage idea shows a slave mentality

From: Max Hey, Fairway Grove, Bradford.

THE ConDem Government want what is to all intents and purposes a slave labour force – how else to explain Iain Duncan Smith’s latest plan to reduce work benefits for those on low wages if they don’t work hard enough?

They see work not as a means to an end but as the end in itself. There is now no longer any intention that work will pay enough to live on. We the majority are here to work for them, the minority, without reward, without hope, without thanks. The threshold proposed by Mr Duncan Smith, £420 for a couple, is commensurate with the minimum wage so there is now even less of an incentive for employers to pay decent wages beyond the minimum which in any event is policed by just 125 inspectors for the whole country.

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Indeed, the increasing use by business of the volunteers or work programme placements will mean that even the tiny protection offered by the minimum wage will be undermined. Maybe Mr Duncan Smith should appear on the X-Factor singing Chain Gang?

From: Howard Knight, Lyons Street, Sheffield.

AM I missing something?

Conservative Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley says GPs know what their patients need and should, therefore, be handed control of the whole NHS budget. Conservative Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith says GPs can’t be trusted to make an accurate assessment of their own patients’ needs for incapacity benefit and, therefore, the decisions must be made by an independent person.

From: Tim Mickleburgh, Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.

THE Government look set to increase jobless-related benefits by less than the rate of inflation, in order to cut the rising welfare bill. But if spending cuts weren’t so severe, there wouldn’t be so many out of work in the first place and those unemployed could have received a rise that wouldn’t have entailed a real fall in their standard of living.

Critic too withering

From: Hilary Bunt, Monklow Moor, Harrogate.

DON’T be put off. Tony Earnshaw’s total drubbing of Andrea Arnold’s rendition of Wuthering Heights is too tough (Yorkshire Post, November 7).

See it for yourself. Visually it is incredibly beautiful, you are part of it, in the atmospheric shifting moorland mist, the strange light of which makes the colour sing. You can smell the sodden moss and peat. The brilliance of the close-ups of flora and fauna and the vast panorama of Swaledale.

Why Swaledale – where are the mill-smoke blackened houses with their dark stone mullions? Absent perhaps because it is actually about Dentdale ...

So, the actors are not professionals but they certainly presented the dour impassive faces of 19th century hill dwellers – as the rain pours down, not much to smile about really.

It is only part of the story, and as such purists may huff and puff, but be offended? Surely not.

Sadism and cruelty have many guises and several were present in this film, some symbolically. I am sure they were present in their harsh lives in fact.

Did it capture the essence of that towering novel, which soars because of its narrative rather than its dialogue? You decide – take an open mind and go and see it.

Tory strike vote muddle

From: Maxine Watt, Beeston, Leeds.

IT seems our tin-pot Prime Minister David Cameron is calling the kettle black by claiming that next week’s strike by public sector workers is illegitimate because “most did not vote for this”.

That is the same David Cameron whose Conservative Party polled only 36.1 per cent of votes in the 2010 election, despite the unpopularity of Gordon Brown and the previous Labour Government.

The same David Cameron who was forced to enter an unhappy coalition with the Liberal Democrats to gain power.

Mr Cameron should remember that most did not vote for him and the mess he and his colleagues are making of the UK economy.

And if more people were aware that rising social security costs and falling tax receipts mean that for every £4 extra cut in spending, only 75p is actually being wiped off the national deficit, even fewer would vote for him today.

Deutschland über alles?

From: David H Rhodes, Keble Park North, Bishopthorpe, York.

AN end-of-term geography test required the pupils to name the capital city of each sovereign state in the EU.

Some of the children struggled but Helmut finished in a few minutes.

The teacher went to look at his work and found that he had put Berlin beside each country with a footnote that in the interests of economics Strasbourg would also be replaced by Berlin.

A fanciful tale maybe, but could it portend the future?

Clear air on smoke claims

From: David F Chambers, Sladeburn Drive, Northallerton.

ANOTHER blow from the medical profession in the campaign against smoking, this time reaching offenders in their private cars.

Toxin levels in a car, states the BMA, “can be 23 times higher than in a typical smoky bar”. Gosh, 23 times!

What sort of statistics did they feed into the computer to produce such a splendid result?

I’m afraid I’m not greatly impressed by such statements. There are a dozen good, down-to-earth reasons for not smoking in the car.

The well-designed ashtray in mine remains in its virgin condition.

If, however, the author could advise me where I can find a ‘typical smoky bar’ these days, I’d be grateful.