THE ongoing debate about education/school tests and falling standards rumbles on both in Parliament and in the pages and letters of the Yorkshire Post, and yet no-one has explained or justified the need for all of the policies to enforce silly and useless tests, the obsession with equality and differences between children's abilities, backgrounds and ethnicity. Everyone is different, with a wide range of genetic and inherited abilities and yet our liberal/PC brigade insist on making special cases for everyone so that no-one is a loser and we are all tarred with the same ideal of equality which effectively means a complete dumbing-down to the same low level of achievement and aims.
Meanwhile, our politicians fight shy of reforming this miserable mess to ensure that the best brains get to the top but providing opportunities for the less able though the pre-1940s educational system which worked very well, and which produced young people fit for taking their place in our demanding economy and the challenging times ahead.
One example of this current mess is the "university for all" which Tony Blair instituted, irrespective of ability and commitment of the students with many looking upon "uni" as another jolly at the taxpayer's expense.
From: Don Burslam, Elm Road, Dewsbury Moor, Dewsbury.
YOUR correspondent Mr Hinchliffe (Yorkshire Post, December 20) writes in support of the students and uses somewhat derogatory terms for their critics. Abuse is a poor substitute for argument and I am afraid the evidence, on which I prefer to rely, is all against him. The recently published worldwide comparative indices for reading, writing and maths show SS UK to be sinking as fast as the Titanic. His assertion that everyone benefits from further education may be true up to a point but in view of the above stats, it is highly unlikely that a large proportion of the underachievers would benefit from a university education lacking even basic skills.
He seems to think the old receive a disproportionate amount of the available resources. I would prefer not to view this in terms of setting one generation against the other. The evidence is, however, that our pensioners receive the most niggardly rates in Europe. True they have recently received a few concessions but this has been a belated attempt to catch up rather than a serious exercise aimed at bringing them up to the level they should be at. I don't think trying to brush these facts under the carpet helps anyone, even the students.
From: Trev Bromby, Sculcoates Lane, Hull.
DURING the respite from the student riots may I congratulate Phil Lumby, who after studying at Gloucestershire University, completed a PhD on Coronation Street. He modestly proclaimed of his achievement, "Soap opera is no different to any other popular text". The people who should be rioting, the taxpayers, who have the right to be outraged cannot, for they have to work to support their families and pay for the current batch of students studying for PhDs in "other popular texts".
Prisoners should be sorted out
From: Terry Morrell, Prunus Avenue, Willerby, East Yorkshire.
REGARDING recent high- profile murders and the continuing debate about penal policy, my view is that we need to "stream" our prisoners in such a way as to ensure that each one gets the treatment that they deserve and they could benefit from.
To start with, it is a fact that, since we closed down psychiatric hospitals wholesale, there are a great number of people not being cared for in the most appropriate way.
No matter how awful these institutions were painted, they certainly were preferable and cheaper than prison for many who now fill the cells.
For many, the trauma and complexity of everyday life is simply something which they cannot cope with and they will seek a refuge by any means possible, even if it is achieved through committing a crime. That is often their way of getting support.
Next we should also decide which crimes are sufficiently evil enough to require imprisonment. In many cases a huge financial penalty in repaying some, if not all of the criminal product, should be dealt out in cases of fraud, theft etc.
These criminals would spend a long period repaying the cost and they should not be allowed to go bankrupt. Surely a major deterrent to would-be cheaters?
The "three strikes and you are inside" regime for petty criminals seems a good plan providing that proper social reporting, rehabilitation action and education and skill training is provided and followed through.
Sell-off suicide is not free trade
From: David H Rhodes, Keble Park North, Bishopthorpe, York.
WHAT prompts the current spate of wanting to offload all things British and become reliant on "Johnny Foreigner".
The Postal Services Bill proposes to sell off Royal Mail, then there is the disposal of Dover Docks along with British Passports to be printed by a foreign company etc.
The Government has apparently turned down the backing for a 900 megawatt power station at Hatfield. This would have used the latest green technology and used our vast coal reserves.
In preference, we put our future warmth down to the fickle gamble that our ships transporting gas to our shores can out-run/outmanoeuvre the Somali pirates.
Over-reliance on French nuclear power and our Gallic "daily pinta" is unwise as these could be withdrawn instantly if either was urgently needed back home in France.
All this is not free trade, but senseless suicide. Let our politicians from all parties stop strutting the world stage as if they are the font of all wisdom and turn their thinking to making Britain more self-sufficient and independent. If this means a rude gesture to the EU, so be it.
Sentences need to fit crime
From: Roger M Dobson, Ash Street, Cross Hills, Keighley.
HAVING read many columns of crime reporting in local newspapers I wish to comment on the apparent inability of some magistrates and judges to pass what the general public think would be apt and appropriate sentences.
If a life sentence meant what it says, then I am sure that it would appease most of the "bring back hanging" lobby.
Driving whilst disqualified is an imprisonable offence and should be treated and sentenced in such a manner.
Drivers who are convicted of drink driving with an alcohol in a breath reading of more than three times the legal limit should be sent to prison for a short time if for nothing else to show them the error of their ways.
Illegal possession of heroin should be punished with a short prison sentence, long enough to give the offenders the chance to give up their addiction whilst in prison.
Driving whilst uninsured should be punished by means of a fine that is at least as much as the cost of what insurance would have been for the vehicle being driven.
Please do not anyone comment that the prisons are full because that is not the fault of magistrates and judges, but of politicians of many governments.
Waterwheels of the future
From: RW Perkin, Leeds Road, Bramhope, Leeds.
I REFER to the letter from JJ Watson (Yorkshire Post, December 11) suggesting that the overflow water from the many reservoirs in our region could be used to generate electricity.
I was discussing this with a friend, adding that the many wells on our rivers should be used, and why not an old-fashioned water wheel?
He replied that it was too simple.
I quite like wind turbines in moderation, but in the coldest weather, when most power is needed, they are still – no wind, no power!
Our Yorkshire rivers keep on flowing, more strongly in winter when most energy is needed.
If they ever did dry up, it would be in the summer when less power is required.
Water used to turn a wheel is returned to the river and may be used several times downstream.
It is never lost, like water used for irrigation, but probably the river board would want their cut.
Wanted: English politicians to make English laws
From: Fred Bishop, Bridge Street, Lower Moor, Worcestershire.
NATIONAL polls and every English person that I speak to want to leave the EU. They want to stop supporting profligate countries and banks with hundreds of billions of pounds.
They do not want to send tens of billions to subsidise the other countries of the UK. They want to end mass immigration.
They want to see foreign criminals deported, not given a free livelihood in this country. They do not want cheap foreign labour and do not want to export our jobs.
They do not want to be denied a nationality. They do not want to be the only country in the world without a voice, representation or consideration.
We want English politicians making English laws according to the wishes of the people of England. So the big question is why do we keep voting for British politicians that are doing exactly the opposite to the wishes of our people?
Get them out at all costs; an incompetent government would be better than a malicious one.
From: Jack Kinsman, Stainton Drive, Grimsby.
MONEY is being withdrawn from ageing British people who have heart complaints, leukaemia and other life-threatening illnesses. Home help is being withdrawn from the most sick and needy in our society. Why?
Is it to gather up the 47m we give daily to the European Union?
Let us simply stop paying into this corrupt organisation. They can't put us in prison or try to fine us. We just leave them to get on with it and go back to being a rich nation and spend the 47m that we used to give them on our own people every day. Think how well off we would be!