November 30: Lobbyists an affront to democracy

From: Roger Backhouse , Orchard Road, Upper Poppleton, York.

ANDREW Vine is spot on about the catastrophic effects of a 24- hour binge drinking culture and right to say that it is not a class issue (The Yorkshire Post, November 24). Alcohol consumption generally rises with income, though as usual the poorest get the blame.

Recent Press reports described an exclusive student drinking club devoted to wearing expensive clothes, getting paralytic and smashing up pubs.

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Although the Labour government blundered by allowing 24-hour drinking, I can’t recall opposition from the Conservatives.

The policy change came after well-funded lobbying by the powerful alcohol industry.

The same alcohol lobby has now fought off plans for minimum pricing of alcohol, one of the few sensible moves proposed by the Scottish government.

Unfortunately, lobbyists’ work remains largely unseen but their tentacles extend deep into Government policy-making. Lobbying by drinks and tobacco industries has been deeply damaging to health.

City financial institutions lobbying leaves us with a deeply flawed and fractured economy. The Spanish-owned British airports tries to persuade us that extending Heathrow is good for the whole UK despite no evidence of capacity shortage. Watch for their carefully planted articles.

David Cameron once rightly said lobbying was the next big scandal. However, his Government’s efforts have given lobbyists what they want whilst restricting the ability of charities to speak up for the less powerful.

It is an affront to democracy.

Quandary on care workers

From: J G Riseley, Harcourt Drive, Harrogate.

SOLUTIONS put forward for the shortage of care workers (The Yorkshire Post, November 17) include higher pay and more foreign staff. It is likely that the latter will continue to be seen as the easier option. But we need to recognise that this is not some pizza business which can maximise its own profit and totally ignore the longer-term cost to the state of bringing in yet more workers who can’t support their family on the wage they are paid.

The attempt to meet care needs through greater inward migration is in any case liable to be futile. Are we going to deny migrants the right to bring their own parents here to become a charge on the state? If so, it is hardly likely that a substantially immigrant working population will be prepared to support a generation of elderly Britons who could not be bothered to reproduce, and nor indeed should they.

Treachery by Lords

From: D Wood, Howden.

IT is now reported that the House of Lords, now mainly made up of boot-licking, third-rate failed political pygmies led by the self-seeking Labour and Lib Dems, has decided that 16 and 17-year-olds should have the vote in the upcoming EU referendum.

This, of course, will not be opposed by the EU fanatical David Cameron as the EU has been brainwashing our school children for the last 40 years into believing it is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

This same ploy was used in the recent Scottish referendum and was successful in reducing the independence campaign’s margin of defeat to only 10 per cent. Without the teenage vote, the margin of defeat for the Nationalists would have been much larger.

The SNP had two years to ‘brainwash’ school children. The EU has had far longer. If David Cameron wants a fair and free referendum, then this act of treachery by the House of Lords must be over-ruled.

Protest over incinerators

From: Roger and Penny Campbell, East Morton, Keighley.

WE would like to alert your readers to the current situation as regards the proposed incinerators at Keighley in the Aire Valley.

Over 1,500 people from Keighley, Bingley, Shipley and beyond signed a petition in summer 2015 against the building of these incinerators and this resulted in the rejection of the planning application in August 2015.

However, the developers have now reverted to an earlier application and submitted changes which would result in the construction of the incinerators anyway!

This seems contrary to both public opinion and to the decision made by the planning authority.

Neither does it give any real opportunity to weigh up the widespread harm that can be caused by commercial waste incinerators against their dubious public benefits.

Fees needed for museums

From: Hilary Andrews, Nursery Lane, Leeds.

WE have recently visited New York and thought we might take in a visit to their museums if the weather was poor.

Fortunately the sun shone all the time we were there as it costs $26 each to go into any one of their museums. Surely we should start charging for our museums in London and elsewhere?

They are often overrun by people from other countries who can’t believe their luck when they find there is no entry fee.

Even if we made it free for our own citizens (with proof of residency here as happens in other European countries) surely the fees garnered would help sustain these cultural sites without a drain on the Culture budget?

It won’t happen as we are the mugs of the world on some things.