Problems for the Family Champions

From: Tim Mickleburgh, Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.

With £300m-worth of Government contracts, I’m not surprised that Emma Harrison from Action for Employment is keen on the latest scheme, “Family Champions”, to help the long-term jobless into work (Yorkshire Post, August 22).

Not that I’m against the concept of mentoring, as people like to have others to look up to and admire. Rather I must add that unless there is the promise of actual job creation at a time of 2.5 million out of work, few can benefit from any assistance in this fashion.

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Apart of, course, from Ms Harrison’s company, who gain more taxpayers’ money as a result.

From: Max Nottingham, St Faiths Street, Lincoln.

EMMA Harrison should know better than implying that employers will be keen to give jobs to the long-term unemployed.

It is a nice idea to think middle class people with jobs will help the long-term unemployed to get back into work.

But is it practical?  Will the bosses play ball with Emma’s long-term jobless?

There are almost three million unemployed. Almost a million under 25s. In reality, high unemployment seems likely to be with us for many more years.

That said, Emma Harrison’s nice words about the unemployed are preferable to David Cameron’s nasty words.

From: Phyllis Capstick, Hellifield, Skipton.

TONY Blair has said that it is nonsense to suggest that Britain is in moral decline.

I suggest he is wrong and David Cameron, in his wisdom, has promised to fight back against “the wrong-headed ideas, bureaucratic nonsense and destructive culture” which led to current problems.

Pighills’ paintings

From: Paul and Susan White, Tennyson Road, Bradford.

WHAT a pleasure to see the photograph of the artist Joseph Pighills from 1974 (Yorkshire Post, August 15).

We are sure that like us, many of your readers have “Pighills” paintings in their collections and perhaps memories of meeting this great Yorkshireman, wonderful in his ability to bring the spirit of Haworth and its moors alive but always modest and self-critical of his abilities.

It’s a long time now since the last retrospective of his work was held in Cliffe Castle (Keighley), perhaps it’s time for another one to give another generation the chance to admire the wonderful work of this artist.

Protect the countryside

From: Arthur Quarmby, Underhill, Holme, Holmfirth.

BOB Neill, Minister for Local Government, complains that planning legislation is too long (Yorkshire Post, August 23). The question is not how long is it, but does it work? And the truth of the matter is that this legislation has over the past 50 years done a brilliant job in largely protecting the precious British countryside from the ravages of urban sprawl experienced in the 1930s.

Don’t contemplate even for a moment throwing essential controls overboard with that dreadful phrase launched by government – “Presumption in favour of development” – which is already being seized on with delight by developers and (I am sorry to say) some councils. If Mr Neill’s department and his government sincerely intend to protect the countryside from uncontrolled urban sprawl then all they have to do is to kill off that dreadful phrase; otherwise methinks they speak with forked tongue.

Vanishing science

From: David Tankard, Birkdale Avenue, Knaresborough.

BILL Carmichael’s column (Yorkshire Post, August 19) queries what has happened to the scientific method. I can give a few examples of its disappearance in electricity generation.

When the electricity supply industry was privatised, the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, decreed that the new private companies could burn gas for base load generation.

The electricity would be much cheaper than that from the nationalised industry burning coal. She could then close down the coal industry. It didn’t matter that local gas supplies were limited, and that we would have to rely on countries such as Algeria and Russia. Did anyone notice the price to the consumer come down?

As Cabinet Member for Planning on Harrogate Borough Council when Knabs Ridge was being considered, I queried the economics of the proposal. The Government representative at the meeting simply stated that there was no argument, the government (ie Tony Blair) had decided.

I didn’t get any better response from the manufacturers, not surprising as they were subsidised by the Government. An advocate of wind power recently told me that the construction costs were recovered in four months – why then does it need a subsidy?

And don’t get me going on electric cars!

Twisted words in politics

From: Dennis Johnson, Firbeck Road, Bramham.

IT was with much pleasure I read the recent letter from RH Wilson regarding Margaret Thatcher’s famous remark about society.

I knew the general tenor of her following words but did not have the full text. Thank you Mr Wilson. Of course twisting the words of politicians has long been a favourite pastime.

My favourite is the statement in the early 1960s by Harold Macmillan: “You have never had it so good.”

Taken out of context, it sounds boastful, and the other Mr Wilson who came from Huddersfield exploited it to great effect.

He ignored completely the warning that all this progress would be at risk if the country continued to spend beyond it’s means and the workers’ representatives continued to demand rewards that are simply unaffordable. In other words act more responsibly.

Across the pond citizens of the USA were reminded of the same. Remember the words of JFK? “Ask not what my country can do for you – etc”.

And now our present PM, after stating that there is such a thing as society, in an oblique criticism of Margaret Thatcher, now seeks to impress us with his idea of a Big Society which he means that each of us must do what we can for our communities. Which is exactly what Margaret Thatcher said as quoted by Mr RH Wilson. And of course JFK. What comes around goes around.