‘Small society’ that is ruining the show

From: JW Slack, Swinston Hill Road, Dinnington, Sheffield.

a REPORT requested by MPs concerning school discipline (Yorkshire Post, February 3) states that not only should reading be tested at six-years-old but also the ability to speak and listen.

Additionally, it recommends that all schools should have access to agencies which deal with mental health problems which is an increasing concern where overworked parents are becoming too stressed balancing work-home and finance, marriage break-ups etc to give the security and care that a good home should have.

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The report also suggested that a two-tier national curriculum should be pursued to ensure that all pupils are engaged in practical as well as academic learning – which was precisely what the tri-partite grammar, technical, secondary modern schools were engaged in, and which comprehensive schools were getting to grips with in the post-war period using buildings and facilities, mostly inadequate to deal with the increased number of pupils in the 1960s. The country could not afford to build good modern schools.

The private sector – supported by the wealthy and famous – was relatively unscathed and, according to Andrew Neil and Richard Bilton in recent TV documentaries, now holds a disproportionate influence in policy-making through their own networks.

In fact, the politicians, lawyers, bankers and media provide the structures in which doctors, teachers, police work. The fact that the economic problems of today are the result of government mismanagement over decades is pushed to one side and with gifts of oratory and persuasive arguments efforts are being made to give the complete responsibility of budgets to local people who are already overstretched in their respective jobs and professions and are expecting deeper cuts in order to become more efficient.

My 40 years in the teaching profession and more recent experiences of the medical profession relating to cancer and dementia have filled me with great admiration.

The “Big Society” is functioning with ever-decreasing manpower and resources of the right quality. It is the affluent small society ruining the show that is the problem.

Amazement at Osborne

From: JC Winter, Valley View, Wheldrake, York.

I WAS amazed to read Chancellor George Osborne’s request to get people’s suggestions on how to grow the country’s economy. Surely this is what he has been elected to do himself.

If this is the extent of his knowledge of international trade, then we are in for a very bad time indeed.

I have always held the view that it is up to the politicians of the country to create the conditions that enable our industries to prosper.

Regretably what we usually get are excuses and claims that it is always the previous government’s fault. I have heard it trotted out for the last 70 years, the facts are that when politicians are involved it is the death knell to an industry, their only remedy to a problem is to close it down.

Think of all the companies that are no longer here, all we do is to work for foreign companies producing goods in foreign-owned factories, which also proves that British workers will work and work hard when treated properly.

If one goes and stands on some of our docksides you will see mountains of scrap metal being exported, you will also see car transporter ships unloading new shining cars.

The difference in the value of the two, Mr Osborne, is the reason for our dismal state and lack of confidence.

Doubts over elected mayors

From: Mike Holt, Club Lane, Rodley, Leeds.

IT would seem to me that the rush to impose elected mayors onto cities outside London is going to cost vast amounts of money that we don’t have, and to fuel the failure rate of the system that is occurring in other areas.

The only reason that, on the surface, Greater London is successful is because of just that. The area is Greater London; which encompasses numerous regions that have their own chief executives.

Now if we had a Greater Leeds area that encompassed the boroughs of, say, Harrogate, Bradford, Huddersfield and Wakefield, then maybe, just maybe, we could justify an elected Mayor to co-ordinate this region’s strategy, which of course would include the road and public transport improvements that many correspondents cry out for.

Keep the home fires burning

From: David T Craggs, Tunstall, East Yorkshire.

i WONDER how many of your readers who have mixed views about wind farms know that on two days in December this country ran out of electrical power and had to be bailed out by the French, supplying us with nuclear-generated electricity?

During several days in December, when the weather conditions were such that there was little or no wind, the contribution by the country’s wind farms was in effect almost zero.

Environmentalists may hate coal and nuclear power stations, some even try to close them down, not giving a damn as to what the effect would be.

But had those stations not been on full load during that period, the vulnerable in our society, both young and old, would have been at risk, our hospitals would have had to cancel operations and the little industry that we have would have been brought to a halt, reducing us to little more than a third world country.

Is that what we really want? I know where I stand on the issue.