From: Thomas W Jefferson, Howden, Goole.
It was most refreshing to read the letter from the successful businessman Lord Bamford (The Yorkshire Post, January 3) saying that when we leave the EU we should not fear trading with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms, as our exporters will soon adapt. Those who describe this as “crashing out” or a “cliff-edge” are irresponsible.
The scaremongering surrounding the Port of Dover is also much overdone. The chairman representing 75 per cent of UK ports says the industry will be ready for any kind of Brexit and many of Yorkshire’s and Lincolnshire’s ports stand to benefit, giving our region a boost.
The EU is mired in intractable problems, mostly of its own making, and shows no sign of reforming to address the needs of its peoples. It is time for us to shake off its failing model and to regain our fully-independent democracy, which is a prerequisite for any successful nation. Our MPs must not fail us by accepting anything less.
From: Barrie Crowther, Walton, Wakefield,
It seems likely that within the next few years the EU will slowly cease to exist.
Money and economic circumstances of many member states will ensure this set-up dies.
Why is it then that Britain’s PM is fearful of no deal and seems more than willing to pay more than £39bn of taxpayers money to a lost cause? How is this figure derived? Over the forty odd years membership surely our input in bricks and mortar, infrastructure, etc, is worth a vast amount? In negotiations this is never considered as a bargaining chip. Just what is our total collateral in the EU worth?
In denial of our dirty air
From: Edward Grainger, Botany Way, Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough.
While the nation and the media have focused, largely through our politicians at Westminster, on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, what about the real issues facing our over-populated island, such as social welfare, health, education and transport?
For instance, whether and however we leave the EU, surely the health and wellbeing of the population is actually more important than almost anything else, particularly for future generations. We now learn that some 82 per cent of Yorkshire’s residents, roughly four million in fact, live in areas with illegal levels of air pollution – the highest proportion outside London.
This important issue, briefly covered by The Yorkshire Post on December 29, reads almost like the small print to a car or household insurance policy, while the threat of a constitutional crisis over Brexit by the divisions in the Government and the Labour Party – brought on by third-rate politicians on all sides – has once again caused us to be in denial that we have a dirty air problem that threatens public health just as smoking and the heavy consumption of alcohol did.
Future generations will not easily forgive us if we each year increase alarmingly the levels of polluted air from the present, and rising, 36 million vehicles that put toxins into the air.
A different world...
From: David Horncastle, Birkdale Close, Bessacarr, Doncaster.
With regard to Chris McGovern’s somewhat depressing article, ‘Wasted spending to blame for crisis in UK classrooms’ (The Yorkshire Post, January 3), I would like to make the following observations.
I started school during the Second World War and, until I passed the 11-plus, was taught through the infant and primary stages in classes of well over 40 pupils by single female teachers.
The discipline we were subjected to was by today’s standards, horrendous.
From the start, punishment varied from vicious slaps across the wrist in the infants to caning across the palms in the juniors to cracks across the backside with a slipper at the grammar school.
This could happen for the most trivial of offences. My junior teacher (a terrifying middle-aged spinster) secured a pass rate of 46 out of 48 for the 11-plus.
Grammar school class numbers were around 35. By comparison with today, education was done on the cheap.
We left the grammar school with a GCE certificate which listed the subjects passed but no grades. It was made abundantly clear to us that if we hadn’t done well it was our fault and not the teachers.
Most of us started work at 16 and were given no chance to assert ourselves by our elders who made quite clear that we were at the bottom of the heap. National Service at 18 finished the job.
Adulthood was finally achieved at the age of 21 when we were allowed to marry and vote.
Very few of us who are over 80 can be described as obese. Food rationing in our youth saw to that.
Clearly we cannot turn the clock back to the era I have just described but it does seem to me that perhaps the pendulum has swung too far the other way.
Full picture on pensions
From: Gregg McClymont, Director of Policy, The People’s Pension.
As reports suggest that some workers will stop paying into their workplace pension following the planned increase to auto-enrolment minimum contributions in April this year, it’s more important than ever for the government, employers and the pensions industry to highlight to workers the benefits of continuing to save for their future.
With millions of people at risk of not having enough to live comfortably in retirement, it’s vital that savers across the UK have the full picture.