From: Keith Jowett, Woodland Rise, Silkstone Common, Barnsley.
ALMOST inevitably, following the publication of the New Year’s honours list, there is speculation and comment.
Your correspondents appear most likely to criticise those whom they feel have not merited the reward. Because of individuals’ political affinities it is not surprising that awards given to politicians are the most commented on, often in an unfavourable light, hence the reaction to the knighthood awarded to Nick Clegg.
The objection seems to be a reaction against recipients being honoured for simply doing their job. However, an encounter prompted me to reflect more on the level of the award rather than the award itself.
I fell into a conversation with a council-employed carer visiting one of his clients. He apologised that he was late coming to visit his charge since he was covering for a colleague who was ill, as well as visiting his own charges.
He then went to his seven- seater car, explaining it had to be so large as he cared for foster children as well as his own family. If this overworked and deserving carer were ever to be honoured, it would almost certainly be at the level of a British Empire Medal, the lowest tier of awards.
My personal views on awards is that, if they have to exist at all, they should only be given to those who go well beyond the call of duty, not for for simply doing their job, however efficiently. The truly deserving are those who voluntarily take on roles, such as the sports coaches and youth leaders who turn out, often in inclement weather, after their day job is done to inspire others.
My awards would have no tiers of CBE, OBE, MBE, BEM. A single level of ‘meritorious service’ should suffice to denote the gratitude of the public to everyone, from the greatest to the most humble.
Factors in NHS crisis
From: Coun Paul Andrews (Ind), Great Habton, York.
I AM wondering if the following factors have contributed to this winter’s NHS crisis:
The reluctance of doctors to prescribe antibiotics when, for instance, coughing caused by flu is at an early stage;
The reluctance of doctors to refer patients to specialists at an early stage.
As regards prescribing antibiotics, this is to prevent the development of “super bugs”, but one wonders if this policy is counterproductive if it results in allowing illnesses to get worse so that more hospital beds are required to cope with illnesses which might otherwise have been cured much earlier.
As regards the reluctance to refer patients to specialists, I understand this is because of the rules governing GPs’ budgets. However, one has to ask if the NHS is a free service any more when patients with serious conditions have to pay for an initial consultation and scann.
If the GPs are unwilling to pay through their budgets, and the patient has limited means, should it be a surprise if Accident and Emergency Departments get overloaded?
Industrial gold mine
From: Arthur Quarmby, Mill Moor Road, Meltham.
I WOULD add to your excellent article on the conversion of redundant mills into residential properties the fact that there are many cleared old industrial sites waiting for redevelopment.
Developers do not like cleared industrial sites which, unlike fresh green fields, may occasionally contain unexpected surprises, but they generally have good road access and often have re-useable on-site services.
Look at the floor of the Colne Valley both between Huddersfield and Slaithwaite, and further upstream.
An assessment of such sites around the old industrial West Riding would be a worthwhile (and quite probably profitable) investment.
Huddersfield or Milan?
From: Paul Brown, Bents Green Road, Sheffield.
A RECENT train journey from Sheffield to Huddersfield provided an enjoyable view of the hilltops along the way. On arrival I was horrified to see that I could only find one fish and chip shop, while there appeared to be a coffee lounge or designer clothes boutique on every street.
Had I secretly been transported to a corner of Rome or Milan? Looking up at the sky revealed the British weather and that I was safe in Yorkshire. I had only to turn left by the statue of Harold Wilson to find the train back to Sheffield.
Killing for fun indefensible
From: Coun Tim Mickleburgh (Lab), Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.
BRIAN Holmes (The Yorkshire Post, January 6) is right to mention the harm that foxes can do to farmers, and we shouldn’t try to have some kind of romantic Disney-type admiration for the fox.
Yet most of us oppose fox hunting simply on the grounds that live animals shouldn’t be killed in the name of so-called sport, Oscar Wilde’s “unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable”. If farmers need to catch and kill foxes to protect their livelihoods, that is another matter entirely.
From: Paul Morley, Ribblesdale Estate, Long Preston, Skipton.
WITH a good number of today’s youngsters suffering anguish if they don’t have enough ‘likes’ on social media and most of the rest being helped with gender issues, I can see a great career plan for the few sensible kids left. Study psychiatry because, believe me, your couch will never be empty.