Letters, October 14: Green Party and Europe, cost of the NHS and today's spelling and grammar
Why the Green Party says 'yes' to Europe
Your correspondent David Pilton-Slade asks whether we can trust the Prime Minister's offer of an EU referendum after the next election. Surely a more pertinent question is why Labour's Ed Miliband is remaining so quiet on this issue. If he and his party wish us to stay in the EU then he should have the courage to say so.
The Green Party's position on the issue consists of 'three yeses'. Our first "yes" is one of heartfelt support for the European Union and the protection it offers to working people and our environment. Our second "yes" is for a referendum which would give us a chance to have an open debate about the costs and benefits of our membership. But we also say "yes" to the need for significant reform of the European institutions, and particularly the need to strengthen the role of the Parliament.
Molly Scott Cato
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Green Party European candidate
NHS is hardly free at the point of need
Why is it that MPs, newspapers; NHS officials etc keep using the phrase "free at the point of need" when referring to people using the NHS.
It is not or ever has been "Free at the point of need".
Every working person in the land has been paying National Insurance contributions from their first to their last wages/salaries which are their monetary input to the provision of our health services and other public services.
Let's face it; car insurance when used to claim damages is not "free at the point of need" either because car owners have to pay insurance to cover possible car damage even if they never claim for it, as undoubtedly millions of our population have paid millions of pounds for their NI and never claimed any of that back either.
Locking, North Somerset
Making money from the misery of others
With hundreds of Wiltshire Council staff being made redundant it was suggested by Melksham Without Parish Council that they ask to place an advert for the part time post of parish assistant on the Wiltshire Council internal internet site.
To my amazement, and that of Melksham Without Parish Council, a £65 fee was demanded to do so. I would have thought that Wiltshire Council would have been keen to get its staff back to work rather than try and profit out of their misfortune.
As an elected member of both councils, I felt that there must have been a mistake, so I decided to email the Leader of Wiltshire Council, Councillor Jane Scott to ask for an explanation.
I'm disappointed that one month on I'm still waiting for a full explanation.
Councillor Terry Chivers
Why our grammar counts for less
As Anthony G Phillips noted in his recent letter, this is a world in which traditional spelling and grammar count for less.
As he observed, more language is spoken than written, with modern media that is increasingly the case. "Gone are the days when the like of Alvar Liddell and Stuart Hibberd were the epitome of clear speaking" and that is probably no bad thing.
We live in less buttoned up times. The literati do indeed favour Estuary English, which is so named because it is the accent of the Home Counties alongside the Thames Estuary. Its main feature is the "intrusive" R, eg, "AfrikeR and India", "withdrawRal", etc.. Tony Blair adopted some of its features, and it is another former prime minister, John Major's native accent.
Estuary now appears somewhat dated as London speech comes under the influence of the hundreds of languages spoken in the capital. Use of the glottal stop "!" is certainly in the ascendant as a replacement for T, a practice much favoured Tony Blair and the late Princess Diana. This can be a bit annoying, but it is preferable to the alternative which is to substitute D, eg, "madder" for "matter".
Many languages consider use of the glottal stop to be an elegant feature, as it was when Princess Diana used it. It also has a use before initial vowels in preventing words being run together as in "Briddy Shareways" for "British Airways".
All language is dialect. The dialect which is spreading is Ancwe (Ancillary World English). For speakers of local dialects it is an alien tongue.
Our dialect in the South West is West Saxish. Glottal stop initially is a prominent feature of the dialect. Its strength is such that it is quite possible to hear "a apple", which in an English (ie, Anglian) dialect would be "a napple".
T. R. Spratt,
We be Saxons – We beoth Zeahse